Friday, May 6, 2011

Hi, My Name is Lexa...

... and today I became an Australian Citizen. It feels kind of nice! I didn't think it would be quite so important to me. After all, I always took being an American citizen for granted (and often felt embarrassed by it!). But I feel like my journey to make Australia Home is finally over for me. Falling in love with someone halfway across the world and immigrating to their country is very much NOT an easy thing to do, even in this day and age of internet globalization. I mean, really, the process should be easier when it is so amazingly easy to meet someone and fall in love when you live in different parts of the globe nowadays! When we were still apart from one another, the fact I could not just go BE with him in his country drove me absolutely mad. Ok, Australia surely can't be the worst country to immigrate to, and it's not like I experienced hardships per se. But anyone who has moved halfway across the world will agree with me that it's a bit of a thing.

I'm not sure Chris and I would have formalised our relationship with marriage had we not been incentivised to do so to make immigrating easier. Both of us strongly believe in marriage equality and the fact that I can marry when very good friends of mine can NOT makes me feel a bit wrong inside. There is that traditional little voice in my head that likes being married and saying "my husband" this and "my husband" that. That's the bit of me that decided to change my last name. Cause, if I'm gonna do it, I may as well commit to the thing wholeheartedly. We could have gone De Facto, sure. Having spoken with my hairstylist who said she did that, I have a feeling they scrutinise those relationships a lot harder. We have a true, honest-to-goodness relationship and we can prove it, but having that legally binding certificate makes it that much easier to go, Look, let me in the damn country so I can be with my goddamn husband already! Ok, I didn't say that to the migration agent, but the process was relatively smooth, all things considered.

Still, I have felt like half my life is still in California, despite living here for more than four years now. California will always be a home to me, especially as long as I have friends and family there. But I am 100% legally allowed to be in this country with all the same exact rights as someone who was born here. They cannot kick me out unless I do something really awful! Chances of that are preeeeetttty tiny. Being a permanent resident wasn't enough. Other than having to prove it every which way I turned to reap the benefits, I was still not OF here. I'm still an outsider trying to fit in to a foreign society. I'm not saying I had weird experiences, or anything like that, but that's just how it felt every time I couldn't check citizen on something. This wasn't quite MY country yet.

It's always weird to find out things like this are actually kind of important. I'm not all rah-rah tattoo-the-Southern-Cross-on-my-bum patriotic, but I'm pretty proud to be Australian. And now I can add my one little voice to the lefties trying to get some important change done in this country. That's pretty cool.

Anyway, I did bring my camera along and I got a few nice photos that my father-in-law took from the night. I need to get proper high-capacity batteries for my camera, though. It eats normal batteries like popcorn. It didn't last till after dinner when I wanted to get a nice shot of Chris and I all dolled up. My father-in-law took the pic on his iPhone instead and emailed it, but I dunno to which email address cause I don't have it and Chris' personal mail doesn't either. Either it's in Chris' work address inbox or he sent it straight to my parents. Hm. THIS IS ALL BESIDE THE POINT. Sorry, late night rambling after too much booze is in effect...


Waiting pre-ceremony. Seats were assigned for those becoming citizens, but Chris and family were just next to me, so that was nice.

Saying the pledge.

Getting the certificate! That is the Mayor of Ashfield on the left and... some chick on the right. Also, I think I saw the mayor's face light up when he saw my name and realised it was totally pronounceable. Heh. I'm sad we're blocking the Aboriginal flag, though.

Better view of the certificate. It's printed crooked, that wasn't my scanner's fault.

Beautiful Darling Harbour. This is the view from where we sat eating dinner at Hurricane's Bar and Grill. I totally intended to take a foodporn pic of the awesome ribs I ate, but OH MAN I dug into them right away. SO GOOD. The place was recommended to me for the ribs, and it was not a let down. Everything I had was tasty, and I ended the dinner with a lovely affogato. Mm.

EDIT: Look! Chris found the photo in his work email. YAY. We're pretty cute here, if I do say so myself. Here is where the picture of Chris and I would be, had I a copy of it. Hmph.

Here is an abysmally terrible phone pic of the gorgeous opal necklace my mother-in-law gave me. I'll replace it with a better one when my camera isn't dead.

It was a lovely, important night shared with family. We're off to Melbourne tomorrow night and bright and early Saturday morning we have tickets to the Tutankhamun exhibit. Exciting! I hope to get camera batteries tomorrow so I can document the trip properly.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations kid! Although you'll always be Californian, you're official down under. Sounds like a great evening out!