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Another country

Some excellent news arrived and last night we enjoyed the relief of it. This morning I am quietly counting the cost; we will not be moving to Oz in the foreseeable future.

There are important benefits to that. If something goes wrong with Mum I'm half a day away at the very most, Europe remains close, and of course we have wonderful friends here... But I am going to indulge myself a bit this morning. To me, GB has been like some grim Dickensian benefactor who really didn't want to look after me, and expected me to be grateful for resentfully given help. Nothing destroys gratitude faster than the expectation of it. I didn't like the country on first return from Singapore, and I don't like what I see now. But I am engaged with the history of the place,and perhaps that's what should infuse my writing.

As Larians points out, Oz has its own political and racially derived problems. There is no Shangri-La out there. But I don't feel any sense of belonging here at all. When I was small GB seemed like a prison.

I have heard apologists say, 'Oh, but everywhere is like that. People always prefer their own,' but I never noticed it in Spain when we visited. It was a very English thing, and it continued for years. And people don't understand how the underlying unfriendliness becomes a set tone, til you really couldn't care less anymore. England became much nicer to me when I genuinely stopped trying to love it or see it as my home. Now I get nothing but people saying 'We're not that bad are we? After all, you are one of us!' Well, the old streets and stones call me with their stories, and I'll make the best of it for now.
But no, I am not one of them, and never will be.

There are stories to be told of this place, and I keep bumping into them. So maybe that's where my research should take me. But it's not very fresh, is it? So I am not sure.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
benicek
Mar. 1st, 2017 10:32 am (UTC)
My sister moved to Australia 10 years ago and in many ways found it familiar, because it is a bit like being an expat in Hong Kong again. She definitely prefers it there but is not short of criticism of Oz either. More friendly, certainly, but with more engrained xenophobia and racism than the UK. 'Australian' and 'white' are still interchangeable terms in everyday parlance. And its great idea of itself being the 'lucky country' for immigrants turns out to be pretty far from the truth. My sister's treatment by officialdom and employers, even as a skilled nurse migrant, was shabby and lazy and worse than a migrant nurse would expect in the NHS here. Still, she can go swimming in a sea pool in the middle of the night and skydiving at little cost and has a fun life.

Edited at 2017-03-01 10:33 am (UTC)
smokingboot
Mar. 1st, 2017 12:12 pm (UTC)
Yes, I guess I have been lucky out there, our friends are pretty much like us in approach, starting from the 'Bondi Bubble.'

There's a long way to go. Much of my frustration here is based on this sense that our social movement is retrograde, whereas Oz feels as though it is aspiring for more fairness. But again, this might be from my limited and privileged viewpoint.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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