Esthee Posted March 9, 2010 Report Share Posted March 9, 2010 Hi,Well its my 4th day in Melbourne today. I've got the flu, sitting on the coach surrounded by discarded tissues and I've just finished watching a show called MKR (My kitchen rules). We're here on a visa validation trip and to say that it has been a rollercoaster since we arrived would be an understatement. I've been researching Melbourne, Australia and the whole immigration process and what to expect for well over 2 and a half years now. I know almost all the suburb names, where to buy what. The idea was to come here now and just decide on which one of my short listed suburbs we would prefer to move to when we come here later this year. I was cocky and arrogant. I knew everything when I walked down that plane. I've been on google earth many hours. I've been hard on people who've returned home. I've been hard on family who've told me they don't want to immigrate. I've been wrong. In four days in Melbourne I have come to realise the following:1. 9 hours time difference between you and your sister who just occationally chat via instant message on the internet is huge. When I'm on, she's off, when she's on, I'm off. Trying to reach family on the phone is a nightmare. This leads to a very real and very strange feeling of isolation. I'm not someone who would have thought of myself as someone who would miss the few people I have in my life. I basically only have real contact with my sister and my husbands immediate family, but this sense of experiencing the world at different times does make me feel very alone. 2. No amount of internet research will prepare you for the reality of actually being in another country. I think I got so busy with the life of someone getting my visa and getting out of SA that I forgot that Aus is just another foreign country. Yes, the weather might be similar and things might seem the same, but its not just a safe, clean version of SA. It's a foreign country with their own way of doing things. My biggest culture shock so far, and I know I'm opening myself up for criticism, has been the way Australians live. I knew before we came here that living in a culture where cheap labour is readily available changes the way people live, but when we arrived and saw the suburbs, saw the lack of gardens, saw the lack of maintenance on homes, saw the amount of random items being stacked in peoples front gardens I wanted to get back on the plane and go home. I don't have someone working in my garden, I keep my own house and garden clean and neat. But here, the way houses look, the complete lack of gardens in most homes are really something I'll have to get used to. I've been here four days and I'm starting to realise the problem isn't with how they are living, but more with how I've been living for the past decade. I've also travelled to Nillimbuk and have found a wonderful area where we will settle where I can look out over the beautiful scenery of this beautiful country. But yes, for now, I do find the average suburb in Melbourne ugly. 3. I think I understand why people seem to be so overly excited and childlike before going on their LSD's or first trips to Australia and then become very quiet afterwards. Four days was all I needed to realise how horribly hard this whole immigration was going to be for me and my partner. Everything is new. Everything is different. Buying washing powder, you don't have a favourite brand of anything anymore. I was looking at the washing powder remembering how when I was 18 my mother helped me decide which brand to buy. I have a story for each brand I buy. I'll have to make new ones now. How small, how insignificant does that even sound when you sit in your house in SA surrounded by electric fencing, living in fear. But here, where I'm relearning to enjoy the 6 o'clock evening news and even watching ads on television as they are actually informative for me, I realise that once you leave that behind, there's more to immigration than living in safety. There's living in isolation, living anew. The fairy tale becomes reality and you realise what you have to pay for the prize you are getting. 4. Fear for family. Wow how critical I was before. My mother in law was murdered last year in a typical SA manner. It made front page news. I will never forget the 3 am call. Sitting over here and being unable to contact a family member for 2 days is unbearable. 2 Days later they phone you back wondering why you were overreacting so much. But with the time differences and the isolation I feel here, there is no way of knowing whether you should be fearing the worst or if they just forgot their phone somewhere. At least in SA we could get in the car at 3 am and go to the in laws' house, here we are completely powerless. Waiting for news. I don't really know why I started writing tonight. It's just been 4 days and there's still so much to see and do in Melbourne. But the shock of this, the reality of what we are doing has hit me in the face. I've done many difficult things in my life, but this immigration thing is going to be very hard. Its definitely not just moving to a different city. And Australia is definitely not just another cleaner safer better South Africa. So much is the same, but so very much is different. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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