2010年 09月 18日
Our friend who has emigrated to Australia dropped us an email saying he suddenly decided to come over to the UK for two weeks. Giving only one particular day, he asked if we would be able to make it. Of course we would.
So we got together in London Bridge like old days. There I learnt to my surprise that the purpose of his trip was to address his homesick he recently started to suffer. He, who is very charming, intelligent, cultured and slightly introverted, calmly analyses his own situation.
He hadn't come back to the UK for 18 months and he thinks he left it too long. The last visit from his family was a year ago. Though he's made three friends so far, unfortunately all of them, it turned out, moved away respectively to different parts of the world for business. So, the situation went back to square one. Though he runs his own business and has an Australian partner, his emigration was mainly for his partner's sake – consequently people around him are not his people but his partner’s people so to speak. With closely knitted family all in the UK, his uneasiness after three years is not hard to imagine.
Being gay as well as foreign in Australia does not seem to help either. He says the prejudice against gay is much harsher compared to the UK, hence he and his partner are much more careful about showing intimacy in public. His elegant British accent sometimes gets a rude 'Ah?' not being understood instantly. Though their apartment is a minute away from the beach and very close to the Opera House with nice walks around, he feels he has done enough exploring of the area and now begun to feel rather bored.
My husband's prescription was to get a part time job. Running his business is all fine but it being small a number of contacts is naturally limited. His professional background in the UK is more than good enough to find an excellent job in the industry he used to specialise in, and through professional life, he could increase acquaintances and among those acquaintances he might find good new friends. Human being is after all a social creature. One requires plenty of inevitable daily contacts with other fellow human beings to the extent of annoyance in order to keep sanity.
I agree. That's indeed what I have done here in the UK although I am still working on it even after 11 years! (An immigrant can never be complacent on the matter of simple personal happiness.)
After enjoying ourselves rather too much with a bottle of champagne and two bottles of red, we parted. In these two weeks, he has been meeting friends and families like mad. I felt for him. It is not easy, but alas, a more-or-less mandatory course that one has to get through after moving in to a foreign environment, alone. And, it takes its own course rather than you controlling it.
However, I am certain he will eventually find his way out.