A Texan native has written a touching thank you note to Australia one year after picking up her life and moving across the world.
Crystal Jones, 32, who now lives in Geelong, revealed the things she is most grateful for since landing in the lucky country in a note posted to Reddit last week.
She said she had been invited to apply for a skilled immigration visa to Australia three years ago but it took her two years to get the visa and save up money.
“I was required to sell my car, house and close any account I had with my country in order for the visa to be granted,” she said.
“Oh man was I nervous. All I had ever learned about Australia was kangaroos, koalas and that it was hot, which is fine coming from Texas - I love hot.”
The 32-year-old landed on August 17 last year and recently celebrated her one-year anniversary, prompting her to take a look back at her time here.
In her online thank you note, she said she was grateful for being able to make a liveable wage as a kindergarten teacher and have stable healthcare.
“Thank you Australia for not treating me like a number, a dollar sign or a corporate slave,” she said.
“Thank you for letting me have a liveable wage with my university degree instead of making more money at McDonald’s - I can do what I studied for and enjoy my life.”
Ms Jones said she loved that Australia “gives people a choice to go to the doctor” and says it “is still a big thing for her”.
“It makes me happy to know someone cares enough not to refuse me when I can’t pay a deposit of $500 up front,” she said, referencing the US’s troubled healthcare system.
Shopping has also been quite a shock, Ms Jones said, adding that she was overjoyed initially when she didn’t see any Walmarts.
“When I first arrived I was flabbergasted that there were so many stores and they all seem to close really early but in truth I love it,” she said.
“I love every single annoying trip I have to make to this store or that store because there is no Walmart,” Ms Jones continued, saying communities and workers benefit more.
The 32-year-old said she is still revelling in the food options too and that everything tastes very fresh.
She chalked it up to the lack of chemicals in food and vegetables not being coated in shiny wax.
The US has been rocked by protests and riots this year as unrest against the police grows following the release of two videos showing police shooting, and in one case killing, two unarmed black men.
Ms Jones says she is still afraid of the police and has been pulled over once for a random breath test, prompting her to put her hands out of the window and wait for the officers to approach.
“The first question I was asked was if I was ok. Not if I was on drugs, or had been drinking, or demanding I get out of the car,” she said.
She ended her letter, which has gained almost 2,000 comments on Reddit, by saying she could go on, but “most of all wanted to say thank you.”
Numerous Reddit respondents said they were touched by Ms Jones’ words and welcomed her to Australia.
“It’s nice to have you here. I think we tend to take what we have for granted. We’re definitely the lucky country,” one man wrote.
Another person, who had also moved from Texas, said they had been shocked about the amount of holiday leave Australians get compared to the standard two weeks in the US.
“I’ve called Australia home for more than 12 years and still have days when I’m driving or taking a walk and it just hits me. I look around and all I see is respectful people, beautiful trees, clean streets, fresh air and an ever-present sense of peace and calm,” a third person wrote.
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