Reality is ideal
—"Well, it's the time again, I must let you go now, thank you so much for a lovely afternoon."
—"My pleasure always. See you again, take care."
Smiling and waving, he sent away old friends who often come to the store. After a little bit of cleaning, it's time to go home.
I used to dream of a great job, but now I actually feel that running a small tea shop like this makes my life pretty good. No loss, no unwillingness.
Six years ago, I was a graduate student in Nanjing Institute of Physical Education. Since I was young, I have an inexplicable affection for the term "strong woman", so I always hope that I can enter society as soon as possible and gain a firm foothold. Therefore, during the semester, I found an English teaching assistant job at an English training institution, and worked overtime while rushing to rush the papers. Although it was hard, I was very busy.
I think my life path will continue along this trajectory. After ten or twenty years, maybe I can stand in front of the French windows of the tallest office buildings in first-tier cities and count my road of struggle.
Unconventional,Destiny made a joke with me, a sweet joke.Just like his name, Mark, a sign that changed the direction of my life.
▲ I can always laugh around Mark
Objectively speaking, my teaching assistantship at the time made me know many foreigners, but subjectively, I, who was still more traditional in thinking, never thought of associating with a foreigner. Because in the process of learning English, I naturally learned about Western culture. Although it is not systematic, this tip of the iceberg is enough to make me realize the difference between Chinese and Western culture.
However, the appearance of Mark changed everything.
He is a "not very authentic" Australian, who is particularly passionate about Chinese traditional culture, and his major is Chinese medicine. Therefore, he came to Nanjing Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine as an intern.
After we met, we staged a love story full of sour smell. Friends occasionally ask me curiously:
"How does it feel to be in love with a foreigner?"
"Do you want to get married in the future?"
"Is it going to immigrate after getting married? Still not coming back?"
And I replied categorically, "We will be fine."
On the one hand, I am also self-doubt, what the unknown road is like. How should two people from different hemispheres go on?
Good times will never stay for long.
Soon after, Mark ended his internship, returned to Australia, and successfully entered the University of Melbourne to continue his studies. During the period, I flew to Australia to visit him. Before that, I had no experience of going abroad, let alone seeing my parents. Everything was strange and novel, and small excitement and tension were intertwined.
However, when I really met, the long-distance reunion with Mark and the warm hospitality from his parents made me feel very warm. There is no Chinese-style formality to meet parents. And that visit also became the starting point of a new story. The relationship between Mark and I went further. We also began to seriously consider how to live together for a long time.
After all, such an off-season foreign relationship is really uncomfortable.
In 2012, after graduating from graduate school, I came to Melbourne again for our relationship and planned our wedding at the end of the year with Mark. On the other hand, Mark also began to apply for Australian husband and wife reunion immigration for me. The specific visa is class BC. subclass 100.
As my original tourist visa had the condition that it could not be renewed, we had to return to China to apply for my visa. We encountered many difficulties in the process.
First of all, we asked an Australian immigration lawyer to help me at the beginning of the compilation of the materials. She didn't seem to know the provisions very well. She thought that even if I was not in Australia, she could help me apply online.
In February 2013, she asked me to go to New Zealand, but when I arrived in New Zealand, she told us that it could not be operated. After tossing around for a while, I can only go back to China and wait in despair.
At this time, Mark resolutely gave up his studies at the University of Melbourne, and returned to Tianjin with me to apply for and wait for my visa. In order to make a living, he even found a job teaching English to supplement our family.
However, life in Tianjin was not smooth, and neither of us in the south fell in love with it. So, in June 2013, we returned to my hometown of Nanning, Guangxi, and held a wedding. Soon afterwards, Mark, whose visa expired, returned to Australia to wait for me.
▲ Wedding in Nanning's hometown
I was waiting for a visa in Tianjin alone. Because I missed Mark too much, I applied for a travel visa and went to Australia to visit him in October 2013.
In December 2013, my immigrant visa finally came down. I packed all my things, and formally said goodbye to the past, farewell to our hardships of gathering and separation, and happily came to Australia to live with Mark until now.
After coming to Australia, we also held a wedding again.
▲ Lion dance at Melbourne wedding
▲ Family reunion
✈ Find an immigration lawyer at the end of 2012
✈ February 2013 to New Zealand
✈ March 2013 Mark gave up his studies and returned to China to apply for a visa with me
✈ June 2013 Mark returned to Australia for the wedding in his hometown of Nanning, Guangxi
✈ October 2013 I went to Australia to visit Mark again
✈ December 2013 Get PR and go to Australia to find Mark♥ for reunion
The road to job hunting in Australia
After coming to Australia, because Mark worked in a Chinese medicine clinic in Canberra, we lived there at first.
However, after a few months, I couldn't find a job in Canberra, so I had to move back to Melbourne and live with Mark's parents.
In Melbourne, Mark changed a bank job; and I, because I did not have the experience of studying and working in Australia, it was very difficult to find a job, but to make a living, I had to go to a Chinese restaurant to work illegally, which was almost less than $10 per hour. It's half of the minimum wage, but if you don't work, you won't have any money.
I know in my heart that this situation will not last too long. Therefore, while working in a restaurant, I am also looking for other job opportunities. A few months later, I finally found a part-time job for 20 hours a week in an import and export company. Although it is not a formal job, it is better than illegal work.
In February 2014, out of my free time and personal hobbies, I had the idea of being a small vendor, and started to set up a stall at the Sunday flea market near my home, selling some pop-up cards and Fujian flower tea.
Four months later, I contactedPrahran Market-A market with a history of more than 150 years, submitted my application for a long-term stall. Fortunately, they passed my application, and I quit my job as an import and export company and restaurant to concentrate on being my vendor.
Maybe, this kind of work is really suitable for me. After working hard for a period of time, the business is getting better and better. Gradually, there are more and more regular customers, and my products are becoming more and more abundant.
After almost two years, by 2016, a shop in Prahran Market was vacant; I submitted my proposal to the marketing manager, explaining my idea of opening a small tea shop. Prahran Market accepted my application, so my life as a small vendor finally took to the next level and became a small shop owner.
▲ Mark and I worked together to paint the new store
Tea shop address: Shop 99, Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Road, South Yarra, Victoria
Online shop address: www.linmarktea.com
I have to say here that when I first started operating a tea shop, my expenses suddenly increased, and sometimes I was even struggling to make ends meet. Fortunately, Mark is very supportive of me, and his parents also give me financial support.
Now I finally got through it. Whenever I think of the hard-won happiness, I am especially grateful to them for their trust and help to me, and cherish all this even more.
Lin and Mark's little luck
Mark and I, from living in our parents' house at the beginning, to renting a house on our own, we had our own small home. The journey along the way was not as difficult as imagined, and of course it was not so easy.
Thinking of coming to Australia just after graduating from a graduate school, serving dishes in a Chinese restaurant and traveling around several cities, I finally settled down and grew a lot.
Now, my daily routine is to work 5 days a week, and the remaining day is with Mark, shopping for food and cooking, the other day belongs to me, I love to do sewing, make clothes at home, or organize my Small vegetable garden.
▲ At this time I am my own little designer
Mark’s other day is also his own. He will learn Chinese with his Chinese friends, and practice yoga. We are both husband and wife and friends, but also independent individuals. I find this kind of relationship easy.
▲ Mark who practices yoga is very good~
For the future, we don't expect much. However, I have recently started planning to have children and I am working hard (laughs).
When the heart is together, there is nothing to fear
Back to the topic, I actually feel lucky. Mark himself is very interested in Chinese culture. After 5 years of studying Chinese medicine, he started to learn Chinese after he met me.
For 6 years, he has been learning Chinese every day, and he will exchange language with Chinese friends on weekends. Now he is good at listening, speaking, reading and writing Chinese, and he understands Chinese traditional culture better, and our relationship will be much less incomprehensible.
▲ Mark who learned to write calligraphy
For example, when we decided to get married, his family thought it was the two of us’s own decisions, while my family thought it was a combination of the two families. Especially my parents are from rural areas in Guangxi, very traditional. My parents raised the issue of the bride price, and Mark found it inexplicable.
On the other hand, at the time, one of us was a student and the other had no job, so we couldn't get half a dime. But fortunately, my family and I worked hard to communicate. Although we had a big quarrel, in the end, my parents gave us blessings and no betrothal gifts. For parents who abide by traditions, it can be regarded as the biggest compromise for my happiness. .
For the current life in Australia, my happiest part is that although I am at the age of work, I am self-employed, without a boss, and I am free to go to work. Customers can call my name and sit down and chat with them. Drink tea, like a friend.
▲ Enjoy tea and chat with customers and friends
Sometimes when Chinese New Year is celebrated, they will give me gifts. I don't feel much pressure, I feel at ease, and I have a good life at home making clothes and growing vegetables.
For my family in China, because I am currently not naturalized, I go home to see my parents every year. To be honest, I actually think naturalization is too troublesome, and PR status is convenient enough.
▲ Mark, who went back to my hometown with me to celebrate the New Year
As for the management of marriage, because Mark is a particularly organized person, everything will be resolved step by step, and I prefer to settle down with the situation. Therefore, occasionally there will still be conflicts of ideas or clashes of different cultural customs from the two families.
But I believe that with the passage of time, we can definitely find a suitable solution, because our hearts are together.
Hometown is the land that nourishes our growth;
A foreign country is the sky that accepts our dreams.
Between the two, there is no good or bad, and there is no need to distinguish between them, but the story between the two is different for everyone. Recording every story can add a touch of life to the history of Chinese immigration.
If you want to know more stories about Chinese immigrants, please continue to pay attention...
Chinese Story No.1 | My foreign school is indeed lucky
Chinese Story No. 2 | If I were to choose again, I would not choose Australia
Chinese Story No.3 | I won’t panic even if I didn’t stand at the top of the pyramid
Chinese Story No.4 | Unwilling to be ordinary is my answer
Chinese Story No.5 | I have emigrated for 20 years, and I choose again, Australia is still my best choice
Chinese Story No.6 | A casual uncle decides to emigrate in one day, and he will not regret it after 17 years
Chinese Story No.7 | Take the kids to Australia, start a new life and find freedom
To be continued