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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.