2019: A Year for Building Community

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If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you’ll know that I always choose a word to guide me through the year. Previous picks include Learning, Courage, and Focus… but after a few weeks of reflection my choice for 2019 is Community.

In late January we lived that word to its absolute fullest by taking part in a citizenship ceremony and becoming official members of the Australian community.

Our ceremony took place at the Sandy Bay Regatta – in the very park where almost six years ago I decided to give this whole Tassie thing a go – and I think we were all surprised by how emotional the occasion was. It started with a beautiful Welcome to Country from Aunty Brenda Hodge (who I loved all the more when she asked for the support of new citizens in changing the date of Australia Day, leaving Senator Eric Abetz looking like he’d chewed on a fly…) We received warm hugs from a couple of Green pollies who had helped us with earlier visa applications; DorkySon’s best friend was in the audience, watching his Grandpa receive an award; and we sat in the same row as a man from Uganda who had been here ten years, and a man from Edinburgh who had been here 65. Rosellas, cockatoos and lorikeets made a joyous racket in the surrounding gum trees as 80 people, from 29 different countries, became citizens on that day.

It felt like a fitting way to end what has been a lovely summer. Continue reading

One Year On

Hobart Tasmania

This time a year ago exactly, we were spending our last full day in Harpenden.

DorkySon had toddled off to his wonderful nursery for the last time, and he would come home a few hours later laden down with gifts and cards and photos of himself hugging the staff. I went for one last trawl of the local charity shops to see if I could find any bits and pieces for the flight – I got lucky, and picked up a collection of Shirley Hughes stories and a huge bag of toy cars for a couple of quid.

Our flat was a mess. The removal men had arrived that morning, and it was hard to move for all the sheets of packing paper, cardboard boxes, and enormous rolls of bubble wrap. That night, cupboards bare and crockery packed, we went for dinner at a local Italian restaurant. Somewhere between the tagliatelle and the tiramisu, immigration officers raided the place and started interrogating the kitchen staff. We headed home for an early night.

Continue reading