SNIPPETS OF LIFE IN SYDNEY: Speech days and nostalgia. By Eleanor Trinchera

While waiting for the program to start, I managed to start conversation with the two mothers seated on my left and right. We are all Asians and I recognised them because Noellin would talk about their children. Anyway, we discussed how our children were progressing and how at that age, they all have no idea what they were going to take when they get to University.

The program started with the School Principal acknowledging the traditional owners of the land, which are the Eora People. I can not understand what happened to me, but I cannot help but become teary eyed as Mrs Knott was telling everyone that before the buildings were established and before we all stood on that ground, the land was home to the Aboriginal People. I guess, I was overwhelmed by the fact that
the Principal who represents St. George Girls High School recognizes the Aboriginal existence. This is a practice which is being done throughout the State and probably throughout the country in honour of the Aborigines.

In addition, it has affirmed my belief that somehow, we have made the right decision to allow her to study in this school. We had two options, one was to let her go to a Catholic High School or let her attend a State Selective School. Parents face difficult decisions where to send their children.

All throughout the speech where the Principal was telling everyone about the values that the school stands for, I was trying to hold back my tears.

I told Noellin later, that I felt so silly sitting there holding back my tears. I just had to look out front so no one will notice what I was going through. I can now understand how my parents felt when it was their turn to sit and watch the proceedings on stage.

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It is only a few hours before we set off for our journey back home. We wonder what awaits us. How is it going to be like for us this time? All I know is I have a reunion to go to once I get back to Kidapawan. Friends in Manila have been asking me to inform them when I get to Manila so we can all meet.

On the other hand, I have to think about the partners I will be visiting in Zambales, Manila and Davao to monitor the projects our agency is supporting. That's mixing business with pleasure.

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It's that time of the year again when Sydney or probably the whole of Australia winds down. School holidays have started for some, people are heading off everywhere for their break.

Some Australians are waiting to see how the new Government will handle the country. Politicians are also taking their Christmas break and will sit sometime in the third week of January 2008. Interesting times ahead.

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Well, this is all for now. I would like to wish all the MindaNews readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May we all have a peaceful New Year.

(Mindanawon Abroad is MindaNews' effort to link up with Mindanawons overseas who would like to share their experiences in their adopted countries. Eleanor M. Trinchera of Kidapawan City is a resident of Sydney and is now working with a non-government organization.)