Catherine, Sydney


Your story with two specific hints: the first about your childhood and the second about your actual age

My mother is Swiss and father, Australian, and I share myself, geographically and emotionally, between two beautiful countries: one, sunburnt, rough and wild; and the other, pristine and perfect, like a fairy tale land.

I grew up along the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean and swam in the surf every morning with my father, after we’d jogged the length of the beach and back again. Family holidays were spent free camping in the bush, and sometimes, gold panning like early Australian settlers. We didn’t need rules and regulations to make us respect nature’s beauty and power – that might give you an idea of my age.


How do you cope with the great changes (and challenges) your city brings to you?

I wander around the city, observing the changes and uncovering places I’ve never been to before. I familiarise myself with the new, and keep searching to find what I love: more secret gardens and unique architecture lining city laneways; harbour side beaches that appear and disappear with the tide; and meeting people, asking them about their life in Sydney.


What do you think to give to Sydney?

I offer love and appreciation by sharing its beauty and complexities through painting, poetry and story telling; and showing visitors the vistas, in the hope that they too will love Sydney and treat it well.


Your idea of life is very close to serendipity – where walking, the family of friends and your capacity to take care make the difference. Which is the magical recipe?

I don’t know about magic but I try to be present to what is going on around me.


Your relation with written word and with spoken word?

I love the spontaneity of the spoken word except at times, when I am very emotional, I have been known to say things that might have been better left unsaid. The written word gives me more time to think, return to my original idea or feeling, and hopefully, find the most effective way to express it.


Which is the most important achievement you obtained at work and which is, on the other hand, the one as the more intimate yourself?

When work is my passion I am given the greatest sense of achievement – my first solo art exhibition. An intimate success was completing a 10 day Vipassana – on day 6, I didn’t think I would make it through because my head was so full of chatter!


Which encounters do you normally have in your daily work routine?

Work is a very dynamic and busy place; sorting out priorities at the start of each day is normal though it becomes challenging when they change during the course of the day.


Describe a fantastic happening you have had in recent time

This request I am finding difficult to answer because there are so many little fantastic happenings all the time, the synchronistic moments with other people when everything feels as it is meant to be.


Can you share your favourite cooking passion?

I love to make a simple meal using one pot. My 90 year old Italian friend, Mary, taught me: 3 minutes before the end of cooking pasta, add some fresh beans and broccoli; the pasta is al dente and the greens perfect; drain the water and serve, adding salt, pepper, a swig of olive oil, and a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan. This meal is simple, delicious and fit for the gods. Sometimes, I also enjoy the arduous process of making a ‘real’ risotto (including the stock).


Which is your favourite wine or drink?

I love Sydney tap water in the morning, and a Negroni in the evening.


Which is your music or the book(s) with you now (and on which kind of side table or desk the book(s) lies down now)?

Dear Life by Alice Munro – the book sits on my polished granite table. Recently, I read her novel Lives of Girls and Women, and found it hard to believe I have not discovered her work till now – she is an incredible writer. The truth is, I have another 10 books sitting on this table, which is why I have to cook simply; there is not enough room for too many plates.


Which has been the place in this world where you successfully lived “slow”, if this ever happened?

Pebbly Beach, South Coast of NSW. There is no access to use a mobile phone or the internet, no television, and no electricity, only gas lighting. There is sand, surf, fauna & flora, magnificent rocky escarpments, bush walks; time to read, cook, eat, and be still.


Which is a talent you have and the one you miss? 

I can paint though I would love to be multi-lingual.


What have you learnt from life until now?

It is important to embrace the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’, with the same open arms.


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