My first wander into the proper city of Sydney was because of Barack Obama. I took a 40 minute train ride to get to Sydney University where I found that there would be a get together to watch a screening of the Inauguration around lunch time. I found out about it from Facebook… big shock. All of three people had RSVPed as “attending” when I found the page. And since it’s summer here and school’s not in session, I really didn’t expect much to come from this venture. I just wanted to watch some history with some people that care.
When I walked into the Manning Bar, I could hardly even get in the door. There were hundreds upon hundreds of people there! People from all over the city came to watch!
It was incredible. Seriously. There was an hour of student projects [summer school] that were played before the speech aired. It was hilarious to see how Aussies make fun of Americans. I started to get scared that this would be just a bashing of Americans and then I’d have to order another drink with my best Australian accent before sneaking out, but it didn’t turn out that way. A lot of videos were about admiring America for being a country where ANYONE can be the leader of the country… no matter their bloodline. It was very inspiring.
Then the President of US Relations gave a very interesting speech about Obama’s facial expressions and his change of tone.
Then they played the video and I cried.
Then, during the national anthem, all the Americans stood up and sang and I cried again.
The whole thing was a lot more emotional than I had planned on. Hearing a true recognition of a brokenness in our country was refreshing and devastating and the same time. Obama displayed a vulnerability that can only come from honest strength. I don’t know if that makes any sense to anyone else, but to me, it was something that struck hard inside my chest.
And then I sat down for an Obama burger and another drink [much deserved after the last two weeks, trust me] and I got to talk to some great people. Okay, two great people… okay, I actually talked to two people and they were great simply because they were around my age, in Sydney and talking to me.
It was a breath of fresh air… the whole day.
Then I finished my Obama burger, my 20-minute-friend, Micheal, directed me to a really cool bookstore near campus, then I headed home.
And then I couldn’t find the bookstore because I’m horrible with directions which made me relatively bored waiting for the train.