Chasing the sun

You are from Poland, how come you feel cold?

Well, I just do.

Australia could be associated with many things but what Australia is not being associated with is winter. Somehow we (okay, I) grow up thinking that in this part of world is endless summer. Of course, there are parts with tropical climate but, as Australia is pretty big country, not everywhere temperatures are the same.

Before I came to Down Under I did little research. I already knew that European summer means Australian winter so I really wanted to end up somewhere warm. This is one of the reason why I chose to go to Cairns on the first place. As I thought I will live my summer life, getting tan after first 3 days, I decided to pack light clothes. I took only one pair of jeans and one cardigan. Honestly, I thought I won’t have to use them at all – maybe on evenings only.

Little did I know that I’ll kiss tropical climate goodbye after only few days and move to cold, cold, cold Sydney. This is how one pair of jeans turned to three, one more extra cardigan and fuzzy blanket.

I’d be lying if I said that Australian winter reminds me of European one. I won’t be lying if I say that even thou there’s no snow where I live, I still feel pretty cold. When I moved to Sydney, 2 months ago, average daily temperature was +16 degrees, while in the night time it dropped to single digits. It may not seem as bad to you as it feels for me but it’s worth mentioning, that majority of apartments in Australia don’t have central heating. It takes 3 sets of blankets, sweatpants, and long sleeve to actually keep me warm at night.

I’m pretty verbal about my feelings so people around me are always well informed of how I feel at the moment. People I work with, people I live with, even strangers on the street could hear me mumbling:

It’s fucking freezing!

Most of them, especially my work colleagues, join me so we can complain all together of how the weather is treating us, there’s always someone who looks at me with face of misunderstanding, and makes a comment pointing out the fact that I am from the land of snow (during the winter), as they like to think.

On the beginning I was trying to politely explain that Poland isn’t exactly on the North Pole; that we do, indeed, have snow some time in the year, but when we do feel cold, we just put central heating on which – on the contrary to Australia – every house in Poland has.

Now, whenever I hear similar comment, I just shrug my shoulders, make a sad face and say that I left my bear skin coat at home.

The other day I decided to escape the city for short while. I needed to charge my batteries, I needed warmth, I needed to finally feel sunlight on my skin because, honestly, I got more tan from one-time tanning room in Latvia than 2 months spent in Australia.

I decided to go to Lavender Bay, to see Wendy’s Secret Garden as I read it’s great place to relax and slow down for a moment.

Wendy Whiteley, former wife of Australian artist Brett Whiteley, has transformed land of wastage, rubbish and metal into magical garden in the time of biggest grief after her (ex) husband passed away. She didn’t ask for permission even thou the land wasn’t hers to maintain. She was working every day, paying for everything from her own pocket; the soil, gardeners, plants. She had no fixed plan of how the garden should look like:

I just wanted to make it beautiful and welcoming rather than scary – Wendy admits in the reportage for Australian Story.

This is exactly how it feels.

My little escape to Wendy’s garden was what I needed. It took me no more than 2 train stops and 2$ for the ride but it just seemed like I ended up in completely different planet. No more skyscrapers, no more cold, crowded streets, no more people around me. Noises of the city stayed right where I left them – on Town Hall station – and I was not in the rush to welcome them back.

I sat down on one of the benches with Lavender Bay view and started to listen to sounds of my surrounding. I heard birds singing their songs. I heard screams from Luna Park near by. I heard a train, moving slowly on its railways, right beside the garden. For the firs time, in a long time, I felt how warm the sun could be. I took my jacket off, closed my eyes, and imagined that this is how the summer feels like.

Words can’t describe the feeling the garden leave you with – you simply have to discover it on your own. Sydney is beautiful but could also be cold and unwelcome – especially during winter season. It’s important to find your little getaway and, at least for a moment, welcome sun back in your life.

September 1st was first day of Australian spring. Till now I didn’t really see any significant difference. Luckily, two next days should be pretty warm (according to weather forecast – 29 and 32 degrees), but the rest of the week doesn’t look so promising.

For now, I’m just waiting for my vacation in Bali, where I will finally see N. 🙂


Lavender Bay view
Lavender Bay view
Wendy’s Secret Garden
Wendy’s Secret Garden
Wendy’s Secret Garden
Wendy’s Secret Garden
Wendy’s Secret Garden

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