…And how we create ‘somethings’ out of ‘nothings’…

Tuesday, November 26, 2019




Photo: My very colourful desk.

Preface: G’day, readers! You all know me well enough to know that spring is when I come alive (I was born in the springtime). As I look out the window, I can’t help but breathe in the spring air (the Aussie springtime) and feel it fill my lungs with hope and new direction. I think my advice to you all is to find your inner spring; find the feeling that lets you renew yourself and take a fresh look at your own life. 

I have had the longest writer’s block ever, so a friend wrote the above paragraph as a way to inspire me. And it honestly helped. Thanks, Benedict. 

Every fairy tale I ever read as a child began with ‘once upon a time’, so let’s start with that…

Once upon a time, when I was six years of age (or maybe even younger), I clearly remember owning a storybook, which was based on farm animals in Australia. The cover of the book had an image of goats and sheep grazing in green meadows with a little brown wooden fence surrounding the vast greenery. As a little girl, the image was stuck in my head. Every time I heard ‘Australia’, there it was the cover of the storybook popping into my little head. That was all Australia was for me. The down under, the far off land. And it remained so for a very long period of time. 

Green meadows. Cows. Sheep. This. And nothing else… Little did I know how that picture would change forever. 

That green Australia is now a beautiful collage of colours. A bright blue sky over the rainbow landscape with specks of magenta, pink, violet and scarlet. It has many colours, many layers... fragrances, people, sounds, memories, hopes, tastes, millions and trillions of images…my life for exactly six hundred and ninety-five days, as of today.

The room that felt cold like ice on my first night in Melbourne, now feels like sunshine, beaming with warmth of my friends, our laughter together, my desires, achievements and hopes, my safe space for introspection, my growth in this beautiful country… 

I met ‘strangers’, born in different countries, who grew up speaking different tongues, and worshiping a different God (or gods)… I proudly call them my friends now. Some of my friends are from countries I did not even know existed on the world map. I know that reflects bad on me (and my geography) but who cares? I have learned to be okay with judgments, I have learned to be confident in who I am, and to embrace my weaknesses and to be myself - that’s Australia for me. 

‘Hey, can you confirm that what we have ordered today does not use any pork or alcohol as ingredients. Please, make sure no pork or alcohol on the table!’ – this is a common phrase all my friends say while ordering food at the restaurants. I do not demand that, I do not remind them. They do it out of respect and love for me. How can I not feel at home with them? 

I have learned lessons of tolerance, acceptance and equality. What makes people good or bad is their attitude, their behaviour and their actions. It is not where they come from, their beliefs or their status and profession. I have learned to see every person as an ‘individual’. It has freed me from my prejudices and biases. It has helped me gain a better understanding of the people and has increased my empathy. The world is bigger than we think. I now have a greater appreciation for other cultures as well as my own. 

My independence and self-sufficiency has led me to explore opportunities to develop and learn skills I wanted to for a long time but just didn’t do it. It is as if there was a rebirth within me. And the new spirit loves challenges and adventures, and is more open and zestful. This is the new Australia for me. 

In my post from February 2018 I wrote that Australia will never be home and that it was OK because I was not really looking for one, I already had one. Hah! What did I know back then? Australia feels like home. Whether my temporary or permanent place of residence, doesn’t matter. Home is where you can be yourself. Australia fits that definition for me. Australia is home. Maybe second home, but, hey, why do I have to label? It is home. Just home. Colourful and vibrant. 

To all my absolutely amazing, warm and kind friends in Australia who changed that childhood image of the country forever… and made this my happily ever after experience! Thanks, mates! 

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Amna's Goodreads Bookshelf

To Kill a Mockingbird
Animal Farm
Of Mice and Men
The Alchemist
Me Talk Pretty One Day
Romeo and Juliet
Lord of the Flies
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Odyssey
A Tale of Two Cities
Frankenstein
Moby-Dick; or, The Whale
Les Misérables
Eat, Pray, Love
The Poisonwood Bible
The Joy Luck Club
Middlesex
The Memory Keeper's Daughter
Lolita
Under the Tuscan Sun


Amna Tariq Shah's favorite books »