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What is it about this city that I love? The Harbor Bridge rising above the spectacular Opera House? the way this view unexpectedly appears while admiring the flowers and trees in the Botanical Gardens?, the cockatoos screaming as they soar by? the friendly people with their charming accent? The amazing restaurants? The edgy neighborhoods with their countless spirited coffee shops? I have always loved this place like no other I have visited. It may be that I have a history here having returned so many times. But now, even after a sixteen year absence, I return to this old friend, the way all old friends return to each other: excited, joyful to be reunited with what is familiar and loved, and thrilled to discover the changes too. I don’t need to go to all the places one should always visit. That’s all been done. So now the Harbor Bridge, Opera House, and gardens are a backdrop to a new kind of being in this city. I can sit on a bench content just knowing that postcard view is just around the bend in the path. Listening to the distant cockatoos, I know that later, just behind me, under those grand and twisted trees, I will feed them peanuts and they will perch on my shoulder and try to eat my shoes. I return to Bill’s for a familiar breakfast in a neighborhood that is now transformed with paint and youth. How odd too, to know a place so well and except for Kim, know there is no one here who knows me. I have no past relationships here. It is all about just being in these places I know. There was a time when it never occurred to me if we would return. I did not know that our last trip to sing for Kim’s wedding, would end an era which prevented me from seeing her children grow. Back again, I have to wonder now if another sixteen years could go by, or more. Or maybe this is the last trip. I savor every moment. Here, on the other side of the world, so far from everything that is my life, is this place that has always felt magical and also like home.

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