Today, my parents and I celebrate 20 years in Australia.
We left Sri Lanka on the night of 18 Dec 1988. We had spent a year preparing for the move. I remember my parents being stressed all the time, and yelling at each other a lot, 'coz it was hard to get all the paperwork & permissions required to leave the country. Twenty years ago in Sri Lanka, there wasn't much of a "customer service" mentality anywhere - people did things for you if and when they jolly well felt like it. Add to that the general fear & confusion caused by a drawn-out civil war. And to top it all off, my dad's work hadn't paid his superannuation - an omission which was illegal, of course, but there was no effective regulation back then. The unfortunate effect on me was that I really wanted to leave. I remember thinking "get us out of this cursed country! Maybe then my parents will stop yelling at each other."
Because of flight times, we had to transit almost a full day in Singapore. We landed in Melbourne in the morning of Tuesday 20 December 1988. We lived with my mum's brother & his family for about three weeks - they had immigrated to Australia in 1983. We moved to Sydney in mid Jan 1989. We came here because my mum had a tentative job offer to become a tutor at the Cumberland College of Health Sciences (as it then was). She did get the job - and she's still there, at what is now the Lidcombe Campus of the University of Sydney. It took my dad three months to get a job, but at least he got a job within his professional qualification (he's an engineer). We lived in Homebush West for a little less than two years. In late 1990, we moved to Parramatta, where my parents still live.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Oh - and since getting here, my parents don't yell at each other quite as much any more :)