This post is an entry from Life in Australia Story Writing Contest by Gilbert De Guzman.
For me, there was never a dull moment during my first few months here in Australia. Each day was either, “Wow, this is something new,” or “Paano ko ba ‘to sasabihin in English? (How do I say this in English?)”.
I mastered the multiplication table when I first went to the supermarket here in Australia. I can now recite the multiples of 40 and 35 easily. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only Filipino who has mentally converted the Australian dollar price tags to Philippine peso ones during their first trips to the grocery. I have also come to appreciate the value of chili pepper and ginger in the Philippines as well because they apparently cost eight times the price of a whole chicken here.
Whenever I bumped into someone on a crowded train or a bus, I always responded with “Ay, sorry”, even with non-Filipinos. One time, my Aussie mate politely corrected me and said, “The correct grammar is ‘I’m sorry’, not ‘I sorry’.” I didn’t know how to explain myself, so I just thanked him.
Australia is known to harbor a lot of the world’s deadliest animals, so I thought the population was about 90% spiders and other deadly animals, with the remaining 10% being comprised of humans, kangaroos, and some cute little quokkas. Hence, I developed a minor phobia about going to Aussie forests, shrubs or any grassy areas since I have no intention of becoming the next Spider Man.
Filipinos are one of the happiest and most optimistic people in the world. Wherever you are, don’t lose that positive trait within you. It’s the second most important thing to have when you’re abroad – next to your passport, of course.