Home Away from Home: Opinion Essay

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Today I have the opportunity and privilege to speak to you all as a classmate and a friend. First of all, I would like to introduce myself, my name is Martin Yala and I’m from a country called Papua New Guinea, which is located in the South Pacific and is also one of the neighbouring countries to Australia. In my short presentation, I will be sharing with you all a poem that I have read, called “The Double Man”. The poem basically illustrates a figurative story about a person who is confused about his identity as Chinese or an Australian. In the same way, I will be sharing my experience that is similar to the scenario in the poem.

As you all know I’m from Papua New Guinea a country not far from Australia. I used to live in my home country Papua New Guinea back in the year 2016-2017. Back than life as I knew was simple and it was not difficult. Living in there was beautiful, more in a sense of a geographical perspective. Living in PNG (Papua New Guinea) had also its challenges and obstacles. One of the most common challenges that most Papua New Guinean face daily is poverty, mainly because PNG is an LEDC (less- economically developed country), and a country that is young and still evolving. Back home where I used to live, I had a strong connection between families, communities and school friends, I felt more at home there than any other places. I could vividly remember the outdoor picnics my family and I used to have, in the country side, you could smell nothing but the fresh green smell of magnolia and the yellowish smell of the beautiful sweat pea lying randomly beside each high way road as the car drives pass. We usually had our picnics near some huge waterfall, there you could see beautiful mountains that collides with the bright sun light with a slight touch of rainbow reflecting the mountain. I always looked forward to these picnics, mostly because I wanted to feel the beautiful cold atmosphere of the mountain and make every use of the beautiful view of the countryside. It all started to slowly disappear early in the year 2018, when I flew to another foreign country that I knew nothing of. On June 10, 2018 I arrived in Australia, famously known as the country down under.

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Australia brought many good experience, obstacles and challenges. life as I knew was not simple anymore. I began to miss home, and felt home sick, mainly because of the friends and family and the connections I had with the community. I was enrolled in a school located in Brisbane, Indooroopilly State High School. I could remember my first day at ISHS, it was quite intense, because I never made -any friends during my first day and the last couple of weeks. I felt out of place, lonely and no place -to call home. I remember when I would complain to my mother saying,” why did you bring me here -to this country that I knew nothing of? “sometimes I would say, “I wish I have never agreed to come here to Australia in the first place.” I was completely blinded by how I felt and instead I did not stop to realise the great opportunity I had in the palm of my hands that other Papua New Guineans dream of. Living in Australia was a challenge for me personally, because I had to adapt to the different ways of living, the different way of talking and also adapting to the different school environment and learning standards. In some point in life I just wanted to give and go back to my home country. Trust me it’s not easy to cope with the different environment and different lifestyle that is new to you. Early in the year 2019, my life in Australia started to progress, I remember making few friends in and outside of school and also, I felt that Australia were becoming more and more like home.

On the 29th of June 2019, my term two holidays had begun. During my holidays I went back home to Papua New Guinea for a visit. PNG was even batter than l last remembered, everything had changed since I was back home in PNG. I got in touch with my old mates in PNG, and we all hanged out and had heaps of fun. It was good to be back home. In my time of stay in PNG I was looking so much forward to the country side and the picnics that I used to have. When I finally had the chance to go and visit the country side of Papua New Guinea I was more than happy to feel and see with my eyes how truly beautiful my country is. In the same way as the poem my story was similar to the “The Double Man”. There were also a line in the poem the resonates well with my story, it is quoted” when I go to china I say I’m returning to my home country and when I go to Australia, I say I’m returning to my home country.” In the same way as the quote goes, I felt the same way because even though I went back to Papua New Guinea and had a lot of fun, meeting up with relatives and friends, I felt that I was not completely at home, and I had this strong sense of feeling that I was missing from home. But on the other hand, when arrived back in Australia I completely missed my home Papua New Guinea, it was confusing but at the same time I now realized how the writer Yo Ouyan felt when writing “The Double Man.”

To close up and conclude on my presentation I would like to leave you all with a short poem by John Cage an English poem writer “We carry our homes within us whare ever we go, but it is our state of mind that determine where to call home.” What I realized from this short poem is that any whare or any place we go can be called a home, it is just the we think that defines it. I feel like I am now more similar to the double man, who is lost in both homes and don’t know where to called home but what I now know is that both home PNG and Australia are like home away from home.


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