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  • Viriliana

One day I woke up in Australia

One day I woke up in Australia and I was in a Melbourne’s café drawing coffee hearts. How did this happen? Well, it all started with a dream - a dream to be bilingual. Jumping on an aeroplane and crossing the globe was a great way to begin realising that dream. This is how my story began.

After 25 hours of flying, I finally arrived in Melbourne. My heart was beating, and my legs were shaking but it didn’t matter. My excitement about my dream coming true was greater than my fear of the unknown. I took a deep breath and walked through the airport door. “The lived experience would be so much better than any language book or online course”, I though.

For sure it has been a great experience, but I admit it I have often wondered: "what I'm doing in Australia”.

Through the first months, I felt overwhelmed as I confronted the daily reality of learning a new language. Frankly, my English was baby babbling learned from rock music and movies.

Many times, I was in awkward situations where everybody was talking in English, and I didn't understand what people were saying. It was embarrassing. So, to avoid embarrassment I just smiled or said "yeah".

Oh, how I wanted English to open itself up to me, I was feeling so starved for comprehension.

Soon, I realized my English classes weren’t enough, I asked myself if I should just speak baby English all the time even though I had had a red-face? I wanted to be shameless enough to practice and improve. So, I got a job in a coffee shop. I had never worked in a cafe, and I didn’t drink coffee. But I did it to face my shame about my English.

On my first day, I thought, “Oh God maybe this is a terrible idea”. But it wasn’t. I had a lot of fun because my colleagues and costumers were friendly, funny, and patient with me.

I made many mistakes and had embarrassing moments, especially when handsome customers asked for a coffee. I would get nervous and mess up basic things I knew how to do. Still, they would buy their coffee and give me a lovely smile or make a joke that I didn't quite understand. I would think: "if you understood Spanish, we would laugh a lot”

I let go of my insecurities and daily conversation became less overwhelmed.

Then, after a while, I realised I was communicating in English, and I was in love with Melbourne’s rich coffee culture. I had become part of it and learned about the pure pleasure of making and drinking coffee, and about the barista’s masterpieces often too pretty to drink.

So, my baby English was worth the embarrassment. I love painting hearts in coffees as I talk with Australians. Now I am bilingual, and I like the new person who I am far from home. And yes, I love koalas.

Thanks for reading.

See you pronto Evribady!

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