When I was eight I moved from Northern Ireland to Australia. Because I looked like I fitted in and spoke English, it was easy for people to underestimate what a big move that was. My accent meant people found me hard to understand, and I found it hard to understand them. A lot of the words were different too. And the countries worked differently. In Northern Ireland, we were searched going into supermarkets and, without searches, shopping here didn’t feel safe. At Big Parade on Ascot State School oval we said an oath of allegiance to the Queen and for the first few months I was scared since that felt like something that could have been dangerous in Northern Ireland – it would at least have been very political. I couldn’t work out how to talk about any of that and it left me feeling isolated.

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