Sophie : Potts Point
Sophie Pusz lives in Potts Point with her partner, a fellow bookseller. Between them they have the perfect amount of books (hundreds) and teapots (nine). Sophie’s book reviews can be seen online at www.girlbooker.blogspot.com
Sydney is a difficult place to love. I first moved to Sydney eight years ago, semi-reluctantly. I struggled for a long time to feel at home in what I found to be a very unfriendly cityscape. I remember feeling psychologically attacked by: the noise, the traffic, the stony-faced people, and the hopelessly confusing and unreliable public transport. I had to learn to build a shield against those things, and to discover the single most important secret to unlocking Sydney’s heart: It is not so much a single city as a collection point of rag-tag country towns. Each suburb or area has its own distinct vibe, and the locals are fiercely loyal to their particular patch.
Once you have unlocked this little nugget, everything changes. You suddenly find that you belong somewhere, and you can give up the utterly-impossible-to-attain notion of being from “Sydney”. Instead, you are from “The Inner West” or “The Eastern Suburbs” or “The North Shore”. This brings with it a sense of intimate, meaningful belonging; a sense of ownership. As soon as you realise when you are on home turf, you begin to behave accordingly, and are subsequently treated as one of the tribe. Suddenly everybody is your new best friend!
I learnt to think small in order to love large. My personal Sydney is a patchwork of objects, memories, sounds and smells. Sydney is the smell of melting butter on toasted seeded rye bread, and the metallic tang of the old rattling train carriages with the sticky pleather seats. It is the delightfully dappled shade from huge plane trees in Surry Hills or Potts Point, the trip across the fresh and glinting harbour in a ferry, and the taste of mild Pad Thai, steaming Chinese dumplings and freshly made Syrian dips.
Sydders isn’t perfect: Adelaide has a superlative writers’ festival, Melbourne generally has better coffee, and I hear places like Paris and New York have one or two things going for them that Sydney lacks. Nevertheless, with all her flaws and flourishes, difficult to love as she is, Sydney is my town.