I am having a bit of a down day – where living on the other side of earth suddenly seems like a questionable thing to do. After six years in Australia, I have the answers ready as to why I’m here, I’ve gone through this exercise enough times before. Unfortunately that does not make the feeling go away. Which really sucks. Reflecting on the feeling does make it better and for each time, the analysis gives me more insights to this journey. They are hard days though these days, where one is forced to reflect on self and choices and why and because…
This time I have arrived at following: it takes longer than 6 years to assimilate (integration is an illusion – last year’s epiphany). There are still many things in daily life I have to think about and reflect on. The brain is constantly running in comparisons ‘home – here – home – here’ and I have this feeling that the unconscious mind is working overtime, all the time. It’s exhausting.
Another thing I’ve discovered is that It also takes more than 6 years to integrate a second language. Some days English almost feels as a new mother tongue, other days it is one long uphill journey of translate-translate-translate. Some days are like today. This morning, the translator was broken. It has taken many hours to find the fault and get it working again.
I am pretty sure that I share this experience with other foreigners – the exhaustion. The days where you try to read something and have to look up half the words in the dictionary, where you just cannot stand another ad on TV for companies you have never heard of, where values you were not raised with and do not share are acclaimed as the universal truth, where all the groceries you want are not supplied in the supermarket (why does it have to be so hard to get salty licorice I ask, why don’t you get it?), where Australia seems everything but multi-cultural, but instead extremely mono-cultural and very hard to read.
I’ve learned one thing over the years: these are the days where you peel another layer of the onion. It may cost a tear, it may not. But in the long run it is absolutely worth it. This is a life where not many days were wasted and not many dreams left behind. There is a higher cost to travelling this road than most people acknowledge, but at the end of the day, I think it is still worth it.
Thank God there is chocolate in the fridge!