Sometimes life pushes you to things you never thought you would do or you would have wanted. Thats’s what happened to me eight years ago.
I was broken-hearted. My career back in 2008 was literally sucking the life out of me working from 7am to midnight almost everyday. The organisation that I belonged to just constantly mentally tortured me (don’t laugh, they really did). Then I decided that I wanted a sea change. I wanted to go to a place where no one knows me. I do not know where to go but I am certain that I want something new. I wanted a new beginning. Whether it was destiny, fate or whatever you call it, my life suddenly changed.
I was so lucky to be given a skilled permanent resident visa after five months of applying to migrate to Australia. I was pleasantly surprised how quick the process was. I could not contain my excitement. This is the land that represents renewed hope.
It was a cold Sunday morning in September when I arrived in Sydney, from a seven-hour journey in Qantas. Not knowing anybody means I have to rely on myself on figuring out what to do and how to do things the right way. It was a long queue of passengers waiting for their turn for a taxi ride. When it was my turn, the friendly taxi driver greeted me a smile. It did not take long before I reached the hostel that I booked online.
Navigating around was not too bad especially with the help of the Sydney travel guide I bought from a bookstore in Manila. Believe me or not, I was scared of getting lost that I memorised the map Sydney CBD and surrounds, a few months before arrival. I remember reading the same page again and again mentally equipping myself of what was to come.
Sydney was so beautiful. I was in awe when I laid eyes on the Sydney Harbour. Never in my life I have planned to migrating anywhere, however, changes in life led me here. Was it Destiny? Was it Divine Intervention? I’m not sure but I fell in love. Yes, I fell in love with Australia and her people.
I love Australia for giving me fair go. Within only one month of arriving in Sydney, I was hired into a Bioresearch company as a Receptionist. Although it was only part-time, it was enough to survive on and sustain my needs. I was just thankful that I had a job that allowed me to enjoy what Sydney has to offer.
One thing led to another. My contract was expiring so I had to move on. One night, I got a call from an old classmate. My mother has bumped into her mother in a teachers’ conference in Manila.
A week after our chat, my friend was able to refer me to an an employer in Adelaide. What are the odds of helping me find an employer in a train ride from her daily commute. The company wanted to start me asap however, I could not just leave my job in Sydney three weeks short of the contract. I needed to finish it. After negotiating my way through, my new manager agreed that I assume a part-time role for three weeks. Having two jobs in two different states means flying in and out of Sydney and Adelaide on a weekly basis. Believe me, it was challenging but was really fun!
I moved to and lived a meaningful life in Adelaide for 5 years. Fast forward 8 years from arrival, I finished a professional degree and now working as a Senior Analyst in a multi-national company. I finally have my own car, bought an investment property and have my own place to call home.
I love Australia because of her people. People smile. People are friendly. Strangers say hello. Saying please and sorry is abundantly spoken. The elderly are valued. People with physical challenges are treated equal. Sometimes people do not realise how special these qualities are. Not many countries have this level of welcoming, acceptance, understanding and open-mindedness.
I love Australia as she is so laid back and easy-going. Who can say no to the great outdoors! Everyone loves the beach, the “barbie” and good times. There is always somewhere to go right in your own backyard. I encourage all of you to get out there! You will inevitably discover and experience all the hidden gems this country has to offer! Travelling whether locally, interstate or overseas is part of the culture.
Australia Day fireworks in Southbank, Brisbane, QLD on January 2016 (Source: original video)
Where am I now, you may ask? I have made Melbourne my new home, “the world’s most liveable city.” I love Melbourne especially for its multiculturalism and diversity. Food here is amazing! The mix of cultures allows the availability of different cuisines. Where I live now is so close to a lot of Vietnamese, Thai, Korean and Indian restaurants. A few kilometres away there is an abundance of Italian cuisines. Name it, it is all here!
I now call Australia home. I have fully embraced the lifestyle and I feel I have successfully assimilated. I pledged loyalty to her. Like many migrants, I have never forgotten my roots. I try to visit twice a year to reconnect to my original culture and remind myself of my humble beginnings. My love for both where I came from and where I am now is embedded in my heart. It is like having a biological and an adoptive parents. You just know they are both important and you love both of them.
Thank you Australia for giving me a fair go. Thank you for loving me as your own. I am the person I am today, standing on own two feet, because you open your arms to embrace me. You gave opportunies to my younger self and made me the adult I am today.
I love you back and Happy Australia Day.