OZ Expats in New York

On February 9, 2021 by Joe Giordano

Meeting Patricia at orientation day at UNIS High School NYC August 2003 is etched in my memory. We should not have been in the same tour group, our kids were in different classes. By whatever brings amazing luck, we were in the same group, a very mixed bunch of new parents being led by a slightly vague teenage ‘guide’ whose job it was to show us around ( I never did master the layout of the place).

Tour over, everybody bewildered and a little concerned about this strange school that we were trusting with our cherished children. As we were heading down the stairs Patricia turned and asked us a couple of questions. “Are you from Melbourne?…” And that was it, as I came to realise, that was classic Patricia… friendly, engaging, and all-knowing – she had worked it all out.  I am so grateful for the mixed-up tour group, for her extraordinary people skills and the privilege of getting to know and love her.  (Via her amazing personal world wide friendship web she had heard about us through mutual connections in Melbourne…and she found us).

Hurricane Sandy, October 12th

Dresdner’s, York Ave, 2004. Cappuccinos and cinnamon

Protecting the camera during Sandy

She and I had both, a little reluctantly, just moved to New York for our husband’s jobs, bringing our youngest with us, leaving older children, family and friends behind. We were both starting another exciting stage in our lives but with some reservations for having had to move yet again.  It turned out we were living only a few blocks apart down by the East River. Our kids were adjusting to new circumstances too and they caught the same bus to and from school. Dom who looked like a young Harry Potter then, was tall enough for my daughter, Caroline to recognize and use him as her ‘when to get off the bus’ person. We both needed someone to put on those school forms as a contact person… So began an amazing, supportive, caring friendship.

With Mark and their boys, David and our children, friends and extended relatives, all became shared family. Laughing, listening (she was better at listening than me  – but I do come from a family of interrupters). Patricia’s love for Mark, Iggie, Pat, St John and Dominic, their partners and Chloe her first granddaughter was her raison d’etre.  Over many beverages we explored our lives past and present, our hopes and dreams. We had much in common but also different: boarding school, nursing, Melbourne, and London, She captured so much with her words (those amazing accents!) her lens and her prestigious memory held it all.

Caroline, Dominic, Patti, David, Nicola and Mark, June 2004

If not for her I would never have

….. learnt to love, appreciate, explore NYC with my ‘lens cap off’.

….. tried lychee martinis (after one or two one does not feel the cold no matter how low the                                             temperature),

….. volunteered at the Yorkville Pantry where we met so many amazing people especially our                                         Mennonite friends

….. gone to Bloomingdales’ cosmetic counters for free make-up, lipstick etc

….  sat so often on the benches in Union Square sipping $1 coffees, watching the world go by                                        and sharing our laughs, fears, stories, tears and some more laughs

….  negotiated the DMV and got my US driving licence

….  seen Occupy Wall Street up close and personal.

….. found lobster ravioli, Fairway’s amazing strudel and Patricia’s chocolate cake


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