Australianity and Belonging

So today we’re going to talk about the language we speak and who we are.

As I said, my view of myself has completed changed in the last two years as a result of a lifestyle transformation. Going back in time, before the pandemic I was an international student travelling all over the Asia Pacific region, I would stay in Perth during university but had many months of the breaks where I would travel between countries. So I stayed in Perth for the most part just focusing on my studies and I also had a few really good friends so I just stuck to them and didn’t really do anything social and I thought I was happy, well technically I was indeed. But it was a completely different situation to what it is now. I wasn’t really immersed in the Aussie culture and my English didn’t really improve, all I did was go on a few road trips with my visitor friends.

When COVID started I had to be stuck in this state and I couldn’t travel as much as I used to so I had to find out what the locals did for fun and I started to join others in more events, get involved in the local community and get to know the city. When travel restrictions were relaxed I had several trips further into regional Western Australia (Exmouth, Broome, Kalgoorlie) , and to more cities such as Adelaide, Cairns and Darwin, in the country where I live. All of this allowed me to adapt quickly to the local lifestyle and gave me a better understanding of what the country was like and what I really wanted out of life.

All of this was just the beginning for me, showing me how to live here, but what made a bigger difference were the friends who made me start enjoying every moment of my life here. Yes, after all that I also started socialising and before I noticed it, it really changed my life. When I was a student I was quite happy with who I was at that moment, but I still lacked confidence and I didn’t really want to speak English because my communication skills were limited. I didn’t want to look stupid, so gradually, even though I was a very talkative person, I rarely spoke. After a few years, I think I got better at speaking English because I started working and I had to speak real English with my colleagues, and I was getting some achievements with my physical training, so I started meeting people from online platforms. Then I met Joseph, Paul, Tim, Justin and others, all from last year. All my friends helped me in different ways, showing me around the city, exposing me to more cultures and different ways of entertainment, music films books events and common hobbies kept me with them and I couldn’t be more grateful. They become the link between the city or country and me. The more I spend time with my friends, the more I enjoy staying here and the better my English becomes. When I realise this, I can’t go back to the old days.

Generally the country has given me a lot before I started getting more entitlements, for example I am currently working and studying part time at the same time, but when I get Centrelink entitlements I will be able to get the same amount of money without working. Haha, it doesn’t really matter, these are just things that protect and support you when you fall down. I’ve been given the freedom and opportunity to live my life so well, while doing what I love in an environment that makes my life fulfilling. I love the art around my daily life and I love how friendly and open everyone is. We are an advanced country with a high level of education and everyone who lives here plus the immigrant professionals make it even better. I feel safe, supported and like I belong. I have no fear of going after what I am looking for and I can always try different things to explore more possibilities. I can’t condense the last two years into just a few words, but that’s how I think I belong here. And there’s a big world waiting for me and I’m happy and proud to have a safe home here. With courage let us all combine, we’re young and free and we’re one.

Oh well, I don’t think we’ll have time to talk about English today, so I’ve changed the original title and replaced the word English with the word belonging. I’ve told this story a few times now, but this will be the last time. When I say I’m going to make some changes, like the beginning of the phase of using English, it doesn’t mean that from now on we’re going to do something new. I am actually saying this when the transformation is complete, I have been thinking, talking, gathering and processing information in English for a long time and now we can say the change is complete. As with the identity issue I brought to the table today, that’s how things are and I’m happy with that. 🐨

Tommy 23 July 2022

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.