My Australian Story

By Yufei Lin, studying at Balwyn High School

The opaqueness settled upon the sky, I leaned towards the window, listening intently to the tingle of the distant bell. Ding, ding, ding.... the long droning noise echoed through the air, within each sound, my tears would drop to the ground, once, twice. I looked longingly at this ancient building, for the first time admiring its hidden beauty. But my thoughts were flying to the future, to a new world, to a place called Australia.

A cold breeze brushed through my face as I jumped down the taxi. I was totally enraptured by the amazing scenes around me. The tall buildings in the city soared up into the serene, crystal clear sky roamed above me, the birds were chirping loudly on the tall evergreen trees with their tails up, singing happily as the sun shone upon their shiny feathers. Compared to the old houses back in China, the elegant houses that surrounded the environment looked like they've came out of a story book. Delicate gardens, beautiful colored bricks with triangular roofs hanging steadily on top of the houses. I was getting more and more excited to know about this new world. But as things turned out, Australia was not a place for enjoyment and dreams.

I still had a clear memory of the first day at Blackburn English language school. It was raining hard outside. When I first stepped into the classroom, the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement. I sat at the corner of the window, gazing outside as the rain smashed hard onto the glass panel. Huge rain drops were accompanied by a distant thunder outside as the students inside screamed with happiness. The teacher first asked the new students to read out a passage from a book. My nerve was on the edge. When my name was called, I was panicking. The language seemed to be so new and strange to me. I shakily shook my head, trembling slightly as I went back to my seat. I was so disappointed, so depressed. Instantly, I thought of going back China, my beloved country, the place where I belong.

The first time I received my homework, I cried in despair. The teacher simply asked me to write about my weekend, but I didn't have a clue of what to do. I sulked in the toilet, tears pouring down my face as I thought of the comfy home back in China. Everything seemed so peaceful and normal there. But here, everything has changed: my life, my friends and my future.

I finally started to recover when I met some loyal, trustworthy dependable friends. They cared for me greatly and had always held out their helping hands when I needed them. With this huge step into English, I felt both relieved and happy. Daily study became my usual routine and I started to blend smoothly into this community.

As the Six months at language school slowly crept by, the real challenge had come. Going to the local primary school was fearful. What awaits for me there? I wondered anxiously. The night before the first day of school, I could not go to sleep. I turned in my bed with my eyes wide open. My brain was filled with anxiety and I was exhausted. My nightmares were like evil hands that were about to seize my life. Its strong hands grasped around my neck, its grey, cold eyes glared into my very heart, torturing me mercilessly.

I descended the steps nervously. My heart pounded so hard against my chest that I was afraid it would pop out. I looked around. The neat rows of trees and the colorfully decorated buildings were so different from the old, ancient school I used to go to, but I had a strange feeling of fear, the fear of this school and everything that dwells in it. As I nervously attached my bag to one of the hooks outside the classroom, I knocked lightly on the door. An old lady opened the door instantly, as if she had expected my arrival. She had a pair of deep grey-blue eyes that locked hard on my face and a neat pile of blonde hair that stirred lightly in the cool breeze. She smiled at me lovingly while her wrinkles grew deep on her pale face. As I stepped into the rather hot classroom, I had the prickly feeling of curious eyes staring at me. I immediately found a chair and sat down quietly, trying hard not to attract others attention. For the whole lesson, I listened keenly on what the teacher was saying; trying to decipher the language, but it seemed completely incomprehensible. What I've learnt in language school was just the seed of a massive tree. The extremely experienced teacher of mine had sensed my difficulty and a few days later, I was given an easier English work to do. I was very grateful.

At first, things went alright for me. A few girls had tried to approach me but my silence had made them dislike me. I didn't care. I couldn't care. I was scared, scared to speak, to communicate. Others would laugh at me, I could not risk it.

But nothing went alright after one of my awkward talk in class with the teacher because a few Asian boys had chosen to treat me with bullying.

I was running, panting, grasping for breath. My sore legs were carrying me further away from the shouting boys and my eyes kept darting back to see if they were still in sight. Sweats were pouring down my forehead and into my sticky shirt, but I kept on running. Suddenly, one of the boys shouted:" Use that!" For a moment I did not realize what he was talking about until a stick came flying through the air and hit right onto my head. Pain started to throb in my head. I could feel the sticky blood oozing down from the deep cut. Suddenly, I could run no more. Ignoring the pain, I picked up the stick and threw it back hard at them. One of the boys stealthily caught the stick in his hand and held it out triumphantly with a satisfied smirk across his face. The other boys came running immediately. One of them grabbed me by my arm and dragged me into one of those small alleys in this vast school. Without warning, his fist smashed hard onto my face. Blood poured out of my poor, crooked nose and my eyes were sting with tears. In all those commotions, I struggled and shouted, but no one seemed to be able to hear me. "Don't you dare to tell the teacher or else you will gain a good reputation at school," he teased. I stood up shakily and immediately headed for the girl's toilet.

I laid my head onto my laps and hugged my exhausted knees, I sobbed quietly as tears slowly poured down my cheeks and into the cold heart with a carved scar. Of course, I didn't dare to tell the teacher. For one, I was too scared to, two; I believed that I was the solution to this problem. But I was wrong. Loneliness and fear kept me from solving this problem. I was so depressed and angry when I heard the boys insulting me and my country, especially when I knew that they were Chinese themselves. I was completely outraged, anger swelled up inside my heart as I firmly made my decision of telling the teacher the truth.

As I was extremely poor at English speaking skills, I chose to write down this whole event on paper. I did not include the fighting part because I believed that they would apologize to me on their own. Even though the story was badly written, but my teacher had immediately understood my need. She promised me that she would keep this event a secret and would also set appropriate punishment for them.

After that, the boys did calm down a bit. But I could not stop noticing the smirk on their faces whenever they saw me. Eventually I decided that the only way to stop them completely was to prove to them that I am worth living.

From that day on I worked extremely hard on my English skills. With the helps from my teacher, I was able to make some new friends that would support me and help me when needed. At home, I would read every single book I borrowed from the library (the beginner's English books) and memorize them by heart. My mum had strictly limited the appearance of any Chinese books and movies. Slowly, my English began to improve. From reading the simplest grade one books, I could now read Harry Potter, Once, The key to Rondo... I was once again the happy, bright girl I used to be, because from now on, I am no longer alone. I have loyal friends, caring parents and teachers to support me. In the end the boys even apologized to me. I am no longer afraid of the dark and the storm, because I would now determinately walk on. I believe that the journey is as important the destination and I will thrive forward towards the future as best as I can.


 

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