News from Down Under

mekaku city actors

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Three factors contribute to the radio silence of the past month:

  • my indeciveness to dedicate time in writing and the difficulty of articulating exactly what I want. I have worked on at least four relatively new drafts since Easter ended and they have either remained unfinished or the result is not satisfying enough, so I need to readjust them.
  • the preparations of emigrating and my enthusiasm for a new life. Packing suitcases, deciding what to keep and what to leave behind in order not to exceed the weight limit, isn’t easy stuff. Plus I had to run around to carry out any unfinished business. Then I needed to say my goodbyes as well; this didn’t always entail having internet connection.
  • getting over that long. tiresome journey, adapting in Australia, starting the diploma course I picked, and doing all the needed procedures to settle here hopefully till I die or Earth gets destroyed -whichever comes first. No way I’m going back to Greece with my own free will. I’m still running around with what I have to do.

This post concerns my first impressions of Australia, Sydney in particular, and is meant to help me warm up to typing my extensive thoughts here again. 

 

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I left on 4th July -I want to see it as symbolic, independence day and all- and arrived in Sydney on 5th of July and got away from the Greek crisis by split hair. I had taken care of my bank accounts before everything froze, so I was pretty worry-free in that aspect. I was ready to start a new life of freedom on the other side of the earth. It had been long since I started singing alone, letting myself immerse in the joy music brings, and was daydreaming of clubbing and flirting, two things I never got the chance to experience before due to my strict upbringing.

But as things have it, it’s bad to have too many expectations and I landed not so softly when I learnt that I would be staying in my aunt’s house instead in the flat next to her, as she had promised. So I can’t decorate my own space at will, I can’t bring over friends or do anything naughty, I have to state where I go and when I’ll be back -and the dream for freedom is temporarily curtailed. The transport media don’t help either since commuting stops at midnight and there are no buses after 5 during the weekend. I have to depend on others having a car. By the way as an overseas student, I don’t get any discount. Taxis are too damn expensive, too, probably because the distances are pretty big and I live in a suburb.

I also discovered I need to get so many papers done until I start working as a teacher and every single one of them has a fee you’ve got to pay and they are no small amount of money. I might have to retake the IELTS exam, since the assessment board needs it one year fresh and mine is already 14 months old. Not to mention that Greek schools are a bit more religious than I imagined, but I’ll have to compromise if I have to get a start somewhere. I am honestly worried and my depression acts up again, so perhaps I’ll stay on meds a little bit more.

The institute I go to is really small and I’m the only white student in my class. Most of my classmates are Thai with really bad English, so I can’t communicate efficiently with them and can’t chime in any conversation, since they use their native language. The instructor is a polite Indian lady, but unfortunately her pronunciation and the knowledge of the subject at hand aren’t good at all.  I’m almost the only one participating in class and many students often play truancy it seems. This is one of the worst learning experiences I’ve ever had. There few things that annoy me as much as feeling I’m wasting my time and money. I’ll see if I can change classes so I can get a better teacher.

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On the bright side of things, I have a place to live without having bills running. My cousins help me run around and get my work done or give me a lift. Most people here are willing to help you in one way or another when you ask them to. I’ll never forget how I met a very kind young man, a public servant on his business trip, who not only told me where to get off and how to reach my destination -an art gallery for a screening- but he also walked me there all the way.

Additionally, I was glad to find ways to connect with the lgbtq community here. I googled and found meetups categorized according to interests and identities, and that’s how I’ve already made some friends and acquaintances. For a girl like me that hasn’t lived much in big cities, seeing pride flags in coffeeshops and being able to connect with people like me floods my heart with gratefulness and bliss. I know I can have a harbor now; a different kind of family. I also intend to get involved in activism, so I’m going to visit Amnesty International and some other organizations here.

I may not like the overly quiet residential areas or the slightly kitsch suburb towns with all the mismatched old and new buildings and bad typography, but the city is plainly awesome. I want to rent a small apartment there when I have a more stable job. It’s the ideal combination of nature and progressive civilization for me. It’s marvellous how I can see seagulls in the middle of tall buildings and from up close as well. There are plenty of parks and I have to admit I wasn’t ever exposed to so many wild animals before (from rabbits to cockatoos) much more within an urban area. The tall buildings, the cafeterias and the bars burst with life and I can’t but fall in love with this. Walking through the train platforms and tunnels, I pass by so many different people, from different races, with so many different stories and I feel “this is where I belong”.

Australia is a great place to live. It’s not perfect -i.e. marriage equality is still not here- but you see how the government cares for people with special needs everywhere -from the airport to the streets with the traffic lights with sound- and for anyone who’s sick. My aunt went to the hospital because she fainted and hurt her back, and every second day she was visited by nurses some hours in the morning to help her with her house chores and her health. Life might not be cheap here, but you get such good living conditions.

~.~.~

Next time you’ll read from me from this column, it’ll probably be next week, since I’m going to attend the SMASH convention. I’ve also visited shortly Kinokuniya, but I want to get there one more time to enjoy myself thoroughly and I’ll give you my impressions. See ya, fellow travellers!

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9 thoughts on “News from Down Under

  1. “Packing suitcases, deciding what to keep and what to leave behind in order not to exceed the weight limit, isn’t easy stuff.”

    This is incredibly difficult! Anyone who has not gone through this process has no idea how it feels like! It is completely different from just moving to a different city within the same country!

    It sounds like your freedom is somewhat restricted. However, I am sure life is better than it used to be overall, and, eventually, you’ll be able to get a more independent state of affairs.

    “can’t chime in any conversation, since they use their native language”

    That’s just terrible! Of course, it is fine to talk in your own language, but, whenever you have other people around you, there should not be any communication in other languages – this is extremely rude! Although teachers can’t officially enforce such rules, at least they should mention and encourage students to communicate in English whenever possible!

    Hopefully, you’ll get a better teacher and class! Otherwise, just finish it, get the papers you need and move on!

    I am glad that people are very helpful!

    It is good that you are able to connect with local communities there, and that there is potential for some activism!

    Good luck in your new adventure! 😀

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    • I was mostly pretty upset that I left many books behind, so I’ll have to go back again and I’m not fond of the idea, but since I’m still not sure if I’ll be allowed to settle there, there wasn’t much I could do :/ I just took MAKA MAKA with me so as not to be found out 😛
      I found I can walk easily from the nearest station (20mins) so at least now I can stay until around 23:00. But it’s still limiting, especially when with good company. What’s bothersome is how aunt sometimes doesn’t understand I’m a young person with totally different habits, taste and beliefs. Not sure for how long I can get away from church =.=

      Thanks a lot, sempai 🙂 I’ll try my best!

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  2. Woah! Exciting!

    Sounds like you’re starting to adjust pretty well, so that’s cool. Also, the time difference between us has gotten even weirder now, haha!

    Best of luck with everything, and I hope it continues to be a cool (if imperfect) place to reside.

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    • “the time difference between us has gotten even weirder now” REALLY??? TT-TT what the hell? how’s that possible? btw when are we gonna watch a ghibli together again?
      Thanks for the wishes~

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  3. Congratulations on making the first part of your dream goal come true. Hopefully your good fortune will continue and you will enjoy your new life in Australia. Heck if all goes according to plan I may drop by to visit ya someday. I won’t steal ya from Miss Kitty though so do not fret…tempting but I respect people who are already taken. Besides I want to ride a kangaroo pouch or hug a koala…even though I heard both are ill-advised. Oh well.

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  4. Ouch! Sorry to hear that you had a rough time settling into Australia, but fortunately it looks like your post ended on a happy note 😀

    The lack of marriage equality is one of the stupidest things about Australia, especially because, as you’ve pointed out, we have thriving LGBTQ communities. Also, the cost of living in Sydney is really insane. The median (the MEDIAN) price of a house is over a million dollars. Melbourne is not far behind, but maybe you should move to Hobart because the prices are really cheap over there 😉

    By the way, the racial diversity in Sydney is one of the things I really like about the city as well. I remember there was a Free! episode set in Sydney which completely nailed all the buildings and scenery, but depicted the city as populated only by white people. It was the only thing that rang false to me.

    But anyway, glad you’re making a start on your new life and I hope you all the best!

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    • I like it here, I don’t want to go back to Greece, no discussion and no comparison, really. So despite the difficulties, I have to keep positive and do my best so as to indeed start a new life for myself. I have to recognize that I’m lucky enough financially to even have attempted the whole thing.

      I’m prepared to run rallies for that if needed for marriage equality. Gotta do some practictal, not only verbal activism as I said ✌️
      I’m not someone who dreams of huge houses. I live in one right now and it’s pretty empty and more importantly cold. I’ll be content with a 2-3 rooms apartment, small, neat and clean, kitchen, bed, bath. For my place of residence I’ll probably will have to take in account my place of work, too, so whatever I say right now is really just talk. We’ll see how it goes.
      I googled Hobart and it looks lovely, but does it have the same climate and cultural resources? That’s an important question for me :/ Plus job positions.

      Unfortunately, multiculturality doesn’t ensure less racism. It’s very annoying when one minority starts badmouthing others. I didn’t expect much from the Greeks here, but I found myself explaining to a Lebanese why calling Asians “Chinese” is racist =.=” My Chinese friend even told me that a Philippenese tutor of hers was calling her all throughout her placement “Asian girl”.

      Many thanks for the wishes. I’m looking forward in meeting you personally, now that we are in the same continent 🙂

      Like

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