Mourning, celebrating the passage of time, my first born graduates



“Being an international student is difficult, let me tell you,” the student begins. It’s hard enough to study in your language, she says, let alone a foreign language.

“I couldn’t prove using vectors if I don’t know what the rhombus looks like or if I don’t know the ‘author’s intention’ if I don’t even know what the book is about, or compare the melting point of two compounds when I don’t even understand what polar and nonpolar mean.

She thanks the teachers who gave up their free time until she understands. She thanks the classmates who stood by her side.

“Finally, I want to sincerely thank my parents in Vietnam… who are watching through a phone screen. It has been two years since I last met my father “- his voice breaks -” because of the pandemic, she says.

“The system between two countries has prevented me and him from embracing each other … Despite the difficulties, my parents are still my best companions … sacrificing their time and happiness to earn money so that I can receive the best. education.

“As my parents do not fully understand English, allow me to say a few words to them in Vietnamese…”

As she tearfully conveys these words to her absent parents, the rest of us are gone. Party in my living room, party – I learn later – in the auditorium of the school. And I’m still sobbing uncontrollably as awards are given to students who worked on the school’s musical that never saw the light of day, as a girl duet softly sings “I Say A Little Prayer “, while a boy performs a virtuoso piano solo by Doctor Gradus ad Parnassum by Claude Debussy, Children’s Corner suite, in the modest room of this banal public school.

And at the end of the event, we pick up our daughter and reunite with half a dozen other grade 12 families and their children at the nearby Greek Tavern, where the owners lie down for the banquet and the love. “I’m telling you, the last few months we’ve been hanging on,” Perry says of the decades-old local.


And not all families know each other, but that’s okay because we wear our hearts on our sleeves because our kids are wearing their uniforms for the last time. “It doesn’t sound real,” we say to ourselves, trembling voices. And we are talking about summer projects and our children’s projects – a girl wants to be a midwife.

And we cut a cake, and our kids are blowing out candles to officially mark the first day of their lives, and we might have started breaking plates, but even Perry – “we’re all socialists in this family” – a his limits . “We’re closing,” he laughs, and it seems like an eternity from the last time I lingered in a place until it closed.

And on the night that we go, into the future we stumble, weeping and celebrating the passage of time, knowing that in a few hours Melbourne will come back to life more vividly, as if it had been born again.


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