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Bridging Shores

September 4, 2023

Aisha Rahman

Malar’s eyes welled up with tears as she stood at the edge of the Yarra River in Melbourne. The sun was setting, painting the sky in hues of orange and pink, but her thoughts travelled back to her hometown of Batticaloa, Sri Lanka. It had been years since she left her beloved coastal town, seeking a better life in Australia.

In her thirties, Malar had come a long way from the timid girl she once was. She had faced numerous challenges as a Tamil migrant in a foreign land but also found strength within herself that she never knew existed.

Malar’s journey to Melbourne had not been an easy one. Leaving behind her family and friends had been heart-wrenching, but she was determined to create a life where she could escape the shadows of a long-drawn civil war and find peace. She had arrived in Australia with hope in her heart and a longing to embrace the opportunities this new land had to offer.

As the days turned into months, Malar discovered the multicultural beauty of Melbourne. It was a city that celebrated diversity, and she found comfort in the presence of other Tamil expatriates who had also made it their home. Malar quickly adapted to the Australian way of life, immersing herself in the culture and making friends who soon became her second family.

Her journey to integration wasn’t without its share of challenges. The initial language barrier made it difficult for her to communicate effectively, but she was determined to learn English, and with perseverance, she became fluent. This opened up new doors for her professionally and socially, as she found a job and made even more friends from different walks of life.

As the years passed, Malar’s nostalgia for Batticaloa never faded, but she had grown to appreciate the opportunities Melbourne had offered her. She had learned to balance the past and the present, cherishing her memories while embracing her new life.

One evening, while sitting by the Yarra River, Malar received a video call from her family back in Batticaloa. Their faces lit up the screen as they excitedly shared the news of a family gathering back home. Malar felt a surge of emotion as she saw her loved ones come together, but she also realised how grateful she was for the life she had built in Melbourne.

With a smile on her face and tears of joy in her eyes, Malar knew she was blessed to have two homes: one that held her roots and the other that gave her wings to fly. She vowed to continue honouring her Tamil heritage while embracing the multicultural spirit of Melbourne.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, Malar whispered a silent thank you to the universe for guiding her on this journey of self-discovery. With hope in her heart and memories in her pocket, she walked away from the Yarra River, ready to face whatever the future held, knowing she was a Tamil migrant who had found her place in Melbourne.