Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Citizenship ceremony.



We are just home from our Citizenship ceremony and at last we are officially Australian Citizens with the right to stay in this wonderful country indefinitely!

We have had a wonderful morning. We woke up at the normal time and had pancakes with lemon juice and sugar to start the day. Then all the kids got dressed into their school uniforms and we spent ages doing Sian and Rhiannon's hair so that they didn't look like they had been pulled through a bush backwards! We decided to try an Australian drink, the TimTam slammer..? You nibble the corner off each end of a TimTam biscuit (Thanks again Monica!) then dip it in a hot cup of tea and pretend it is a straw and suck the tea though the melting chocolate layers! I managed two burning hot gulps before the whole biscuit disintegrated and fell into my cup!

Covered in melted chocolate Byron and myself ran around and got ourselves dressed and ready to leave. I wore a new black jumper, matching accessories and slapped the full monty make up on. Byron wandered around the bedroom picking clothes off the floor before deciding to wear some shorts from the ironing basket... literally from the basket and no-where near the iron as they were put on! I guess that sums us up!

When we got to the Council Offices the car park was completely full so we drove around and around before pulling up on the kerb nearby. We found our way to the Council chambers and found our seats, front row and dead centre! Anne and Kel were joining us but had some dramas when firstly their car broke down and then (in car number two) they ended up at the wrong destination. Luckily despite all this they made it in plenty of time.

The ceremony was lovely and very moving in places. Speeches were made by the Mayor and other council members. One of the nicest parts of the Mayors speech was when he re-enforced that no-one was being disloyal to their roots or denying their country they were born in, but rather that we were bringing our cultures and traditions with us to enrich the country of Australia. At one point the Mayor looked at our three kids in the front row all dressed smartly in their uniforms. He said to them that he was guessing they were going to school after the ceremony. When they nodded he tut-tutted and shook his head. "That is SO un-Australian" he said with a chuckle.

After we were awarded our certificates and our Bottle Brush trees we went upstairs for drinks and sandwiches and the most delicious lamingtons and custard slices! Yum! The local young Australian of the year was there "J D the Magician" He had been part of the official panel during the presentation and he spent ages with our kids entertaining them with magic tricks.

When the kids had eaten untill they were turning into lamingtons themselves we decided to head away. We drove the kids to school and arrived about 20 minutes before lunch. As each kid got to their classroom the teachers and kids gave them a huge round of applause. Gareth was asked to sit at the front and show his classmates the lovely bound book each of us were given which had our names and country of birth in. He was presented with a poster that all of his class mates had signed to congratulate him.

I am going to head back and collect them in a few minutes. It has been a wonderful day so far and we are looking forward to having a celebratory family tea this evening washed down with the obligatory bottle of best Australian red!

Thank you everyone for sharing in our excitement, for the emails, texts and phone calls. We really appreciate all the support shown to us by our families and friends, UK and Australian alike!

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