Ann finds her special place in Geraldton
Living in Geraldton is quite literally a dream come true for Ann Edwards.
As soon as the 54-year-old set eyes on the windy city seven years ago, she knew fate was calling.
“For 20 years I was having a dream about a place,” Ms Edwards said.
“I told my husband about it, and everywhere we travelled he asked, ‘is this the place’?
“Then when we were driving through Greenough in 2011, I woke him and the kids and said ‘this is the place I’ve been dreaming of’.
“It was exactly like my dream; it was surreal.”
As luck — or fate — would have it, Ms Edwards and husband Chris soon found work in Geraldton and have called it home since.
Last Saturday, she officially became an Australian citizen at a ceremony on the Geraldton foreshore — Mr Edwards having already received that honour last year.
In a strange coincidence, a close friend Ms Edwards met while living in Botswana in the late 1990s presented her certificate.
That friend is Fadzi Whande, a social justice advocate who visited Geraldton and Mullewa as the 2019 Australia Day Ambassador.
“What could be better than getting your certificate from a close friend from 20 years ago?” Ms Edwards said.
“It’s exhilarating. The whole thing has just been miracle after miracle, and this is another one.”
The mother of three and grandmother of one said she was “blessed” to live in Australia and, more specifically, Geraldton.
Born in South Africa but also having lived in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Tanzania and the United Arab Emirates, she said Australians enjoyed certain privileges she would never take for granted.
“Medicare, the welfare services, the pensions, all of that,” she said.
“In most other countries if you don’t work, you don’t eat — it’s as simple as that.”
But what does Ms Edwards love most about Australia?
“The slang. From the time I came here I started making a list of expressions and using them as much as possible, to the irritation of everyone,” she said.
“I think Australians have the most expressive language in the world.”
Ms Edwards, who works as an English second-language tutor, offered the following advice for our newest citizens: “Don’t look back. Join every club, church or organisation that you can and immerse yourself in the culture,” she said.
“Don’t just surround yourself with people of the same background as yourself.”
Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.
Sign up for our emails