From Springwood Drop-In Centre – Channa's Story
Compared to where I come from, living in Glenbrook is such a beautiful thing. There is peace, and it is natural and green, and you can walk through the bush and relax. It’s better than staying in the city because the city just has buildings and restaurants.
Where I come from, it’s a really small country. Everything here is so huge, and you have to go on buses, and the busses have numbers, and you have to know them and look them up, everything is complicated compared to the small country I come from. It’s just confusing. Living here is learning in a good experience. I love the Blue Mountains, I love the way it is quiet, and people love their house. They try to make their house look good, in Cambodia you don’t have that kind of thing. They only have the house, but they don’t have enough land.
When I got here, since Christmas last year until now, I haven’t made any new friends, I only know the people from my boyfriend’s friends it’s hard to find a friend that is like, you have the habit of liking. So it’s hard to find some friends, especially when you’re overseas… to find a friend is not that easy unless you work together or you study together, otherwise you will never ever make friends. And even for me here, I work in Springwood but still, I can’t find a friend you know? It’s only my boss, and my boss busy at work. I miss my scooter. If I wanted to do something in Cambodia, I just go on my scooter, and it takes like 5 minutes to go anywhere … if I want to hang out with my friends it takes like 5 minutes, and we are there! We don’t have to book friends in for a week or two weeks before.
I think people are just very focused on their work and themselves here. I look around, and people work and look at something on their phone, not the people around them. Even the people in the home where I stay keep the door closed. You can’t just open the door and come out and look out and say ‘hi’ to people. It’s not like that in Cambodia. There people sit in the front of their house, everyone goes past, and they all say, ‘Hi you wanna join me in this or do that?’. We just all come together, and it is really like a village, but every time I come out of the house here, it’s like other people don’t exist.
The first time I came out here I was shocked… but I am more used to it now. I did a course, which has allowed me to meet new people, but they are also from other countries. Most of the people came from Korea and China, Brazil, Spain. I think they are my best friends in Australia. We come from other countries. We’re not born here, so we feel the same thing. When we ask each other, we have the same problem making friends with Australians. These friends understand that common ground is hard to find! It’s good to know it’s not just me!
I want to go back, but I would only go back for visiting because I was born there and I lived there. Right now what I want is to stay here, and find more opportunity, and more experiences to do, and do something that I have never done before. It feels like there are friendly people at the CatholicCare Drop-In Centre, I can always come to drink some tea and talk to the people about things happening.
This story was initially published at Catholic Outlook.