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The ALEX VAN STARREX Website


MY HOME


INTRODUCTION

Home ownership is one of the classic indicia of the Great Australian Dream - alongside, I suppose, car ownership, the family and kids and going travelling or fishing in one's retirement. I don't know at point of time I actually opted out of (or woke up from) the Dream, but it's becoming increasingly elusive.

Either way, I find myself living alone in a rented apartment, with no clear idea of how long I'll be here. I prefer to rent at present because, being single, I have no substantial family ties and prefer the mobility. It's cheaper than buying (at least in the short term), though, upon retirement, my financial arrangements should be secure enough to allow second thoughts on the idea. Somewhere along the way, as well, I should have an idea of whether I want to spend the rest of my life living in Australia.

LOCALITY (I live near the red dot indicated on the photo below)

To understand something of where I live, it's necessary to learn a bit about Sydney and its layout. Before I get into some fairly broad economic and social generalisations, I'll discuss the geographic features. Sydney is divided into three lateral sections by two rivers - the Parramatta River and, further south, the Georges River. The central business district - the 'city', with its harbour, Harbour Bridge and Opera House - lies on the southern bank of the Parramatta River, some way inland. Sydney from the air

Areas north of the harbour are loosely called the north shore - this is an area of general affluence (though small pockets of affluence lie generally all around Sydney). The central area of Sydney contains small segments running - from east to west:

- the eastern suburbs - again a place of some moderate affluence;
- the city and inner west areas - generally a trendy place, with some lines of poverty;
- the St. George area and the western suburbs - the working class and migrant areas; and
- the Parramatta and greater west regions - like the western suburbs, though more diverse.

South of the Georges River, lies the rather small, leafy enclave known as the Sutherland Shire. This is small becuase it has traditionally been bounded by beaches and peninsula to the east, the Royal National Park in the south and military and parkland to the west. The shire is however expanding fairly rapidly - both westward (through new housing) and upwards (though new apartments and other medium-density housing). The central point of the shire is Miranda, where I live.

MY APARTMENT

Visitors are welcome - most of the time, anyway. For those who can't make it over, here is a 'virtual reality' wander around the apartment: The following isn't meant as any sort of encouragement to thieves. Anyway, FAI Insurance Ltd have provided me with an alarm and tagged my most valuable items.

- The entrance: To the left is the laundry, which also currently stores my Amiga computer; to the right is the linen press (which stores personal memorabilia). Further on, along the wall, lies my VHS video collection;
Dining Area
- The living area: Ahead is the couch, which faces right towards the TV, video and sound system; to the left is my new computer, E-35 keyboard, phone and answering-machine. Further ahead is the dining area and, beyond that, the balcony (here is the view). To each side of the area in front of the balcony are bookcases - for my (university) law-library and personal book collection. My CD-collection is next to the latter;
- The kitchen lies beyond the computer area. It's small but practical;
- The bathroom runs off the opposite end of the living area. A second toilet is found in the laundry. Beyond the bathroom are the bedrooms;
- The first bedroom is modest in size. Beyond a queen size bed and built-in wardrobes there isn't space for much else - a mirror and bedside chest of drawers, heater and my 3/4 size classical guitar. The window is large, with heavy curtains and a sunscreen;
- The second bedroom doubles occasionally as my (non-MIDI) music room. It houses my main guitars, bass, multitrack recorder, effects and a small amplifier. The room is also used to store my collection of magazines and old software. A fold-up bed is in the wardrobe, ready for occasional guests (or at least those who I don't share the main bedroom with).

LIKES AND DISLIKES

In what could be termed 'settling down', this is the longest I've spent in any place since first leaving home - I've been here since 1996. The things that keep me here, at present, are:

- the proximity to both work and my parents' home (the latter less than 10 minutes' drive);
- the view from most of the rooms - across much of Sydney;
- the huge amount of parkland that surrounds the 'village' complex where I live;
- the amenities of the building - security, parking, two swimming pools and sauna; and
- the convenience of the locality - close to shops, restaurants, cinemas and transport.

The place isn't ideal of course - otherwise I might have bought my own apartment in the complex and settled down for life. Here are the things which get me down:

- the noise - from other tenants, passing cars and weekend revellers; Park View
- the occasional loneliness - though I need a lot of personal space, I don't need this much;
- the lack of excitement - apart from Westfield shopping, life here is pretty dull; and
- the long distance from central Sydney and other action spots in the area.

There's also been a longstanding threat to build an expressway running along the back of the premises, but so far nothing's happened to make this any more likely.

MOVING OUT

I'll move out, eventually, when one or more of the following events occur:

- I finally get tired of living here - which wouldn't take too much effort;
- I get a promotion to another job elsewhere, and can thus more to somewhere better;
- I decide to buy a new place, rather than continue renting; or
- I form a relationship that requires me to to set up house somewhere else.

MULTIMEDIA (RealPlayer G2 required to play this)

LOCAL LINKS (In the map below, I live in the orange building at the top - the railway station is at bottom right.)

NEWSGROUPS

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URL: http://homepages.tig.com.au/~avanstar
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avanstar@tig.com.au
Alex Van Starrex