The KLM flight landed just after 6am at Kingsford Smith Airport, twenty years ago, today. The morning was very much like the one today, around 17oC and a huge blue sky.
We had spent the previous month in a heightened state of anxiety; a mixture of panic and excitement. We had packed up our home, shipped it to Australia, furnished the apartment we were letting out, and farewelled our dear friends and family.
The final scenes in the UK are etched on our memories. Friends sat waiting with us until the last moment when we needed to go through passport control and security at Birmingham International Airport. The usual chatter felt somehow constrained by what was about to happen.
This prelude culminated in a long walk of goodbye, amongst tears flowing freely, while carrying more hand luggage than a pack horse would carry in its lifetime.
The relief of taking our seats on the plane to Amsterdam, where we were to pick up an international connection to the Far East, was overwhelming.
Time has dimmed the memory of the stopover in Singapore and the flight to Sydney.
Why is it significant to mark this milestone? It is an opportunity for us to reflect on our choice to make the journey over the rainbow, to become immigrants and aliens in a foreign land. The fact that we have lived over 54% of our adult lives, to date, in Australia is an indication of commitment, at least.
We plan to review our decision over dinner, this evening.
Excerpt from the song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, lyrics by Yip Harburg:
Somewhere over the rainbow way up high
There’s a land that I have heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true
Someday I’ll wish upon a star
and wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Way above the chimney tops that’s where you’ll find me
Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow why then oh why can’t I?