“The idea of moving overseas was at the back of my mind for a lot longer than when I thought about it consciously. Coming from Sri Lanka and having a keen interest in Arts, I had always weighed my options in sustaining a balanced life. I had been to Australia four times before, and I decided on moving permanently. I had explored Melbourne and seen how that city thrives on Art culture. It was a great fit to pursue my passion whilst securing an academic degree.
My hardships as an international student were slightly less because of my language. We often conversed in English back home, which turned out to be a blessing. It allowed me to form connections and not be afraid of it. I did juggle with travel sometimes. My Uni used to be in the city, and I only had classes in the evening. It used to start at 6pm and finish at 9pm. But if I didn’t catch the 8:30pm train, I’d miss the bus to my suburb. It resulted in plenty of sleeping done in the Uni, under a bench mostly. I looked at it as an opportunity to work over my projects. On days when it felt too much, I’d remind myself about a life I was trying to create by being here that I wouldn’t have gained from being elsewhere.
Later on, I started working 40-hour-a-week as a bartender to pay my bills and brushed up my Art career. I would fondly remember how I sold my first official Artwork for 300$. Australia gave me the independence to work without a safety net, marking my path. I figured out how to do life in a new country together.
After meeting my partner in Australia, we moved to a different suburb closer to her office while I was still working in the city. It was a 1-hour and 30minutes ride to work every day. I would observe things around me, and one day I started noting them down into the taglines that I felt an immigrant could relate to. I would then think of illustrations around them, and that is how I developed the idea of my first book ‘What to expect when you’re immigrating.’ I wanted to address the issues that could act as roadblocks in your new journey and get them out of the way. Moving abroad is not a carnival ride. But you’ve come a long way. It’d be sad if you didn’t undergo the adventures the country has to offer.”
Nash’s funny, insightful debut book #WhattoExpectWhenYoureImmigrating is out now from @affirmpress!