Sunday, 16 December 2018

30 years of living

I have been thinking all day about what to say on this day.
Today marks 30 years since we arrived in Australia.
I feel like everything has already been said before, the opportunities that this country has provided, how grateful I am, and so on.
One of the things I did wish to say is what I think my life would be like if we had stayed in Chile.
I am the only one in my family who has never gone back to Chile since we left all those years ago.
While I think it’s a beautiful country, I honestly think that if we had stayed, I would no longer be alive.
The political and social unrest was something that as a 14 year old wore heavy on my mind. Seeing the poor, hearing awful stories of mistreatment and injustice was a huge contributor to my darkness and hopelessness. I think I would have died as a political prisoner, or shot by police, or something. Or simply would have eventually succumbed to the darkness. Lost, to myself.
Healthcare is still crap compared to what Australia boasts, education is good if you’re not already earning a crust by the time you’re 12. And if you can afford it, you can live pretty well, as long as you are prepared to close your eyes when you walk outside your door.
And people can be so judgemental!! I am sure that’s a human thing, but Chilean people are very fond of gossip and very quick to judge others for their choices , sexual preference, relationship status, piercings, hair length, body type, etc.
I am proud of my eccentricities and my way of living. I am glad to be alive still at 44. I have not only survived this world, but lived well in it.
The more time passes, the less I desire to travel back to my homeland. Maybe as a tourist when it is unrecognisable to me and the emotional scars that still linger have long faded. Maybe when I have made sense of the wounds I am still examining.
The wounds are bathed daily by my dogs, and cats, and various other animals, by the smiles of friends, by music and wealth of life that I enjoy, those kids who are only possible because of the journey I have taken.
I didn’t think I’d ever say it as we left the only place we knew those 30 years ago: I am so glad to be Australian, I am so glad we left. I am alive.

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