There is just so much going on in my otherwise uneventful little life right now that I’m struggling to get it all straight. So I thought I’d do an update post each month summarising what’s been going on. We’re now just under 3 months away from arriving in Australia, and so much has happened but THERE IS STILL SO MUCH TO DO.
This post will cover doing The Telling, the start of visa shenanigans, and the realisation that we have a ridiculous amount of stuff.
The supportive people ¦¦ Those people who reacted with delight to our news, who were so excited that we’d finally achieved what we’ve been working towards for so long, and who offered their unconditional support. Those people mean more to me than anything. We’ve had people who we’ve only known for a relatively short time offering us long term storage space in their loft (!), offering help with removals and packing, and just generally being incredibly supportive. It makes me feel very, very lucky.
Opening new bank accounts ¦¦ We’ve got Australian bank accounts! Here’s me looking very excited on the day we trekked to the London branch of Westpac to prove our ID and open our accounts.
Yay Westpac! Turns out they also have a currency transfer service (not that great a rate to be honest but good to know), a discount with Pickfords (excellent value, go for this), a discount with Emirates (not much use to us sadly but a good wheeze) and discounts with BUPA as well (more on that below).
Our shipping boxes have arrived ¦¦ The deal with Pickfords turned out to be a winner, so we’ve got a living room full of empty cardboard boxes right now. All we have to do is work out what to put in them and when to send them… Sounds easy doesn’t it?!
Most of our furniture is sold ¦¦ Through sales to friends and a bit of time on eBay, we’ve sold most of our big furniture. This is a big weight off my mind!
Expat chats ¦¦ I’m fortunate enough to know quite a few people who are currently, or have previously been, expats. They’ve been so kind in sharing tips and encouragement with me and it’s been invaluable. Case in point, the afternoon tea Kelly and I enjoyed a couple of weekends ago. Sadly the quality of the cake didn’t quite live up to the quality of conversation but that’s a story for another day.
Also don’t ask me why I look so suspicious. Perhaps I had an inkling of how dry the banana bread was going to be…
No more prescription food ¦¦ Ok this is a bit of a silly one, but ever since being diagnosed with coeliac disease I’ve been able to get some gluten free food on prescription. It’s very expensive to buy gluten free products and this is not a choice, it’s a disease. However, due to funding cuts, the NHS are scrapping all gluten free food on prescription (in their letter to me explaining this they tell me it’s ok though, because I can just buy potatoes and rice instead………………………….*insert slow blink*). The funding stops at the end of March. Our plane ticket to leave the country is booked for the end of March. How’s that for kismet?
We still have so much to sell ¦¦ I had no idea we owned so much stuff. I have no idea how it happened, either, which is quite worrying. There are still a couple of big things to sell, like our car, but then there are a seemingly infinite number of small things that you never think twice about owning. Like placemats.
Don’t even get me started on clothes. I didn’t think I had many clothes – you certainly wouldn’t think so from knowing me as I wear the same 4 outfits on repeat. Yet I managed to clear out the equivalent of two chest of drawers worth of clothes and I still have a wardrobe full left. How?!
All I can say is that after this, I’m all set for a minimalist life. I don’t want to buy anything ever again.
(Please remind me of this when I’m merrily shopping for All The Things once we get settled in Sydney?)
Visa struggles ¦¦ There’s a long story with the visa, but basically once granted it’s valid immediately so my employers wanted to leave it as late as possible to apply so they weren’t wasting money. Fair enough, but then after a fair wait I was left with a long list of documents to get hold of and very little time to do so. People wouldn’t get back to me with reference letters, the insurance company we picked after much deliberation wanted us to go for a very in-depth medical assessment (needless to say they didn’t get our business, we switched providers to someone who would just take our money and be done with it! Also neither of these are BUPA. That’s another story.), and with being in opposite time zones to our migration agent in Australia any question took at least 12 hours to answer and 24 before we could do anything useful about it. Luckily we’ve now submitted so we’re just keeping everything crossed it goes through smoothly – and that we don’t have to have a medical.
We’ll probably have to have a medical.
No photos of our house ¦¦ I realised a little while ago that we don’t really have any pictures of our first home together, the little flat in Birmingham that it turns out was also my godfather’s first home with his wife (whaaaaaaaat are the chances seriously). It wasn’t anything fancy but I loved that little flat, and I wish I had proper pictures of it. All I have are some distinctly ‘atmospheric’ shots…
I always used to laugh at how my Dad would go round taking pictures of all the rooms whenever he visited one of his relations homes, rather than taking pictures of the people, but now I get it.
Anyway, now it’s happening again with this house – I’ve had it on my mind for a while, but the house never seems tidy enough/it’s never light outside/we’re away or people are visiting and I just don’t get around to it. And now our furniture is starting to be dismantled and there’s stuff everywhere because we’re packing…. So I’ve decided I’m just going to take photos of how it is. I don’t care how bad it looks, I’m not submitting them to Homes and Gardens, it’s just for me to remember.
Goodbyes ¦¦ Yeah of course this one was going to feature. I’ve only said one proper goodbye goodbye so far and that was horrible, I nearly cried on the tube. And that was saying goodbye to two of my very good friends who I have been friends with for over a decade now, and although we might not see each other super often it’s always just the same when we do. I know I’ll see these girls again and it’ll be like nothing has changed. So it should have been an easy goodbye…. But it wasn’t. I dread to think how I’ll be when I’m saying goodbye to people who there is a decent chance I might never see again.
I’ve actually decided that I’ll be sharing The Ugly side of things via email. That way, I can share a bit more honestly on things like work and personal matters that I don’t want searchable on t’internet. Seeing as you’re all my friends, I’d just feel a bit happier doing it this way.
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 2-3 days after you see this post, just to give everyone a chance to sign up who wants to.
Catch you in your inbox!
So with two months to go before I leave, what advice would you share with me?