Getting to the point of flying was traumatic to say the least. It would take an entire essay to explain every component. We found out our visa exemption status would not be supported past 31st July right as Boris Johnson told the UK to stay home, save lives. Scott Morrison (despite lying recently and saying he told all Australians to return immediately in March) also told expat Aussies to stay put if it was safe to do so, so we did.

It also takes several months to pack up an entire life, including 4 teenagers in school. I gave notice to resign at the end of June for my job. My eldest son gave notice for his job. We began sourcing shipping companies, etc. Our puppy had to be rehomed after failing to meet Australian immigration standards with her rabies vaccine. My kids had to break off relationships with their partners.

One child is leaving aged 18 with no qualification to get into university as he had to leave without having sat the exams. I had a cancer scare in amongst the whole process. My daughter had to postpone three operations that will eventually enable to her to walk unaided for the rest of her life, as her surgeons weren’t allowed to practice anything other than covd related medicine.

We packed up our home and moved out, and the flight bumping began. We were homeless for a period, moving three times in 5 days at one point. We had flight bookings deleted. We had flight bookings cancelled. And then we had the flights we were kicked off due to prioritising business passengers (and yes, we were told this repeatedly by Qatar staff until the messaging changed and they weren’t allowed to admit that anymore). We began to despair after the 4th time we were bumped, and Scott Morrison announced the caps would stay in place until the 24th October.

Shame on him.

We have never before felt so abandoned, so baseless and so rejected.

Our visa exemption had long expired, but the UK government kindly granted us month to month temporary permission to stay. We began to look for temporary accommodation that we could live in for the foreseeable future. My husband decided to reach out to as many contacts as he could, and we began fighting for 6 seats on a plane. I hated that we did that.

By nature we are kind and empathetic people who try and out others needs first. Yet here we were, fighting for something we knew others desperately needed and wanted as well. After shaking a lot of ground, and attaching supporting documents to the airline, we were offered 6 economy seats for the 14th august. We packed and went to the airport, having been told we may still get bumped at Check-in. We checked in. I sobbed tears of relief. We rang family back home, and they sobbed with us. We are now in quarantine, on day 11.

We are grateful and so happy to be back, yet still so broken that this has happened and is continuing to happen. As we were waiting to be escorted into our hotel in Sydney, a group of young men passed by us and booed, shouting and flipping the middle finger.

Thanks Mr Morrison for completely choosing not to acknowledge what so many of your citizens are experiencing right now, for failing to lead when we desperately need a strong advocate and for allowing the media to portray us as disease-carrying parasites who didn’t do what we were told. Circumstances change. Peoples lives change. Ours did.

I will continue to be a proud Australian, showing the rest of the world the best of who Aussies are and can be, and raise my kids to be honest, hard working citizens who also represent the best of Australia. That is the Australian way. Camaraderie. Mateship. True blue Aussie kindness from strangers. Not this. Never this. Change the story Mr. Prime Minister. There’s always time to right a wrong.

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About the Author

America Josh

I had a fantastic life in Adelaide and in Australia but thought in late 2015 that it was time to do something new. I handed over control of my company, sold my house, car, and even gave away my cat (“Aslan”) to start on my journey to New York.

I arrived in New York on January 10, 2017, from Adelaide, South Australia and in March 2017, I started America Josh to help make the transition to the US from wherever you’re from just a little bit easier.

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