Back to Australia

I was nervous. My friends warned me that going back to Australia wasn’t going to be easy or hassle-free, and that I was going to get questioned.

So when I slipped my passport through to the immigration agent, who then waved on another immigration agent, I knew that the hour had come.

I wasn’t trying to stay, I wasn’t trying to work illegally cash in hand. It was just two weeks that I would be back for, two simple weeks where I was going to make my way up from Perth through to Darwin. They had to let me in, right?

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“So tell us about what happened – why did you leave?” For 5 o’clock in the morning this agent was incredibly gentle and soft-spoken. I appreciated that. One extra plus on my side. But I was confused. What did she mean why did I leave?

“I’m sorry?” I asked. Her eyes didn’t falter. They stayed on me like a hawk.

“You were living in Australia for a few years, but you left in March,” she says to me, as if she is telling me things I didn’t know.

“Yes…? I left because I no longer had a visa,” I answered simply

“It says here you were on a partner visa…” her voice trailed off. “But that the visa wasn’t rejected, is that right? What happened there with your visa?”

I shook my head. It most definitely wasn’t the visa that had faced any rejection, I thought to myself. “What do you mean what happened? I dunno…I had to withdraw the visa after my break up, so then I had to leave…. I legitimately don’t understand. How are there no notes of this on file? Do I really have to like re-hash everything?”

“I’m sorry, dear, I know it probably isn’t very easy topic for you to re-visit, but you have to understand we are in the position to be weary of why you are here. We need all the details correct so we can make this an easy process. Does that make sense?”

“Not really, no. It makes no sense at all, but I mean I can’t do anything about it other than answer your questions honestly.”

And so, I was welcomed “home” as if I was some kind of terrorist looking to create havoc and destruction in Australia. Everything I said was written down, my financial situation was examined, my my tickets were inspected, my phone was given a peek, my intentions were questioned.

Then finally, I was given some strict instructions.

“I have marked and made notes on your file of all the details you’ve just provided. Do not deviate from this plan. It is really important that you leave Australia on this particular date from the Darwin airport as you told me you would. If you leave even just a day later or from anywhere else, you’ll be questioned when leaving Australia.”

She wished me luck. “Enjoy your last couple of weeks in Australia,” she said plainly.

I collected my things. “I had a favorite coffee shop you know.”

She jerked her head back. Curiosity filled her eyes like a puppy trying out what his crazy owner is saying. “Sorry?”

“I had a favorite coffee shop. I had my table right by the window, and the barista knew my order,” I repeated. “Just so you know.”

She gave me a slip of a smile, a nod of her head, and then she turned around and went in to her office.

It’s really terrible to feel like you don’t belong in a place that feels like your own. I didn’t do anything wrong. I did what you asked of me, I wanted to tell her. I left my life here within 28 days, just like you “asked”. 

I had arrived in Perth for one last Australian adventure, and my heart jolted with every Australian accent that swam its way through the air. I wasn’t emotionally ready or prepared to be back just yet, but I was excited for my week-long road trip through the Outback.

I came back to Australia for the Shitbox Rally, an organization that raises money and awareness for the Cancer Council. I was going to be doing some freelancing about the rally and I had arrived a couple of days early, so I thought I would be able to spend some time wandering around Perth.

Perth is quite a humble city, not too hectic, not too quiet. It lacks a city skyline, which sort of made me feel like I was in a small-town that just springs up somewhere in the middle of no where. I explored the city some, and though Tourism WA had arranged for a full, two-day itinerary for me, I had to politely decline and ask that they keep those plans for the next time I’m in Perth.

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I was going to be without internet for a full week, which for a journalist who is on freelance deadlines and writing a blog is a nightmare. I also had a couple of meetings and things to get done for the rally, which meant that for the most part my 48 hours in Perth were spent taking full advantage of the free coffee and free Wifi in my hotel’s lounge, plugging away at my computer and meeting all those whom I would be spending the next week with, including my team and my co-driver for the rally.

The closer our rally drew, the more nervous I was getting. If there is one thing I don’t like, it’s snakes. And spiders. And I had the chance of running into the deadliest of kinds throughout my seven days in the Outback.

This Brooklyn girl was about to show Australia what she was truly made of.

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Category: Australia, Perth | Tags: , ,

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