Well, well, well. Here I am in the Garden City at last! A new city, a new country, a new life. I’m very much excited about this fresh start and what life holds for us here. And yet still feeling a little trepidation that my expectations are a little too high.
I haven’t had much chance to explore yet as we are saving up to buy a car so I’ve only really seen stuff within walking distance. A little frustrating since I know the sea is so close by and I can see the cliffs from my dining table! Having never lived in a city before, it feels like you have to walk miles and miles to actually get anywhere. My feet have been aching and swollen ever since we’ve got here. But when the weather is nice, I’d rather walk anyway.
For our first three months in the city, we are living in a shared house with five bedrooms. It isn’t exactly what we were looking for and I don’t think we ever imagined we’d be sharing a kitchen and bathrooms, but we feel lucky to have found anything at all due to the massive influx of trades people seeking rental accommodation in the city.
I feel like we’re beginning to settle in now. I’ve hung my first load of washing out to dry in the sunshine and put up drawings and photos of family in our bedroom. It’s beginning to feel like home. I’ve just come back from a stroll round the local suburb, Sydenham. There’s a small mall on the main street filled with lovely boutique shops and a couple of galleries...somewhere to start the job hunt I feel!
Along the same street lies the office of a project called the Gap Filler, which aims to fill all the spaces created by demolition in the city with shops, cafes and recreational facilities. Already in Sydenham, there is a make-shift outdoor coffee shop, a container dairy and a giant chess board complete with seating area. Local artists are also getting involved, painting giant murals on big empty walls to send out positive messages in potentially down-heartening locations.
I hope to get involved in a few of these projects while I’m here. It would be nice to think I have contributed to the healing of the city in some small way.