Our 1st year, wanderlust and election ‘sinat’

It’s been one year since we moved as a family to Sydney. Among the 6 of us, it was only Ala who actually did a straight year of stay here. All the rest of us went back to Manila for varied periods of time. Nevertheless, we all felt that psychologically, we all crossed the Rubicon a year ago and made this place our home for now. Ala had some friends over and had an FOB (fresh of the boat) party to celebrate our immigration to Aus. Erica was kidding when she suggested that the theme of the get-together should have been ‘nautical’.

Soon I will be going back to Manila to join Danny and Boboy on a US tour. I am having a hard time thinking of leaving again and being away from my family. I actually feel a deep sadness about it. It takes a lot of calming, and philosophising to accept this situation for now. It seems like at this point, I am not destined to cool my heels too long in any place. I’ve always wanted to travel and the truth is, I have insatiable wanderlust. It has always been a passion for me—until now. These days, I just want to stay put in Sydney, teach guitar and voice to my students, be with my family and do simple things.

On a lighter note, Danny teases me about my crazy migrant status–a Filipino migrant in Sydney who goes to the Philippines to earn money for his family in Australia. Ang tawag niya sa akin ‘AUSSIE W’. Ha ha.

It’s election time in Aus and all I can do is shake my head at the disparity of my experience of elections in the Philippines and over here. Perhaps the main difference from a visitor’s point of view is the lack of annoying, dirty campaign posters, streamers or vehicles with loud speakers extolling candidates and playing their insulting, mindless jingles. In place are radio and TV spots that run mostly negative campaigns on each candidate. It’s much less of a circus than what we have back home. No actors, boxers, or disgraced people running for public office. And I have not heard of any election related murders or violence that has happened here. The issues are laid out well in the few handouts that we’ve received at home. Oh, and we got a check from the Premier of New South Wales to help us with family expenses. An election c’mon to be sure.

All in all, the sedateness of the event is striking, and yes, so Australian. If our election passion can be described as a burning fever, theirs is a sinat, hardly detectable. Laid back sila talaga. The only aspect that shocks me somewhat is that everyone is required by law to vote, or pay a fine. That only happened to us during the Marcos regime. But as an Aussie told me, you don’t have to put any name on the ballot if you don’t want to. And you can vote by mail days before if you plan to go out of town on election day.