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The things I love about Australia

Popularity 3Viewed 2201 times 2014-6-19 11:22 |System category:Life| Australia, culture

The things I love about Australia


So far, I have been living in Australia for approximately one and half years. Soon, I am going to bid farewell to this lovely country. Before I leave, I want to make sure that I pay due tribute to it.


Generally, when we hear the very word “Australia”, the first things that jump into our mind will be the breathtakingly beautiful beach, the magnificent tropical forest, the abundant and adorable kangaroos and koalas.


However, what makes me love this country the most is the people here. Nearly all the people I have met here are unbelievably friendly. It is them who make me rethink of human nature and who build up my confidence about exploring different cultures on my own. To start with, the Australian couple I have been staying with treats me as a part of their family. Also, they are amazingly encouraging, understanding and supportive. Honestly, they have done what even some of my family members probably cannot do for me.


Besides, I have an accommodating and bubbly neighbor. Occasionally, she would invite me to her place to have meals or bring food to my place. Sometimes, it would be chicken curry while in other times; it could be a piece of home-made cake. Other than sharing food with me, she is always ready to help me. For example, about a year ago, I was left to “babysit” my friends’ house while they were away for travelling. One night, I found a tear in the hose under the kitchen sink. Soon, the water was gushing out of the tear and running towards the wooden floor in the kitchen. Seeing that, I panicked for a second then tried to find the main switch. Unfortunately, I failed. Next, I rushed to get some towels to stop the water seeping into the wooden floor. Then, I found the telephone number of their plumber and felt relieved. But, I called only to find that he had to do real babysitting. Therefore, I ran to my neighbor for help. Immediately, she came to my place and she suggested me take out the “Yellow Page” (a telephone book) and called the plumbers’ numbers on it. However, at that time, most of the plumbers were off duty. Still, a kind plumber instructed us what to do and promised to come very early the next morning. With both my neighbor and the plumber’s help, things started to come back to normal. In the end, she confessed that she panicked as well because she did not know where things were in my friend’s house. Then, we had a good laugh about us running around the house to find things.


Several months after I arrived in Australia, I was invited to go to one of my Australian friends place to make Chinese food. He and his brother picked me up at the train station and showed me around the small town. Then, we headed to their place where I met their folks. All his family members were approachable and down to earth. Once my friends’ parents knew I liked music, they asked my friend to play the guitar and his brother to play the piano for me. Hearing the piano, the tears swelled into my eyes (too sentimental). To be perfectly honest with you, I was a bit overwhelmed by the welcome I received in his family, in a nice way, though. They praised my cooking almost nonstop. Before I left, my friend’s mom even gave me quite a few gifts. Even though most of them were second-hand, I was still touched deeply as it was the thought that really counted.  


Most of the bus drivers I met here are super nice. To understand the story about bus drivers, you will first need to know the policy of bus tickets. In New South Wales, international students cannot buy bus tickets with concession while domestic students can. To distinguish international students from domestic students, international students have a plain student card whilst domestic students’ cards have a yellow stamp with the year on them. At the beginning, I would just pay full price. Sometimes, the bus driver would ask me whether I was a student. “Yes”, I would reply (I didn’t lie technically). Then, they would just give me a ticket with concession without further questioning. Of course, there were times they asked me to show my student card. Also, there were other times they just chose to trust me. Some of the bus drivers would kindly tell me to always bring my student card with me so that I could buy tickets with concession. What was really surprising was that even though some bus drivers know the policy very well and know I am an international student, they insisted on giving me bus tickets with concession.


I had been told more than once that Australian teenagers can be really shocking before I finally met them in person. My friend got me this valuable chance of observing English teaching in a local public school. May be because other people’s warning lowered my expectations on them, I found them were OK, a little bit naughty. There was a guy blowing a whistle occasionally in the class. Students were coming in and out of the classroom. There were also students cracking jokes with the teacher. Honestly, these, which may cause a headache to the teacher, were all acceptable to me. I also met two Australian with Asperger, they were beyond polite and considerate. Even though they bombarded me with tons of questions and exhausted me, I was still stunned at how well they behaved.


Even strangers here seem to be amicable. One day I was waiting for my friend at a train station. There was this girl who apparently forgot to bring her wallet. She got really worried because she had an appointment to go. Then, I noticed a lady standing by offered to pay her train ticket. Alternatively, the officer at the train station suggested that she get a return ticket and pay it after she came back from the meeting. Besides, it is no surprise to receive greetings from strangers you bump into on the street as well. Therefore, I didn’t find it surprising at all when I was told by my Chinese friend that he was offered a free lift to university one day when he was walking on the street.


The people I met here taught me to trust human nature, which is something significant to me as it allows me to see the world from a more positive angle. I have to admit that I had trust issues as in China I was always warned not to do all sorts of things and strangers were dangerous.


Of course, I love the beautiful natural environment here. I reckon it is a blessing to be able to see the blue clear sky, the crystal water in the ocean and the well-protected forests every day. All these have made my time in Australia much more enjoyable. What’s more, the Australian government provides fantastic public facilities. For example, at all the beaches I have visited, there are always change rooms, drinkable water, and playgrounds for kids and so on. More important is that a lot of national parks here are free to visit.


Another aspect that I love about Australia is it is a multicultural nation. Even though Australia does not have an extensive and profound history like China, it has its own charm being the meeting point of various cultures. I gradually learn to appreciate different cultures and to try new things out. As a consequence, my outlook of the world is changed and my horizon is expanded.


What I have gained by staying in Australia may be invisible and therefore immeasurable. Nevertheless, deep down, I know this might be the turning point of my life. I am not sure whether or not this whole experience is going to help me lead a better life in the future but I am sure it is definitely going to help me live the life I want, not the life others expect me to live.


PS: You might think this article sounds contradictory to my first blog “Why do I want to work in China?” However, in fact, it is not. This is akin to finding an ideal partner. When we are young, we tend to value the appearance and materialistic background of our potential partners. By contrast, as we age, we are inclined to value the inner beauty of them. In my viewpoint, Australia is the partner that I will fall in love at the first sight while China is the partner with the inner beauty with whom I want to go through the rest of my life.




the amazing view in Australia

The great barrier reef

The girl from the States I met while travelling

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (5 comments)

Reply Report rdelrosso2001 2014-9-17 08:34
   Have you ever thought of submitting a comment like this to a newspaper or magazine for them to publish?  Your style of writing English is very good (I am a 60-year-old native English-speaking American).   I think a wider audience would love to read what you write, especially magazines that specialize in travel.   With email, you could email your comment as an article to many publications.   
Best Regards from Brooklyn, New York, USA

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  • The Purpose of Reading 2018-4-12 13:45

    we have the same feeling about. reading,reading. really tells us a lot especially when welearn foreign can help us to understand other. country's culture and customs.therefore,when we talk. in foreign languages.we. needn't worry about. making too. much also can enrich our life.let's enjoy reding

  • Why don't We Stand Out and Fight? 2018-4-4 14:14

    It is actually emotionally and mentally healthy to have nursing homes for old people in residential areas, and makes it easy for families to visit their elderly relations regularly.
    Death happens to everyone and it is stupid to hide it away. Death is not bad luck - it will happen to you and me.
    In some European countries there are homes for the elderly next to kindergartens, and everyone benefits from interacting with each other on a daily basis.
    The elderly benefit from interacting with children and keeps them mentally alert, whereas the young learn about death as a normal part of life.

    For a country that supposedly 'respects' their elders, China has a very superstitious attitude to death and dying.
    where i am from, the elderly are allowed and supported by family and state) to be independent and in their own homes.
    Where medical treatment is needed, residential homes allow the elderly appropriate facilities in towns and cities while their families can visit easily and local residents can interact with them.
    In addition, local communities benefit from being able to interact with these residents and the residents can still be part of a local community, not hidden away as something to be ashamed of or 'taboo'.

    Shame on China for such medieval superstitious attitudes regarding death.
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    Do you want to be isolated and hidden away when you are old and your family don't want to or can't visit you?

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