Monday, July 21, 2014

Australian Citizens!

For years we'd been debating whether or not to acquire dual American Australian citizenship. Becoming Australian citizens would mean losing some tax breaks associated with working away from home, it would lock up our superannuation funds in Australia until retirement and would require significant hassle and expense. On the other hand, becoming Australian citizens would give us the freedom to return to Australia whenever we choose and would give the kids opportunities in the future in relation to work and education.

When we returned to Australia after our six months in the US while I was on maternity leave with Ari, we decided that we would pursue Australian citizenship. We'd put in the time to make us eligible and thought the big picture reasons to become dual citizens outweighed the negatives. We immediately applied for permanent residency upon our return and then waited out the one full year requirement before being able to apply for citizenship.

Strangely enough, events conspired that we made the decision to return to the US not long before we would be granted citizenship. And so it came to be that we participated in the citizenship ceremony the week before we departed Australia.

The official citizenship pledge with a backdrop of the queen, the Australian Aboriginal flag, the Australian flag, the Torres Strait Islander flag and the Australian coat of arms.

The ceremony was held at historic Albert Hall which happens to be where the very first Australian citizenship ceremony was held in 1949. We were seated in the very front row and somehow managed to wrangle the kids through the hour long ceremony!

Wiradjuri Echos performs a traditional dance and after years of enjoying the music of the didgeridoo we were fascinated to have its sounds explained in detail. Turns of many of them mimic animal sounds, a kangaroo hopping, a kookaburra laughing or an emu booming and grunting.

We were grateful that Coral could come along to the ceremony with us since Brian's parents had to fly out the day before. This also meant we had our own photographer!

The official photo from the ceremony which was mailed to us several weeks later. Brian's middle name is spelled incorrectly and you'd think the photographer could have snapped a few more photos until the two year old took on a more flattering pose but there you go!

Despite the fact that we are relocating almost immediately after becoming Australian citizens, we are honored to carry this title and very much look forward to a time when we can bring the children back to the country in which they were born and spent their early lives.

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