I’ve wanted to move to Australia for a long time. If there was a place I’d love to live in permanently other than Dubai it would have to be Australia. I really don’t know why, considering I’ve never actually been there. It is an urge, like a compass needle compulsively pointing North. Maybe it has something to do with the tourism Australia advertisements. If so, they’re doing a fantastic job aren’t they? Forget visiting, I want to embrace your country and live there for the rest of my life. Maybe not quite what they had in mind.
But that is what I want. I want to work there and make friends. I want to have pets and a garden and a window with a sill wide enough for me to sit on, wrapped in an afghan and read a book. I want to get together with neighbours and have barbies (barbecues, not the plastic dolls). I want to have a cosy little café where I can bake and write in the morning and throw open the doors to happy customers in the evenings for coffee, tea and baked goodness. I want to paint and sell my paintings in my café. I want to say things like arvo and mate and not sound weird. I want to speak with that unique accent after a few years that so many find strange.
I once went to a immigration agency with my husband (who was just humouring me, he had no intention of moving anywhere with me and was probably even then planning to leave) and found out a bit about moving to Australia. I was counting on him to be the rock as you know my career wasn’t doing too well. The cost kind of put me off, I don’t remember how much they had quoted exactly but I believe it was around INR 2,000,000. That would be around AUD 37,735 approximately, given today’s exchange rate. Is it really that expensive? I wouldn’t know as I haven’t checked elsewhere but I have heard that it is easier to go through an agency than to wade through the paperwork and applications solo.
It is almost two years later since my meeting with the immigration agency people. Costs will surely have gone up. I have been unemployed since last September, not something I planned to stretch for this long sans bun in oven. I have no savings anymore. All these things are probably conducive to me remaining put but I really don’t want to.
I’m writing my second novel (the first is an unfinished fledgling but not abandoned) and plan to take it to completion with this NaNoWriMo. I then plan to start the process (tedious, I hear) of getting it published. When I was away last month I gave a few interviews, only one for an architecture job. Just being in an architect’s office makes me have an almost physical reaction, like falling down a dark endless hole I know will end up in the infernos commanded by Lucifer. So that is a no go then. I then tried for a graphic design job where I was offered an unpaid trainee position which I did not take, looking for greener pastures and all that. I tried wedding planning after that. Again an unpaid offer to work for three to four months and then if they liked my work they’d hire me. Needless to say the unpaid bit was very off-putting. How was I expected to live in a metropolitan city where I would have to rent and use public transport (which isn’t cheap) and in other words survive without an income?
Spending long hours wallowing in my friend’s house after she and her mother had left for work, calling up people for job vacancies threatened to send me back down into the despair I’d left behind a few months back. Once back home, it didn’t seem so bad. But the nagging thought is still there, I need to earn, to be independent again, to support myself and my family when they need me. It makes me feel a bit of a failure every time my mind registers that I’m living on my parents’ charity though they wouldn’t think to call it anything other than love.
There are so many questions. How do I begin rebuilding a career path? Should I put all my eggs in one basket and hope my writing will earn me the title of novelist and shower me with enough money to live comfortably? I know I don’t want to work for someone else any more. I think I have it in me to give it a go alone. But in what field? Will practising architecture seem less repulsive if I do it alone? Or should I give more importance to my art and designing capabilities? I also have a love of baking and the café idea is very appealing but do I take a loan and put myself in debt to pursue this or do I wait for when I have a comfortable cushion in my account before attempting it? As you can tell, I’m not confused at all. It doesn’t help that I’ve found talents in me that were hidden before, like the drawing, painting and designing.
I know I should be thankful that I am blessed enough to be good at not just one thing, but many. I am. And I don’t mean to sound boastful at all, usually I am the last to admit it and compliments are still hard for me. Knowing what I want to do in life (writing, painting, owning a café) is not that difficult. It is learning how to make those things start earning me a living that I’m grappling with. And how will these things lead me to Australia? Any kind Aussie man who wants to marry me and take me with you? No? Oh well, it was worth a try.