G’day G’day you wonderful mates!
Another week has passed (…well – not just any week…) and we’ve reached Monday again. I hope you’ve all had a beautiful past 7 days, I know I have! As I’m expecting this post to be a tad longer than usual, let me get right into it!
As the above photo might have given away I AM NOW OFFICIALLY AUSTRALIAN! Hip, Hip Hooray! Therefor this has been a big week of celebrations, starting Monday when my dearest friend Laura travelled up from the Gold Coast in preparation for the ceremony the following day. In true Lausie-Hansie style we headed straight for the beach for a long walk and talk followed by some traditional jumping-pics on the sandbanks.
(Please note the iPhone in my right hand as I’m controlling the camera and posing mid-air all at once – multitasking at its best!)
We finished the night with the tastiest pumpkin soup ever cooked on this planet (Thank you Richard!!!!), watched Bachelor in Paradise (I admit, I am soooo obsessed!) and went to bed early.
The following morning we both rose with the sun and headed for a stroll along the beach.
We had breakfast with the locals before returning back home to get ready for the big day ahead.
And boy, was it a great day! I was smiling from ear to ear from the get-go until late at night, surrounded by people I love and adore. The sun shone as bright as my white hair did when I first set foot in Australia nearly five years ago and it was just one of those beautiful days that will go down in history and be cherished forever.
As there was still a lot of loved ones unable to make the big day (darn you big, big oceans separating us and food poisoning stopping us) I did my best to document the day, not just in picture but also in motion. I will now present you with my homemade little video from the day, enjoy!
Furthermore, here comes the story behind what you just saw:
The day started with the Official citizenship ceremony held at The J in Noosa. There was about 20 of us accepting our new citizenship, men and women from all over the world – Denmark, Chile, Norway, Japan, England and Sweden to name a few – and it was a nicely put together 30 minute ceremony. There was music performances by a local school choir, speeches by politicians and (of course) the pledge. During the ceremony Richard had promised to be in charge of the camera, unfortunately he didn’t undergo much practice prior to his big task and the result… well, let’s just say it was a bit of a failure.
Luckily I still got my certificate and some photos after the ceremony was over. We continued outside for some Australian nibbles (TimTams and Lamingtons) before leaving the venue.
Next up I took Laura across the street for an adventure at Australia Post. You see, after accepting your Australian citizenship you can no longer travel in and out of the country unless it is on an Australian passport (and yes, to those of you wondering: I am still keeping my Swedish citizenship and passport, nothing changes there, I will just have dual citizenship – lucky, lucky me!). In Australia you get your passport at the post office and I had prepared all my paperwork and was ready to go.
Getting into the shop we waited in line before being served by a distressed woman. She was making it well known she did not really want to process my application and was rolling her eyes and sighing loudly whilst taking my photograph (it is seriously the ugliest passport picture I have ever, ever, EVER had – see below) and making sure everything was in good order. All though the experience was less than pleasant I managed to apply for my passport and we left, laughing it off and sending the lady who served us blessings that the rest of her day would turn around and be better. (As Carin kindly stated I will now have an interesting story to tell about the lady who asked me not to “puff up my cheeks” for my photo, her words not mine, whenever I present or look at my new passport)
After the passport experience we continued on to all-time favorite restaurant Flux down Noosa River, where Mal and the team had done an outstanding job covering the place in red, blue and white. (People walking past had politely asked why they would be celebrating Australia Day so many months late…)
It was the same crew attending the ceremony that came to lunch – Richard and Laura, his mother Lee and grandparents Bruce and Gloria. We enjoyed French champagne and little tapas dishes.
After finishing up the lunch we moved across the road and onto the waterfront where the celebrations continued. Those of you who checked in here a week ago would know we had prepared an array of cheesecakes (probably enough to feed all of Noosa).
It was a beautiful afternoon where people dropped in, stopped by, shared a hug and some laughter and enjoyed each other’s company. I could not have asked for anything more!
Richard and I got home in the early evening, happy after a successful and fun day. We ordered some takeaway and watched some more Bachelor in Paradise – what a great way to end the day!
Below is a text I wrote and published on Facebook on the day of the ceremony, reflecting over the past 5 years leading up to this. Some of you may have already read it, but I wanted to post it here to have it all collected for the future (feel free to skip past – there are more images and other stories at the end of this post, that is if you’re still reading up until this point…)
Dear Australia, 10 April 2018
Dearest Australia, home of koalas and kangaroos, you wonderful land of Oz;
Little did I know, five years ago, what a tremendous part you would play in my life. You’ve given me a perspective of life – teaching me the importance of staying present in the moment, of being in nature and trusting that life provides for us. You’ve brought me people and places who have taken my breath away and loved me for who I am. You have opened your arms and given me a home. For that, I am forever grateful.
It’s with great honor I pledge my loyalty to you and your people today. But before doing so, allow me a moment to take the situation in and go back to where it all started.
It was the 30th of April 2013, a grey and rainy day, when I boarded the plane and left behind Sweden. With a ticket and room booked only weeks before the departure day I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know how long I’d be gone for or what I would be doing. I just knew I needed a change of scenery, I needed something new.
I landed on the Sunshine Coast and was immediately greeted by the sun. Knowing no one and clueless of where my resort would be located, I jumped on one of the Henry’s shuttle buses and took a seat by the window. Driving side by side to the crystal clear and deep blue ocean, through passages of lush green leaves and tropical palm trees I could feel the excitement grow and for every stop we made I kept asking myself ‘is this it? Is this my stop?’ With only two passengers left on the bus we came to a stop outside a beautiful little village of yellow townhouses and villas and I knew from the signage at the entrance that I had made it.
I spent the next few days getting to know my new surroundings, going for big walks and taking it all in. I opened a bank account, and made friends with the teller. Spent hours on the beach, and got talking to a wonderful man from Melbourne who was up with his family to celebrate his 60th birthday. I was invited out for dinner by the same family and became friends with the waiter serving me orange juice at our table.
I was amazed by the openness and realness of the people I was meeting and I’m thanking my lucky star these were the first three connections I made. They all took me in, made me feel included and cared for and I’m happy to say these are all friendships I still value and get to enjoy five years later.
Fast forward a few weeks I quickly became immersed in the lifestyle and community of the beautiful little slice of paradise called Noosa that I had checked into only weeks before. Loving how every day allowed me opportunities to speak to new people, explore new places and (of course!) work on my tan it’s no wonder I kept extending my stay time and time again.
Three months in, I realized it was time to look for work. I wasn’t ready to go back, and so I got a job in one of the beautiful boutiques down Hastings Street. One thing lead to another and with hard work and dedication I was able to obtain permanent residency through a sponsorship via the same workplace.
I formed a strong relationship with another member of the staff at that same restaurant the family had taken me out for dinner to during my first week in Australia and we’ve now been together for three and a half years. Richard, every day is a good day with you by my side. Thank you for giving me support, making me laugh, loving me and standing by my side through thick and thin.
The past five years haven’t always been easy. It’s hard finding yourself on the opposite side of the world from those who’s known and loved you your entire life, and not a day goes by that I don’t miss family and friends in Europe. There’s been times when I’ve doubted where I am meant to be and what I am meant to do. But coming down to the ocean, sitting on the cliff edges of my favorite rocks and listening to the waves crash I always find gratitude.
Life is like water, it moves through tides – high and low. Sometimes it’s stormy, sometimes it’s peaceful and still. But it flows, always and forever, it keeps flowing. And that is one of the biggest lessons the past five years have taught me.
So coming back to today, to the here and now, I am so so grateful I’ve made it. I’m happy I booked that flight five years ago, that I trusted my instincts and let life sweep me away.
Becoming Australian has been a big goal of mine. I found home in a land far, far away from where I was born. I met people who’s democratic beliefs I share, who’s rights and liberties I respect, where I feel free and connected all at once.
So dearest Australia, home of koalas and kangaroos, you wonderful land of Oz; Thank you. Thank you for all that you are, all you have been and all you are yet to be. I’m proud to be one of your people.
On Wednesday I did a Photoshoot for a company down the coast. I spent the rest of the day editing the video (let’s be honest, it took me quite a few hours) and reminiscing over the day before.
Thursday I was back at work but greeted by a beautiful surprise when a flower delivery man walked in and handed me a stunning bunch of flowers and a big balloon. Turns out the team at work had organized this for me, and what a lovely gesture it was! I have felt so spoiled this week – getting not one, but two flower deliveries and so many well-wished and lovely messages. THANK YOU, Thank you, Thank you everyone!
I also got a big blue parcel from Sweden filled with all my favorite chocolates and lollies and some new books.
Richard too got a book and started reading straight away. Never have I ever seen him read for as long as he did (he got through 75 pages before even looking up). Thank you, mamma, mission: teach Richard Swedish can soon fully commence, haha!
As I started my week with days off I finished it working away and the weekend did not offer much more than that. But that’s okay, with a week this great I’m still on cloud nine!
I don’t know what it will take for this week to top the last one, but I’m excited to see what it holds. Thank you for checking in and for being part of my life. I’ll be back again in seven days, most likely with a much much shorter update (but great work for getting to the end!)
Have a happy Monday and week to come.
Lots of love,