Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Aussie Aussie Aussie!

On February 21, 2012 Martin and I landed on the golden shores of Australia for what we thought would be a 2 year stint Down Under.  Four and a half years later, here we are:

Well, here I am.

Martin, citizen of Norway, is shackled by the archaic (and let's not forget idiotic) laws of his fatherland and isn't allowed to gain another citizenship.  So he remains singularly Norwegian while I have ascended to the ranks of Ameri-stralian.

Upon naturalization everybody gets a native tree or plant.  Don't you just love that symbolism?  I sent my Westringia Zena shrub off to live on a friend's family farm.  Here's what it'll look like when it's all grown up:

I'll be visiting it in a few weeks.  I hope it's growing up big and strong!

Before officially becoming an Australian citizen all people (who are becoming naturalized, not native born of course) have to attend a ceremony to take an oath.  It goes like this:

From this time forward [under God]
I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people,
whose democratic beliefs I share,
whose rights and liberties I respect, and
whose laws I will uphold and obey

Once you say those words you're in!  It just takes a minimum four years and a couple of thousand dollars to make it happen first.  Minor details.

Even the Queen stopped by to welcome her new loyal subjects!

I think they said there were 492 people becoming citizens at my ceremony, which sounds huge!  I know for a fact they hold ceremonies pretty much monthly.  That is a lot of new Aussies!

Australia really goes out of its way to integrate new immigrants and make them citizens as soon possible.  If I'm not mistaken in the USA you have to live there seven years before you become a citizen; in Australia it's four (assuming everything happens right on schedule, for me it took 4.5 years).  In Norway I don't even know, because nobody from the first world would ever consider becoming Norwegian and have to give up their original citizenship.

Attention, Norway:

Suck.  It.  Who's rejecting who now?

Being Australian comes with rights and privileges, but it also comes with responsibilities.  The main thing that will change in my life is that I am now required to vote.  Voting is mandatory!  Before moving here I had never even heard of the concept of compulsory voting, but it is now my reality.  The American in me in scandalized by this, "That's not freedom; I shouldn't have to do do anything I don't want to do!"  but the brand new Aussie in me thinks, "fair dinkum".  With this new passport comes a whole new language!

Because this is pretty much the biggest thing that's ever happened to me I says to myself I says, "let's throw a frickin' party".  So I did just that.

I invited everybody I know in Australia.  Most of them came!

In true Queensland fashion it pissed down rain and ruined all my plans, but after 4.5 living here I'm used to that by now.  Instead of decking out my pool and courtyard with balloons, streamers and bunting I decorated...my fridge.  No joke.

I even went all out and got a cake in the shape of my fab new flag!

Which damn near ended in disaster when we went to take a group photo.

That thing slid right off my lap, but thankfully stayed on the base, so there was minimal cake-to-floor contact or damage caused.  Thank goodness it didn't flip, it just slid gracefully onto the floor.  The photo op was salvaged!

And tasty cake was enjoyed by all.  I got the biggest, most Commonwealth-y piece:

Which I did not eat because I was too busy pounding champagne (as I do).

I'm very proud to be a new Australian, and really, truly love this place and its people.  I don't know where on earth this life will take me, but I sleep better at night knowing if I ever leave I can always come back.

Aussie Aussie Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!

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