Some thoughts on seven years in Australia


The Sunday before last marked seven years living in Australia. It’s a milestone I never thought I’d reach. I’ve now lived more of my adult life in Sydney than any other city, and on the one hand, I’ve never felt more content: my beautiful beachside apartment is the place I call home; my friends here are like family, I live with my boyfriend and my ever-growing collection of books, I’ve fostered an inherent love for the sea and the sand and the saltwater and the sun; I simply can’t imagine doing life anywhere else.

But I’ve also never felt more rejected by a country that I have loved for so long. In the face of endless visa anguish that has been a heavy load to bear since the beginning of the year; in fact, since the beginning of my time in Australia, I have to remind myself daily that beautiful place I get to call home has been a source of more joy than pain; more happiness than tears.

If I concentrate hard enough, I can almost taste the day I landed here all those years ago, following a boy I had known for six days – naive, hopeful; a dreamer. It was a move that has enriched my life beyond measure – of that there’s no doubt – but the past seven years have also been laced with pain and heartbreak and homesickness, as I try (and fail) to navigate Australia’s ever-loathsome visa system to try and make this country my permanent home.

I’ve had to make peace with the fact that this may be my last Aussie anniversary: the fact of the matter is, I’m running out of visa options, and I’m bone-tired with the bureaucracy of lawyers, and the daily stress that comes with not knowing how much longer I’ll get to live here. I honestly can’t imagine leaving, nor doing any other way; but I do know there is beauty to be found everywhere – and if my fate isn’t to stay in Bondi – I have faith that I’ll find a new slice of paradise to call home.

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I think daily about what life might look like if I were to move back to London; where I might live, how I might slot back into life in the UK, and sometimes I try and list the things I dislike about Australia, almost as if readying myself for what sometimes feels like the inevitable. I’ll walk down to the beach; past the ghosts of the friends that have come and gone; some back to the UK, others back to America or Europe and I often envy their choices and wish that I were less steadfast in my resolve to stay in a country that often feels like a toxic relationship I can’t bring myself to leave. My life in Australia feels like a tapestry of the people I’ve loved and the places I’ve made memories, even if only for a heartbeat.

Yesterday I walked down to the beach, and felt a deep sense of melancholy the whole way. Everything I had tried to tell myself I wouldn’t miss about Bondi suddenly wrapped up in a layer of charm under the hazy, late-afternoon September sun. I sat on the sand, and looked out at the same sparkling azure of the ocean that had me bewitched more than seven years ago.

I don’t know what the future holds – none of us do. I might be here for another six months; maybe I’ll make it to my eight-year Aussie anniversary, maybe, maybe one day I’ll get my so desperately longed-for permanent residency.

But until then, I’ll keep looking for the extraordinary in the ordinary; I’ll continue to pursue pockets of joy throughout the day. I will hope that my failures are the foundations of my future, wherever, and however, it plays out.  

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And until then, Australia – the bad and beautiful boyfriend I simply can’t imagine life without – will continue to have my heart. Today, tomorrow, always.

2 comments on “Some thoughts on seven years in Australia”

  1. What a beautiful portrayal of your life in Australia, and life in general! Very very well done! It brought a tear to my eyes! And I, along with so many others, I’m sure, continue to pray you get your PR very soon.
    Have a wonderful wonderful life wherever you are! But hopefully it will be Australia!! And be assured of my love always xx

  2. Welcome to Sydney. Beaches and sea are the best part of Sydney. Looking forward to seeing your sharing about books.

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