“Happiness. Simple as a glass of chocolate or tortuous as the heart. Bitter. Sweet. Alive.”
Joanne Harris “Chocolat”
From time to time I visit my birth town of Sydney. The visits are not frequent, maybe once a year as each time I come to appreciate how much I and the city of nearly four million, have changed. When I was growing up on the North Shore in the fifties and sixties, the area was predominantly Anglo-CeltIc. It’s safe to say that now it’s well and truly an Asian city. Until I was seventeen, I had never met anyone who wasn’t Catholic ! And now on the train which I took to meet up with a ftiend at a festival of chocolate in the heart of the city, I hear fellow passengers speaking in a wide variety of languages with the occaisonal spattering of English just discernable
. Though there may be some cultural differences which call for adjustment, it makes sense to me given our location, that we should be more Asian than European.
I met my friend Lynn at Circular Quay, a final destination for ferries from all over Sydney harbour . Looking at the sparkling water,I remember a friend at my former Catholic school, Anna-Maria Ferrugia, the daughter of Italian migrants and therefore an exotic rarity in an institution dominated by girls with Irish and Scots names, who described her experience when sailing into Sydney harbour on sunset. I never forgot her florid description and again appreciated that it certainly is a beautiful harbour.
My friend Lynn is great fun with a bit of a sweet tooth. So when she suggested that we meet at a chocolate festival held at The Rocks, the birthplace of Sydney where our convict ancestors first set foot, I quickly agreed. We originally met at work where we always had a laugh at one or more of the too, too serious and often bizarre management decisions in our workplace. Each time we reconnect we manage to recapture that lightheartedness.
As we wandered through the large crowds in the brilliant spring sunshine sampling chocolates and foods from many different cultures and catching up with our respective adventures in life, I couldnt help but think about the first European settlers and what they would have made of the harbour in the twenty-first millenium. I hope that some of its original beauty has still remained.