Living in a different country is a very eye-opening experience. Not only does it teach you about a new culture, it teaches you a lot about your own culture as well. Upon returning home to Australia, after living in America for a year, I felt as though nothing had changed, but then again everything had changed. Australia still had its ever–lasting beauty and laid back attitude, however it didn’t seem like I was returning home, it felt like a very nice vacation.
Being consumed by the U.S media, I forgot that Australia had interesting and vital news too. I became lost within the American way of life, and saw Australia through the eyes of an American with all the “g’day” and “throw another shrimp on the Barbie” stereotypes.
Although I was shaken out of that when my parents assured me that Australian news was very important and exciting, even though it was mostly about shark sightings.
Falling back into the Australian way of life came to me easier than I expected. My cravings for Little Caesar’s and Chicago style hot dogs drifted away as my Australian cravings for a sanger and mash (sausage and mashed potato) took over.
Not having to explain my slang or having to repeat myself was very comforting. However, through all this, I forgot that everyone’s lives were continuing while I was away. A part of me hoped I would come home and my high school friends would still be there to see, and I would sleep in my childhood bed with my brothers in neighboring rooms.
But it wasn’t like that.
I became lost within the American way of life, and saw Australia through the eyes of an American with all the “g’day” and “throw another shrimp on the Barbie” stereotypes.
My brothers had moved out, and my friends were doing their own things. Living away from home, you truly forget that everyone has a life that they are living, and that you are not a strong part of it anymore, just like they aren’t a big role in mine anymore.
Visiting home really cemented the fact that my life was now in America. Although I still, and always will have ties with Australia, for now what I need to do and where I need to be revolve around America.
After speaking to my father about what is was like when I came home for the first time he said, “It was like Christmas.”
Of course, seeing my family was the most important thing about going home, and my parents had the exact same feeling.
Initially, seeing me go at the airport was hard for my parents, however my father said that with modern technology, it doesn’t feel like I am living on the other side of the world.
Although not being physically in Australia, my parents support me in everything I do and even though it is hard living away from them, I know that they will always be there for me no matter what.
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Amy McCormack, Ph.D.
Calumet College of St. Joseph
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