Viliana Stefanov arrived in South Australia from Bulgaria on September 11, 2003. For Harmony Week, we asked Vili, an Assistant Accountant at Centacare, for her early memories of the city she now calls home.
I quite clearly remember that day. It was a cold, gloomy and windy Thursday. We didn’t know then how chilly those early spring Adelaide days could be.
Having been on the road and in the air for 38 hours, my husband and I were more than ready to start our descent into that then new, exciting world.
Looking through the small passenger windows, I could not comprehend how any sea could have all these shades, from lead grey to light emerald green, and those white beaches …
My thoughts drifted away to the practicality of this new adventure: Would we be able to find a rental property; would we understand a word of this so-called English; would we be able to find a job? But mostly could we make it our place and be happy?
The last question, I still cannot answer without hesitation. We could always go back if it didn’t work, of course.
My first encounters and impressions were of the landscape. How could any sand be so fine and so white, finer and whiter than flour?
How could parrots be so loud and flying freely everywhere? I had seen them only in a zoo.
My first time shopping for groceries: Did the cashier really want to know how I was? Do I have to elaborate?
And Vegemite! I had a full tablespoon, thinking it was a kind of jam. Never tried it again!
A few weeks later, there I was, standing in the middle of the living room of our tiny two-bedroom unit, with our only two suitcases, as this was all we had brought.
I will never forget how we got our first bed – or rather mattress – TV unit, sofa, and iron. Thank goodness for the hard rubbish day, which luckily, was on the day we moved in!
I know, all beginnings are hard, this was ours.
We have returned home and come back to our new home a few times now. Still, I can’t rid the feeling that I belong nowhere and everywhere at the same time.
But I know I can adapt, find new friends, make a living, achieve and succeed. And that’s a good feeling.