That Time I Glamorously Lived Abroad Except Didn’t

Coogee Wave, by Gray Malin (from the A La Plage collection) | Lulu & Georgia Lamp }

For a little while in the summer of 2002, I lived in Coogee Beach, near Sydney. Well, technically it was
“squatting,” and technically it was only for two months, but it sounds much more glamorous to say, “Oh, I spent the summer living in Austraaaaaalia.” My college boyfriend had done his semester abroad there while I did mine in England, and my school year ended earlier than his, so when I finished up I hopped a quick 26-hour flight (via Japan, where I accidentally spent two hundred dollars on a sushi dinner because I couldn’t read the menu and thought what I was getting was one roll, not a boat of rare fish the size of a piano bench) to spend some time reconnecting – because semesters abroad are many things, but “good for relationships” is not one of them.

My boyfriend had to go to classes every day, and it was wintertime in Australia so it wasn’t quite warm enough to spend hours at the beach, and the house was…well, there’s really just no other way to say it: it was fucking disgusting, in the way that only a house inhabited by nine 20-year-old boys and a rotating cast of female companions can be. Boxed wine, flies, dirty dishes, someone threw up in the bathtub, et cetera. It was fun for a party (and that happened basically every night), but not exactly a relaxing place to spend the day.

So I found this little breakfast place, right across from Coogee Beach, and every morning I sat there and drank coffee, ate a massive bowl of cinnamon-y oatmeal with fresh fruit, and read. In the afternoons, I made my way into Sydney to stare into windows at things I couldn’t afford to buy, or set up shop in a cafe to write end-of-term essays for my boyfriend’s roommates (I valued the abandonment of my morals at $200 a pop). In the evenings, I hung out with my boyfriend and his friends – one of whom was a girl, Marissa, who I absolutely adored and keep in touch with to this day, and who went on to become a hugely successful restaurateur and star in the Bravo series Ladies of London (which is clearly awesome). We drank way too much Foster’s because we were walking cliches, and danced to cheesy music, and the world seemed like a simple, beautiful place.

Which it was. Because right then, for those two months, we were just college kids, riding waves and partying in the sun.

Gray Malin's Coogee Beach aerial photograph with free framing

This Coogee Beach print was a gift from my favorite photographer and virtual friend Gray Malin (you’ve seen his San Francisco Nude Beach and St. Tropez Tahiti Club hanging in my dining room and office, respectively), and has officially taken the spot of my beloved pink-and-gold deer head (it was time).

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And! Gray is offering free framing site-wide for any print in any size from now through April 19, so if you’re in the mood for one of his gorgeous aerial shots, now’s the time to pull the trigger.

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Some more personal favorite picks from the site, below:

Miami pink umbrellas print by Gray Malin

{ Miami Pink Umbrellas }

Italy aerial beach print by Gray Malin

{ Eden Rock, Monterosso }

Bondi beach triptych aerial beach photo by Gray Malin

{ Bondi Beach Triptych }

Gray Malin's Riccioni print of old man and rainbow umbrellas

{ Riccione Multicolor Umbrellas }

And this one. I can’t get enough of it; this old man completely transfixes me. I could stare at this image for hours.

  • Christine

    I really liked the story. Thanks 🙂

    • jordanreid


  • Debi Clark

    I say this in the kindest way Jordan, but it really puts me off when you use F bombs in your blogs.

    • jordanreid

      sorry about that. i do try not to curse too often – both here and in life – just because it’s started to make me feel a little lazy and/or tacky, but this seemed like a necessary moment. i think if you’d seen that house you’d agree with me 😉

  • Stef

    I lived in Coogee Beach from July to December 2004 while I was studying abroad in Australia! 50 Bream Street (still remember the address). Loved Australia, loved Coogee Beach, and loved wedges with sour cream and spicy chili dip. Thanks for bringing back some great memories. I have seen that print before and want to splurge so bad!