I'm Here! One Year!

I just deleted a bunch of prattle that I didn't like as much as my intended prattle, and having not had a chance to prattle for over a month now, I refuse to lead with banalities about my back (better, but still with issues, but I was able to plant 39 daffodils last weekend! Which led to issues...) or vents towards well-intentioned people that I'm only 97% sure will never see this. (Hint: If you don't want to hear about my back, then stop putting me in a position where I have to say no to activities that are limited by my back.)

Instead, let's do bullet lists, or "dot points" as they call them here in the merry, merry, much-merrier-now (you'll see!) land of Oz.

Or should we listicle?

Seventeen Ordinaryish Things You Probably Didn't Know About The Past Six Weeks Of My Life Plus One Exciting Thing!

(Number + adjective + noun + second person address + challenge about your personal knowledge set + topic most people would not care about + outright bold statement. Did I get the formula right?)

In no particular order...

I Am Now A Permanent Resident Of Australia

Normal people would have made that the first sentence then talked about nothing but that. P'shaw. That level of organization costs extra.

(Now that I'm a legal resident of this clean 'n nearly Poptart-free country - for the rest of my life, unlike the U.S. green card - I have to amp up my Americanisms to balance things out. Hence the introduction of "p'shaw," which I think I only ever saw in comic books as a kid, but now I have duties as a citizen abroad.)

It happened the Thursday before school holidays. (Holidays which coincide with Spring Break in the U.S., but of course it's not spring here.) I was so excited I called Mike at work but then was too speechless to talk.

Oh wait, I can tell this better.

The day before - Wednesday - I received an email from the immigration people. My first email from them ever. It basically said this: "We can't start processing your application until we have all the materials. We can't tell you which materials we have. Ignore this if your application is already being processed or if you have your visa."

I freaked out a bit. Surely I was due to have my visa approved any day now? Surely everything had arrived safe and sound? I know they said they couldn't tell me if they had everything, but for once I stopped playing the good girl when it comes to bureaucracy and sent them an email begging for some kind of hint. Could they at least tell me if this is a letter that everyone gets?

I immediately received an auto-response containing a FAQ. Again, to distill: "If we think your email requires further reply, we will respond in 4-6 weeks. If your application has been in process for over 13 months, we will respond in two weeks."

(Lamaze breaths.)

I tried to put it out of my mind.

The next day, I checked my email again.

Oh my! Something from immigration!

I braced myself. Whatever piece of paper had gone missing between here and there, I could get it again. Stay strong. Another FBI clearance? That only took a few weeks last time. Another medical report? Maybe my one from August was still on file.

But what I saw when I opened the email just confused me.

Department of Immigration and Border Protection

Dear Ms (Me),

Please see the attached information.

We prefer contact with this office concerning your application to be by email. We try to respond to all email enquiries within seven (7) working days. If you do not have access to email or need to contact us urgently, refer to the details below.

Your original Birth Cerificate and FBI clearance have been posted to you by registered mail.

What. What?


Did I... what? I just couldn't parse the text. Did I need a new birth certificate? Why weren't they returning my marriage certificate? Or had they just given up? The application says that if you don't turn in all materials, a decision may be made without them (with the dark implication that you probably won't like it).

I just kept re-reading the email. Did I need to appeal something? Damn it! I never should have replied to that email the day before! Somehow I got onto the radar and This Was Not Good.

That's when I scrolled down and saw the little attachment icon. Attachment! (Yes, that thing mentioned in the very first sentence of the email. Oh...)

The attachment was words, words, words... and I was reading all of the wrong ones, trying to hop around to different bits of bold text because I was too het up to string a subject to a verb.

And there, in the middle of the page, not in bold nor underlined nor circled nor arrowed: "I wish to advise that a decision has been made on this application and visas have been granted on 10 April 2014."


It's funny how many people (well, Dad) have asked if I get to stay even if Mike and I get divorced. (Mike only asked if I get to stay if he dies.) Yes, I do. I'm welcome here forever and ever. Ha! Australia loves me back! Mwah mwah mwah!

So.... was it my email? Did someone in the WA branch open it and think, "Eh, this nagging proves that she's a legit wife, let's just give it to her already"?

We shall not question it.

My third or fourth thought after "Wheeee!" was "Aw, now I can't enter U.S. sweepstakes. WEIRD."

And that still feels weird. Like, I may as well become a citizen and take advantage of Australia's lovely tertiary education scheme because I need to make up for all the American contests I'm being cheated out of. (And usually never enter, but still.)

A few days later (for it was hot on Friday, and walking a block to the Aussie equivalent of the DMV would've meant an even worse photo than usual, and sometimes feeling vain reassures me that there's hope for me yet), I got my driver's license.

Never mind that I have never driven while in Australia. (Originally because our old car has a busted driver's seat, but then later because my Nevada driver's license expired.)

Never mind, in fact, that my U.S.-based license did expire. Apparently that's fine so long as your license hasn't been expired for more than 12 months.

No driving test. No written test. All I had to do was pay the transfer fee ($40) on top of five-year fee ($130ish), take an eye exam (do people ever just memorize the line before covering the other eye and repeating it backwards?), and stand still for one not-as-bad-as-expected-I-would-later-find-out photograph, and that was that. Watch for me at a local roundabout soon.

(No, really, watch out.)

And all of this was just in time for the one-year anniversary of my arrival (a week ago). I hope everyone else had such "brilliant" school holidays. (Not sure anyone else ate as many macarons, but that's another post.)

(Here I moved on to the next item in the list and got two paragraphs in before my back said, "You know, you have seven more multimedia projects to help Mike grade. Maybe do that now, then perhaps tomorrow continue this chit-chat over a nice pot of just-arrived-and-wow-so-fancy T2?" Fair enough. To listicle another day!)

Just a Hint of Rainbow

28 April 2014 |