Yesterday evening my husband, myself and our eldest daughter officially became Citizens of Australia. The younger of our 2 girls already qualified as an Australian Citizen at birth due to the fact my husband and I were permanent residents when she was born. The eldest, despite also being born here in Australia and being here for 18 months longer than her younger sibling did not qualify automatically as we were on a 457 visa at the time of her birth. Sound complicated? Trust me, it was. I was the one who completed all the applications for all the visa’s leading up to our final citizenship application. I definitely earnt the bottle of bubbles we drank last night!
Lots of people have asked me if I feel any different. I guess it’s a bit like after you get married and people ask the same question… nothing has actually changed in our day to day lives. The ceremony (which if I’m honest I was dreading) was actually rather touching and sincere, it even brought a tear to my eye when the Mayor congratulated us for what we had accomplished. After we said our pledge, we each individually received our citizenship certificate from the Mayor and at the end were offered a supper of…you guessed it…vegemite sarnies. We were also all given a plant each which I believe symbolises establishing roots.
I feel proud of what my husband and I have achieved and am excited about the future for our family. It’s a wonderful gift to be able to offer our girls – the choice to live in two amazing countries (England and Australia). I don’t think I’ll ever feel truly Australian as I spent such a large part of my life growing up in England. Perhaps if we stay here forever the girls will feel more Aussie than English as they were both born here. I will certainly leave that decision up to them.