Ximena migrated to Australia in 2003. She looks back at the friendships she left behind in Buenos Aires.
XIMENA SILBERMAN: My name is Ximena-- a bit hard to pronounce for the Aussies. So when I arrived in Melbourne in 2003, I started using my second name-- Paula. I hate it. I'm not Paula. I'm Ximena, and that's what my friends call me in Buenos Aires.
I met them at university, studying architecture. A group of us decided it would be fun to rent a place so that we could all draw our plans together. There were 15 of us. A legend was born-- "el estudio de quince". It wasn't very glamorous. We worked very hard, usually not sleeping for days to meet our deadlines. Some couldn't cope, and they left.
Among the ones that stayed was my best friend Amalia, a heartbreaker. She only liked the bad boys. She ended up a single mother, a fantastic mother.
There was Yoshi, born to Japanese parents. He would be Japanese or Argentinian, depending on the circumstance. He likes to meditate. Needless to say, he never met any deadlines. And Ale, also known as "El Padre", "The Father"-- the most talented and humble person I ever met.
We moved to Australia, looking for a better future-- my husband, my daughter, and I. We landed in Caulfield. My uncle and aunt live there. A new dimension-- attending Shabbat dinners, eating bagels-- I discovered my Jewish heritage.
To migrate is like being born again. Nobody knows you, and you don't know anyone. For us, we at least had family. My husband found a job. My daughter started kinder. I started my business. We started making friends.
I still think I see my old friends' faces in the crowd sometimes, but I like it here. Life is good. Paula needs to go. I'm going back to my real name, Ximena. But to make it easier for people, I now spell it with H.
Australia: per forza e per amore
Yeni Hayat = New life
New life new country
My Second Home
Dad, I made it!
Loving Lebanon and Australia
The spaces in between
Where do I belong?
Heart of Otara
The story of an immigrant filmmaker
A Fishy Problem
My Beautiful Schwesters
Story education resources
Education Museum Victoria: Drama and Cultural Diversity
These resources for Years 2 - 12 students focus on immigration and cultural diversity through drama based activities. School-based activities are provided for before or after an excursion to the Immigration Museum , or may be used as an additional resource for teaching immigration and/or cultural diversity themes in classroom programs.
Education ACMI Generator - Immigration Stories
Diverse digital stories about the immigrant experience in Australia.
Immigrants who arrived in Australia from countries as varied as Ethiopa, Italy and Vietnam describe the sacrifices made, the experience of arriving in a new country and how immigration impacts on the next generation. Each digital story and theme is accompanied by education resources suitable for VELS 4-6.