A year and a half ago my boyfriend and I landed in Australia. I had never thought of visiting or living in this country.
But here I was.
On the way from the airport to our new house, it was kind of cold, but when finally we got around our neighborhood we felt warm and smelt flowers. We dropped our stuff there, my boyfriend went straight to work, and I went to get acquainted with the city.
When I left our flat, it started raining. I was the only surprised person around, staring at the sky and looking for an explanation.
“That is Melbourne’s weather. Do you reckon?” A local joked while passing by.
Reckon?! I murmured. A new town and language had been presented to me.
On that day I walked, walked, and had coffee.
The Melbournian cafés are great places to get information for free. You buy a coffee and get а newspaper, ask questions and get answers.
“Where can I get internet and a computer?”
“Go to Victoria State Library (VSL).”
There I got connected to everything: movies, theater, courses, books and smart-gentle people. All librarians and workers from VSL deserve my gratitude.
I felt at home.
But more surprises were on my way.
The more I walked, the more I found restaurants from all over the world to eat at, tango venue to dance, I met people from all places on earth and learnt more than I could ever imagine.
There are plenty of simple things aussies can do that most of world population cannot.
You can’t imagine how luxurious it is to drink tap water.
You go to the street and protest. You can occupy. You may face some resistance; it’s part of the job.
Australia is a free country.
Here you can change how things work. Not long ago, you had a non-multicultural policy, and because you were free to protest, you made this country one of the most diverse in the world.
If you doubt about your freedom, ask you Asian friends what their countries are like; and they will tell you there are issues that they cannot even mention.
I know there are things to improve. There are policies that need daring decisions: NBN, climate changes, and so forth. If you allow me, I have a hint on the NBN issue: listen to your telecommunication minister; he is brave and is doing something that companies promised but didn’t deliver.
And there are those issues that will teach us to love the unknown: refugees and aborigines, for example. I believe soon we are going to see all human beings as a culture resource and we will welcome everyone.
You have plenty of work.
But no dramas, as you taught me.
One more word about an issue which is also in vogue: gay marriage.
“Ms. Gillard, woman of wisdom, power and passion, please, put Australia in the avant-guard move. I guess that on the very next day after your approval, people will wave flags saying “yes, I do.”
By the way, aussie women are very outstanding. Do you remember Anna Bligh’s speech on the day following the flood? You guys should appreciate your girls more.
For all these reasons, 2010/11 was the year, in which I recaptured a childlike innocence of eye.
Everything was there for me to discover and enjoy.
And I did.
So, my aussie friends, I would like to say one more thing to you.
Don’t take Australia for granted.
And if you ask me why I don’t live here for the rest of my life, I have an answer.
Because there are two things I cannot change: my mother tongue and my homeland. Brazil is my homeland, and it will always be.
But Australia is my castle, the castle.
Please, take care of it.
Your Brazili-aussie friend Silvia.