Short Stories: Australia

Two summers ago I went to Australia. What a strange trip it was. I fell into a deep haze after the 24 hour journey. Having watched too many films and having had no sleep, we arrived in Sydney in the late evening, feeling more exhausted than ever. At least it was the evening.I can’t remember most of my time in Sydney and Melbourne.

My head was upside down, I could fall asleep anytime of the day. But as soon as we arrived to wilder places, it felt like I was finally waking up.

We arrived in Darwin, and had a three day trip to visit remote Aboriginal lands. These places were magical and left intact. I swam in the most mysterious places, scared of what was under my feet. I climbed hundreds of rocks, jumping in icy cold water in hidden places to get away from the unbearable heat of the sun on my skin. We slept in strange little motels, terrified by the idea of finding a snake napping in the shower after a Danish woman told us she had found a frog in her bathroom that same day. An Australian guy at the motel bar stared at us in desperation. It were as if he was trying to tell us to get away from here as soon as possible. We were the only ones there.

After three overwhelming days, bumpy roads and sun burns, we were finally going back to the city, looking forward to some rest. But the bus broke down in the middle of nowhere, hundreds of miles away from Darwin. I was starving and ended up sharing a disgusting pizza with my sister when we arrived back at midnight. I don’t think I’ve ever slept so well in my entire life. But a few days after, we took the plane, for the fifth time, to an even more magical place.

New Gets Old


Ever since I was a child, I have always felt a deep sense of dissatisfaction, a sense that new will ultimately get old, but still a constant search for change.

It started off as a child by comparing my school grades with my classmates, always being pushed to be the best and always ending up disappointed. Then teenage years hit me. I started comparing myself to others, and how confident, outgoing I thought they all felt. In retrospect I realise they didn’t feel that way, but it was my way of thinking.

How many times did I want to change my haircut drastically because I wanted to look like this person or this other person but it just didn’t suit my baby face? How many times did I wish I could be in a relationship? And how many times, when in a relationship, did I wish to be single?

I was always dissatisfied with what I owned, my relationships and my own self.

I always thought better things were to come, not enjoying the present moment, restless, looking for new things, and old things to replace. I thought I could finally feel confident and less introverted, I hoped for a better version of myself. I wished that one day, new just won’t get old, and I could finally feel content. It was a hopeless search, with too many choices to make.

When living at home, I was longing for a wilder lifestyle, something more exciting than the mundane. When finally living at university, the excitement got overwhelming and I longed for stillness, outside of the chaos of going out and hectic work.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize I am not the only one. Most people I know seem to be dissatisfied about their lives or their own selves. I see their frustration with their appearances, their growing indifference towards the people they’ve been with not being who they’ve expected. I see them perpetually changing their minds, as if there were so many possibilities to explore that they would always feel frustrated about the choices they’ve made. What if I had done this? What if I hadn’t worked there for so long? What if I had ended that relationship sooner? I see so many people getting so excited about the new changes in their lives, but then the routine comes into place and novelty slowly disappears. I see regrets in the choices they’ve made, a feeling that maybe there was a better choice to make? We all crave novelty, but once it’s over, what is left? What a great feeling to go on a first date with someone we barely know, our hearts pounding and hands shaking in excitement. But fast forward a few years, what remains of that excitement? Then we end everything and start over again. To finally be dissatisfied, once more.

Why are we looking forward to new things and not enjoy what we already have?

There are so many options that I feel overwhelmed by them. How can I be satisfied with myself, when there are so many other facets of myself and of my life to explore? How do I know if short hair doesn’t suit me better? How can I be certain to chose the right path or the right person when all these other choices keep popping up in my head. We’re all frightened to make decisions, scared to take the wrong path. How do you know if the old is good enough to stick with it?


Lost in Translation

I’ve always had a very intuitive way of understanding languages. I very soon figured out I had a natural gift: I could hold the meaning of words instinctively, their literal meaning. Now, I am being overwhelmed by the nuances in the different languages. French is the most emotional one, everything I say or hear is told in the most personal way; every word has the strongest resonance in my mind.

English is probably my second love, but for completely different reasons. Perhaps for all the experiences I went through whilst speaking and hearing English every day.

But I’ve always perceived English as a practical way to express myself, not as an emotional way to express my feelings. I understand everything that is been said but it doesn’t seem to make sense in my mind: no emotion or feeling is associated with the words.

The word “travel”, voyage in French reminds me of books I’ve read, overwhelming places I’ve been to. That word so often used by French poets has such an aura to it. It reminds me of my deception and realizations going through life – I don’t take it literally. Whereas the English equivalent is just a word, a word without connotation, without any memory attached to it.

French carries more emotional weight, nuances are more profound. My memories and feelings are all associated with French words. Every word has a connotation, an impact, words seem to flow, they have a greater emotional substance to them. I can only grasp my memories in French, despite the memories I’ve made whilst talking English.

In English, the weight of words does not count, they’re just words. They’re so easily said and there is no fear of upsetting anyone. They don’t have any subtlety or any implication. They don’t convey any sadness, warmth, melancholy.

This lack of meaning is probably why I write such personal stories in English, because they seem so far away, as if they didn’t exist. Like when you have a secret, but that secret is so secret that it just seems not to belong to you and it becomes easy to share. English for me is a secret, a mysterious secret, but it’s never really belonged to me. There is no fear of being judged.

There are emotions I can only understand in French, but only express in English. Because it is too frightening to share them in French. It is intimidating to perfectly express too many feelings, knowing I am revealing too much, but I don’t realize it. I could write the exact same thing in English or in French but it will convey a different meaning in both languages. Maybe I would not be able to be that honest in French. It would be the bravest language to write personal experiences. There is no lie to it. English seems like one big lie.

I guess it’s an easy escape here, easy to know I’ve always got English to express myself with brutal, sincere words.