I don’t know where to start. I feel like I have already lived a whole year in two months because things are changing fast here and emotions are increased tenfold. Everything is more intense.
Let’s start with the shared house. The house Julie and I moved in to was very big but felt very cold, empty. The owner and his parents were very nice and we shared the first floor with a third roommate from Hong Kong. The owner and his family were Chinese and we discovered their culture and their food as they invited us to join them for dinner. Everything was going pretty well, but the major drawback was that we were isolated from the city centre and, to get there, bus schedules were not very practical. As a result, we decided, Julie and I, to move in closer to the city. After a few days of research, we found our happiness on the internet. An apartment located 13 minutes’ walk from downtown and the (free) bus passes just outside the residence. We also have a pool and gym and all of this for only $10 more than we paid at our former house. It’s been a week since we moved in and we are already feeling an improvement on our well-being. We share the apartment with an English couple and a man from Dubai. We can go out without worrying about the time because we can walk back and all bus and train stations are nearby. Living close to the city centre, when you don’t have a car, is vital, not only for shopping but also to reduce the journey between home and work thanks to the proximity of the bus and train stations.
Work-wise, I’ve had better luck here than in France so far. I had the opportunity to get two jobs. One in a restaurant as a dishwasher and another one in a coffee shop as a waitress. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long and I think the fact of not speaking fluent English didn’t help me. So, I decided to take English lessons. I met a teacher to assess my English level and see what she could do to improve this level as soon as possible. After 30 minutes of conversation with her in English, she said she had nothing to teach me because my level was already very good but I just need to practise more regularly in order to become more fluent and spontaneous. She also told me that I can now try to find a job in my field and stop wasting my time doing odd jobs because my English is good enough to apply for jobs that really fit me. I decided to look for a job in the social field. The problem is that jobs that are attached to social depend on the government and to work for the government you must be either an Australian citizen or a permanent resident. So, I went to the Red Cross, but at this moment, no job or voluntary offer fitted my skills.
Tomorrow, I will apply to the hospital as a volunteer and also as a cleaner because I have to start with something anyway and my savings will not hold much longer. Actually, I still have enough to live for a month and then I will have no more money. It is therefore urgent for me to find a job. If I can get a job at the hospital, I will continue at the same time to search in my field, but in local associations.
What is more important than human relationships?… This is the part that’s the most enriching of my Australian adventure. Life has made me strong and combative but, as everyone, I have weaknesses. Life in Australia, for 2 months, has made me face these weaknesses and hasn’t spared me. I am happy to have met a multitude of people from all over the world. Here I live an international adventure, I have met people from Germany, China, Sweden, Italy, Belgium, United States, England, Dubai … It was a great pleasure to meet them and talk about their lives, why they are here, their projects, their fears, their joys, their sorrows. I befriended three of them, and for a moment (which lasted two months), I thought I had found what I was looking for: a new circle of friends, a new family.
I just forgot that I’m the only one here who has plans to settle down and not return to my country. I have been extremely sad and disappointed for a week because I have realized that I am alone. Having found friends is an illusion because none of them are invested as much as I am. They are not in the same mindset as me. They have families and friends to get back to in their respective countries. They are not trying to build a new life here. They just want to enjoy, discover and learn about another culture before returning to their families and beginning to find a balance by starting a family or through a professional career. They do not need to create a new life here; they already have what they need at home.
I don’t know why, for a moment, I thought I had finally found stability. As my best friend in France told me the other day on the phone, I have been attached to the wrong people. Not that they are bad people but just that they don’t fit me in the sense that they will leave one day and they know that this friendship will just be ephemeral. I have to, as my best friend said, meet Australian people who are going to stay long enough by my side to be able to develop real relationships and move forward together for as long as it takes.
The more I analyse my first two months, the more I realize that I have encountered none Australian people. I have been attached to truly exceptional and fantastic people but they can’t be a part of my new life. This won’t prevent me from continuing to see them while they are here but it’s time for me to start to build a real circle of friends, who will remain in my life and with whom I could build real links over time. I have just completed a step in my process and it’s time for me to meet the Australian people.
As one of my friends noticed here, I still have to be careful because I have a tendency to get attached to people too quickly. Actually though, one of my greatest weaknesses is my lack of affection. I am proud to say that, for the first time in my life, here in Australia, I managed to work on this weakness and win some small victories, but the road to recovery is still long. As my best friend told me the other day, I could never get rid of this weakness, it is embedded in me and it will be forever, I just have to learn to accept it and live with it. Also accept that I am not perfect and I still will have moments of weakness. I will have to avoid them as much as possible and if I make mistakes anyway, I will have to accept them, learn from them, forgive myself and don’t denigrate myself for it.
As I said at the beginning, here everything is more intense and emotions are increased tenfold. I think it is because we all (people I meet on the way) have left our country and our native language, and we meet each other in this part of the world completely lost without any guiding points. So, we connect with each other quickly because it is reassuring to be surrounded by people who feel the same way we do. We share the same fears, the same questions and the same joys. We can try to tell our story to our relatives at home but they couldn’t understand. It is an experience that has to be lived in order to be understood. Relating it won’t make you feel a microscopic fragment of what this experience really is. And I would like everyone to live it because it is a truly amazing thing! Whether in good times or in bad times. All of us will emerge stronger and richer, in terms of being human.