Jul 032003
 

A short tale pertaining to people moving away.

“I’ve never been to Australia” is a common saying amongst my students. As sad as I feel that they have never experienced Australian hospitality or beer, it makes me think about the words that we use. More than I probably should.

  1. To exist actually, or in the world of fact; to have existence.
  2. To exist in a certain manner or relation.

What they are really saying is that they have never existed in Australia. Their essense, their soul has never travelled to the place known as Australia. Never. Not once, not now, not in the past and possibly not in the future.

  1. Not ever; not at any time; at no time, whether past, present, or future.
  2. In no degree; not in the least; not.

This strikes me as odd. To make such a strong, existentialist statement like this seems at odds with what I know. Surely if someone reads about Australia, watches a documentary, a film or anything that even conveys a notion of Australia then they must have existed there somehow. In some small way.

When I consider all the friends I left behind, and those going out to other places in the world, it is not as though we don’t have contact with each other anymore. We have email. We have the telephone. We have postal services. We still exist, and we stay in contact with each other. I have not disappeared. I still am.