On Clock Shops and Sunsets

       After seeing it every single day for the last several months, I know now that I’ll never quite get used to the way the sun sets here. The myriad of colors overwhelms, vermillion which illuminates to magenta which slows to a deep teal. Every car trudging home becomes a brilliant and blinding kaleidoscope reflecting this impossible sunset. Every time it’s a whole new show, and every time I’m as impressed as I was my first evening here. It’s the same way with the symbols of this city; every time I step inside the Opera House, it takes my breath away. Bondi Beach has never looked anything other than stock-photo perfect. Sydney Harbour Bridge is perpetually cold and imposing in a truly magnificent way. These things astound me, and even seeing them every day I’ll never get used to them. And because I can never get used to them, they’ll be impossible for me to miss.

       What I’m going to miss will be the old clock shop I smile at every evening on my walk home. I don’t remember the first time I passed it, or even the second or third. But slowly it worked its way into my consciousness. It connects the laziness, laughter, and late nights of the International House to the incongruity that is my rented bed in an overflowing and constantly shifting house several blocks away that I've been calling home these past four months. This clock shops reminds me to breathe, reminds me that the frantic pace of studying abroad does not mean the frantic pace of the rest of my life. The whole place pulses; you can hear the clocks tick from the sidewalk. For me, the heartbeat of Sydney is contained in the seven steps past the storefront when I can listen to a hundred different clocks marking their own time and counting down everything else's.  

       A month from today, I’ll return to the place I originally called home. Whatever home means to me now, however those particular views have changed, I’ll be standing on the same ground that I grew up with, falling back on patterns 20 years in the making. By the time I start school again, my idea of the landmarks of this place will probably be very similar to the photographs I saw of them before I was ever here and the photographs I took of them during my stay. They are grand; it’s impossible to get a sense of them. The more the days dwindle and the more I realize how much this place has come to mean to me, the less I care about postcard pictures and the more I want to sit on the clock shop steps talking to whomever passes by and being reminded with every tick of the clock just to breathe.

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