Yes folks, I’m now an Australian citizen. Hurrah!
Pictures of me with the Mayor, Keith Rhoades
It’s a slightly weird feeling, getting citizenship of another country, and it does mean a lot. This is the only way in which I have a legal right to stay in the same country as my children. Although I could doubtless spend a long time to-ing and fro-ing on my UK passport with my Permanent Resident’s Visa (and unlimited travel), it’s more reassuring to know that I have a legal right to re-enter the country rather than the country graciously allowing me back in each time. And I have a sneaky feeling that in these uncertain times it might be useful to have both UK and Australian citizenship. Who knows. But anyway, after jumping through all the bureaucratic hurdles put in place to keep out the undesirables, it’s nice to have finally made the grade. I feel honoured and lucky, and you know me, I don’t do things half-heartedly: I live here now and so I want to be able to participate and do things like vote. I don’t know if I will ever feel that this is truly my home, but I am glad that I am allowed to stay and have equal rights and priviledges to the people who were lucky enough to be born here.
Thanks Keith, even if I do vote you out of office next time there are Council elections!
After the ceremony we went for a celebration breakfast at the Surf Club. My great thanks to Michael, Patrick, Ella, Carol, Julie, Dene, Bronwyn, Willis, Sharon and Flynn who all turned out to congratulate me! Bronwyn and Julie had a great time last Friday shopping for Aussie souvenirs…
I am the proud recipient of a great big yellow bag of items including, in no particular order, flip-flops (although apparently I now have to call them ‘thongs’, which is hard after a lifetime of thinking that a thong is a minimalist piece of ladies’ underwear), caramello chocolate, ‘Milo’ (malted milk powder), a pair of salad servers with handles shaped like the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, ‘Aeroplane’ brand Mango jelly powder, Tim Tams (dark chocolate-coated biscuits with a chocolate creme centre definitely not like Oreos, if you’re reading this as an American citizen – more like a dark choc version of a Penguin bar if you’re British), a boomerang, a surprisingly tasteful beach towel in dark blue with the Australian flag on one corner, a foam stubby holder with my name on it (anathema to me as I prefer to drink my beer at room temperature, but never mind… admittedly rooms in Coffs Harbour tend to be a bit warm in summer, but I still don’t want frostbite on my lips while downing a bottle of Coopers now, do I?), cake mix for Lamingtons (sponge cake with a chocolate icing which you dip into dessicated coconut – not really my cup of tea, but I know other people who will be delighted) and various other offerings. Thank you, girls! In fact, thank you everyone, and thank you Australia for having me.
I had a lot of fun (you can tell).