Leaving the Comfort Zone Behind

Until my feet touch the Melbourne Airport floor, until I felt the cold wind of a March night, until I got in that cab and started to see the city that would be my city, until I visualised the hostel that would be my house for the coming months, I did not know what to expect. Of course, I did lots of research before came here and I expected change. Everyone says ‘living in another country will change you forever’, but what I am trying to say is that you do not realise this until you are here. It is the moment that you stop to dream and start to live. Live your life miles away from your home, your family, your comfort zone.

To be honest, the comfort zone was not so comfortable anymore. Probably this sounds strange, but I did not want certainties. I wanted adventures. I wanted to go far away from my comfort zone. Far away from the same job, from the same places, from the same problems, even (sorry my friends) from the same people. Deeply, sometimes I think that I even wanted to go far away from me, far away from the person that I had almost become. The routine person. The empty person. The ‘if I had courage’ person.

So, I leave the ‘if’ behind. I took a deep breath and together with the air, I inhaled courage. Courage to say bye to a five-year job, with good payment, good people, but which was not good for me at that point of my life. Courage to say to my mum and my dad that I would be far away from home, that I needed to pursue my dreams; however, they and my country would always be with me, in my heart. And I believe that they also needed some dose of courage to say ‘go my daughter, we believe that you know what is better for you, we trust you, go get the world, but come back!’

And then I knew about this city, in other side of the world, where everyone says that you can feel the art in the air. It is a little bit cold, they said, other cities have better weather and better beaches, they said, but Melbourne… Seriously, Melbourne catches your heart. How do not fall in love with the pictures of parks, beautiful old and new buildings, colourful laneways, singers on the streets, markets, bookstores, sunsets? Melbourne seems to me an alive city, where everything is possible, where all the people live in harmony. So, I fell in love and I knew that this was the place where I should start my adventure. Melbourne, Victoria.

I cannot describe how happy I was to realise that the blogs, the videos, the photos, the whole internet did not lie about Melbourne. The first days I was so excited, literally every street was a new discovery. I walked so much, that the first thing that I bought was a new shoes.

I think there is not a better way to know a city than walking. And Melbourne is great for that. Until today, almost one year and five months since the first day, I walk. I choose different streets to go to the same destinations. I love to go to the famous laneways and see which graffiti is new. And I love more when I am just walking in a random street and find a piece of art in the wall (or even in a car, this happened once). And what to say about the other day when I was in a tram going to a friend’s house and had to stop at St Kilda Beach to admire an amazing (and cold) sunset. Every single detail about this city impresses me, especially the small things, the ones that sometimes we do not pay attention because we are too busy or too tired.

But I believe a city is made most of its people. And here I found unforgettable people. Friends for life. And people who help you even though you are a stranger. The kindness is in most of the faces. So many different faces: Aussie, English, Arabs, Asian, South Americans, Africans… The world is here and most of the time they live in harmony – sadly, I also watch the news and know that some people do not agree with this concept of all people living together, but this is a subject for another story.

So, I am still here. Pushing the comfort zone far away. Working hard, but also having fun. Studying a lot, but trying to find time for little trips, little adventures – Tasmania was a pleasant surprise, impossible to forget. Next, I want to see snow for the first time in my life. And I want to continue to see this city with new eyes every day.

Suellen's story was the winner in the Vocational Education and Training Category: By international students studying at a TAFE or private training college.