Expat update: Month 2

Wait, what happened? I’ve been here two months already?!

This month I’ve been delighted to be able to go to Vivid at long last, taking multiple trips to see the lights wherever I could, I’ve been to a couple of films at Sydney Film Festival, and taken out a membership at Costco. It’s been all go. Here’s the nitty gritty…

The Good

We got a flat! ¦¦ It was looking tense for a minute there but I’m very happy to say we found a flat we both like, in an area we both like, and after an afternoon of deliberation we applied for it and found out we’d been approved the next day. I must say the education in Sydney real estate was fast and brutal, but there’s nothing like a steep learning curve to help you feel settled!

In the end we decided to go for a place in a more lively area, and accept that we’d need to stump up a bit more cash for it. If we only end up staying here for 18 months (#visaproblems yo) then I’d like to say we maximised our opportunities and lived somewhere where there’s stuff going on. Plus, the sunset views from our balcony are swoony.

We got stuff for our flat ¦¦ Flats here generally come furnished with nothing (notably no fridge or washing machine, although inexplicably for a hot country they usually have a dryer), and furniture and white goods are exPENsive here, even factory seconds or second hand stuff. We have been so lucky to have generous friends and family who have given us a sofa, shelving, a fridge and a washing machine – the latter two from people at church we’d never met before. How nice is that?!

Our stuff arrived! ¦¦ Yep, all 16 boxes of it. There were some mild shenanigans in the form of lift access fees (surely the presence of a lift is a good thing…?) and the fact our stuff was sat in a warehouse in Sydney for a good fortnight before they could be bothered to get their paperwork done and find a delivery driver, but no matter. What’s a couple of weeks after 2+ months without our things. Unpacking all our stuff really did feel like Christmas, and yes I had completely forgotten what we’d packed.

We already have visitors lined up ¦¦ I had thought that when we moved out here it would be crickets for a while, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. We’ve got my sister coming over from the UK in August and September, a friend of my husband at the end of September, my friend in November, and some more possible bookings next year. At this rate we’ll have to start listing our spare room on AirBnB! I’m really pleased folk have been so keen, I can’t wait to see them all.

I passed my skills assessment ¦¦ This is basically the first hurdle towards my permanent residency application. It was quite a significant hurdle so I’m very happy to have passed it! To celebrate, we went to a restaurant we discovered near us that serves South American food.

I had the most delicious gluten free empanadas and arepas, but I now have some important questions. Marcella and Lauren I’m looking at you here – what is a soursop? Or a lulo??

The cooler cabinet contained some other things I’m dying to try out, like a Colombian soup mix and some premade frozen empanadas. Yummmm.

I met some lovely internet friends ¦¦ So, my husband and I have been getting pretty sick of just hanging out with each other the whole time (the fact that both of us are currently working from home is NOT helping matters at ALL) and new friends are tricky to come by. So you can imagine how delighted I have been to be able to meet up with some readymade internet friends over the past few weeks. It’s been awesome. I’ve tried new food places and tried not to get lost in the crowds of Vivid with Sam, I’ve had Mexican with Erin and Kristen (plus special guest appearance from KC), and there was even a flying visit from a certain Kiwi.

It’s been so good to see friendly faces, and in the case of Erin and Kristen, to meet people I’ve internet-known for actual years yet have never met in person. I have more people besides to meet, and am now shamelessly putting myself out there. I figure at some point you just have to. So if you’re in Sydney (or Melbourne, I’ll be there for work soon), let’s go for a beverage!

The Bad

Some of our stuff got broken in transit ¦¦ Of course it wasn’t the stuff we weren’t bothered about, no. It was the prettiest and most useful of our plates, a serving dish I adored given to me by my grannie, and most of the wine glasses the other granny gave me. I’ve started the process to file a claim on the insurance, but obviously you can’t claim back sentimental value. Still, I tell myself it was a risk we had to take. What else could we do? Leaving it behind wouldn’t have achieved anything other than burden someone else.

Renting sucks ¦¦ Yeah I won’t go on about this much because I know I’m in a very privileged position. All I will say is that I had forgotten just how rubbish some agents can be. Ours is a piece of work – not only ineffectual, but also just makes stuff up to try and fob us off so she doesn’t have to do any work. She doesn’t really make any effort to hide it either.

We haven’t explored much ¦¦ This month we’ve been mainly focused on flat hunting, flat securing, finding and moving aforementioned furniture and appliances, shifting stuff around in general, making multiple trips to Kmart, waiting in for deliveries, etc etc. It’s been necessary but a little dull, if we’re honest.

We’ve tried to squeeze in some fun stuff around errands however, like this incredible view we caught from the top of a Westfield, of all places. Pro tip: Bondi Pizza in Bondi Junction has a balcony where you can enjoy this view with sunshine and pizza. What more could you ask for?!

I’m hoping we’ll get more time to explore next month. As I dropped in above, I’ll be in Melbourne for work in August so I’m hoping to see as much of the city as I can around working hours.

I haven’t blogged much ¦¦ I have been so worn out by the moving process that I just haven’t found the energy to sit down and write about things. I’ve got our whole pre-pat trip to recap, and I’ve got so much I want to write about, but it just hasn’t happened. I’m also struggling to figure out how to go about it – I bounce between wanting to just write a straight recap, to thinking that’s dull, to trying to be more creative and failing miserably. Arg.

The Ugly

In case you’re new to these updates, I’ve decided to share 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.

Have you ever met an internet friend IRL? And do you prefer to read about people’s trips in recap style (we did this, then we did this) or about individual activities? Or listicles? Or… not at all?!

-Rachel

Linking up with Kristen and Gretch for What’s New With You and with Van, Marcella, Lauren and Isabel for Wanderful Wednesday. 

Share:

32 Comments

  1. 5th July 2017 / 22:33

    ah i love this. glad you’re finally getting settled and all that. fascinating about the fact apartments come with pretty much nothing. and here i am in the US saying i won’t rent a thing unless it has a washer and dryer ha. should be grateful. i love meeting blog friends in real life. if i had the vacation time and funds, my ass would be hauling down there to see you my friend! for now i’ll just day dream 🙂

    xoxo cheshire kat

  2. 6th July 2017 / 00:27

    Sounds like it is all coming together! Our 15 boxes went off to the shippers last week so we are now living out of suitcases…at a friends! Though have a housesit for the last two weeks! Fly 22nd and have a few weeks in Dubai, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore..land in Sydney 10th for a couple of days! Have a job secured now too! We are moving to Mackay – so tropical Queensland for us! Start work 21/08 – staying in a holiday let to start with! Let me know if you are around 11/12 August and we can meet for a coffee! 🙂

  3. 6th July 2017 / 01:50

    Sounds like generally it’s been a really wonderful second month – mostly good things here (at least, that you mentioned in your post).

  4. 6th July 2017 / 02:53

    Ugh, Sydney rental agents tend to be collective pieces of work. Actually that might just go for all of Sydney and Melbourne. I’m sorry that they’re so awful.

  5. 6th July 2017 / 06:07

    Congratulations on passing your skills assessment! That’s awesome. I felt like I was nodding along to this post because I could relate to everything you’ve gone through (minus Visa worries). Unpacking really does feel like Christmas, but it always sucks when something valuable gets broken. I’m so glad you have people coming to visit soon! I love showing people around Hawaii. Sometimes it gets to be a lot of work but overall I love it. I hope that you get settled in and that you can start exploring soon!!!

  6. 6th July 2017 / 07:47

    So happy for you that you’ve found a flat and you are settling in! AND that you passed your skills assessment – no clue what that entailed but if it has to do with le visa then I know it was 1) difficult, bureaucratic and overly complicated and 2) awesome that you did it!!!! I hope month 3 is full of more goods and more friends and more gluten free food!!

  7. 6th July 2017 / 11:39

    I’m so glad to hear you all found a flat and that you’re getting settled! I’m so sorry about the things that got broken – moving is so hard, especially when you lose the things that are important to you. When I moved from California to Texas, my entire truck got stolen so I lost a lot of family things and all my photos, so I have a lot of moving anxiety. I’m glad you passed your skills assessment! Excited to see what the next few months hold for you (those sunsets are incredible, too) now that you are in your own place!

  8. 6th July 2017 / 12:01

    Congrats on passing your skills assessment! Sounds like a lot of good things have been happening. But, why is it always the stuff you like that gets broken in a move? Ugh.

  9. Jen
    6th July 2017 / 12:14

    I am so so happy you got your stuff! It really is like Christmas when you are unpacking those boxes.

  10. 6th July 2017 / 18:09

    Aaah, I am so jealous that you got to meet Erin and Kristin!

  11. 6th July 2017 / 19:20

    I’m glad you’re settling in mostly well – what a shame about the damage to your items though, that’s so sad! 🙁 Like you said insurance can’t help with sentimental things.

    Your sunset views are spectacular, you definitely picked a good spot! I’m coming to Sydney next school holidays – need to get cracking on sorting dates and hotels and stuff, so when I do I’ll let you know, see if any dates line up! Going to meet a few friends and hoping I have time to see everyone and do some fun things with the boys (their first plane trip!)

    Hope you are having a lovely week so far 🙂

    Away From The Blue Blog

  12. 6th July 2017 / 22:50

    That’s awesome that you were able to meet Erin and Kristin! So sorry to hear about your broken sentimentals. That has to be tough. Congrats on the apartment find and for passing the assessment you mentioned.

  13. 7th July 2017 / 00:08

    Ahh another blogger in Oz. My sister lives in Newcastle and so Ive visited Newcastle and Sydney before. Glad I found your blog!

  14. 7th July 2017 / 03:27

    oh my goodness. i almost cried about your plates and serving dish from your grannie. i would be so mad 🙁 that sunset view from your balcony is gorgeous!! wow. sorry it’s been a bit dull doing all the boring things – i didn’t know you were working towards your permanent residency?! i must have missed that? so if that gets approved, definitely more than 18 months? or too soon to tell? yay for visitors coming soon!! and of course, so so fun to finally meet you in person and i hope we still internet like each other.

  15. 7th July 2017 / 08:59

    that sunset is stunning. thanks for sharing the photo. congratulations on the flat! i hope yall get your things sorted soon so you can enjoy your new home. and i love that you got to spend time with erin and kristen. thanks for posting that photo, too. erin’s a friend of mine from high school. i love that you’re there to keep her company, and she you. :]

  16. 7th July 2017 / 15:41

    Time flies doesn’t it? I still cannot wrap my mind around the fact that we have been in Japan for 19 months now! So sorry that some of your most precious items broke. I have a few heirlooms passed down to me from my grandparents too, and even though they might not be the most expansive tableware in the world, the sentimental value is priceless. Not sure if you already got rid of the gorgeous serving dish, but I’d totally try to mend it! So Japanese have this wonderful tradition, Kintsugi – literally, golden joinery – the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. The philosophy behind is that you keep an object around even after it has broken and as a justification of kintsugi itself, highlighting the cracks and repairs as simply an event in the life of an object rather than allowing its service to end at the time of its damage or breakage. Obviously, it would be too much to apply this to every single object that breaks, but I’d definitely do it with objects that I love and have meaning to me. I am also so happy that you picked your apartment! Congratulations!! xx, nano | http://www.travelwithnanob.com

    • 7th July 2017 / 15:48

      P.S. To answer your questions, I think I enjoy reading lists as well as recaps, because it helps me plan my trip better (gives an idea how much you can do in a certain period of time). I also love meeting up with internet friends and have done quite a few meet-ups in Tokyo already!

  17. 7th July 2017 / 16:28

    Hurrah for finding a flat! The real estate game is always so different in each places – though London is pretty fierce as is NYC!! Argh, I just realized I was meant to have emailed you when I was in Sydney for work – I barely left the office/hotel as the weather was pretty crap! I did manage to catch a bit of Vivid though… Will have to go back at some point!! Enjoy the new flat/area!! And sorry to hear some stuff got broken in the move 🙁

  18. 7th July 2017 / 19:43

    It’s really interesting hearing about your experiences so far. With my work, there’s a very real possibility of having to move from London to Hong Kong, a move I have to say I’m not all that enthused about. Although I can’t quite say I find your post reassuring, there do seem to be some silver linings which would hopefully translate to my potential move as well…

    Best of luck and I hope the renting-lady bucks up a bit!
    KatieJane
    https://soupandchampagne.blogspot.co.uk

  19. NCM
    8th July 2017 / 03:00

    Happy, no delighted, to be the trail blazer for all of the ‘overseas visitors’ you’ve got lined up for the coming months.

    If you need a bag carrier/ personal assistant/ live blogger for your work trips to Melbourne I’d be pleased to come with! I may be able to squeeze in some additional duties amid the demanding coffee sampling schedule.

  20. 8th July 2017 / 06:24

    Yay for the adjustment period! I’m so happy that you got a flat in an area you like, and I love the look of these sunsets (obviously!)
    As for those empanadas… yum! Now, I’m not familiar with the terms soursop or lulo. They aren’t fruits that are in Chile, but after some googling to see the photos, I would say that lulo look very similar to Physalis or golden berries. Soursop looks similar to chirimoyas here in Chile (custard apples) but they aren’t. I think they are from the more tropical parts of South America, it probably isn’t warm or humid enough to grow them here!

  21. 8th July 2017 / 18:23

    So glad you found a flat, yayyy!!! Looks like you’re finally starting to settle down and get into a routine, despite all the boring paperwork and visa issues! Can’t wait to see more of Sydney through your eyes 🙂

  22. 11th July 2017 / 00:15

    Hooray for getting a flat and for meeting up with Kristen and Erin! I totally agree with you that since you don’t know how long you’re going to be over there for, you definitely need to try and make the most out of where you’re living. That sucks that some things were broken in the move, especially things that had sentimental value.

  23. 11th July 2017 / 11:04

    Horray for getting a flat – and being approved on the very first one you decided on! Woohoo!

    But boo to frustrating agents and broken things! 🙁

  24. 13th July 2017 / 07:14

    Wow 2 months already?! Ups and downs but overall it sounds pretty great 🙂 I like recaps at the moment – feeling like I’m there with someone on the trip is cool!

  25. 15th July 2017 / 04:39

    Love reading this! Happy there is so much good! I know it’s sad to rent, but hope it gets better! Especially if you like your flat!

  26. 19th July 2017 / 17:45

    Hiiiiii, long time no chat (my fault!). Glad to read an update and hope the third month is full of charming adventures! You’ll be having more than I’ve had, I dare say, unless you count changing diapers as an adventure. 🙂 Our second born actually arrived the day you posted this! Just read your post about the canal tour in Bangkok, and I’m living vicariously through you and a few other bloggers at the moment. Thanks for that. 😉

  27. 25th July 2017 / 05:37

    Your blog looks to be brimming over the top compared to mine. I’m so glad you found your first flat and managed to work through and learn about real estate in Australia. I can’t even imagine… I am a little heartbroken over your broken champagne glasses and plates. 🙁 Some things can’t be replaced with money or otherwise and it is so sad that those were the things lost during your move. I’m glad to hear that you are meeting up with internet friends, though. 🙂 That’s wonderful!

  28. 26th July 2017 / 00:24

    Ahh I”m so late on catching up. But I like recaps! And congrats on finding an apartment! That’ so amazing you were able to furnish it with donations. But that’s terrible that your favorite pieces were broken :(. I love meeting blogging friends in real life. It’s so nice to be able to take an internet friendship and finally make it into a real in-person one too. I’m sure our paths will cross someday too!

    And I know what soursop is! It’s a tropical fruit that’s sweet-sour-ish. The inside flesh is a little slimey with big seeds. I don’t like the fruit that much, but it makes good juice!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *