What’s Next?

In six weeks, everything will be over. In six weeks, I will prepare myself to leave Australia and my “better” life. I have tried everything to get another visa in order to extend this better life but it’s hopeless.

People ask me what my plans are once I’m back “home”, but my mind refuses to imagine leaving the town of Portland, my job at the hospital and the people I have seen every day for the last seven months in this city. My return to France? My plans? To spend the first week oscillating between deep depression and the great joy of seeing the people I love. Then? Register at job centers and try to survive until I find a job and quickly planning to leave to another country. But for now, I’m not ready to think about that. My mind still refuses to realize that my life as I know it, my better life, will end in six weeks. A part of me can’t help thinking that in six weeks a miracle could happen which will ensure that I can stay in Australia, but for now, my mind is thinking over this year …

“You?! In hostels?!”. This sentence came out of the mouth of everyone who knows me best! They were not totally wrong but I had the chance to meet great people from all over the world who had managed to turn this experience into great moments. Then, there was my road trip. The highlight of my Australian adventure where I felt the most free. I would never before have dared to eat alone in a restaurant or visit a place and do activities by myself. Yet I was never alone. I always met people on my way to share these moments with. Then, there was Portland. The city in which I have been living for almost seven months. I can’t help thinking about how this journey has been made. When we say that life is made of small details …

I arrive at Perth airport on April 23, 2014. While I’m looking at the bus schedule that will take me downtown, I meet a French guy who says that one of his friends in Perth is looking for a roommate. After two weeks of hostelling, I contact her and I become her roommate. We go out one night for a drink and I meet an Australian guy who turns out to be leaving the country in a few weeks for a year. We become friends. Meanwhile, I begin to choke in the city. I need to recharge my batteries away from all the noise and to be closer to the sea. My Belgian friend, whom I met on my first day in the hostel and with whom I have always remained in touch, lives now in a small village a few hours away from here and invites me to stay with him for as long as I want. There, I find a job in the only bar/restaurant of the village and, after saving money, I’m on my way on a road trip on the east coast of Australia. Arriving in Sydney, I feel depressed to find myself in another big city but I find a job on the internet in Mildura (a small rural town in the state of Victoria) at an orange farm. Once there, it turns out that there is no work and I begin to run out of money. Not knowing what to do, I contact the Australian friend I met in Perth who tells me to go to his best friend’s place a few hours away from here in the city of Portland. Having arrived in Portland, I find a job at the hospital and a balance that I had never had since the beginning of my adventure. I have built myself a “home”, a new life, new community and new habits. I have become more patient, more serene, and more attentive to others. I have learned to be stronger and – so importantly – I have learned to have more respect for myself. To do so, I had to repeat the same mistakes of the past but the difference this time is that I have changed how to solve these mistakes so they won’t be repeated again. I have closed several important chapters of my life and I am now ready to begin to write a new one with the new “me” I have become.

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