3 years in Melbourne: Shift of mindset

third year living in melbourne

The start of this year has been a whirlwind of crazy events.

First, the bushfire that hit Australia’s regional areas.

Second, a week before we flew to the Philippines, something happened. The Taal Volcano spewed ashfalls and people anticipated for an eruption.

Then, third. Came the coronavirus news. If I remember correctly, I first heard of it when we were already in the Philippines. But still, we went to shopping malls, ate at restaurants, and wore masks half the time especially at airports.

But hey, we’re now back to Melbourne and to our reality.

During our vacation, someone asked me: what if we have a good job (or high income) in Philippines, would I still want to keep living in Australia? Hmm, that caught me off guard. To make things simple, I just answered that I’ll stay in the Philippines. Three years on and I still can’t formulate an exactly accurate response to the most inevitable question: Why did we migrate to Australia?

Well, my response was still true. I want to stay in the Philippines. It’s my motherland, my family and friends are there, and it’s my home. But after three years of living in Australia, my mindset has shifted a bit. In what terms? Hmmm, let me start with:

The traffic in the Philippines is worse

New skyscrapers and innovations everywhere, but no new roads being built. And what does that mean? Traffic. Traffic. Traffic. Plus, you have the general mentality when driving: You should get ahead always or you’ll be overtaken. It seems that the only road regulation being actually followed is the traffic lights. Other than that is chaos. Everyone always wants to dominate the roads. Pedestrian lanes are almost scarce, people cross anywhere. And even if you are crossing via the pedestrian lanes, drivers won’t stop for you.

It’s scary. The road laws and regulations have become mere suggestions. And no one gets penalized for violating them.

When does it get better?

Healthcare workers go abroad due to being underpaid

The Philippines is rich. Not in terms of money, but in natural resources and of course, the people. There’s no shortage of smart, talented, and work-oriented people. And let’s focus on the people working in the healthcare system. Hospital bills are skyrocket expensive, but why are healthcare workers so underpaid? Where does the money go? But the valuable question is, where does the smart, talented, and work-oriented people go? They go abroad looking for opportunities and decent incomes! It is sad. What does that come down to? A crappy healthcare system.

Look I am not being political here. I’m not criticizing. I believe that a country is its people. I guess we Filipinos have yet to learn a lot about how to solve the problems actually affecting lives.

You might think I’m running for an office due to my rant. Haha!

In addition to that, healthcare is free for everyone in Australia; you can get private insurance if you want but almost unnecessary. In the Philippines, only those who can afford or are rich have access to decent healthcare.

What else? How about employment and distributed wealth?

Why is it that huge gigantic condominiums and new land estates abound, but only a few can afford them? Who can afford them you ask? Those who work abroad, or those who have managerial jobs, or those who are freaking rich. The employment rate is statistically well, but the prices of commodities are high. I think the wage is off the balance here. I daresay an ordinary Filipino worker is underpaid in his own country. What is the root of the problem? Corruption. Here I go again with my political views. Haha! The current president is doing efforts in this department, but why are the results seem futile? Well, it’s because of some big bucks bosses. Ironically, they say they’re the good guys.

Purchasing power! That’s what comes to my mind. A recent survey showed that Manila is one of the worse cities to live due to pollution and low purchasing power. I’ll look for the link to that survey when I’m not busy. Haha!


The baby is waking up now so I’d leave this for you to Google. Smiley face.

And this department is quite troubled waters. Australia has some of the best universities in the world. And public education is free!

On another note, some education programs are dodgy such as the controversial Safe Schools.

So go back or stay?

In terms of being close to family and friends, yes I’d like to stay in the Philippines. In addition to that, the country though developing, is very rich in happiness and optimism. People are full of hope. And our favorite holiday Christmas is the happiest time of the year. I wish my kids will have the same sentiments. And I love the food! I think we have the best mangoes in the world.

But in terms of the technicalities of raising a family, Australia.

I’m not sure what got into me that this post became unusually long. I was supposed to only give a recap of our 3 years in Melbourne. Well, I guess this is part of the shift of mindset. Haha! Either this is caused by living in Melbourne or simply getting old.

For a recap though, in 3 years, we’ve had a new baby. Our eldest started kindergarten. We’re thankful for each blessing that God gives us. We have roof on our heads, food on our table, and clothes on our bodies (especially on winters). The Lord provides!

It didn’t all come easy though. When we first arrived, we had to adjust to a new weather and lack of social network. We knew no one, had no family and friends here. And when I had two kids to tend to, I struggled with postpartum depression. Prayers were my only weapon.

I think things are getting better now. Of course, some things are still uncertain. But we have faith and hope. It will all fall into place.

Now I’ll end this post.

About Author

Cathy is a busy-bee homemaker who blogs on the side. Introvert, tea-lover, and rigidly frugal, she can wrap you words as long as her little tots are sleeping and not all over her just yet.