We’re no longer emigrating, now we’re migrants!
It struck me when a kindly Customs Officer turned to her colleague and said “These migrants are declaring wood, cud ya take a luk?”. It was a throw away comment to her, but for me it was huge. As we passed through customs we were ‘home’, legal immigrants in a land of opportunity.
I’ve skipped ahead of myself here though, completely skirting over the flights. Looking back I think it’s a bit like childbirth – painful when you’re going through it but you soon forget just how difficult it was and at some point I may even start thinking it’s something I could do again. I’m going to have to at some day so it’s probably just as well not to dwell on the lack of sleep for 36 hours and having to entertain three small children in a confined space, as well as lug tons of hand luggage on and off the plane in Dubai, Bangkok and Sydney whilst balancing a baby on my hip and trying to keep track of the boys through security and on travelators. It was tricky but could have been worse, and we survived.
Equally tricky was having to negotiate our way through customs and out to the taxi rank with the kids and three very full baggage trolleys. Chris and I took a trolley and a child each, one of whom is short enough to walk under security barriers without a second thought, and the other who couldn’t care less about any barriers or listening to his parents if he spots something more interesting somewhere else. Thankfully, despite it being bigger and considerably heavier than him, Griff was delighted to be ‘driving’ the third trolley. He should probably have had ‘L’ plates but it was down to his zigzagging his way to customs that the lovely officer opened a new section to whisk us through the baggage check. Bless them both.
Two final thoughts about our airport experience.
1. We needn’t have been so concerned about customs. We’d heard and read lots of horror stories about people getting fined for bringing banned items into the country, mud on shoes, certain wood products, food, liquids and more. But, they weren’t bothered about going through all our bags. They only dealt with us because we’d declared a wooden toy Brecon had been given for her first birthday, and that was all they were interested in. We got to keep her present and breezed through to the arrivals lounge.
2. The Australians were warm and friendly. The staff we’d spoken to were all great, very welcoming. But it was a complete stranger who made me smile most. She came over to tell me how well I was doing managing with three small children with all our stuff, and it was just what I needed to hear. She didn’t have to say anything, it’s not like she was standing next to me and one of the kids had bumped into her or tugged on her skirt. She had come out of her way to come and speak to me.
So I’ve caught up on my blog a little. I’m still more than three weeks behind but at least we’re in Oz now. Next time Sydney…