I see that I am taking longer and longer between entries. Would ideally like to blame something, but now that I am living with a psychologist in training, am not going to resort to 'external factors' for my own non-doings! So... what has been happening in the world of Ingrid and Tom in Belgium. Well, according to Ingrid... I am currently having ambivalent feelings regarding returning home (yes, I know I have another 4,5 years to get used to the idea) but still it terrifies me. Sadly enough, I do look forward to having my own 'piece of Australia'; my own place, with a child or 2, good job etc. but I am scared to death of the insular politics (and dare I say it - people) that await me. I know I have an incredibly accepting and open circle of friends who are more than welcoming to anything/anyone who crosses their path - it's just the other who I worry about. I know before I left, I had more than one person tell me that I didnt need to move here with a foreigner. Yes - bluntly! It wasn't as though I had even provoked such a bold statement. I am petrified as to how Tom will be accepted - I know I have had my problems here, but I can imagine that it is totally different in Australia. Yes, granted I didnt know any Flemish when I first arrived here, and there are racist people here - but something that most Australians cannot predict is the way that ALL Belgians go out of their way to speak English and try to help me speak Dutch here. Can you imagine someone going to Australia, and not speaking a word of English? I think I can safely say that at least 50% of people would not give them a single second of help - not entirely surprising. EVERYONE is expected to know English before they even enter Australia. BUT - send an Aussie to another country - how much do they know of the other language??? Not much, I think! But that's ok - Everyone speaks english. Or so is the attitude we are taught... Why are we not taught to respect others as we wish to be respected??? We are in the end, a multicultural country.
I know it's easy for me to say that in Belgian ALL kids learn French from grade 4, English and German from Grade 8 compulsorily - but they border on these countries/regions: Australia doesn't. And yes, Australia does require kids to learn a 2nd language for a couple of years. But why isnt it encouraged to be bilingual, or at least taught that when you are travelling, to try to speak another language? Why is there such a fear instilled in people when another language is involved? Even French?
The reason for this entry is that I don't look forward to going home to seeing the news on Aussie TV in such a conservative manner. I don't look forward to seeing the war in Israel/Palastine/Lebanon and seeing on the view according to the Americans. I don't want to see why the ex-KGB guy in England was killed according to the Australian media who have been payed by Poutin. I am afraid (and maybe due to my own ignorance) that I will become simple - not because information isn't available in Australia - but because the most important information at home revolves more around people putting out the ANZAC flame and how much a disgrace that is (rather than seeing the comedy...), and how much more difficult it is to access more informative, world news. Sorry if this is insulting to anybody, but need to get the bee out of my bonnet sometimes...
Please mum, and other teachers (who didnt get into uni with an OP of 20) - encourage the kids to be a little more aware. I am afraid of what the culture of Australia will become.