Chapter 6: The first time of many first times

October 2010. Three months in Australia and I had an appointment in the city to work as a volunteer at the handicraft store of a religious Catholic congregation. It would be a wonderful place to practice English, make friends and feel useful I thought. I had never caught a train. With Sergio working and Lucrecia at school, I had to do it alone. I had to leave my new house, that little refuge where I Read more…

Chapter 5: English, English, English…my new obsession

With the possibility of getting myself around without having to depend on others, I decided to look for a place where I could study English.  I checked in several specialist sites, universities and the TAFE where Sergio had studied.  I came to the conclusion that with my status my options are more limited and costly.  These courses do not cost less than $300 per month.  These costs are a fortune that we cannot afford.  I Read more…

Chapter 4: Starting a new life in Australia

One day Sergio arrived home happy.  We had been offered a small unit in Mornington that was affordable on our small budget. He collected me and we went to look at it from the outside. The garden was neglected and messy. The windows and doors were old, the paint crumbling and peeling.  Through the window, we only managed to see a small kitchen come dining room, all very confined. According to Sergio, the size of Read more…

Chapter 3: My arrival in Australia

It’s 3:00 pm I am here in this cold and unfamiliar airport waiting for Sergio and Lucrecia to come and collect me.  The seconds and minutes become eternal.  I have a number of contradictory feelings.  I feel happy and sad at the same time.  And I also fear for the new world that awaits me, the world I only know from my family’s stories.  I have an immense desire to hug them, cover them in Read more…

Chapter 2: It will never be all the same again

Valentina and Lucrecia, last time they were together before our life changed Our oldest daughter Valentina was the first to leave home. She had earned herself a scholarship to finish her baccalaureate at the British College in India. How could she turn down such an opportunity in life? So about four years ago, one month after her 17th birthday, we helped her pack her bags, filled with dreams and hopes, and we watched her move Read more…

Chapter 1: My first steps as a refugee woman in Australia – Life in Colombia

Our house in Bogotá represented everything that Sergio and I were before we changed the natural course of things to move our home from Colombia to Australia. We had lived there for about eight years and experienced periods of austerity as well as those of plenitude and joy —all, always in the bosom of the family. In that house, I learned the advantages of allowing the two most important spaces of my life —family and work— to Read more…

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