|Sanjay and Trisha on their wedding day|
I am not going to lie but this, to date, has been the hardest piece I have written. I usually speak the truth but with this, I had to contemplate if I wanted people to know my truth.
It so happened that I fell in love with a man who like any other Nepalese youth, wanted to pursue good education and experience the other side of the world. I let my heart lead and before I knew it, I was married. It is a well known fact that in Nepal, obtaining a visa is not easy and the frustration on my husband’s face proved it all. The number of times he was shoved back and forth offices, just to get that green light.
I had mixed emotions. I love my country. I love the whole mad rush of Kathmandu; even the stray dogs and the hustling Micro van conductors. Did I really give up a good job? It took me a while to get there. What about my family and friends? I had just gotten closer to my brother, after years of absence. Was I ready to sacrifice all that? On the other hand, I was on erupting with excitement thinking about Australia. Thanks to Crocodile Dundee, kangaroos and their funny accents, my mind was itching with Auzzie fever! I wanted to take photos in front of the Sydney Harbor, carrying a wallaby and swim in the Bondi Beach but little did I know the upcoming days were going to be choppy waves.
From day one, having to adapt was not easy. My husband and I needed accommodation. Being new to the country, we had no clue. Fortunately, we had a friend, already settled, who helped us by looking for places to live and taking us around Melbourne city. We found a shared house, 45 minutes away from my husband’s college. There were six of us in the house, meaning six of us to share a bathroom, the toilet and the kitchen. I will never be able to express how nice each of those individuals were. There was never a time when we did not get along well.
However, having a place to live in was not all. Money was running out. We had to do something and that was to work. Maybe it was because of my hotel management qualifications and work experience, I was fortunate enough to land a job in a hotel within two weeks of arrival; but my husband was not that lucky. He had only completed his higher secondary level, so with no sense of knowledge when it came to working, getting employed became the hardest mission. We flipped through job ads in newspapers and scoured the internet but we were just dwelling in one place. On top of that I was on a student visa, which meant I could only work for 20 hours a week and that was absolute insanity. How is a student suppose to survive on that much, especially in Melbourne, where living expenses are sky high! I started panicking, knowing that the much wages I, myself, would be earning was not going to be enough. My husband never mentioned it but I already knew he was feeling bad, making me work hard to support the two of us.
I have also lived in United Kingdom and never have I once faced racism but things are different down under. I remember everything to this very day, it was on a train station when a scruffy old man started shouting racist remarks. He was full of angst demanding the Asians to go back home. Not that I do not consider myself an Asian because in UK, Asians were the Indians and there were some behind us, I thought that the man was yelling at them, but as my husband and I went closer to him, he clasped his fist and stormed at us. For a second, I stood still. I had never been in this situation and it scared me. He just kept charging at all of us Asians, and not letting us cross him. Eventually, he must have gotten tired and left. From that day onwards, whenever we saw him, we stayed in the train station till he was out of sight. Australia is said to be one of the most racist countries and for me that incident proved it.
Depression slowly hit me. I was tired of working and coming home to tend to my husband. I missed home. The only time I was in high spirit was when I talked to my mother. She tried coaxing me that this hardship would pass but I did not want to hear any of it. I started letting myself go. I was angry all the time. I regretted ever coming to Australia when I had such a good life back in Nepal. I was just too miserable. Then like a knight in shining armor, Ted, our previous housemate whom we had kept in touch with called Sanjay, and told him there was a vacancy at his work place. It was cleaning up and down a residential aged care. Sure it does not sound glamorous and since “beggars cannot be choosers”, Sanjay took the offer without any hesitation.
Both Sanjay and I are working now so life is a lot easier and better. We work hard because we now understand the value and importance of money. We go out for dinner and buy things we previously could not afford but our priority is earning and saving up for Sanjay’s education. After all, I am his wife and I have full belief upon him that one day, we will be “reaping what we sow”.
Last but not least, I have come across many Nepalese who have lost focus in studies because they are busy making money and trying to get “magical Permanent Residency” but it should never be that way. And then, there are some who are thrown into a country where it is survival of the fittest, only 6 months of their schooling paid by the parents and the rest to be paid by the child. It is absurd. It is easier for someone on the other side of the world but for the one who has to study and work at the same time, it is the biggest struggle in their life.
As for Sanjay and I, we do not know what lies ahead but we sure can say the struggle is not over but we can still enjoy the ride.
Written by Trisha Rai Shrestha
|Trisha and Sanjay in Australia|
The article above written by Trisha was to be published on a magazine that I was working for, however the magazine plan collapsed prematurely. Nevertheless, the large majority of us can relate to the writing in some way or the other which makes it so beautiful. Trisha and Sanjay are now back in Kathmandu for good. She recently wrote an article regarding the move back to Kathmandu for WAVE magazine; click here to read that. I loved this piece and hope everyone does as well. Leave your feedbacks below – lexlimbu