I'm so thankful I'm (almost) an Australian!!!!!!!!!!

Well, yesterday was Australia Day. At the moment, I'm a New Zealander and although I've been in Australia for ten years this year, Australia Day has never been something that I celebrated much. Like I said, I come from a New Zealand family, so we don't tend to host big aussie BBQs on Australia Day, and the day as a holiday never had much significance to me when I was younger, as Australia Day falls on the 26th of January, and school went back the week after, so I had no holiday to celebrate, as I was already sick of summer holidays by that time. But this year was different. This year, I was excited to take part in the celebrations of our nations birth!

I think its for two reasons.

The first reason, is that this year I am becoming an Australian citizen. I already have the letter that congratulates me on being accepted, so all I need to do now is wait until the government arranges for me to attend a ceremony where I will take a pledge to Australia, and then I will be 100% aussie! Well, 50 % Aussie, 50% NZ if I keep my New Zealand citizenship. I'm really excited about becoming an Australian. I feel Australian. I like Australian things, (except for the cricket!) and my New Zealand relatives lovingly mock my Aussie accent. It will be good to formalise my commitment to Australia. I think its important to do this now as this year, I'm turning twenty. My family moved to Australia a few days after when I turned 10. That will mean that this year, I will have spent half my life in Australia, which I think is a pretty big thing. I'm definitely ready to take the plunge and don the ceremonial cork hat.

The other reason I was excited about Australia Day this year, is that I am really thankful to be in Australia! When we first moved over here, we all grieved for New Zealand. Our beautiful green country, where it rained enough for everyone to have showers as long as they wanted, with water spare to water their lawns. Our country, where there was only one poisonous creature, and even that was confined to a relatively small area. (Contrast that to Australia, where even the bugs are out to get you!) For a while we all looked back with perhaps a little too much fondness on NZ, and were perhaps a little too harsh in our complaints about Australia.

However, all that changed (for me at least) when our family went back "home" to New Zealand this summer. And I couldn't breathe.

You see, a few years after we left NZ, I got diagnosed with atypical asthma. And the main thing that triggers my asthma is the cold. However. We don't get too much of this "cold" thing in Melbourne. We do compared to the rest of Australia, but nothing like New Zealand. There it is common for it to snow in some places on Christmas. Which would be fine if NZ were in the Northern Hemisphere, but its not, and it should be experiencing summer in December.

So, after not really having to worry about asthma for most of the past 5 years, we set off for NZ in December. And it was cold. Really really cold. This photo probably doesn't convey how cold it was, but this is just a typical New Zealand summers day.

Really makes you want to break out the bathers, doesn't it.

Anyway, I went over there unprepared for it. I didn't take any medication, or preventers. And on the 23rd of December, I realised that it was 10pm, kind of chilly, and I couldn't breathe. We were in the middle of nowhere, and the closest hospital was 2 hours away. That was really scary. If you've never had an asthma attack, it is horrible. Your chest tightens, like someone is squeezing you, and it feels like you can only fill your lungs about 1/3 the amount they are normally filled. You feel like you could die.

It took a lot of prayer, and faith and trust to get through that night. You're not only praying that God will heal you, but you're praying that he will give you the strength to keep calm, so that you don't make it worse! But He is....amazing is the wrong word, He is everything we need, and He is so good. So the next morning (on one of our shopping trips where the entire family descended upon the tiny town and horrified them with the size and frequency of our grocery runs) we went to the pharmacy to get some ventolin. I returned to Aus a week later with a sense of humilty (no more, I don't need to take my medication, I'm tougher than that asthma!) and a real appreciation for Australia's hot dry climate.

Thats only one reason why I'm thankful to be in Australia. I could go in to many more (beautiful beaches, wonderful cities) but we'd be here a while, and this post has already gone on a bit longer than I intended it to. So, with out any further ado.

Happy (Belated) Australia Day!!!!!!


Andrew Clarke said...

I wish you well becoming an Australian citizen. I was born Australian legally, but born outside the country because my family were living elsewhere at the time. Part of me still feels British, but I am glad to be Australian. This should be an email but I could not see an address. If you like reading, may I suggest a Christian novel you might like to try. "Outcasts Of Skagaray" can be previewed by reading the sample chapters on www.threeswans.com.au If you want to check out a Christian's blog site, mine is http://threeswans.blogspot.com Whatever happens, blessings.