First Chinese New Year as Australians

( ) Updated: 2014-02-07 10:10:38
First Chinese New Year as Australians

Lujia Zhang and her husband Dong Liu celebrate their first Chinese new year in Australia. [Photo/] 


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"Honestly, we didn't know Australia very well when we were in China, but I like somewhere warm, with beautiful animals, plants and environment - and that's why I chose Australia," says Lujia Zhang.

Four years ago, she and her husband Dong Liu made the move from the bustling industrial hub of Shenyang, in north eastern China, to the quiet leafy suburbs of Orange in central western New South Wales.

When Dong was offered work as a design engineer at the local white goods factory, they couldn’t resist the opportunity to sample life in a country town where they found delight in the spacious, natural surroundings.

"I think we will do our best to protect this nature and enjoy it," says Dong.

Immediately, the couple felt welcomed in their new community and soon set up a house and got a dog, a black-and-white border collie they later named Piano.

They loved the Australian lifestyle and the opportunities it offered, so it seemed the next thing to do was to become citizens.

This year, Lujia and Dong formally received their citizenship at their local Australia Day celebrations. However, it wasn't the easiest decision to begin with as it meant having to let go of their Chinese citizenship.

This was a big thing to consider. Since both of them were the only child of their families, neither of them have siblings to care for their parents back home.

"Becoming Australian citizens means we have to apply for a Chinese visa, then we can travel back to China. But with a travelling visa we can stay in China for only three months," says Dong.

"Our parents are getting older and older, so probably some day they will become sick. But, if that happens, that will be very hard for us and we will worry about them a lot, so I think that's the most difficult part for us."

A piano and vocal teacher, Lujia has been fortunate to find work at the regional conservatorium in Orange.

Although she finds it challenging to teach using the English language, she enjoys the experience and has taken the opportunity to introduce her students to songs written by Chinese, Korean and Japanese composers.

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