It’s been almost a year since I arrived at Sydney airport. Tim picked me up and we drove to Merimbula and we celebrated Christmas with his family. I had never spent time away from home for this amount of time and in that time I’ve been away, a lot has happened.
It is a curious business to settle into a new country. Whether you’re confident or open-minded or anxious, entering a new world is equally mysterious and exciting and scary. The foundation you’ve carefully built your life on for many years suddenly trembles and shudders like a faulty building, for the workers and carers and supervisors are all absent.
Feeling alone became a sense I had not experienced before. Insecurity got the better of me at moments I wish I could’ve been better. But I discovered that loosing my sense of stability eventually helped to gain a deeper understanding of myself. I shed my familiar skin and grew a new and thicker one.
My vulnerability in the past few months is not something I’m particularly proud of, but it taught me that loosing gravity is not meant for the faint of heart. I reidentified myself and I gained new friends (and family) who pulled me back to the earth. After a while, I learned to understand the culture better, the etiquettes and the specific ways of communication. I find myself talking in a way I did not expect to hear in just the couple of months I’ve been arround. I supose the desire to ‘fit in’ helped me pick up on those small things. Although everyone still picks up on my foreign accent.
Becoming part Australian entails that I’ll live a double life from now on. This country had already stolen my heart the first time I embarked from that plane in Melbourne, and now it has become part of my identity. I’ll miss the Netherlands when I’m here and I’ll miss Australia when I’m there. I’m glad for it. There’s a gratifying mysteriousness about living a double life.