Yesterday I received the happy news that my application for Polish citizenship has come through at last. I was lucky to be eligible through my heritage, as my grandparents were Polish refugees before they settled in Australia permanently. I pursued this route because I wanted to stay in the UK, where I’d built a life for myself, but I also wanted to be there on my own two feet so to speak, with the same responsibilities and rights as a British citizen. No immigration issues means that my marriage is focussed on the love I share with my partner, not my need to get a slip of paper from the government. This news also means that I can start to work in time for the UK Term 2, which will be fantastic and gives me the opportunity to settle into a job properly before the wedding.
Getting the news gave rise to some really profound emotions. Over this year, while back in Australia in my Grandmother’s house, I’ve reconnected to their history and the story of their journey. My great aunt wrote a memoir about their time in Russia, Kazakhstan, Iran and Uganda, which was incredibly insightful and made me realise how different my life could have been if my family had not been so resilient. It was hard enough choosing to become an immigrant when I knew I could always return home if I wanted: I can hardly imagine how difficult it must have been to realise you could never go home. Even if you did, the country you loved was no longer the same.
I feel so proud, lucky and grateful to call myself Polish. I feel as though I don’t really deserve it. I feel as though this is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I’m looking forward to spending some more time in Poland once I’ve settled back in Europe.
Now for some photos of the people I have to thank for this great day:
My grandparents, Henryk and Halina.