Arriving in Australia

I have arrived.

I flew into Brisbane a little apprehensive. It was months ago that I applied for the Working Holiday Visa, and it had kind of slipped to the back of my mind. I jumped off the plane in my swim shorts and flip flops, a little unprepared. As I meandered my way through customs towards immigration, I saw the steely faced border control staff coldly surveying the passengers marching through and something in me quavered. Were they going to be friendly? Inquisitive? Cruel?

A frown grew nervously on my forehead as I remembered that I’d heard stories of people being turned away. People being ushered into little grey rooms to be tortured interrogated. Bank statements? Intended address? Employment already arranged? I had none of it. Even my immigration card lacked half the information. My eyes darted left to right around me in trepidation. There was security everywhere, stopping people and asking questions, and…

Suddenly I was startled from my thoughts by a woman beckoning me with a stiff authorititive gesture. It was time. I shuffled forwards. I cautiously handed her my passport and documents. Her dark eyes flicked from the card to me, her expression unreadable. I started stuttering an explanation about why I had no address, why I didn’t know what to put as my profession (Nomad? Gypsy?), why I was so unprepared and stupid… I couldn’t get my words out, I was completely tongue tied. She opened her mouth to speak. I immediately became silent. I winced with the expectation that she was going to sentence me to the gallows or to some other grim fate. Instead…

“Oh don’t worry”, she said in a friendly accent, smiling.

The stamp came down like a gunshot.

“Welcome to Australia. Good luck and have fun!”

A little dumbfounded at the swiftness of the process, I staggered past her into the warm light of the arrivals hall.

Well. That was easy.

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