Alisa became an Australian citizen.
A little background: I was born in Queensland, and my Dad is Australian. Those two facts are enough to make me, and the boys, Australian citizens.
During our two visits to Australia, first on Pelagic and now on Galactic, Alisa has been in the country on a spouse visa. Now that visa is nearly expired, and Alisa had spent enough time in Oz to qualify for citizenship. And so now, legally if not culturally, she is as Australian as Julia Gillard, or Banjo Patterson. And all four of us now hold citizenship in both the U.S. and Oz.
We're planning on leaving Australia soon - off to New Zealand in February, and then to Vanuatu, and our plan is still to eventually wind our way back to Alaska.
But though we're leaving Australia soon, it doesn't feel like we're leaving forever. Alisa and I have found a lot to like about this place. This country is imperfect, of course, and we don't see it as any sort of Antipodean utopia. But, since we all have dual nationality, it's natural that we see Oz through the lens of the U.S. experience.
Comparing the two countries would give me enough material for my next book, and this post is about our very happy milestone of Alisa becoming Australian, and not a place for a comparison of the relative merit of the two countries. So I'll just make one point in comparison, which is that Oz is a much more equitable place. This isn't a country where one percent of the population hoards thirty-five percent of the national wealth.
We really like the feeling of a society that offers a more level playing field to its citizens. We can imagine calling Australia home at some point in our lives, and, if I can be presumptuous enough to speak to Alisa's motivations, she, and I, felt that it would be a great thing if we all had a stake in this country, that it would be a great thing if the whole family had cast its lot with the Australian experiment.
Which, by birth or by choice, we now all have.
So of course we had a little celebration with our nearest and dearest in Hobart. And this is how yachties throw down - Tasmanian bubbly on ice in the deck bucket.