On Saturday night I was invited at a friend's birthday party. It was a lovely little gathering and I got to meet a couple of new people. At some point I was sitting next to a couple and started a conversation. The lady told me they are from England. Her partner's mother is an Australian who had migrated to UK long ago and so he was born and raised there but has dual citizenship. After a health scare a couple of years ago they visited Australia for some specialist treatments and were taken aback by the vastness, the low pace and relaxed lifestyle that is so different to the frantic and manic life in London so they decided to relocate here permanently two months ago.
The conversation lead us around what is an Australian and who is an Australian anyway, as everyone in the room were from different countries. The English lady told me that unless you are Aboriginal really, you're not a true Australian with the strict sense of the word. I found that very interesting. I told her that it all comes down to self-identity and I believe that everyone who identifies as an Australian is one, that includes the muslims with the burqas, the Greeks, the Aboriginals, the Jews, the Africans, the English immigrants etc.
It was fascinating for me to hear how homesick this couple were, how many things they miss from London: foods, lifestyle, family, friends, rituals etc and that even though they are English and speak the same language and share the same white-anglo heritage, they still feel they are in a foreign land down under. They are still migrants. Like me. Like the 46% of the culturally and linguistically diverse populations of our State.
Admittedly, I hadn't thought of this before. The migration is still a migration, the loss, the grief, the foreign elements and the homesickness is the same despite the fact that these migrants are from the UK. and not from another country. Despite the fact that they have migrated to an English speaking country. The loneliness and isolation and differences in lifestyle and customs etc has affected the woman's mental health and she suffers from panic attacks, depression and anxiety. 'English migrants are still migrants you know', she exclaimed.