Sydney is truly an international city – with a higher percentage of foreign born people than any other city in the world. This is clearly evidenced by my house. Welcome to Cleveland Street – it’s like Sesame Street, but with 20% fewer Muppets.
This is mighty complicated, so please try to follow me. I live in a 3 bedroom Terrace House – which is basically a townhouse. For a further explanation, see Wikipedia:
The room I occupy was vacated by two straight Spanish boys – both from Barcelona – who were here studying English. When I first moved in, the other two rooms were occupied by a gay Aussie boy who worked in some sort of IT-related type thing for a bank and a Brazilian girl - of Japanese descent – who is a graphic designer. The Spanish boys were off traveling for a month and now have moved back in – now occupying the room recently vacated by the Aussie boy, who has moved back up to Brisbane to go to grad school. Do you follow me? So now we’re up to four people, but one of the Spanish boys has finished his English studies and is looking for work, which will probably take him out of Sydney since he works in mining/engineering. It’s all a bit complicated, but it’s the true Sydney experience. Many of the people who I’ve met are very jealous that I live in a Terrace House – and I’ll admit that’s it a really great house – but I’d much rather find me a sugar daddy and live in some penthouse apartment somewhere. A boy can dream, right?
Our house is situated in Surry Hills – a cute gay neighborhood right near the CBD (Central Business District aka “Downtown” for us Americans). There are tons of shops, restaurants, bars, etc. in Surry Hills, and we’re a three minute walk to the main drag: Crown Street.
Ok, fine. Fine. I’m lying. Technically… technically… we’re not in Surry Hills. Do I dare say it? Do I? We’re in… Redfern. Please don’t tell anyone. Please.
Ok, so our house sits on the border of Redfern and Surry Hills – literally, Cleveland Street is the border. Redfern has a stigma and a history associated with it – it was where the government moved all of Sydney’s Aborigines to back in the day, thus resulting in higher crime rates and an overall sketchy feel to the low income neighborhood. That, of course, is another story for another day, and probably one that you should hear from an Aussie rather than from me.
But Redfern is gentrifying and becoming increasingly nice, especially along the northern border and eastern edge of the neighborhood. Since we live in the northeast corner of Redfern, it’s quite nice and safe – except for the rowdy Aussies going to or coming back from a cricket match. The stadium is a quick walk from our house. Aside from my street, I’ve never actually even walked through Redfern. There’s no need when the always happenin’ Surry Hills is right here. Plus, Redfern isn’t on the way to anything. Surry Hills is all that separates us from the CBD, Darlinghurst (the main gay neighborhood), the infamous Kings Cross, and buses to Bondi Beach. Why would I ever need or want to go in the other direction?