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Sydney, Australia
Una arquitecto en construcción de un nuevo proyecto de vida...

viernes, 14 de junio de 2013

Being used to living in Australia

There are many phases that a migrant goes through when moving into another country until they can say that they have adapted themselves totally to it. To get there you have to embrace and adapt to the culture, to the regulations and policies, to the people, and to the fact that you're not in your country of origin.

All of this doesn't sound that difficult, in fact it seems quite obvious... And it is. However, it takes time to accomplish.

In this post I'm only discussing the last one: realising you're not in your country of origin.

There are a few characteristics that I've noticed in me and in others that scream out: ok, we live in Australia, and that's embedded in us.

1.- Looking  to the right: it gets a point that when crossing the street you just don't look to your left anymore. It

becomes natural looking to the right and expecting cars to come that way... And you really get a hold on this when you travel overseas and try to cross a street and notice that everyone is going the other way (and that's what you thought when you got to Oz); and you look directly to the right, even get conscious about the fact that you have to look to the other side because cars come from the left, and even after that, you look to the left and get surprised because a car is coming that way!!!

2.- Saying "here in Australia": when you arrive to Australia and you refer to things of your country, unconsciously we say "here in Vzla" or "here in Caracas" and just notice that "here" is no longer there, but "here" is Sydney; but you keep saying that because its what you're used to and what unconsciously "here" is for you. After a time (and it can be very long), your unconscious "here" shifts to become Australia. You also notice that really clearly when you're abroad and when talking about Oz, you say "here in Oz".

3.- "I come from Australia": I still haven't got to this fully, but when people ask you where are you from or where do you come from, eventually your answer is: "from Oz". Right now I'm still in an in-between, I answer to that question "I'm originally from Venezuela, but I live in Sydney".

4.- Being innocent: there comes a time when you forget all of your previous bad experiences from your origin country regarding safety, and start feeling relaxed (and innocent): you leave your bag on the chair and leave the table to get something, you go to the beach and go for a swim leaving all your stuff on the sand without even looking back, you talk to any stranger without worrying, and so on and on.

5.- Loud people and noises: us Latin-American are really loud people, and we are really used to having a lot of noise around us. Well, even if we are still loud  under Aussie standards, you get to a point where loud people and loud noises annoy you. I noticed this also overseas, in Greece, walking around and realising that I was thinking and complaining in my mind of the loudness of people.

I could continue on and on about other little details such as the beep of the pedestrian traffic lights when you want to cross, the cars stopping BEFORE the pedestrian limit line, the not-touching culture, the kindness and politeness... And on and on...

... The thing is that it's really nice when you notice that Oz is not only the place where you live, but that it's your home, and that it's embedded in you.

viernes, 10 de mayo de 2013

One year and some months later...

After a lot of months that I haven't been writing here in my blog, I'm taking a break from work (yes, I'm working now, in a paper that is due on Monday) to really synthesise my life in this year and some months of my life in Oz.

Professional life - job: As you already know, I'm one of the lucky and particular cases of a migrant who found a good job within the firsts 3 months after arriving... and yes, in this year, I've found out that that's a very uncommon thing to happen. But, I'm not going to repeat how I got the job (post 1 + post 2). The only thing I'm saying is that I just love it.

Place to live: Well, as you know I was looking for a place after I arrived. Well, to make it short, I found a fabulous flatmate through Gumtree (you can find almost anything there). She is a czech girl, around my age, and we lived together until about 2 months ago. For reasons I won't go into here, on 1 March I moved into a fantastic place in Randwick. That was the area I wanted to move in since a long time ago, really close to the beach and really close to the city. As soon as I got into my new place (during the inspection) it felt perfect, it felt like home. Getting a place here in Sydney is neither easy nor cheap, even more in Randwick, but is totally worth the effort.

Relationships - friends: Not much to say... not only have I had awesome friends since I arrived (friends I met in Venezuela during the migration process), but also I have met some terrific people... friends that have become family. 

Relationships - partner: This part has 2 sides of it. I'm sure you remember when I started the migration process I was married, and then that I got separated. Well, about that side of the story, the conclusion is that currently we're good friends, and we just got our divorce (we did all the paperwork here in Sydney - a lot easier than in Venezuela). The other side of this topic is the pretty one. In this year and so I got an incredible boyfriend. We met in that trip to Canberra that I mentioned in a previous post. He's a venezuelan, though I never imagined I'd end up with a venezuelan here, he's my age and IT. Besides that I only have to say that I'm completely happy :D

Relationships - family: Since I got here I haven't seen my family rather than on skype. Everyone asks me when I'm going back to Venezuela to see them, and my answer always is: I don't know, I don't want to go back, not even for holidays. So, that leaves the question: what about my family? All I know and care for now is that in a couple of months my mummy is going to be here for a while :D

The language: Bfffffff... what can I say???? The longer I'm here, the more I feel I have TONS to learn!!!!... Somedays are super fluent, somedays I feel I cannot even say "Hello"... so, yes, you get a lot better in your speaking, listening, writing and reading while being here, and at the same time you realise, as I already said, all the room you still have to improve.

Other activities - living: Besides hanging out with friends, going to tons of events, and doing outdoors things most of the times, the most relevant thing I'd like to share with you is that this year I became a Surf Livesaver. Yes, I can rescue people on the beach :D... after a long and hard training I became a member of Maroubra Surf Live Saving Club, which is an organisation associated to Surf Live Saving Australia. This is the largest volunteer institution in Australia, and it's a HUGE deal of aussie lifestyle. This is as aussie as it can get.

So to synthesise: this year has been filled with ups and downs (thankfully a lot more ups), and living in Australia, and specifically Sydney, has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. I know (I'm really aware) that not all cases are the same, and that I've been really lucky, but living here is a wonderful thing to do. This country has provided me a lot of opportunities and happiness, hence I see myself living all my life here.

Write to you soon... hopefully I don't take that much time in writing again here.