(Three months later)
I'm sitting on the green leather couch like Yoda. For hours. Nothing moves. The cat cuddles against my thigh and purrs. He has grown on me. I'm okay with the absence of action. I've given up trying to reconcile myself with Australia. I can't make something out of nothing. Maybe in 20 years, I'll take a second try, maybe not.
One of the reasons I drastically cut back the frequency of my posts is that I have mostly negative things to report. Australia is not my cup of tea. My reluctance feels absolute. Unchangeable. It's subjective, coloured by values that I don't recognize, and my aversion to Australian humour.
I've travelled for so long that there is nothing more beautiful to me, than the memory of arriving, of belonging. I know how it feels, but not how I can recreate it. I've been in Sydney for five months, and yet it takes ages to find my place. I settled in with my job and my shared flat, I know how to get around the city and still, I'm just visiting. It's like my head hasn't caught up yet. It takes a long time to settle (and I'll probably have to wait much longer). I'm restless.
Life in Australia is hard and ruthless. No matter how rich people are, most live on the edge of their financial capabilities. Here, you always pay too much. Everything is too expensive. Everyone has to make maximum profits to survive. You never pay the actual price, and the profit margin is three to four times higher than in Europe. Even poor quality gets sold for horrendous amounts. In addition to products, every experience gets treated just the same. In the end, even with personal contacts, often only one thing counts the money. To get paid, it is morally justifiable to do anything you can. I'm thrown into situations that leave me speechless.
My Australian family life is similar to that at home. They live in a good neighbourhood, which is situated five minutes from the sea and ten minutes from the super-rich. Nobody here is poor. The family I live with values good food and proper manners, just like my own. I realise with dismay and on several occasions that I don't understand the parameters for politeness here and that I might have misplaced some of mine on my two-year journey through Asia.