I have that feeling again, floating all around me like a veil I can't get off. It's a feeling that something bad is about to happen. I can actually physically feel it as a pressure in my chest. It feels uncomfortable. And sad.
My sister sent me a photo of dad's tombstone. It's still weird to think that he's not here anymore. It feels surreal somehow. But there it was, a picture of what's left of him. I had to take a shower just to cry in privacy.
That's when the feeling came back. I'd felt it before during my year here. I know now why.
When I saw him last summer it crossed my mind. "I'm not gonna see him again. He's gonna die while I'm far away". But dad was talking about grandpa, how he lived to be 76 so he too still had 20 years left. I knew he didn't. But like that little girl who used to beg every night for God to make him stop drinking I still on some level believed that maybe he would. I really wanted him to stop.
It scares me a lot. The way he just faded away.
I'm afraid that it might be easy, that it might happen without realizing it. That it might happen to me.
That you just live your life the way you're supposed to; you wake up to your meaningless work every day, get married, have kids and when the years go by, you realize that none of it matters. It all feels nothing. And the weekend beer you used to have to relax and have fun has become the thing you use to numb yourself.
Maybe he wanted more from life. Maybe he didn't know what he wanted.
Maybe he felt that he had made bad decisions in life but was powerless to change them.
Maybe he just never thought about what it was he wanted.
Or maybe he just never made an effort to go after his dreams.
Maybe he thought it would just happen.
And when he realized that the life wasn't what he had expected, the bottle was the only thing to comfort him.
None of this is probably true. He was an addict. He started drinking very young. Alcohol abuse affects the brain, it makes you depressed, it makes the life feel like nothing.
I know he loved us very much. He once said to me that we were the only good thing he ever did.
But I can't help but wonder whether he could have found a reason to stop. If he only had real passion in his life..That's why I feel so important to do the things I dream about. Having a dog, having a business, living abroad; those were all my dreams. I want to have passion in my life. I want to feel. I rather feel bad than nothing at all.
And I guess that's what the feeling is about. A reminder to look at my life and think, is this really what I want? Is this really where I wanna be?
And more importantly, what is my next dream?
I've now lived in Australia for a year. And to be honest I still struggle a bit with the idea of possible staying here for a long time.
Life here is just so different than my life in Finland. There are so many things to get used to and so many things I just have to let go of.
I do think it's good for me (and everyone else) to step outside our comfort zones, all tho it's nothing new really, I seem to have a need to challenge myself all the time.
It's true when people say that living in another country changes you. It challenges you in many ways and you learn things about yourself that you had never even thought about before.
It also wakens you to see all the little (and big) differences between your own country and the one you currently live in.
First of all I've learned here that I'm not quick to think. A bit disappointing since I've always loved to think that I'm smart and witty. But by the time my brain has translated someone else's witty comment in Finnish the only thing that comes out of my mouth fast is bad English. And about that..
All these SC-, SH-, CH- J-, and Gs. You do know that they are all just one big ssshhccjjgg to my ears, right? There's no difference to me whether I'm going to the gym or Jim. Or whether it is W or V or P or B. Except that there is. God I have started to hate Finnish. And English. I'm gonna become mute.
And how about pronunciation? Why is U pronounced differently in gun and in pudding? Or A in save and sack? I mean, at least Finnish is pronounced the way it's written. Who the hell came up with English? Drunken sailor? And why didn't I notice all this before?
There are also all the cultural differences.
What's polite in Finland might not be polite enough here. And what's polite here can be considered weird in Finland. Or flirting (If it's a man talking to a woman. We don't chat casually.)
Finns are rule obeying people. And we have lots of them. When there's a sign on the wall at the gym "put weights away", we do. If you don't someone (pissed off) will tell you to. Here nobody does, at least at my gym. And it makes my inner Finn very annoyed and I feel like giving a safety lecture to the jerk who left the weights on.
Saying "how are you" without actually meaning anything by it. What is that? Even after a year, it still feels very unnatural to me. But I've learned to ignore it and be polite back.
One other thing, maybe the most important one, I've realized here is that there are stereotypical prejudices about other cultures. Being outsider, being the person who doesn't meet the requirements for "normal" social behavior makes you realize how strong prejudices we all have.
Chinese are selfish and rude, latinos know how to have a good time, Aussies are easy going, Finns drink a lot... And it all comes down to our own culture. We all have our own habits that have been formed by the culture around us.
But is that all we are? Sydney is a melting pot of cultures and we have to deal with each other every day.
I got annoyed today when a Chinese worker in a restaurant just took my money and ignored me otherwise. Even after I've thanked her.
I don't understand why every day when I walk to the station, some muslim men always try to get my attention when they drive by. I mean, is it just a glimpse of blonde hair they get excited about?
I'm already used to Italian men glancing at me at the gym. And men coming to talk to me if I'm alone in a bar.
And I find it very refreshing to deal with doctors that make jokes and seem very relaxed and friendly. And I think I will always wonder about Asian people who have been here for a long time but still have very bad English.
So I guess we really shouldn't make any presumptions about each other before we understand the background and reasons behind the behavior. If we judge people based on our own culture, we can very easily misjudge people. And miss out a lot.
So I guess the most important thing I've learned here is tolerance. And that is why I recommend living in another country. Especially nowadays.
Muutama viikko ja olen ollut Australiassa, tarkemmin Sydneyssä, vuoden. Aika on mennyt todella nopeasti. Vuosi tuntuu kovin lyhyeltä ajalta ihmiselämässä. Mutta samalla se tuntuu hyvin pitkältä. Aika on hassu käsite siinä mielessä.
Hain toisen vuoden viisumia muutama päivä sitten. Lakiahan muutettiin viime vuoden lopulla ja olinkin varautunut todistelemaan farmityötäni palkkakuitein ja suosituskirjein sekä odottelemaan viisumia hetken.
No, sehän tulikin sitten ihan kirjaimellisesti minuutin sisällä hakemuksen lähettämisestä. Eikä tarvinnut mitään tositteitakaan laittaa. Yllättävän helppoa. Ilmeisesti en ole millään tavalla kiinnostava Australian silmissä. Hyvä sinänsä.
Tämän kuun olenkin ottanut rennosti lomailun kannalta. Kotosalla tosin. Ensi kuussa alkaakin työt taas koirien parissa. Sillä saralla onkin paljon uutta tiedossa, kun alan vetää koulutuksia ja henkilökuntaan tulee muutoksia. Mutta niistä toisella kertaa.
Verovuosi tuli täällä päätökseensä viime kuussa. Sehän tarkoittaakin veronpalautuksia reppureissaajille. Vai tarkoittaako? Tämä tuntuu olevan monelle epäselvää. Eli selvennetääs hieman.
Olet joko resident tai non-resident verotuksessa. Non-resident maksaa enemmän veroja kuin resident. Tämä tieto ruksataan työnantajan antamaan lomakkeeseen. Moni tuntuu jättävän tämän päätöksen työnantajalle, miksi? Luoja tietää, työnantaja ei.
Yksinkertaistaen olet resident, jos esimerkiksi asut samassa paikassa suurimman osan täällä oloajastasi. Olet non-resident, jos nautit maisemista ja reppureissaat pitkin Australiaa.
Koska non-resident maksaa noin 30% veroja (en enää muista tarkkaa määrää, itse kun olen resident) jokaisesta tienaamasta dollarista, tsäänsit saada veronpalautusta on hyvin pieni.
Resident taas on oikeutettu samaan tax-free thresholdiin kuin paikalliset eli tienaamaan tietyn summan vuodessa (noin 18 000) verovapaasti ja vasta tämän ylittävästä summasta maksetaan veroja.
Eli palautuksia yleensä tulee. Niinkuin tuli itsellenikin. Ja täällä ne käsitellään parissa viikossa, joten rahankin saa nopeasti käyttöön.
Ai niin, ja verot voi näppärästi itse hakea MyGovin kautta ATON sivuilta. Moni tuntuu käyttävän firmoja, jotka tietysti perivät maksua tästä palvelusta.
Tapasin entisen työkaverin (aussi) pari päivää sitten, joka ihmetteli miten osasin itse hakea. Kun kerroin, että se on hyvin yksinkertaista eikä vie 10 minuuttia kauempaa, harmitteli hän 90 dollariaan jotka itse maksoi 400 dollarin palautuksestaan. Hän kun ei koskaan ollut edes yrittänyt itse. Oma mottoni on, että turha teetättää muilla, kun voi tehdä itsekin.
Siinäpä hiukan kuulumisia täältä suunnalta. Kovasti jo kesää odottelen. Ja ensimmäistä vuosipäivää Aussin kanssa. Sekä toista yhteistä vuotta. Mitä lie tuo tullessaan. Elämällä kun on tapana yllättää.