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  • Writer's picturePanchi

FROM THE LAND DOWN UNDER

Some memories cannot vanish, one such is my first solo International trip to Australia on New Year Eves! So it was finally decided, I will be celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve in ‘The Land Down Under’. My heart started to race as soon as I pressed the pay button for my tickets, to be honest, this was thrilling and intimidating at the same moment. I said to myself, “So what it’s your first solo international journey, you can still do it.”

Sydney Opera House, opera house located on Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour), New South Wales, Australia. Its unique use of a series of gleaming white sail-shaped shells as its roof structure makes it one of the most-photographed buildings in the world.
A distant view of Opera House, Sydney

On December 23rd 2022, at 7:30 pm I boarded my flight to Kolkata from Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, Guwahati. After landing at Kolkata airport I made my way to the international transfers to catch my flight to Singapore and then from Singapore to Sydney.


As I reached Sydney at 11:30 pm on 24th December, my brother and his friends were already waiting at the exit to pick me up from the airport. His friends (Rishap and Cheeeya) were sweet enough to treat me with some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream while dropping me at my brother’s place in Matraville, New South Wales. The next morning I could instantly sense there was something different about the place as for starters the air tasted salty and a cool sea breeze made its way through the strands of my hair almost giving me a new makeover.


So the next day, I and my brother decided to buy Christmas gifts for some friends at the Pitt Street Mall. After our shopping, my brother treated me to some delicious Japanese Katsu Chicken curry and a fresh tall glass of Boba milk tea at the mall. In the evening we went to attend a Christmas house party thrown by our friends named Aeyden and Veronica. We chatted, made new friends from Nepal, Indonesia and Malaysia, ate our body weight in pizzas, danced till our feet hurt and sang our hearts out till midnight. The girls also taught me how to play UNO, I was surprised why didn’t discover this wonderful game earlier by the way, I did pretty well in it. My brother being the sweetest human being ever, gifted me a Polaroid camera after the party to capture all the wonderful memories waiting to be created during this trip. After the party ended, my brother, Rishabh and Cheeya went for a car ride to see the Christmas decorations and I can confidently say Aussies know how to get their Christmas lights on. The streets were filled with some of the most exciting decorative lights and Christmas trees. Also, Rishabh stopped the car for a while so that I can take some good pictures of those decorations. Then we went to Jarvis Bay and I must say this, ‘I wasn’t prepared for what I was about to see’.

A galaxy is a large group of stars, gas, and dust bound together by gravity.
Milky Way

I was looking at ‘The Milky Way’ over my head with bare eyes. Being an astrophile this was my dream to look at our giant galaxy with my own eyes at least once. We lost track of time as we stood there appreciating the view, making wishes over those shooting stars, guessing the star constellations and contemplating the possibility of life beyond our solar system. It was pure and absolute magic. This experience still sends shivers down my spine, I will never forget that beautiful sight.


For New Year’s Eve, our friend Cheeya booked our tickets to the annual fireworks show near the Harbour Bridge. This event consists of two fireworks shows- one known as ‘Family Fireworks' held at 9:00 pm AEDT and the other one is the main show ‘Midnight Fireworks’ held at 12:00 a.m. Sydney being one of the first major cities to welcome New Year is an absolute beauty during this time. Tourists from all over the world were flocking the streets of Sydney and it was so crowded that we literally had to hold on to our spot for some time. Meanwhile, we were waiting for those fireworks to pop up; I had the absolute pleasure to dance to some tunes from an Australian DJ. She played some outright banger music throughout the show as we tapped our happy feet to it. It was a night full of fun and as my friend Cheeya said ‘We left our stress at home that night.’ When the clock was about to hit 12 a countdown began and I must tell you the excitement in that place skyrocketed. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 off the fireworks went filling the night sky with the most beautiful lights my eyes have ever seen. People were shouting with excitement, hugging their family members, and lovers sharing their first kiss of the New Year. I and my friends went for a group hug, laughed our hearts out and clicked as many selfies as we could before we said goodbye to 2022. I offered a little prayer in my mind saying- “God may this year be filled with great joy, health and success for me, my family and my friends. And may this never become just a memory. May I visit this beautiful place again in 2023"

Bondi is home to one of the oldest surf lifesaving clubs in the world and one of Australia’s oldest swimming clubs, the iconic Bondi Icebergs, located at the southern end of the beach. You can swim laps with the Icebergs, the nickname given to the regulars brave enough to go swimming in winter in the Bondi Baths.
Bondi Beach - Sydney, Australia

Australia is known for its beaches and it will be quite an injustice if I didn’t visit any beaches there. Hence, after 2 days of rest, I went to one of the most popular beaches in Sydney- ‘Bondi Beach’. We took a bus ride from Circular Quay as it is the fastest and most convenient way to travel around the city. As a citizen from a third-world country, I was pleasantly surprised to witness a laid-back lifestyle and a sense of work-life balance at this place. I could feel that people at the beach were stress-free and were just enjoying their lives, soaking up some sun, taking a swim in those blue waters and eating from some buzzing cafes nearby. I went for a swim as well after spending some time there.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge is a steel through arch bridge in Sydney, spanning Sydney Harbour from the central business district to the North Shore. The view of the bridge, the harbour, and the nearby Sydney Opera House is widely regarded as an iconic image of Sydney, and of Australia itself.
Sydney Harbour Bridge

I met my brother’s work friends there- Kamila, Sophie, Barbara and Jhoe. They were a bunch of lovelies. Kamila requested me to play some Indian songs and asked me about my culture. We had a heart-to-heart conversation there. She was dancing to some Falguni Pathak’s songs that played on my mobile and we were cheering her up. We then waited there till the sun went down; I just laid down on my back to appreciate this beautiful journey and how everything that led me to this moment. I am indeed a very lucky person to witness and celebrate Christmas as well as New Year’s Eve in this amazing city (Sydney). I went there with a bit of scepticism but Sydney changed something inside me and I came back with a whole new perspective, a lot of vigour and some grand confidence to kick start my New Year in India.


Special thanks to my parents and my brother for supporting me throughout this journey. Also appreciate Singapore Airlines- which made my travel very smooth and hassle-free.


Written By -

Panchi


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