Expat update: Month 1

So it’s now been a month since we landed on the sunny shores of Sydney, and it’s about time for an update because SO much has happened. Without further ado let’s get to it.

The Good

Getting paperwork sorted ¦¦ On our first working day in the city we managed to tick off most major stuff – we got our (partial) Medicare cards and our Tax File numbers sorted. I got myself a super fund not long after and it wasn’t even that painful. Centrelink isn’t exactly the most fun place to hang out but it seems to be run relatively efficiently, the lady we saw didn’t mind us asking questions, and pro tip they have free printers for you to use if you need to.

Being able to borrow a car ¦¦ On the day we landed in Sydney my sister’s parents in law informed us we could borrow their car, and would we like to go and get it right now?? So we did and we’ve been driving it ever since. It’s a stately dame of a car but I’m terrified we’re going to do it some harm (it’s like a member of the family and at 20 years old it’ll be graduating Uni any day) so driving it has been a bit tense.

Buying a car! ¦¦ Turns out second hand cars in Australia are REALLY expensive. They hold their value extremely well, possibly because of the good weather? Anyway, the price difference between a 10 year old Golf and a new Mazda 2 was negligible, and the hassle factor difference was significant, so we went with the new car. I’m very excited! It’s our first ever new car! We pick it up tomorrow and I can’t wait.

Familiarisation exercises ¦¦ We’ve been doing all sorts of things under the heading of Familiarisation. It’s essential you know.

We’ve had Gelato Familiarisation:

Beach Familiarisation:

Brunch Familiarisation:

[The Copper Pan, St Ives]

[Dock Dot, Melbourne]

Local Currency Familiarisation:

[My brother in law had a lot of spare change he hadn’t sorted. So we did it for him one afternoon. It was actually pretty fun sitting in the bank sorting through alllll those coins. And he generously paid for lunch the next day with the proceeds, which was unnecessary but greatly appreciated]

Sausage Sizzle Familiarisation:

Lots of food I can eat ¦¦ In contrast to last month where I had a lot of plain boiled rice and not much else, I’m loving the gluten free options on offer in Sydney. There is so much, both in supermarkets and out and in restaurants. I’ve had delicious Lebanese, Thai, pizza, and even a gluten free afternoon tea. Because that’s one habit I’m bringing here from the UK! Review coming soon, don’t worry Kelly…

My colleagues are nice ¦¦ All of them have been super friendly and welcoming, and my new boss(es) are lovely. We had a meeting all together in Melbourne in my second week and it felt good to be part of the team.

Cat sitting ¦¦ One of my colleagues has been away so we’ve been looking after her cat and flat for her. The cat is very pretty.

The flat has been very useful to use as a workspace as S and I are both working from home at the moment. The cat is very cute, as you can see, but likes to walk heavily on my stomach at 4am.

The Bad

Work is a bit slow ¦¦ My work is project based so there are peaks and troughs. I’m quite used to it but coming to a new place and being immediately in a trough is quite hard. At least my colleagues are nice and very understanding though, my boss keeps apologising!

We can’t figure out where to live ¦¦ Such a first world problem! We are in a lovely city, with no immediate rush to find a place to live, and we just can’t seem to decide which bit we want to live in. Feel sorry for us! No but seriously for some reason we just can’t seem to agree on where we want to go. Or a budget. Or what matters to us. I want somewhere with stuff going on but relatively peaceful and with lots of trees (I’m not exactly a party animal) but S wants to live somewhere as busy as possible. So we’ll see how that one goes.

No routine ¦¦ I never thought I’d say this, but I do miss having a routine. More than anything else it’s throwing my meal planning game completely off, which I do not enjoy.

The Ugly

As before, I’ve 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. There was no Ugly last month because I was on holiday and really, that just felt a bit too whingey. So it’s back with a vengeance this month.

Catch you in your inbox!


Linking up with  Kristen and Gretch for What’s New With You.



  1. 25th May 2017 / 22:48

    oh so much good! it really is great to see you guys getting slightly settled. i think once you find a home and all that it will be so much better. but it is difficult to find a spot to choose! it took me a few years when i moved to my now city before i actually realized where i wanted to live. ha. fun process:)

    xoxo cheshire kat

  2. 25th May 2017 / 22:48

    Sounds lovely! That is great that you know people there and have things sort of settled. We are still in the pre-move crazy bit. Slowly ticking off the to-do list for all of the millions of things that need to be done!

    Also, I’ve signed up for your newsletter, but haven’t seen it in my inbox. Should I check my spam?

  3. 25th May 2017 / 23:23

    Yay for getting settled and for so many things falling into the place!! I can’t believe cars hold their value so well – that’s great though!! Good luck on finding the right place to settle – there’s always trade offs there… but it’s nice that you aren’t under fire to do so (yet). 😉

  4. Jen
    26th May 2017 / 04:22

    Yay for getting a new car and that is really nice of your sister’s in laws to let you borrow their car. I know how much easier that must have made things.

  5. 26th May 2017 / 06:04

    I love the familiarisation, that’s such a fun way of looking at it 🙂 aaaand that must be so great that you have so many good eating options, that’s such an important part of life 😉
    And as for routine, I’m so with you on that. I thrive from routine!

  6. 26th May 2017 / 06:21

    Yaaaay glad you’ve had a good first month! Very exciting about the New Car, I found most people in Aus lease their cars which is why they keep their pricey value. I do miss a good sausage sizzle!!

  7. 26th May 2017 / 08:54

    Well at least you know that whenever you need to sell the car, it will retain the value. That’s good to know. I have a hard time deciding exactly what city I want to travel to, so I totally get that picking a place must be difficult. Glad you don’t have to rush. That would be much worse.

  8. 26th May 2017 / 14:12

    Okay now I feel left out as our Bunnings doesn’t have a gluten free sausage sizzle! haha!

    I’m glad you’re settling in so well and adjusting – great news on the car! Shame work isn’t busy but the slight downtime will be good to help you find your feet before it ramps up maybe? 🙂

    If you could share the secrets to finding helpful and knowledgeable centrelink stuff and breezing through paperwork that would be wonderful, as every interaction is a battle here, ha! I still have to sort some stuff before I go back to work soon and I keep putting it off as the wait time is insane whenever I do try!

    Hope you are having a great week! I published my first eBook on Monday so I’m having a pretty good week! 🙂

    Away From The Blue Blog

  9. 27th May 2017 / 05:09

    Hurrah for getting settled! Where are you thinking of living? I can understand d the dilemma of choosing between buzzy and quiet in Sydney, tough choice! Also, wishing I’d known about the Copper Pan, that looks so delish!

  10. 29th May 2017 / 09:06

    Your familiarisation exercises look like a lot of fun 🙂

  11. 31st May 2017 / 11:14

    It sounds like you guys have settled in nicely! And yay for a new car! Car prices here are a bit ridiculous – and you’re right, often times second hand cars aren’t actually that much cheaper… unless you’re going for a car with doors that are stuck on with gaffa tape 😉

  12. 1st June 2017 / 13:12

    Sounds like it has been a great month thus far and you’ve been getting settled in! Surprising to hear that 2nd hand cars are expensive there. In Canada, cars don’t tend to keep their value for long! Good luck with month 2 and onwards!

  13. 1st June 2017 / 20:49

    That is a very pretty cat!

    All of those familiarisation exercises were 100% necessary. Especially gelato familiarisation! (That one may have stood out to me the most because I’m currently attempting to work while roasting to death! Well, clearly I’m not working right now since I’m commenting here, but you know what I mean 😉 I’m on my lunch break.)

  14. 1st June 2017 / 23:33

    I’m happy to hear you’re all settled in and it seems to be going well so far! Hopefully the bad and ugly change soon. BTW- I’ve never heard it as peaks and troughs..we say peaks and valleys. I love differences in language- even across English!

    Thanks for linking up..looking forward to your email later with the ugly 😉

  15. 2nd June 2017 / 00:26

    Getting settled in a new place is tough, we did it in a new state and it was a whirlwind. I can’t imagine what it’s like in a new country!

  16. 2nd June 2017 / 00:40

    Hello there! I found your blog through Expatolife. I love your term “familiarization”! I live in Madrid, Spain and have been doing my best to try as much Spanish wine as possible, so I’ll have to adopt this new term to make my sipping more legitimate 😉

  17. 3rd June 2017 / 02:59

    What an amazing time in your life! I have family in Australia, and I’m desperately hoping to save money to surprise my husband with a trip when he returns from deployment 🙂 I’m looking forward to following your adventures!

  18. 3rd June 2017 / 22:55

    That beach is so pretty!! I’m like you when it comes to finding a place to live. It should be somewhere central but also quiet – such a tough call!

  19. 3rd June 2017 / 23:35

    Sounds like you are having an amazing time! Good luck on finding a place, hopefully you’ll agree on something soon 🙂

    Midwest Darling

  20. 5th June 2017 / 04:26

    That brunch. Yum. That’s all I have to say. And now I’m hungry.

  21. 6th June 2017 / 02:16

    I’m so glad you’re settling in well! And yesss familiarization exercises are the most important :). If you’re having trouble deciding where to live, I’d say pick somewhere with your favorite gluten free restaurants? I also make sure I live close to food! Totally signing up for “the ugly” – I love hearing about the tough parts of travel/expat life!

  22. 8th June 2017 / 01:21

    love your familiarisation exercises, especially the sausage sizzle! i am totally going to get as many of those as i can haha.
    i am with you on where to live – and honestly, i think you should win the argument! public transport is so awesome you’ll be able to get to the happening places easily without having to actually live in them (because what about when you don’t want to be in the middle of everything? not like you can escape!)
    thank you for linking up with us, i’m glad everything is going well, i hope to see you in a couple of weeks! i’ll email you and erin soon, i’ll have a number when i’m there so we can text and stuff if we want. as i’m sure you’ll understand, we will be pretty busy and spending time with mum and family so i don’t know how flexible i will be, i hope i still get to see you though! maybe coffee? except i don’t drink it, so let’s do dessert instead 😉

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