We just passed the 7 month mark of moving to Sydney and any thoughts we might have had of things quietening down definitely didn’t happen. Here’s what we’ve been up to.

The Good

Moar visitors ¦¦ This one again! Happily, my aunt has been in town for the past 2 weeks and I’ve managed to squeeze into her schedule once or twice. She has been pretty busy catching up with old friends so we’ve had to be creative but it’s been so good to see her.

I also managed to catch up with Nano and her husband a couple of weekends back as they were in town for a flying visit. Nano is just so nice, and we passed a fun morning chatting about all things travel and expat. Of course we did so in an Instagram dream of a place – none other than The Grounds of Alexandria. So we decided to get in on the action –

[Nano + Rachel + Instagram fountain]

Don’t mind my face. I have no idea what’s going on there. Anyway, after this picture was taken I got press ganged into being photographer for a whole stream of ladies who wanted their photos taken on the fountain. I was perfectly happy to do this but it did make me chuckle given that Nano is the actual photographer of the two of us.

[Delicious brunch at The Grounds]

My visa submission is in!!! ¦¦ This has been the longest struggle ever (you’ll be well aware of this if you read The Ugly) but we have finally jumped all the hurdles necessary to get to submission stage. Including a few frightening invoices. Nothing is guaranteed, and we still need to do our medicals, but at least the thing is in. We have done everything we can, so whatever the outcome, we did our best. Now comes a long 9-15 months of waiting for the submission to get to the front of the queue, and we’ll see what happens!

We went to Canberra ¦¦ I think weekend breaks are going to be how we try and see as much of this country as we can in the most efficient way possible – so we started off with a short jaunt to Canberra.

[City planning goalz]

Unfortunately it rained basically the whole weekend but we went to see the most amazing exhibition in the National Museum Australia called Songlines. It tells the story of the Seven Sisters songline, which is a very important dreaming. If you aren’t familiar with songlines or dreaming I am definitely not the one to explain them to you, but they are the creation stories that belong to the Aboriginal people of Australia. To say they’re an integral part of Aboriginal culture is an understatement and honestly I’m still getting my head around the whole thing, but this exhibition really helped me. I loved that it was created by the traditional owners of the songline themselves, in conjunction with the NMA. If you’re interested in the exhibition but can’t get to Canberra, you can download the museum app called The Loop and listen to the audioguide there. It’s got pictures of the exhibit(s) in question so you can get an pretty good idea of the whole experience just from the app.

[The Seven Sisters represented as seven trees]

The weather is dreamy ¦¦ Well, apart from Canberra. But here in Sydney we’ve had some balmy days of absolutely perfect weather – not too hot, not too cold. I’m enjoying it while it lasts because we’ll be into the serious hot of summer soon and I’ve got no idea how I’ll cope with that!

The Bad

6 month homesickness ¦¦ Yeah so I have definitely been hit with the 6 month homesickness milestone. We were warned about this, though, so that was something. I’m dealing with it, but bracing myself because I have a feeling that the Christmas period isn’t going to help with it at all.

We’re not new… but we are new ¦¦ In a place like Sydney where people come and go all the time, we are no longer classed as new. That’s nice, in a way, but I find it difficult sometimes because I definitely still feel new. For example, when you are new, people invite you to things because you’re new and you can meet people and stuff. Great! But now that we are not so new, people just assume we’re all set and don’t invite us to so much stuff anymore. I know you can’t expect people to babysit you but sometimes it’s just a bit hard. I’m not explaining this very well so I’ll just move swiftly on…

[Nice flowers at The Grounds of Alexandria to cheer things up a little]

Taxes are confusing ¦¦ So, we won’t have to file taxes until the end of the next tax year (end of June next year) but we need to have a clue what’s going on so we can make sure we’re prepared. In the UK you don’t have to file taxes unless you’re self employed, so this is something we are totally clueless about. We booked an appointment with a tax advisor to talk about what we need to do in terms of keeping receipts etc but also what deductibles we might be eligible for. Frankly it made my head swim and it seemed like she was just pulling stuff out of mid air at times. Why isn’t there just a manual I can read?! And then I had lunch with a colleague today who mentioned that there are some special things you can claim as a 457 visa holder which I’d never heard about before. I think I need to go spend some more time on Google.

The Ugly

In case you’re new around here, I’m sharing The Ugly side of things via email so I can be more honest on things that I’d rather not splash up here for all to see.

So if you want to know The Ugly, just put your email address in the box and I’ll add you to the list. You’ll get mail from me a few days after you see this post, just to give everyone a chance to sign up who wants to.

That’s a wrap on Month 7. Month 8 approaches rapidly…

Rachel

See previous months’ updates here

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