Citizen Kris

Citizen KrisCitizen Kris
Well, it’s official folks. I am (you are, we are) Australian. It’s weird; the importance of what I was doing didn’t really hit me until yesterday. I was at the shop saying goodbye to Verna, the lady who runs our embroidery clinic, when I mentioned that I’d be Australian the next time she saw me. “Really? You’re getting your citizenship?” she asked. I said I was. “Thank you.” she said sincerely. “I really mean that. Thank you. I think it’s wonderful when people decide to join us.” How nice is that? And that’s when I realized that this kind of is a big deal. For the rest of my life, whenever anyone asks my nationality, I will say something different to what I’ve said up to this point. I always feel weird about making big changes like that. (Hence, I kept my last name when I got married.) So there really was a sense of the momentous when we headed into Sydney Town Hall this afternoon.

We were ushered upstairs – it really is a very pretty old building – and into a reception room. Snookums left to sit with the other guests in the back while I signed in and was directed to a seat in the front row. (I quickly worked out that the two halves of prospective citizens were divided based on whether they were taking the “God” oath or not. I was on the “not” side.) A woman in the corner played a steady stream of Australian classics on the piano: “Waltzing Matilda,” “I Still Call Australia Home,” “We Are Australian,” “The Pub With No Beer,” etc. Eventually everyone was settled and our host entered; it was Clover herself! Wearing her Lord Mayor regalia and her signature choker. SWEET. As she spoke to us about this nation of immigrants, I started thinking about my grandmother going through a similar ceremony in the US more than forty years ago. She was a long way from home too, and she was saddled with a foreign tongue, young children, and a husband in the service. I can’t imagine. Soon Clover was finished and our two groups were asked to stand and recite the pledge together. My version read: “From this time forward, 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.” Personally, I really like it. I think it’s fair. All notions of patriotism and national identity aside, I feel like the Australian people – the friends, co-workers, and family I’ve met over the past five years – deserve this much. I want them to know I do respect their way of life, and it’s my way of life too. Then we were each called to the podium in turn to collect our certificate and have a photo taken with Clover. (They’ll mail them to us soon.) We also got a “showbag” of gifts. We concluded by all singing the national anthem and then snacking on meat pies and lamingtons. (No, really.) This flag-waving was all a little much for a still-recovering Snookums, so we headed home not long after.

Oh! So you’ll want to know what was in my gift bag. Well, unlike other people, I didn’t get a tree. I repeat – NO TREE! I was very disappointed. I was really looking forward to nurturing a native plant. I got a little photo book about Sydney, a commemorative pin, and an ink pen. (My inner Lloyd Dobler: “Australia gave me a pen. I gave her my loyalty, and she gave me a pen.”) Oh well. And can I just say, if the group of new immigrants I was in is in any way indicative of the future gene pool of Australians, we’re all going to be a much shorter nation in the future. Other than me and a few giant Russian guys, everyone else was tiny. I was surrounded by insanely happy, cute, tiny Asian-Australians. I really like living here. BRING ON THE BARBECUE!


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  1. Congrats on the citizenship!

    You’re doing better than my mum…she’s lived in Australia longer than she ever lived in the US and she’s still not a citizen.

  2. What, are you wearing makeup every day now?
    (Just kidding, and congrats!)

  3. Also, love the Llyod Dobler ref. And from now on, you have to say “barbie”, not BBQ.

  4. Eh, I wore a little today. I bought some Dove tinted moisturizer at Coles since I figure I ought to start wearing a sunscreen anyway. And I also got some Great Lash, so I wore that. And the Black Honey, of course. (And I airbrushed the HELL out of that photo, for the record. For some reason the stupid flash made me look really, really shiny. I had to tone down the shiny.)

  5. Congratulations on your citizenship! The ceremony sounds reall cool. When i got my Irish citizenship, all I did was pick up a passport and some paperwork at the consulate’s office in Boston. Not as exciting.

  6. Congrats mate. That was a great write-up.

  7. My living room may have gotten a little dusty reading that… Congratulations! Wish I could be at your barbie tomorrow — have fun. 🙂

  8. Welcome aboard, mate! Many congratulations 🙂

  9. whoo-hoo! Congrats.
    I’m getting all emotional just reading your post. Can’t wait to see ya later today.

  10. Congratulations on your citizenship! 🙂

  11. Congrats! We Yankees will miss your left-leaning vote. 🙂

  12. You won’t miss it Kevin! I’m a dualie. I’ll be votin’ in both place. TWICE THE POWER!

  13. Congrats Kris 😀

  14. Wow, you really can “vote early and vote often”! Excellent! Congrats, Kris!

  15. Congrats! (And is that your new lipstick?)

  16. Yep! It’s the Clinique Black Honey. I wanted to look nice for my picture with Clover, so I even took the rare step of reapplying (in public!) before the ceremony started. 🙂

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