The beach 100% deserves its very own blog post. Truthfully, I could have an entire Instagram account and blog devoted to the beach. I have always known I wanted to write about the beach, but I am worried I can’t do it justice. I have been putting it off. I know you have all been to the beach. I grew up at the beach. Most people love the beach. I don’t know if I can put this into words. If you follow me on Instagram, you have an idea of what I am talking about (or trying to talk about.) Living this close to the ocean takes my breath away on a daily basis, and it has changed me. For Good.
My parents gave me a gift. I grew up in Connecticut, but we spent our summers on Cape Cod and right near the beach. Our house on the Cape was, and still is, just a few houses down from the ocean. It is a very special place to me. I have amazing memories of CC with my immediate family, extended family, friends and it’s where I met and married Wes. My kids have spent weeks there every summer of their lives. Again, it was a gift my parents gave me. I hope that someday my kids look back at this time in Australia with the same adoration. However, I am not going to attempt to compare the beaches here to the ones on the Cape. They are literally 2 different worlds. Suffice it to say, I love them both. Differently. Cape Cod beaches are a part of my soul. Always.
Now, I am really here to describe the beaches of Sydney and what they have meant to me these past few months. This is all about ME and my love affair with the beach. I can’t speak for the rest of my family. Wes and I both remember being bored at the beach when we were young. My kids, when we are on Cape Cod, only think it’s fun if there are friends or cousins to play with. The beach, here in Sydney, isn’t something we DO….it truly is part of our our daily life and it’s where we live. My kids absolutely love playing in the waves. That is their best beach fun. They have all gotten braver as time has gone on. They all will swim underwater and dive into the waves. We have an ocean pool that Mae is a big fan of. We used to go for evening swims when Wes got home from work. However, we have turned our clocks back now that it is Autumn and our days or shorter. Sadly, it’s now dark when Wes gets home. We take morning swims when we can or mid day…we find the time. The water is still warm enough to swim and we now have wet suits to extend our swim season. We mean business.
Back to my love story. Debbie and The Beach. My love for the beach has evolved. I used to love to get tan and lay around and read a magazine. People think of me as a beachy girl. After all, I was the Gate Attendant of the Year for the Dennis Beaches in 1996. But this is different. After living here, I appreciate the beach and the ocean for so much more. The beauty literally stops me. I try to go for walks, and I just pause and look. I love to photograph it, too, so I can remember it. Forever. We knew we wanted to live close to the beach when we were house hunting. We really lucked out finding a house this close. Going to the beach is effortless, and we see the ocean even when we walk to the grocery store or the bus stop. It really is our backyard. The backdrop of our day to day. I pinch myself.
I feel happier being this close to the ocean. I feel lighter. I have a greater sense of all the good stuff…gratitude, peace, and calm. The beauty overwhelms me in such a good way. I also get a little giddy when I am down by the beach. I truly appreciate this experience and am not taking a second of it for granted.
The beach has prevented any homesickness I would’ve otherwise had being this far from home. It is my happy place and it made me feel right at home. Everything else came with a learning curve. Money, transportation, and food were all an adjustment. Not the beach. It was familiar. From day one. We cliqued. It is the one place in this big city that I understand and I totally belong.
I discovered something new. Mornings at the beach. I realized there is a part of the day that can be all mine and they start in the wee hours of dawn. On this sabbatical, I am with my family 24/7, so this time is all mine. Elle has come with me a couple of times and I plan to bring the others along someday. But during this time of day, something unbelievable occurs. The sunrise. It truly is something I had been missing out on my whole life. It is magic.
We live at Coogee Beach, which is an ocean beach in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. We chose to live in Coogee because we found a 3 bedroom rental near the beach and a friend here confirmed it was a good location. That’s all we knew. It turned out to be very different than I expected. The little town is very busy and a mix of residential and commercial. Locals and tourists. It is not crazy backpacker land like Bondi beach, which I’d say is Sydney’s most well known beach. There is not a parking lot. We literally walk to the end of the street and there is the beach. It has a more urban feel than I expected for a “beach suburb” and it’s bustling. On a sunny day, people seem to just pour in. On week days or cloudy days, it is noticeably quieter. The further we get from summer, it has slowed down, but the nightlife on the weekends is a SCENE. It feels very alive and happy. There are 2 schools right up the road, so there are kids around after school and many retired people (large groups of gentlemen at cafes in the morning having a very good time.) Lots of dogs. Young people dressed in little clothing. It is very casual. People grocery shop in their swimsuits and I have even picked up some groceries barefoot myself. Anyway, I have never been anywhere quite like this and I have grown quite fond of it. All of it.
Back to the beach…Coogee is part of a cliff top costal walk that extends to Bondi Beach. It is 6km (3.7 miles) and has gorgeous views, beaches along the way, cliffs, rocks, bays and rock/ocean pools. It also continues the other way toward Maroubra Beach. From Coogee, I can walk in either direction and see the most stunning views I have ever witnessed. It is here where I feel full of awe and wonder and amazement and joy. We plan to all do the entire walk to Bondi very soon. I take morning walks along these paths. Every turn brings a new sight. It is different along the way and unexpected. Staircases, boardwalks, rock pools, secret pathways, bays, etc… My favorite pictures on my Instagram are from these paths. Whenever I am there, I think of you all and wish you were here so we could experience this together. Of all the things we have seen here, it is by far my favorite and what I will miss the most. We have taken family walks and scooter rides along some of the paths. We have done scavenger hunts along the way for homeschooling and science lessons. It really is my personal piece of heaven here. I am very much looking forward to doing the whole walk with the whole clan.
The coast and the beaches here are so vast. When we traveled to Melbourne last week, we saw the Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island. This allowed us to see the Victoria coast line and it was mind blowing. So vast! Expansive. Spectacular. We have plans to explore the northern beaches of Sydney next month.
Our days are full of homeschooling and field trips exploring the city, but we always come back home to the beach. It is our home here in Sydney and brings me so much happiness. I wish I could bottle it. Although, as I mentioned, it has changed me. For Good. So Good. And as the song goes, “So much of me is made of what I learned from you. You’ll be with me. Like a handprint on my heart.”