On September 3, 2020 at 9:21am I received the phone call I had been dreaming about for over 8 years.
Your permanent resident visa has been granted.
I was officially in my forever home: Australia🇦🇺
The weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. It was official. Australia is my home.
Let me be honest, there was never an option that Australia would not be my forever home. It was always going to my forever home. No ifs ands or buts. The only question was when. My soul sighed and felt at home the first time I came here on a three week vacation with two of my favorite humans, Heather and Suzanne. The sadness I felt when we left, ate at my soul. And I immediately started plotting and planning my way to come back to Australia to live the rest of my existence. Life threw monkey wrench after monkey wrench into my plans.
But I persisted.
As Randy Pausch said in The Last Lecture: “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”
Some of the brick walls seemed scaleable while others seemed to be brick walls that were so ginormous and deterring that it would have been easier to give up, but that was not how I was raised or what I was taught. My mom chased her dreams. My dad chased his dreams. They encouraged me and my sister to chase our dreams.
Chase I did.
Many know that I left the US on a wing and prayer. I had nothing more than a 6 month tourist visa, enough money for about two months, and a belief that the Universe would catch me. I landed in Australia on Friday the 13th, November 2015 and never looked back. I turned my 6 month tourist visa into another 6 month tourist visa and then a sponsored work visa and finally into a permanent resident visa.
This dream has been an almost 5 year chase. The first two years had a lot of ups and downs. The ups definitely outweighed the downs but damn the downs were not only soul crushing, they sucked the life out of me. There was darkness but I clung to the hope and to the words “how does it get better than this”? And the last 2.5 years showed me how it got better and continues to show me that believing in the Universe and myself was always the right decision.
I celebrated my permanent residency with my co-workers, my little work family of goofballs that I adore. We ate, we drank, and we laughed. The weekend came and went and back to work we were the following Monday like nothing had changed.
But it had.
I now had permanent residency (PR).
I am still pinching myself a month later. I can now participate in Australia’s Universal health care program. The same thing the Republicans would like to never see happen in the US. Me, a foreigner, an immigrant can rightfully partake in Universal health care. What a novel concept. And I’ll be honest, I’m still baffled by it and I’m not even sure how to use it. But I have a Medicare number and can access it. I also have affordable health insurance as well. How affordable is it? I paid for a whole year in advance. I could never do that in the US. Again, affordable health insurance, another novel concept. Should I need it, it’s there.
But PR isn’t my last stop. I’ve got one more thing to check off the Australia is my home bucket list. Australian citizenship.
My mom was a green card holder in the US. She never was naturalised as a US citizen. Even though she married my dad in the 70s, she was, for the longest time, considered an illegal alien with no right to work or live in the US, but she persisted. And I suppose this apple didn’t fall far from her mama’s tree. I will persist. Next year, I will be able to apply for Australian citizenship. With it comes probably the greatest honor, the right to vote. Voting is mandatory here. ALL. AUSTRALIAN CITIZENS. MUST. VOTE. What a concept!?! Because of this, I am absolutely blown away talking to younger generations because they know the basic ideaology of the party they are choosing to support or not support. Are they fully involved, living and breathing politics. No, but are they aware their vote counts? Absolutely. If you don’t vote in Australia, you pay a fine. Imagine if the US had compulsory (mandatory) voting.
Anyway, that’s a post for another day, another year from now.
For now, I persisted.
I am a permanent resident of Australia and I’m a happy little Vegemite.