I first moved from Sydney to the UK 15 years ago (I actually can't believe it was that long ago). On that occasion I only stayed for 12 months before taking some time to travel and then return to Sydney.
Two and half years later, I decided to make the move from the southern to northern hemisphere once again...this time to Dublin. I loved living in Dublin, but after I had been there for about 18 months a job in Australia came up which was what I thought I had always wanted. So, I packed up everything again and moved to Brisbane.
Two years later, I was ready to admit that for a combination of reasons, I was ready to try the UK once more...so, once again everything was packed, shipped or stored and I arrived in London.
Six and half years on I attended my British naturalisation ceremony this week. In some ways it felt a little anti-climatic as it has been such a long and expensive journey to get to this point (ancestry visas, settlement visas and the citizenship applications do not come cheap). But on the other hand, it also felt 'right'. My adult life has been split between Australia and the UK, so now I feel that my dual citizenship reflects who I am and the choices I have made with my career and life over that time.
The ceremony was held at York House in Twickenham (on the banks of the Thames in South West London). York House is a beautiful 17th century building - and we did have some lovely sunshine for part of the afternoon (in between the rain showers).
There were 30 people being granted British citizenship during the ceremony (from 22 different countries). We collectively stood to give the oath and pledge of allegiance to the Queen and to the United Kingdom, before being presented with our citizenship certificates by the Deputy Mayor.
My friend C came with me to the ceremony. We made friends with the American I was seated next to, repairing to a lovely riverside pub in Richmond after the event for some celebratory champagne. C also gave me this beautiful wedgwood tea cup and saucer as a 'new-citizen' gift. Which will be a lovely memento of the event...
So now the final step is to complete my passport application for a British passport (and hopefully avoid those horrendous queues at Heathrow forever more!). I'm off into Richmond this morning to have my passport photos taken - and unsurprisingly, it is raining. So I fear that I am going to have to live with a passport photo for the next 10 years in which I look like a drowned rat!