Now that I am back in England people are dissappointed that I haven't acquired an Aussie accent; even wearing the Akubra doesn't do it either! I keep telling people that the Aussie accent wasn't at all strong in Sydney. What is far more important to me is the way that I was received in Australia, and the ease with which I adjusted to my new appointment in Sydney.
Prior to moving out to Australia I had already lived for eight years in Spain. Four years in Oz now means that I have lived overseas for twelve years. My second country of adoption, Oz, was really a 'home from home'. The Aussies all loved my English accent! The photo above, in some way, represents the way in which I was received; there I am leading the Remembrance Day service in the grounds of Campion College, a ceremony which is very dear to Australians, and at which I was suddenly presiding.
Another facet of life which I appreciated very much during my time in Australia was the way in which the bishops warmly engaged with their priests. This was something I first experienced when I met the Bishop in whose Diocese I was working, and then again on so many occasions when I encountered other bishops and their priests. The fatherhood of the Australian bishops who I encountered was a special grace to me.