I was drinking my second glass of Chardonnay when the girl next to me on the flight suddenly woke up and asked me “Hey did you have your Brekky?” and I was zapped because I had not heard of “Brekky” before. I was not sure if it was some kind of food or drink but I eventually found out that it meant Breakfast. That’s when I told myself – Welcome to Australia.
I was studying in Singapore when I decided to move to Australia. I told few of my friends about it and their response was – Are you Sure??. Not because it’s so far away but because of the perception that it’s a racist country. People were behaving as if I was going to some war zone and telling me to be careful and cautious. I told my friends that I don’t believe in all that and I am going to see for myself. So I landed at the Brisbane airport with excitement, anxiety, nervousness and the journey had begun.
I hardly had any time to settle in and I had my first day at Uni (short for University). It was a hot arvo (afternoon) in the month of November and I went for my first class. There was a little introduction about the lecturer and the syllabus. Then the lecturer started talking about the graduation ceremony and he said the most shocking thing ever…. “Please don’t wear THONGS during your graduation ceremony”. I was thinking to myself how the hell he would know if anyone wore it and it’s none of his business. Even though I don’t own a pair of thongs I did get bothered with the rule. Actually he meant Slippers/Flip Flops that’s what they are called here and searching “thongs” on Google images while in class was not a good idea.
I was holed up in a student accommodation and was looking for a place to live in. After doing some house hunt I finally zeroed in one house and it was this old Queenslander near the city. I was moving my stuff from one end of the city to the other by bus. I was waiting at the bus stop and wondering how I am going to lift all this. When the bus arrived the people at the bus stop helped me put all my stuff inside. I had no clue about my housemates until I moved in and then I found out that I was living with 3 Australians and 1 French. It was the most interesting mix of people. We had amazing house parties and Barbie (It means barbecue not Barbie doll). Few of the housemates moved out and now I am living with 4 Australians. Being the only Indian in the house I have never felt that I was any different.
My biggest breakthrough in Australia was when I started working in Education & Migration Services Australia (EMSA) as a business development manager. I finally get to work in a company where I get to meet students from around the world. It’s like going on a world tour while sitting in the office. I work with a very multicultural team as my colleagues are from Colombia, Peru, Australia and UK.
All I can say is that the land of Oz (short for Australia) has managed to find a place in my heart not because of the place but because of the lovely people. I love how they have made English so convenient with short forms for literally everything. There is more to this country than just Beer…Barbie & Beaches.
FYI : There are no Kangaroos in my Backyard… Cheers