11 April 2022

Australian citizenship! And a pot pourri of immigrants!

And so I have become an Australian citizen! It happened the other day in a large sports arena with 104 other celebrants. It didn't take long, we were all given a small plastic Australian flag and a young potted tree to take home to plant firmly into a bit of soil. We all (ensemble) recited an oath of allegiance, a short verse of just several sentences (with or without the tricky word of God in it), and that was that! At one point they played the national anthem to which almost none of us knew the words but we fumbled through with an awkward giddiness.

Normally, these ceremonies are smaller, more intimate affairs but because of COVID we were sort of bunched up together like asparagus into a large sports arena. But I really loved it. I loved seeing all the different colored people, hearing all the different colored accents, and seeing the casual attire which most of these new citizens had already adopted. Casual is putting it kindly in some cases. I am sure that in Melbourne or Sydney the celebrants would have spiffed up a lot more, probably but maybe not. In Paris or Aix-en-Provence, for the same kind of ceremony à la Mairie, everyone would have been in the Monday’s best for sure. 

The day beforehand I had even bought an iron to straighten out a selection of shirts that I had in mind. But in the end, the elegant pale blue-striped one (from Paris) had obviously hung so long on a curved wooden hanger that it didn’t need anything done to it. I wore a pair of leather loafers (also from Paris) and a thin pair of faded deep green trousers (from GAP!). I had even thought of wearing a tie (an Armani from Barneys) but changed my mind at the last minute. I bring these items up only because I almost never wear anything around here but cargo pants, tee-shirts and flip-flops. But I still receive looks of forlorn from these lovely ties every time I go into the closet. So all these poor, chic items of clothing either live in a state of sad rejection or just hibernation in this seaside resort of Byron Bay. The dark grey jacket that I did bring with me just in case, was left in the front seat of my little Toyota Corolla as soon as I caught a glimpse of people filing into the Arena. But in the end, I still looked like a lawyer shopping for fruit in the Marais on a Sunday morning,,, Hey, what can you do? 

But I do love Australia, maybe even because Australians (as they say themselves) “don’t give a rat’s ass) what others think of them. Well,,,, sort of,,,, unless they've been drinking and hear something flippant, then watch out mate. But hey, these are tough people! Best to avoid pubs if you're worried about getting a thump, or just learn to keep your mouth shut like me. And it's easy to let one's one sartorial sense slip down the rabbit hole here Down Under because in the end, nobody cares like they do in New York, Paris or god forbid, L.A! In Mullumbimby, one could walk around in pajamas (clean hopefully) and nobody would blink. 

So after eight years here I am finally a citizen. But it wouldn't surprise me too, if I went back to Europe for a while because  Museums beckon me and my social circle here seems to retreat like the Arctic, further every few months.

But at the ceremony, I did know a few people notably, my barber Yuri (below on the right) who came with his friend Manu, both from Italy (but there is a Russian connection somewhere which I wouldn't ask about in the current world climate). As you can see he has certain sartorial flair (being Italian!) with an obvious penchant for contemporary tattoo mix. They, like me, are now Australians. In a few days I will pay Yuri a visit to have my hair cut and give him this photo.


No comments:

Post a Comment