Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Last Days in Australia


Good News: On Monday I was granted green card status at the US consulate in Sydney!

As many of you know, Monday’s “interview” at the consulate was the last step in a much longer-than-expected process – one which has seen me living back in Australia since May of last year.

Now with green card status secured, I will be able to return to the U.S. and continue my work with the Minnesota-based
Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities. It’s shaping up to be a big year for the group – especially in light of the upcoming publication of our first book, Creating Safe Environments for LGBT Students: A Catholic Schools Perspective.

Last Thursday’s medical examination (a necessary procedure in the green card application process), along with Monday’s “interview”, both went incredibly smoothly. Thank you to all who have sent positive energy my way and who have kept me in your thoughts and prayers. And a big thank you to my wonderful immigration attorney in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I’m still finding it hard to believe that my long sojourn in Australia is finally coming to an end. Although I’ve certainly enjoyed spending time with my family and reconnecting with friends, I’m nevertheless looking forward to getting back to my own space, work, life, and friends in the States.

Above: Sydney - Thursday, January 18, 2006.

Above and below: While in Sydney for the various appointments necessary to secure my green card, I stayed in the nearby city of Wollongong with my friend Garth.

On Sunday, January 21, my friend Kerry traveled to Wollongong from her home in Exeter in the Southern Highlands. Together we visited the
Nan Tien Temple – the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere.

Above: The view from my room at the Wynard Travelodge where I stayed Sunday night, January 21. My appointment at the U.S. consulate, located on the 59th floor of the MLC Centre (building at center right) was scheduled for 8:00 a.m. the next morning.

Above: Back in Port Macquarie after successfully securing green card status, I enjoyed a surprise visit on Wednesday, January 24, from my childhood friend, Jillian (see Gunnedah, Part IV) and her family, currently holidaying on the coast. Pictured from left: Me and my nieces, Jillian and her family.

Above: My nieces lend me a helping hand with sorting and packing on the afternoon of Wednesday, January 24 - the day before my departure for the U.S.

Above: With my parents, brother, and sister-in-law - Wednesday, January 24, 2007. I leave tomorrow for the U.S.

Above: Sunset over Port Macquarie.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
CPCSM's Year in Review
An Australian Christmas
This Time Last Year
Update from the Great South Land
Australia Bound

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