One step closer to Aussie citizenship

Australia Fraser Island

My citizenship appointment is TODAY. I’ve been taking the online practice test at random for the last few years, but now I’m starting to get nervous because this is the real thing.

There’s a booklet you can download called ‘Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond,’ which contains all of the information you could be tested on. It covers basic concepts like democracy, government, and common beliefs. My favorite bit is this line on ‘mateship’:

In Australia, there is a spirit of ‘mateship’. This means we help and receive help from each other in times of need. A mate is often a friend, but can also be a total stranger.

Basically, anyone can be your mate if you have the right attitude, so no worries.

Jared keeps joking that the test is going to culminate in me having to eat a spoonful of Vegemite. If that happens I’m not going to be anyone’s mate because that is one test I will surely fail. To me, Vegemite still tastes like someone scraped the dregs from the bottom of an empty keg and put it on your toast for breakfast.

Bundaberg Rum bar

Essentially studying for my citizenship test.

I have 45 minutes to complete the computer-based test; by all accounts it will take me a quarter of the time but this is not something I want to rush. There are 20 questions and I have to get at least 15 of them correct for an average of 75 percent.

Assuming I do this, I have 12 months to attend a citizenship ceremony and take ‘the oath,’ which sounds like an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie but is the final step in securing Australian citizenship. The ceremonies are by invitation only and are based on where you live. From the end of June I’ll be back to no fixed address, which means that I won’t be able to attend one until we return to Newcastle, likely at the end of the year.

We’re used to playing the immigration waiting game by now, though patience still doesn’t come naturally to me. In fact, we’re still waiting for word from US immigration on the next step of Jared’s green card application. It has been five months with no update, not that we expect one.

brushing off flies

Australian flies: taking the concept of ‘mateship’ a little too seriously.

Though I suppose we’re waiting, it doesn’t feel like it because we are also doing. We’re finishing our time in Adelaide in a comfortable house sit with two friendly cats, planning our route north and anticipating another six months of road tripping Australia.

If you can believe it (because I surely can’t), it has been almost exactly a year since we left Newcastle with a car and a tent. I keep thinking that we just left, that we haven’t been on the road that long. In a way, we haven’t, because we’ve been living the high life here in Adelaide since Christmas.

Returning to the tent will no doubt be a harsh reality check, especially because it’s winter and we’re going through what is essentially desert. These are the details I gloss over in my mind, because ultimately it’s an opportunity I don’t want to miss, even if it means being cold for a few weeks.

But first: I need to pass this test. Wish me luck!

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