Warming the heart, feeling connected

It’s now time to experience a different Brazil. One that reminds me of Australia. Not in terms of culture, politics or society, but in terms of the senses.

When I go out for a walk in the morning, there’s this particular spot in the bush near my place where there’s a gumtree. The earlier I go, the stronger the fragrance, and it feels like I’m walking around some parts of Adelaide. (Fun fact: In 1914, Brazilian botanist Navarro de Andrade brought 144 species of gumtrees to Brazil from Australia – there’s even an “Eucalyptus Museum” in the town where I grew up!)

The cicadas singing all around take me straight back to Mangrove Mountain and the ashram that was part of my life for so many years. The sound of the cicadas there was deafening and intense during summer, and they’re just starting to sing now in Brazil. This video below was recorded on 31 December 2017 at the ashram (not a great video, but the point is the noise you hear. I even say something in Portuguese along the lines of ‘I’m just arriving here and the cicadas are singing’ but we can’t barely hear my voice because the cicadas are so loud). (Side note: It was a great practice to do our yoga/meditation sadhana when the cicadas were singing so loudly – to learn to withdraw from listening to the outside world and go within.)

Arriving at the ashram

Another sound that takes me back to Australia, particularly to Manly Beach, is the sound of a helicopter hovering in the sky on a warm, sunny morning. I can almost feel my body lying down on the sand at North Steyne, contemplating the ocean, the calm, and hearing the helicopter, possibly taking people on a tour to see Sydney from above. (In Brazil the helicopters are the military police, but let’s just not focus on the reason why they’re taking to the sky…)

Now to the sense of sight. The suburb where I’m living in is very green – lots of trees, some bush and a creek. Such a green environment is so reminiscent of my life Down Under. I look around and the sight of trees and wildlife (loads of birds, including beautiful green parakeets, and lizards) simply reminds me of my connection with something bigger, which I used to feel whenever I was in nature in Australia. Both my dad and uncle when went to Australia to visit me, made comments about the Australian landscape and green areas reminding them of our Brazilian countryside.

What I’m finding interesting is that I had never had a strong awareness of the cicadas, helicopters, fragrance from the trees, the green, the wildlife etc. while visiting or living in Brazil. I don’t think I had ever connected my senses to my Brazilian experience. Now there’s not only an awareness, but there’s also acceptance, and I marvel at the idea that I can link both countries (or the memories and experiences of them) through my senses. It’s heartwarming, and I feel connected.

Clearing

I’ve finally received an email from my lawyer after they reviewed all of my visa documents which were released under the FOI. Basically in a nutshell, I didn’t meet the ‘work in South Australia’ requirements because (one of the reasons was that) the majority of my work/clients were located outside SA (some in other Australian states, some overseas, only few in SA). Plus a very important document was not provided to Immi SA – a spreadsheet with my work breakdown, which I took a week to produce (a full-time effort by the way!). This means that the Department didn’t commit any mistakes in assessing my application.

While reading the three page review, I felt angry, I felt misled. I now feel that the visa I was going for was the wrong visa for me after all, given that I do translate for clients worldwide – and the migration agent was aware of that – and apparently it’s clear that the employer(s) should be based in SA, so I feel misled and silly for having spent so much time and energy preparing for and stressing on a visa I didn’t even meet the requirements of.

There’s part of me that feels relieved of the guilt though, and a heavy weight has now been lifted from my heart. The feeling of guilt hunted me from time to time. Once in a while, I’d blame myself for not having worked harder, for not having chased another job/career that could’ve led me to the PR, for keeping sticking with being a translator that will probably take me nowhere near my dream – I even doubted if I was a good translator. Nevertheless, I’m convinced now that there was nothing wrong done on my part. The state nomination being refused wasn’t my fault, and sadly I chose the wrong migration agent to assist me in one of the most important endeavours of my life. Also sad and frustrating that even though I’ve contributed a lot to Australia, I’ve done all my education there, I’ve obtained all my qualifications there, I’m well known in my field within the country, there is no pathway to residency that suits my profile, skills and qualifications.

What a journey, dear ones! So simple yet so complex. Adelaide still feels like home to me; let’s see how things will plan out moving forward.