I Come From A Land Down Under
1,651 days ago Naomi and I landed in Australia. It was August, 16th 2011. We were newlyweds, had two backpacks, not much cash and even less of a clue as to what we were doing on the opposite side of the world, from what we then called home.
We arrived just after dawn at a backpackers hostel. It was the Australian winter, screaming wind and horizontal rain hammered us from the nearby beach and the owner of the hostel wouldn’t get up out of his pit to let us in. It wasn’t a great start.
Last Thursday, the 18th of February 2016, slap bang in the heat of an Australian summer Naomi, Ethan and I gratefully became Australian citizens.
How we got from that hostel and its unwelcoming owner to a municipal building and a buoyant mayor (with a two year old son) is bewildering to me. Even though, back in 2011, I sensed we might get a break when we left Scotland on our honeymoon.
I distinctly remember predicting that we were going to get an opportunity and telling Naomi that we must take it no matter what. Obviously I could never have imagined that we would become Australian citizens. I was thinking something down the lines of possibly getting a job at some point, making new friends, doing a little more travelling, extending our trip… but not by four years!
We followed our noses and when we got one small achievement under our belt we set our sights on the next one, and the next one, and the next one. It was a long and often extremely challenging process with more hurdles, red tape, dollars, pregnancies and stress than I could have ever anticipated. Yet we done it.
You would think that having achieved such a goal we would have been ecstatic. We were, but also not so much at the same time. Last Wednesday night, the night before our citizenship ceremony, Naomi and I found ourselves on the couch, and to be honest completely down beat about the whole thing. We had known that the 18th would be our date for weeks. We also knew what we were doing was momentous, not only for us but also for our son Ethan and any children he might have, but there was the distinct feeling of ‘it’s just another day’ between us. We were tired, had a house like a bomb site and lacked all sorts of get-up-and-go juice such as enthusiasm, motivation, energy, etc etc.
Such is the way, it seems with big changing moments. I met Ethan’s birth with the same sense of relief and gratitude but there were no pyrotechnics there either. Just happy to be there, to have got it done. To have nailed it. And we did. We nailed it.
(We did finally get to celebrate the occasion (beer, wine and party hats) at the weekend with a huge bunch of friends. It was a great night.)