Today is a stormy day in Sydney. The train T2 that brings me from the suburb approaches the Sydney Central station, with some curvy decorations, farther away are some old brick buildings juxtaposing more modern ones with glass surfaces. The gray cloudy sky makes the buildings grayer and more...European.
Yes it is the European atmosphere that I somehow miss since my arrival in Sydney a few days ago. Not only in the Asian community areas where I live, houses and buildings in Sydney suburb look not at all European, even less than houses in North America. They are rather bungalows mingling all kinds of styles. We can see Asian trees like coconut or papaya trees, or some lion sculptures with Chinese red and yellow stickers in the front, or some kind of Greek porches, or Libanese decorations. Many houses are in brick but some of them in fibro walls that look a bit temporary. Not those sturdy ones with double glazed windows for the European cold winters. The fences are also very Vietnamese, they are in metallic, sometimes even inox, not in bricks or rocks covered with moulds and ancient of hundreds of years like in England.
We can see from the outside of these houses clear signs of a multicultural society, and the Asian traits are well presented. It is a bit striking but very true: a developed and democratic country can also be Asian geographically (not completely in case of Australia any way) and bear all the Asian traits from human to housing to weather and flora and fauna.
Although it sounds so funny, missing the European atmosphere is the opposite of my everyday problem living abroad: missing the Vietnamese, from culture to language.
Professional life living abroad obliges the use of another language than Vietnamese. But unless you are born or come abroad at very young age, we all attach sentimentally to Vietnamese as a language. English to some extent can only reply to the professional request but can't express all our sentimental demands. If we use English to the extremis many weeks we will feel a bit hollow in ourselves, at least it is my case.
Some of the photos are taken near Opera house when we came across some English who share with me very much the striking feeling of the “missing European” when they visit Australia.