Nomad no more

Australians boast the inglorious irony of being the best off people in this pandemic and yet we’re potentially the most resentful about travel restrictions. Gap years are standard before and after uni, many of us look forward to our annual overseas trip and retirement will often consist of cruise ship hopping. But before COVID-19 derailed everyone’s travel plans, I was already wrestling not so much … Continue reading Nomad no more

2019: Highlights from a humdrum year

In thinking about the year just past, my first thought was that it was a boring year. Not bad as such, but I felt like I went through the whole year without a satisfactory answer to the perennial question: “How have you been?” In other words, I constantly had nothing new to report. Whenever I responded that I’d been “good”, I meant it literally rather than as a polite non-answer.

2018 provided plenty of change in significant areas of my life so 2019 was certainly dull in comparison. And really in comparison to the whole previous decade of my life, which barely saw me doing the same thing for more than a year.

But I don’t want to be ungrateful. If I pause to ponder the last 12 months a little more, I’m able to find a few highlights. They may seem simple, but they have nonetheless enriched my life and I am thankful for these little things. Continue reading 2019: Highlights from a humdrum year

Going for glocal

The other day my dad kindly informed me that if I ever stood for politics I’d need to renounce my Malaysian citizenship. This, of course, occurred in the context of the dual citizenship debacle that has kept Australia entertained for the last few months. Now I’m not sure how to feel about the fact that my father thinks a political career is a real possibility … Continue reading Going for glocal

City love (and lack thereof)

There are lots of things I love about you, Sydney.

I love your dazzling waterfronts, stretching out from the Sydney Harbour that the tourists see, all the way west up the Parramatta River – simply spectacular, even on an overcast day.

I love your cafés, even if you’re no Melbourne.

And I actually love your trains, even if people are always complaining about how these are always running late.

Royal Botanic Gardens-6

When I thought I might be leaving you for good last year, it was easy to list the things I would miss.

But loving things about Sydney isn’t the same as loving Sydney.

Now that I’m back here with you again, I’ve realised that I … Well, I don’t love you.

Unfortunate, hey? Continue reading “City love (and lack thereof)”

Australia: Not the place I thought you were

The other day after work, I was flowing with the peak hour crowd down Anzac Parade, when I witnessed something awful.

An Aboriginal man was heckling and shoving an East Asian man. The Indigenous guy was yelling obscenities and things like “Go back to where you came from!” to the suited up Asian guy, who was trying, literally, to shake him off. That was Awkward thing Number 1.

People just watched. And did nothing. That was Awkward thing Number 2.

By people, I mean mainly Asian people. The University of New South Wales appears to be predominantly Asian, even the law faculty – a contrast with the College of Law at my own alma mater. That was Awkward thing Number 3.

And I did nothing because, frankly, I’m both Asian and female. I actually thought I might get hit. That was Awkward thing Number 4.

It made me think about how Australia is not the place I thought it was when I was little. Continue reading Australia: Not the place I thought you were

What feels like home

4,000m above sea level and 400,000m from the closest shore of the Pacific Ocean, playing beach volleyball every Sunday afternoon in the park somehow became one of the defining elements of my life in La Paz.

Now, at sea level and right on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, playing beach volleyball every Monday evening in Manly is becoming an anchor, a touchpoint, to each week here in Sydney.

It’s funny, the unlikely things that make me feel at home. Continue reading What feels like home

Why finding a house is like finding a husband

It was my cousin’s wife who said it: Finding a house is like finding a partner. You see a few and then you just make a decision. I laughed and could see the sense in it. But thinking it through, there really are some uncanny parallels. House-hunting is a lot like dating. I write often about the idea of Home, and how living abroad complicates that. I’ll … Continue reading Why finding a house is like finding a husband

Next stop: Sydney

Tomorrow will be my first day in Monday to Friday, 9 to 5, paid employment in Sydney. There is so much “normal” in that one sentence it’s not even funny. Don’t pretend you’re not disappointed. I’m trying not to be. “So when are you going back to South America?” “What are you doing here? Just here for a break?” These are things people have actually, literally, … Continue reading Next stop: Sydney

Reconfiguring Home: Weddings and Earthquakes

October 3 She is lovely. Creamy vintage lace, delicate buttons all down her back, descending into a sweeping fishtail. I fumble through the chapel, out of time with the music, but whatever. She floats down the aisle after me. Dad is smart in his officer’s white dress suit although he only reluctantly links arms with her. The day is lovely. Agreeable sun, genuine smiles. People we haven’t seen in years. A photo here, … Continue reading Reconfiguring Home: Weddings and Earthquakes