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Photograph, John Owens.

My husband and I came from Bucharest, the capital of Romania. Romania is a very beautiful country with mountains, the Black Sea and very nice people. But our country was Communist for 50 years and now it is a very hard place to live - socially as well as economically.

We couldnít decide whether to try to migrate to Canada or Australia so we read all the available information about both countries. We chose Australia because social supports seemed to be better here, even though it was more difficult to get accepted. I think we made a very good choice.

There was no Australian Embassy in Romania so my husband took our immigration forms to Belgrade in Yugoslavia. Belgrade was at war at the time and for a long time we didnít hear anything. Then finally we heard our application was successful and we were so happy. Soon after that we found out that we were going to have a baby and we felt that our luck and our joy was even greater.

We arrived in Australia in December 1999 and by the end of January my husband found work in his field, making jewellery. He is also a sculptor. My profession is biotechnology but I am now at home looking after our baby son.

When we first arrived in Melbourne I noticed that the houses were very nice and clean and the birds were singing, which, when you come from a crowded city such as Bucharest seemed like a fairytale. In Romania we lived in a small, one-room apartment. It was our dream to one day own a house.

Australia is a good country because if you are a serious, hardworking person you can have a good private as well as professional life. If you work hard you can have what you dream about. Australia is not as stressed as Europe or America. For both my husband and myself it is important to feel secure and in Australia there are many rules to protect us. You would think we would feel more secure in our own country but we feel safer here.

In Romania, many people are sad because they have many social and economic problems and the average wage is very low.

However, I do miss my country, my friends and my grandparentsí house where I grew up. My parents live in New York and my sister lives in Vienna so I am used to not having my family around but I had a very hard birth with our son and at that time I felt alone. I thought a lot about my country at that time.

We enjoy living in Clayton South. There are many nationalities in the area and newcomers donít feel strange because everyone is from a different country. I find that everything is close to our unit. I donít have a drivers licence and it is important that the railway station is nearby. There is a park a few streets away, where we walk with the baby in the pram, and the shopping centre and library are not far away either. When we moved here I was pregnant and it was very important that the Monash Medical Centre was only ten minutes away by train. I feel that I belong in Melbourne because I am happy here. We consider ourselves very lucky.

Article Cat. Blended Voices
Article Ref. 141

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