For everyone who has immigrated to Australia you will know how much of an emotional roller coaster the entire experience can be. As a seventeen-year-old boy from Port Elizabeth who prefers a life of structure, the immigration experience has been all the more daunting for me.
Leaving my loyal friends, my school (where I had been doing particularly well), and basically my whole life and support system has been just plain depressing to tell the truth. When you think about it, starting at a new school in a new country with just years eleven and twelve to complete is always going to be tough.
“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” A friend once told me this and I thought it applied especially well to me, someone who does things his own way rather than following the crowd. This has posed quite a problem to me here on the Gold Coast, as most of the Aussie teens I have met at school just have nothing in common with me. I just haven’t been able to find anyone with whom I can relate. It’s like I’m talking a different language which they can’t seem to understand.
During breaks at school I have wandered from group to group in an effort to find someone remotely like myself. While getting to know the various groups on the playground I was reminded of an American teen movie because of the various groups that could be found: There are the ‘plastics,’ a group of girls with fake tans and bleached hair that would talk about boys, clothes, hair, parties and other petty matters that made me want to vomit; Then there’s the group of guys who think they own the world. They throw their food, get drunk all the time and talk disrespectfully about girls. I clearly wouldn’t fit there either. The nerdy kids seem okay until you discover that they live their lives on their computer and rarely talk about anything else except maybe maths or science (which don’t really interest me). The emo kids consist of a gay guy, two lesbians, and some other strange people. This is where I fitted in the best, which is ironic because this would never have been the case in South Africa. The problem with the emo kids is that they’re all atheists and rebels and for anyone who knows me well, those are probably the last labels I’d be given.
After some long discussions my parents and I came to the decision that I needed to move schools, to somewhere that had other South Africans and a larger variety of personalities. I have chosen a school closer to home and I’m determined that I can make it work this time.
There is no doubt that moving has been incredibly difficult for my family and I, yet I don’t regret it. In South Africa I see the prices increasing and the electricity decreasing. This reassures me that we have made the right decision. The tunnel is long, but there is light at the end.