Monday, May 31, 2010

And It Was Time to Say Goodbye

Last week, I pass the baton to you and ask you for your wisdom and advice. You asked me about being open and vulnerable, and next on the list was packing up and leave my hometown for Australia.

Leaving my home country has always been a dream. Since the death of my best friend, I knew I wanted to do what others deemed impossible, go to places where people can only dream of and soak up any kind of experiences I can get my hands on and I haven't regretted anything.


So, I've always had the dream of moving to Australia but it has always been a dream. I almost got it but due to my stupidity, I didn't get enough mark to be admitted into any Australian universities to do the program that I wanted. So I moved to the capital of my home country and did a Cambridge A Levels and was contemplating moving to the UK.

Across the road from my college was an Australian Education Agency and one day, I snuck in to collect a bunch of Prospective Students' booklets. I filled in some of the forms out of boredom - cos they were free - and like any other contest, I entered without any expectations of winning. I totally forgot about it until a letter came. The words, "Letter of Offer" printed on the piece of A4 paper.

I accepted the offer and uttered my goodbyes to my fellow classmates, moved back to my hometown and did a final farewell and preparation for my move. I was incredibly excited but I know
this is going to be a good-bye to familiarity. The air, the food, the people and the culture. I know I am bidding goodbye to a huge part of my own identity.

My classmates organised 3 farewell parties for me. My family organised 2 and my other friends organised another half a dozen. The final few days were the reality check of what was ahead. The packing was done, hugs exchanged and goodbyes said. I took a last drive around my hometown at 2.00am, 4 hours before my flight. I cried in the car, I have to admit. Stopping at shops and landmarks that has become a huge part of my life, or has a significant memory in my childhood.

The excitement slowly turns into anxiety and a gazillion questions ran through my head, but I know all too well that I cannot have any doubt because otherwise, I just wouldn't do it. Comfort zone is such a cosy place its hard to get out of it, but I managed to do it. Many asked if it was hard and I have to say, it wasn't really. As long as you have some savings to last you until you found a job, a place to live even if temporarily, and a few contacts, you are set. Do it or you never will.


So at 6.00am, I drove myself to the airport where I was met by a group of close friends. I exchanged hugs with everyone and said see you in a year. After about 10 hours including in transit, I landed in Adelaide, totally new, curious and absolutely excited. But the excitement very quickly turned into anxiety of the culture differences, sense of humour and accent.

I have to say, I have an amazing, amazing bunch of friends who made me more than welcomed to their hometown and helped me adapt to their culture almost instantly. They brought me home to their parents in the country, in rural and regional areas where we drank rain water, eat real bacon and meat, fresh produce, swam in billabongs and hang out at the RSLs (Returned & Services Leagues).

I dare to say that I have made a huge transition and really adapted well to the point where I engage myself in political arguments and ran a few political campaigns as well even though I don't have any rights to vote. I use slangs, eat vegemite on toasts, watch the AFL and cricket, drink Coopers, Pure Blond or Carlton and sarcasm is my first language - I was corrupted by Summer Heights High. I was such a sophisticated, elegant tourist / temporary resident until I hang around with the Aussies.

Having said that, I am still very much the boy from my hometown. It's like an automated switch that when I go back, everything just turns itself on or off. I fit right in, drinking kopi peng, eating noodles and rice, and speak my local language.

But one question I still struggle to answer sometimes - where's home. To me, home is where the heart is, where my love ones are. Sometimes, this is my hometown, sometimes the other cities I've lived in, sometimes its Adelaide and at most times, its very much Brisbane.

So, how about you? Where would you like to move to, and where do you call home?

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10 comments:

torchy! said...

a touching post Aaron, and very nice to get some more of your background.

all the best
torchyx!

Winter said...

hi aaron. this post seem to relate to me alot even tho i do not have such an "up-root myself" experience, but i go wish to leave my hometown too. i wish to move to japan or a country in the scandinavia region, i guess the green is always greener on the other side and i know that i will miss the comfort of security here when i do leave one day.home, i think one day i will be able to find it or return where i feel i'm at peace with the place and people.

Aek said...

Great post! And cool new widget thing at the bottom; I was looking for something like that, so I hope you don't mind that I also utilized it on my blog. :-P

Anyway, as to your question, I'll have to answer later when I have a tad more time. Hopefully soon.

bK said...

I really like your post! I don't think I would have the courage to go through all that.

I haven't really thought about where home is. I don't think I've ever associated home with just a place. It's more about where my family and friends are.

Ron said...

nice post...

i love Pure Blond

but yeah there are a few places in this world i'd like to see, altho i've been fortunate enough to see quite a bit already.

home... i'm not really sure where my home is.. moved a few times and they were all completely different countries on other sides of the world.

i'm just hoping some things would work out for once where i'm at with life at the moment, working on it...

take care

Ron

Biki said...

This post really hit home with me, thank you! I'm always interested in why people move away from everything they know and love to make a big leap into the unknown. And now I know your story, thanks. I loved this post! Your writing was lyrical and emotionally open, as only your posts seem to be.

When I moved to Alaska I was moving from a large city, to a very tiny, very rural area. And the culture shock about did me in at first. But I adapted, and now am comfortable in two widely different worlds...

As for where your home is? It's where you are, right this minute. But if you mean HOME, well then thats fairly easy to answer as well. You had a childhood home complete with foods and family and friends. You have a home now in the land of Oz, complete with new foods and friends that you just cant see how you could live without. Enjoy being Arron of two worlds!

Anonymous said...

Kopi peng? So, Malaysia or Singapore?

Nice story about your life though :)

Jason Shaw said...

Very moving post, getting to know you more, very nice too.

Hope is always where the heart is, and that places changes, often in life. I don;t know where my next home will be, I just know it's no longer here!

Branden said...

i ve moved quite a few times so i know how exciting yet confusing it can be, its just a matter of time before we get adjusted and thats when we tell ourselves that This is home and this is where i belong :)...

Mind Of Mine said...

As someone who has turned his whole life upside down to move somewere else, I have to say I admire you for doing this. You right when you say it is not as hard as one might imagine it to be.

Australia is next on my list.

Good post.

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