I am officially a permanent resident of Australia!
Last Friday I received my paperwork letting me know that my application for permanent residency had been approved. Why has it taken until the following Wednesday to post?
The Bloke picked me up after work on Friday and it turned out that we had just enough time to pick up whatever had come from me via registered mail in the post office. I was expecting a couple things, so I wasn't sure which it was.
I saw the envelope with "Department of Immigration" with the return address and took only a moment to be a bit nervous. As The Bloke drove, I opened it up to find... YAY! Approved! I couldn't really focus on the rest of it because it felt so great to have that weight off my shoulders.
I honestly didn't expect anything in regards to the status change. It was nice, but it didn't occur to me to celebrate.
The Bloke had other ideas.
We went to the pub and The Bloke proceeded to tell everyone we knew - and some people we didn't - about my status change.
What I really didn't expect, though, was people's reactions.
I got handshakes, kisses, shouted (bought for me) drinks and genuine displays of enthusiasm from everyone. I didn't think people would care that much, but it was truly a 'welcome to Australia' type of feeling. 'Welcome to the family' without the creepiness. It was great!
Not only that, but a muso (musician) was on Friday night, and The Bloke snuck over there to have a chat with him. The next thing I hear is: "This one is going out to [The New Australian]. Congratulations for having just become an Australian."
Of course, the guy pointed me out at the bar, but people actually clapped and such. People were genuinely happy for me and they didn't even know me.
I love Australia.
On Saturday, The Bloke said he had a surprise for me. We cruised around the peninsula southeast of Melbourne, enjoying the wine regions despite the rain, then we drove into Hopscotch in Elsternwick for a chai. Then we went into inner Melbourne and headed up Little Bourke Street to Mrs. Parma's for a drink.
The big surprise came when we walked back down Little Bourke Street (Mrs. Parma's is towards the top of the hill) and The Bloke suddenly steered me into the Sawasdee.
Now, I need a whole new post to prattle on about how awesome this place is, so you'll have to trust me for now. It is absolutely wonderful, and it is the best Thai I have ever had (and I have had plenty of Thai from different locations).
Of course, Sunday we lazed about the flat because we were tired. And Monday it was straight back into work.
What a wonderful weekend and a wonderful way to start my life as a permanent resident.
"Permanent resident." I like the sound of that.