Another sunny day in Sydney, which I have to start by saying that I think I saw a whale this morning. A big splash in the sea followed by two sprays of water which looked as though they came from a blow hole. So I didn’t see the whale, but I am sure that’s what it was. Especially since a boat when chasing off after the sprays of water. So that is one ambition met. The other happened yesterday.

I was in Canberra on Monday to meet with exchange students and to see a friend. I decided to get the train back, something which most people derided. Why would you get the train when you could fly or the bus (ugh). Anyway, the train it was. $39 seemed reasonable and I wanted to relax. Something impossible at the airport. The journey was spectacular. A slow ride through the NSW bush. A great opportunity to see flocks of galahs, cockatoos and crimson rosellas. I also spied a mob of 4 ‘roos hopping through the bush. I must have made an involuntary noise as the man on the other side of the aisle laughed at me. I later saw one ‘roo having a late lunch. My third visit to Australia and I finally get to see kangaroos in the wild, hopping along. I am pretty sure they were grey kangaroos

It felt like ‘real Australia’ – although it was sad to see how much of the bush has been destroyed for grazing land.

My interviews have started again today – five more to do before I return home next week. A few new things are starting to emerge. For many migrants, a ready made community is important. This could be surfing, sailing or church. Being involved in these activities seems to help migrants ‘settle’ in socially to Australia and New Zealand. Without these the process of making new friends seems difficult if not impossible. I can empathise with that – my involvement in feminism has helped me make friends in new cities – it’s a group of people who I share an outlook and an interest with. Even my few days in New Zealand were joyous through meeting fabulous feminists. Making friends is important at any age, and I think harder for those who are older (i.e. not university students getting drunk in the SU and living in shared flats!).

I’ve started to notice white male academics presenting the academy as a meritocracy. Promotion is something they see as straight forward and achieve through a process which has clarity. Not one of the women or ethnic minority men I have interviewed have expressed this sentiment about academic promotions practices.

Life at HWU is starting to kick in – dissertations and teaching all being discussed. The return is imminent…

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