Interview by Jordan White
Feature image by Georgia Ristivojevic
Bachelor of Journalism and Professional Writing, Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing and Literature)
I was born in Ethiopia. I moved to Australia when I was nine months old. I went back to Ethiopia when I was three. I haven’t been back since. I went to Canada and Alaska on my 18th birthday. I went to Cambodia a few months later to do—what do you call it—I was working in hospitals and such, like community work. And then I went into Asia a year later with my best mate. We went to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia again. And then I went to Peru about a year ago now. When I was in Japan, I was probably there longer than anywhere else. It feels more homely, I guess. It felt like the safest place I’ve been, ever.
Now it’s winter, I will look out my window, and it’s always raining and I’m like ‘that kind of reminds me of Tokyo,’ because I lived in Tokyo for four weeks. That was the first time I saw snow, and the first time I’ve properly lived out of home. I was a bit more independent. Japan is really important to me because it was a bit of a step. It was my first time backpacking, my first time doing a lot of stuff. Also, I made a great bunch of contacts and friends who are also into writing and creative works. I was working with Global Hobo, which is cool.
My best mate just moved to Geelong, so I want to go there and hang out with him for a bit. When talking about proper travel, I’ve always wanted to go to Jordan and Egypt. Because you know, everyone goes through their Egyptology phase when they’re a kid. Also, one of my favourite movies is Indiana Jones and they shot a lot of that in Jordan so, why not!
We’re always really open with each other. One of my favourite parts of my friend group is that they don’t really hold back, and not in a bad way. Like, you can be as real as possible around them and it’s a really friendly environment. One of my best friends, she studies psychology and she runs this little mental health blog, Embrace The Mess, by the way, if I’m going to plug anything. It’s streams of consciousness and thoughts, and being active about how you’re feeling and stuff. That’s always empowering. It’s always great to talk about how you’re feeling.
I’ve never worried about my mental health because I know that I can open up to people. It’s been hard for some people, I know. But the more you branch out, and connect with others outside of school, and become more of the person you’re meant to be, the more comfortable you will be being able to express yourself.
I like being able to hang out with myself sometimes. Like I said, talking to my friends about stuff, that is super healthy. But sometimes I just need time for myself. I’ll go for a long hike for a day, or go to the park and read a book, or listen to music.
My favourite things? I went through this phase when I was a kid when I read a lot, like my room is basically a library now. After that, I had eye surgery so I couldn’t read for a little bit, so I started getting into music. After music, I got into film. One of my favourite books is probably Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, a big reason why I’m interested in journalism, because of how crazy you can make it. I’m always finding new music. One of my favourite performers is Bon Iver, who I got to see live in Tokyo, which was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.
I really love rom coms, actually. But not like weird Matthew McConoughey early 2000s movies, but like proper rom coms. Like 500 Days of Summer or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, things like that. I think film or art, in general, is about the human condition. And the best way you can find out about the human condition is through romance and how people develop through that.
What influences me? A lot of the time I like writing after I’ve travelled. Because obviously if you’ve been in another world for a while, that gives you inspiration.
Well. My thoughts are pretty—pardon the pun—but they’re pretty black and white. I can’t really think anything more to it; it’s pretty straightforward because it is my life. It’s also my life that I’m having to protest for, actually. So, when I think about BLM, like when I was saying to my friend the other day, I’m not sure exactly where I belong in this argument. I’m not African-American, I’m Australian, but I’m not Indigenous. So, what am I fighting for? It’s pretty rough. I was saying to a friend the other day, you know, I didn’t realise how much this affects me. But I can’t help but think about the cycle of racism that has filtered through my life.
What I have experienced here, is people saying racist things and not realising they’re racist. They’re just being stubborn, or not educated. It’s not like people are going out of their way to be a horrible person, which isn’t to say that hasn’t happened, but a lot of the times it’s not realising how racist they’re sounding.
Don’t say ‘I understand’ because you don’t. You can say ‘I don’t understand, but I will help.’ It’s just knowing what is right, and what’s wrong, and doing something about it. Rather than just sitting there on the sidelines.
Love. Pretty much. That’s cheesy, but I always love watching the movie Love Actually. Like I said, I love rom coms! But how love actually is everywhere. That’s what gives me hope. The majority of things in life aren’t pushed by hate. They’re pushed by love. And even if it’s a bad thing which is being pushed, at least they’re pushing it because they love something or are passionate about something. Rather than ‘I hate that person so I’m going to be like that, it’s I love that thing so I’m going to be like that.’
Anything else? On which topic? Umm… It’s nice to be alive!
This piece was originally published in Edition 35 of Verse. View it in its original PDF form via ISSUU.