“And over here everything is on a time… Everything was on a timetable and we struggled for a bit with the transportation because we were new in Australia.”
An audio snippet from this interview with ‘Bruce’:
Today we are with Bruce from Glenroy. Bruce, when I met you earlier today, you told me that you’d come from Nepal? How long ago did you come here from Nepal?
I came in 2009, in May.
What part of Nepal do you come from?
I came from Kathmandu.
Tell me, what was life like for you in Kathmandu?
Kathmandu is not a bad city and I was working and studying for before I came to Australia. And … I was with a middle-class family and everything was good over there, but there were some personal matters with my… Me and my wife and she. … She was my girlfriend and within the family we had to go away from the country and we choose Australia to come together. And we came together. That was the reason we came first in Australia and I had to choose between Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Because we have some few friends who tried to come in Australia and some of my friends went to Sydney, some went to Adelaide and… I thought Melbourne would be nice to stay and I choose Melbourne to come.
Okay, I’ll ask you a bit more about that in a moment. You’ve begun to tell me a little bit about how you came to live in Australia. Perhaps…
My wife came to study.
Oh, your wife came to study.
Perhaps I could you ask you a little bit about what the first year was like for you when you came here?
Firstly, it was a new place for us and when we came it was at night and we came from… there it was summer and over here it was a bit windy. The weather was a little bit different for us. And this country was pretty similar. Our country… The place I was from in Kathmandu was pretty similar, I was used to it. It actually it looks pretty similar. Actually, it’s more cleaner and everything was on time over here and we have the time… The bus with everything on time. And it was like if we get one or a couple of minutes late, we miss the train and then wait for 15 minutes. In my country, if you want to go, there’s not a timetable. No one works or no one move on the time there. And over here everything is on a time… Everything was on a timetable and we struggled for a bit with the transportation because we were new in Australia. So we wouldn’t know how to cope with them. There would be certain times and they all have this timetable and you have… You need to… How you had to deal with other people …
And how long, would you say, it took you to get used to these things?
It depends. I know people who have been here a couple of years who still struggle. For me, it wasn’t hard for me. And it just took me a couple of months to know all about ways to get around. I use a lot of internet. And I go with the internet and it wasn’t hard for me because I studied Google maps where I had to go and I used my phone to find work. And the street name, I find out what is the street name and I would use maps. I’d say it wasn’t hard for me because I knew where to go. But if I need to find a shop, I used to track down from my Google… Go to the internet, find out where the place is. Find out where the workplace is and the schools or door-to-door or try to find the internet to apply for jobs. And if I had to go… With the maps, so I done that. I tried to find the address from the internet. If you don’t know how to do it, then it’s very hard. If you don’t know, you’re going to be lost here.
Tell me, how would you say that your life has changed, being in Australia?
It’s been changed a lot. The thing is, in my country we work… Nobody prefers to work. We work like we’re enjoying the work. I will work four, five hours in a day. So it’s eight hours but we only work four hours …. and we would have more fun with family then… We did a lot of holidays. But over here I had to work a lot. Everything… You need to pay bills for… To pay the bills and to have a good life in this place. And I work five days, six days straight away. My wife has to study and she has to… We have to pay bills for education, food is very expensive. And for us, to start out over there and to get the money from overseas from my country is going to be very hard. And living standard was too high and it’s… For the first time we had to like understand also that we didn’t have enough money and it was not bad. Our lifestyle has been changed a lot. Like work and then … And then one or two days we have holiday, we have fun and we spend our money.
What’s a typical day like for you? A typical work day and a typical weekend day?
My typical work day is that I start from 09:00 or 10:00 till 6:00 o’clock. So then my whole day has gone and my work day ends. For a couple of hours I will spend my day in the morning with my son, to lift him to school and then work till 6:00pm. Then there’s a couple of hours for myself to watch some TV …. and spend more time with family. That’s it. And with the weekend, I will go with my whole family for the shopping centres or go somewhere so that we all spend time together.
It sounds like… I heard a child in the background there.
Yes, it’s my son, he’s playing. Because I just came back from work and he wants to stay with me.
So you have one child?
A son, yes.
Tell me, a different sort of question. Is there something that someone who saw you in the street, who didn’t know you, would be surprised to know about you?
Maybe… Maybe… Before I came to Australia I expected people here would be people who had been born here. But when I came here, there were mixed people. And especially in Melbourne. I stayed in an inner suburb and there was Italians and all mixed people. And all the Chinese, Indians, all Asians and all mixed and I was very surprised. It feels like a different country…I was in Australian but it was a whole mixture of people. And, yes, I’ve made friends in Australia and everybody can come and everybody can make a home if they want.
Is this different from Nepal, because there are so many people from everywhere throughout Australia?
Yes, but Nepal…The history of Nepal is like four, five thousand years old. Especially if you’re talking about Kathmandu. Kathmandu, the city is around three, four thousand years old. All the structures are old, all the peoples over there, they’re from Nepal. And very few from other places stay over there. And in Australia they are all mixed.
We don’t have any buildings that old or… Everything is very new, the buildings.
Yes, over here it’s all brand new and I told you before, it’s more clean now, compared to Nepal. And the vegetation, the greenery, it’s the same like Nepal.
Now, one final question. Is there anything else that you would like the readers of this blog to know about you?
I don’t have something to know about me. But I am from Nepal and I have been in Australia for the last nine or ten years now and it’s my second home for me and this country has given me a lot of things. And now it’s a part of my life and I’m happy to live over here and my son was born here and everything… Our life is safe. We work a lot but if you work hard then there’s nothing hard to achieve in this country.
This interview is part of the This Is Us Australia project. If you are interested in taking part, please read our Project Description and use our Contact page or email us at thisisusaustralia at gmail.com.