Tuesday, September 13, 2011
My Silver Anniversary
This week it has been 25 years since my brave parents upped and left their entire families and cosy Irish hometown for (much less) greener pastures.
Although there were circumstances surrounding their migration, they took a gamble on coming 'down under' - to a place where they knew noone and with no more than whatever four suitcases could hold.
I can distinctly recall my Dad showing me on a world map the strange country that we were jetting off to and going to call home. I can still hear my grandparents remarking that you couldn't actually get any further away if you tried.
I was seven years old when we set off for the airport from my Grandad's home, my two year old sister and I rocking matching new pink tracksuits.
The same tracksuit that I genuinely wanted to burn mid flight in order to sever any ties with the little Irish lunatic on a rampage in economy class.
I can remember my Dad, in his thick, sweary Irish accent arguing with a man with an equally thick, sweary German accent over my sister's uncontrollable behaviour. 'Wild' doesn't even hit the sides when referring to my (now) beautiful sister's childhood antics.
I can clearly recall finally touching down at night in this weird 'Perth' place and being mesmerised by all the lights. Friends of a friend of a relative kindly picked us from the airport and dropped us at the Migrant Centre with a thoughtful gift of a carton of milk and a box of chocolates.
The dining hall at the centre was long closed when we arrived and the fight that ensued over that box of chocolates was monumental.
The years that followed our migration saw my parents move from absolutely nothing to - renovate and establish homes for us, set up a trade business, finally understand the purpose of sunscreen, acquire citizenship, build a wonderful social network and lifestyle, provide us kids with every opportunity possible and even bring a genuine fair dinkum Aussie into the world and family.
The distance, isolation and loneliness tweny odd years ago was immense. It's only now that I fully appreciate the sacrifice and courage of my folks at that time.
The distance bites - always has.
My Mum's Dad passed away years ago while she was heavily pregnant with my little brother so we didn't travel to lay him to rest.
My Dad's parents both passed away within a month of each other while I was pregnant with Magoo so again I didn't pay my respects as I would have liked to.
But, with my entire family now back in Ireland, it's my turn to quieten the longing and confusion in my heart and instead think with my head. This beautiful spot I have built here in Oz, my gorgeous little family, our treasured friends, the lifestyle I love - that's where my future lies.
Here's to 25 fantastic Aussie years - and many, many more.
Man, I was under the illusion that I had only just turned 25.
The Maths is giving me a reality headache.
(Or Shaz, as you Aussies like it!)