Academic journal article Hecate

Australia

Academic journal article Hecate

Australia

Article excerpt

Sometime I sit down and think that such a different life I lead. Back then when we arrive in Australia, I was dress in our cultural clothes. No skin showing except the face and hands. Ladies not allowed to cut the hair. Got to do the hair in certain way and cover with the scarf. Unmarried girls always one plait down the back, not allowed to parted hair. Married women and widows, they part your hair in two plaits and you put them up - wrap plaits around back of head, tie in a kerchief and put scarf over. As a girls we was allowed to tie the scarf at the back, but married ladies, it's gotta be tied under the chin. So ugly! And front of hair got to be totally covered. Not allowed to brush the hair in front of the man. It got to be your like your secret - man not allowed to see. I remember once in our Russian community in China girls took off scarf for photos, but they got told and told at Church for that. Men not allowed to shave. No-one supposed to smoke or drink. I was feel different from Australian, I was look different, I was live different. Sucha big change to come out of our Old Believers' culture, out of our country, to different life. Our clothes is change, looks change, and feelings change.

On a way to Australia we been told that you walking in Australia stretch one hand to reach up for fruit, papaws or bananas, and monkeys will be sit on the other side and stretch they hands for fruit. We thought that was very exciting that monkeys everywhere. And the crocodiles everywhere. I remember we was terrified over one thing. Never heard of scorpions and way we been explained about the scorpion, that how careful you have to be if a scorpion climb over you, it will kill you. That was very frightening to me. But there was nothing like that. The scorpion not everywhere. Some on papaw farm. They even run over my leg, but you don't touch them, they won't touch you.

It was very exciting. We got on train in Sydney and we travel to Brisbane. When we come to Brisbane we have to wait for change train. It's already been organised for us. Somebody meet us in Brisbane and take us home so we can have a shower, a meal, and have a rest. When we stay with these people for half a day it was feel like explosing come into our family and push us all by the side.

They told us: 'It's not good idea going to Gladstone. It's very boring place and very boring people.' Now that we in Australia, we adult children sort of start to feel freedom. If mum and dad wanted to go and stay with our sponsor and hold onto they Old Believers that's okay, but we shouldn't have to. The people in Brisbane was promising to help us to stay in Brisbane and find job and start new life. But we thought we have to obey the parents and stay in one bundle. For the first time we have the family discussion and very ugly fight, but we gotted together and we left to Gladstone by train.

Typical me, I have made for me beautiful dress in Hong Kong. It was apricot colour and chiffon and been done by professional person. I put this dress on after shower for trip from Brisbane to Gladstone. When we got on train, I wouldn't let nobody sit near me and touch my dress - not my brother or sisters. By the morning I discover I was sleep under the chair on floor of train. My family laugh at me on the morning in my dress. I was feel like totally bitch.

Soon as daylight start we was peeping out of windows - try to see the monkeys and crocodiles. It was just terrible depressing train. It was noisy, untidy, rattle. The railway track was very unclean and simple compare China. Feel like a joke - that train just running through a grass instead on a track. In China, train tracks were beautiful, you couldn't hear a noise when you on train and the railway was very high and about six feet on each side covered in gravel, really clean and tidy.

Anyway, three of us sisters, we was peeping out of window, talking about crocodiles. All we saw in one area is dog running around and we was talk Russian: 'Look at that dog, look at that dog. …

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