We always wanted a big backyard, a bbq and dogs.
Saving for our first home last year, we had exactly that in mind. We day-dreamed, fantasised and spent hours scrolling through thousands of houses for sale online. Even building became an option when house+land packages surprisingly fell into our budget. When that deposit was just in reach, we went and looked at a few old houses in Camden, NSW. Both growing up in South West Sydney, we loved Camden for its little cafes, produce markets and community culture. It was still close to where we grew up, to our families and friends. It was familiar; it felt like 'us' and the obvious way to go. But we both worked in the city and it meant traveling an extra hour every day. We were pretty sure that it would be worth it.
Last September, we bought our very first home - a little apartment in Marrickville, NSW. We completely changed our minds, changed our paths and changed our lives. I've always believed that things have a way of just falling into place when they are supposed to happen, and this is a perfect example. We didn't really know the area, but liked what we had seen of neighbouring suburbs and loved the idea of being closer to the city. So we just did it. We took a bit of a leap. We didn't over think it or weigh up the pros and cons. We decided to go on an adventure. It payed off.
Our ground floor 2-bedroom apartment is home. Older in style with gorgeous wooden floorboards, high ceilings and huge white walls, it's small but just big enough for two. It houses our little nick-knacks perfectly, with the kitchen window sill my favourite place to display plants, teapots and spices. The paint peeling off the window frames adds to its character, as do the daddy long legs' living in the corners. We shower in the bath tub and friends crash on our couch. We don't have a clock, matching sheets, a dishwasher, a microwave or a vacuum cleaner - but we're perfectly content with the imperfectness. We're enjoying simple, smart living. There's no lawns to mow, and not a lot of house work to do at all. It's so, so quiet and we often think we're the only ones in the entire block. We are surrounded by green trees, and hear the birds in the morning, the rain drops as they fall and the crunch of leaves is now the sound of home. It is so nice when we do see the neighbours though, and the smell the multicultural meals being prepared reminds us of our little community.
Marrickville (what we've discovered so far) is an absolute treasure, and we're so lucky to have stumbled upon it. There is just so much to look at - vegetable gardens, mosaic tiles, federation homes, fruit trees, Nonna's in nighties, old men having conversations on corners, art, graffiti, tattoos, recycling, FOOD, hipsters, planes as they fly by and the city skyline not so far away. There's still so much to see, so many places to explore and so many memories to create.
We're getting fatter though. There's not much time for exercise with all the food there is to eat. There's the pork rolls which never fail to satisfy any hunger type, craving or snack decision (just can't describe their goodness), the Greek bakeries selling ridiculously cheap cakes (and breads and biscuits and macarons and pastries), the Vietnamese restaurants serving flavour-bursting pho and fresh rice paper rolls (currently working our way through the 8 or so we have within walking distance), the best pizza ever (an important staple), Portuguese around the corner at Petersham, our favourite Turkish over at Newtown (+ all the other amazing eats along Enmore Rd) and then there's the coffee! A Sunday breakfast cafe venture with friends is our favourite - there's Vesbar serving huge Italian doughnuts with a knife and fork on rustic breadboards, and Beejay's which turns into an awesome little bar at night. For more baked goods, there's Bourke St Bakery and we are still yet to try Double Roasters and Cornersmith! The local markets are insane. While a bit hesitant at the beginning, Chris is all on board for our Sunday market veggie-stock-up-sessions now that he has discovered THE BEST BACON & EGG ROLLS (yep, indescribably good!). The local grocer Bananna Joes is great for pistachios and spanish salami, while the outdoor Asian grocers have fresh herbs for 50c a bunch, bananna leaves (must make pad thai & get these for serving), fresh rice noodles and mangoes the size of my head. Then there's our Turkish grocer down the road selling fresh roasted nuts, buckets of cheese and spices by weight. So our pants are tighter but our bellies are happier. We did buy bikes though, and the plan for this year is to find the perfect balance between eating and still being able to fit into our clothes.
The hardest, hardest part and only downfall to this little adventure, is that my Oscer Boy cannot be part of it. I could never leave a dog alone all day in an apartment - no way. I know he has a very, very happy life with my Mum and his brother Ollie, with a big backyard to run around and cats to chase. But I do miss him - oh so much and everyday. Of course he visits us in Marrickville and we visit him, and the time we now spend together is very special. There was one day though not too long ago when we just had to doggy-nap him for a sleepover.
We won't be here in the little Marrickville apartment forever. The feeling of discovering a new place is just too good. We do want a house, with a backyard, a BBQ and dogs, but it will come. Stories of "that little apartment in Marrickville" have already started, including the beaded necklace which broke on the day we moved in (will be finding tiny green beads forever!), the birth of one of my girlfriend's drunk alter egos (Phil!), and the Christmas Eve nerf gun war by candlelight. We know these stories will be remembered and cherished. It's a special time in our lives - and we love it.
Absolutely more Marrickville photos to come!