I arrived in Australia on a Friday afternoon in May, ready to take on the world. The months leading up to stepping off the plane and passing through immigration, I thought my dreams had come true. For years, even before my first visit in 2009, I’d dreamed of moving here, but it seemed like such an impossible feat.Yet here I was. I’d done it. Melbourne, I have arrived!
I started work on the Monday and quickly found out how different things were here. I worked for the same company in Canada, but felt like I was in a whole other industry, let alone office. Attitude, animosity, mistrust, hidden agendas and innuendos were palpable. My immediate leader was wonderful and caring but two states away. My team was starving for structure and support. Glass half full exposed vast opportunity ahead. Yet here I was drowning in half empty; pulled in all directions and overwhelmed.
I was blessed to find a couch to surf on with friends who lived 45 minutes outside the city by train. Their house was warm and hearts kind. It was whilst staying with them I learned CRA decided to withhold my Canadian wages, money I was counting on to secure a flat and buy minimal furnishings. This on top of the growing pit in my stomach due to circumstances here at work, made me wonder what I had done. The only thing keeping me sane were regular conversationws and chats with my friend in Hobart.
My cousin, who lives in Queensland, introduced me to the Tassie Firey via Facebook, right after my first visit to Australia in December 2009. In June, she convinced me to book a ticket and finally meet him. She told me the story of how he had been anxious and excited to meet me in July 2010, that he flew to Sydney, knowing I was there. He didn’t realise I was staying with a guy I had been seeing and completely backed off. Nonetheless, five years later, I was in the arms of my Tassie firefighter friend. He’s a beautiful, funny man with a chivalrous heart. Since my arrival in Australia, my wekend with him was by far the best time of my life. Tassie was my one piece of stability amongst all the turbulence I was experiencing.
I clung to that. Clung to him for dear life as though I was on a plane taking a nose dive toward land and he was wearing the only parachute. I forgot how to just let go and trust. Six weeks after my visit to Hobart, my plane crashed into a smouldering pile of rubble somewhere in Saint Kilda. I was the wreckage you couldn’t help but stare at, wondering what the hell happened. I had no answers, ony assumptions. I drowned myself in pints of cider, shots of tequila and bottles of red wine. My eyes puffy and my fingers feeling for the parts on the ground, desperate to pull my shit together. All I could think about was “fuck girl, you’re a mess, what the hell are you doing here??”. Yeah, it had been a while since I’d visited Depression Alley.
During the day I would don the mask, go to work, keeping as much in as possible. At night I would sit in front of the TV in emptiness and self pity.
Who the fuck am I?? This is not the girl who took her life and made nothing but changes for the better, faced challenges, lost, won and moved on……..
Foo Fighters’ “Come Alive” screams in my ears at 38,000 feet somewhere above New South Wales. I gave up a team I loved and a promotion at home. I lost all my money to the government. I was literally homeless for months (something I’d never experienced before). I had my heart broken yet again. It honestly felt like, since I’d arrived in Melbourne, I had my ass kicked, been chewed up and spit out.
I’ve shed my last tear. I’ve left Depression Alley. Is Australia where I want to live? Fuck yes. Will I continue to show this company what I’m capable of and prove my worth? Fuck yes. Will I meet someone truly deserving of my heart? Fuck yes.