What better way to conclude our Australian adventure this month than hearing from a real Aussie from Down Under? I would like to introduce my new friend from the blogging world, Anusha Atukorala, who gives us fascinating insight into her country. Enjoy! ~ Karen
By Anusha Atukorala
On the 19th of January 1999, my husband, our eight-year-old son and I landed in a strange new country, 3655 nautical miles from home. We had left our beautiful small war-torn island of Sri Lanka because life amidst bombs, conflict, and bloodshed was so uncertain. Was I excited? Yes. And YES again. Was Australia the land of milk and honey? We didn’t know. But as I stepped off that plane, the fresh, cool air of Adelaide enveloped me, and my heart beat faster with glad anticipation. We had arrived.
Today, seventeen years, four months and 11 days later, I look back in wonder. What a journey! Not without difficulties and disenchantment as most journeys entail, but one also filled with beauty, awe, and joy. What has Australia taught me and brought me? What has it fed me and made me? Like the shimmering faces of a sparkling diamond, our experiences in this God-breathed Land Down Under have been multi-faceted and precious.
I’ve enjoyed the wide open spaces of Australia and its winding country roads; I’ve reveled in its skies, filled with a million glittering stars—silver dust sprinkled on a black velvet cape. The Southern Cross winks at me; Alpha and Beta Centauri point the way to the South Pole. Orion salutes me, twinkling across the night sky. The laugh of the Kookaburra is as lyrical to my ears as the happy screech of parrots and galah birds. Red earth and dry ground are striking landscapes of the unique Aussie outback.
I don’t like vegemite and don’t think I ever will. And Aussie slang takes a little getting used to, but I do love it when my rellies visit me, and I serve them veggies cooked on the barbie. And oh, how I thrill to the koalas and the kangaroos, the emus and the echidnas. The vast white, sandy beaches of Aussie-land are among my favourite haunts—each with its unique stamp. The myriad tall gum trees that sway in balmy breezes and flaunt their glistening leaves are my friends. I thrive on the other kind of mate-ship too in this exotic land where everyone stands equal—no tall poppies here. Australians are a friendly people always ready to greet you with ‘G’day Mate’ that’s pleasing to the ears, even if it might sound more like ‘Goodai Mite’.
Why do I call Australia home? Because it crept into my heart the day I walked in and has taken root within me. This heart-warming country-continent is my home away from home. Or perhaps … it is my home now and Sri Lanka’s my home away from home? I’m never sure which is which. When I visit Sri Lanka, I catch up elatedly with family and friends, enjoying scrumptious food, sipping of its tropical beauty, exulting in the land of my birth. But when it’s time to head back, I’m not sad for too long because the lucky country beckons and I return, ready to plant my feet firmly on its soil, content to be home.
The truth is that what makes a country a home is not just its places but its faces. Australia is diverse–a land of many cultures. I’ve made numerous close friends here—my mates who warm my heart and soul. And here’s something you may not know: Over 400 years ago, on the 14th of May 1606, a Portuguese navigator de Quiros, explored the South Pacific, spotted land and believed it was Australia. He declared it to be ‘Terra Australis Del Spirito Santo’, The Great South Land of the Holy Spirit. Yes, there are many reasons I call Australia home, not least the presence of our God in this beautiful sun-drenched land and my journey with Him.
Complete the prompt below for an entry in our blogaversary drawing! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.
Writing prompts: Choose 1 or 2 or 3 or even 4 and … ENJOY!
- Home is where the heart is. Does it resonate with you? Write about it.
- Imagine a special assignment: To take a trip to the Land Down Under and live there for a year. What are your thoughts and your hopes? Your dreams? Your fears? Your response? Which city would you choose and what would you do?
- Who are the people who make your country your home for you? Write a letter of thanks to one of them. Craft a story including several of your favourite people.
- Finally… a few pictures from Australia. Write a story based on one of them.
Anusha has always been fascinated with the English language; scribbling poems and stories when little; composing songs in her teen years; and sending off reams of emails into cyberspace, when she gleefully stepped into the cyber age! Anusha is passionate about many things – Jesus, love, life, family, friendship,music and the beauty of Creation, to name a few. Her first book, Enjoying the Journey’, is a collection of 75 little stories centred on God’s reality in her life. Anusha has had stories published in 12 Anthologies. She lives and loves to share God’s amazing love with the world. She’s deeply blessed to have two places she calls home; the beautiful little island of Sri Lanka and Adelaide, Australia where she and her family reside; well perhaps three homes—since our Father God’s heart is her first and best resting place.
Website: Dancing in the Rain: http://anusha-atukorala.webnode.com/