Happy New Year/What’s new with me

Happy 2019! We made it! And yes, I’m still alive. Seeing as I last stopped by at the end of October, I thought I’d fill you in on what’s been going on with me since then. Sneak peek:

Let’s begin!

The new apartment is great

It feels like I’ve hardly set foot in our apartment since we moved in, but we did manage to squeeze in a housewarming party whilst my Mum was still over here which was definitely an achievement. So far, the flat is working out pretty well for us, especially given how much cheaper it is than the last place. The kitchen is great, the bathroom is so nice and shiny, there’s heaps of storage, and it’s lovely and quiet.

The full extent of my Christmas decorations this year

Of course, after a few months the annoyances have started to show themselves. We seem to be in some sort of black hole/faraday cage, so nothing has any signal and the internet can be excruciatingly slow (it also took 3 months to get connected but let’s not dwell on that fiasco), we haven’t nailed climate control yet, and the public transport situation is patchy at best – but overall, it’s still a winner. It’s easy to compare it to our last place and how handy that was, but that was also $105 a week more expensive. A week! So… I think we’re good.

My mum visited

It was a little bit last minute but I’m so happy that my Mum was able to come back with me from the UK to Australia to pay us all a visit. Unfortunately I’d just started my new job so I didn’t get to see her a huge amount, but to be honest I’m sure she enjoyed hanging out with her grandchildren a lot more!

I did get to take her to the Sydney Botanic Gardens one day which was brilliant because if there’s one person who loves botanical gardens more than me, it’s my Mum. We had a lovely potter around and I even managed to take her to a bit of the gardens she hasn’t seen before: the succulent garden!

To be fair I’ve only recently been there myself, which is surprising as it’s not particularly hidden and I’ve been to the Botanic Gardens more times than I can count. If you are in Sydney and somehow have missed it so far too, I highly recommend a visit!

My new job is fabulous

I think I was a fresh 8 days in when I last posted – well, a lot has happened since. I’ll fill you all in as much as I can in The Ugly (sign up at the bottom of this post here if you want) but I’ve been on my first project for 8 weeks now and so far, so good. I’ve been given positive feedback and told to “start making some mistakes” so… yay?

More succulents because… confidentiality, and succulents are prettier than work

Other than the actual project, I was lucky enough to start with a great group of people and we’ve all banded together to navigate this wild ride. They’re a pretty cool bunch and honestly I don’t know how I’d have managed without them so far. I’ve also been given a great boss/mentor person who I think is really going to help look out for me, yet also stretch me pretty hard. Whilst terrifying, I think this is ultimately a good thing as to be quite honest, I don’t do well when I’m bored.

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses. The flip side of being new is always being on my best behaviour and always networking, because I have a list as long as my arm of people I “really should be talking to”. This plus the invariable Christmas socialisation has meant a lot of work events in December. One week I had a work event on 5 out of 7 nights (one being a Sunday!!) and at the end of it I was DONE. I think I was foul to everyone and everything that week.

I’ve got about 4 more weeks on this project left, then I’ll be on to something new. My boss/mentor seems very excited about the prospect of getting me onto a really full on project next, so watch this space (or not, as the case may be).

I went to Tokyo!

One of the good things about my new job is all the training you can do. Since joining I’ve been bombarded with offers to join training courses all around the globe – and I’ve accepted as many as I possibly can. First on the list was my official induction training which took place in Tokyo. How lucky am I?

Full disclosure, I was quite worried about how I was going to manage to find any gluten free food in Tokyo at all, after Sian had such a hard time. The googling I did before I went didn’t make me feel much better about it, either.

However, I’m pleased to report that between the couple of safe places I found before I went, my super helpful new colleagues, and half a suitcase full of snacks I did not starve. Fellow coeliac travellers, there’s a post to come on this whoooole thing. Maybe I’ll even manage to post it in the next 6 months…!

Anyway back to the actual trip. I was actually able to go out a couple of days early and go palace-and-garden hunting which made me very happy (you may have caught the results on Instastories, which I had forgotten the fun of. Those of you who followed along and sent me messages laughing at my misadventures, thank you for keeping me entertained!). I’m glad I got to do some sightseeing before the training began because… it was kinda intense. I learned a lot (NB not necessarily what was on the curriculum), I slept very little, and it’s no exaggeration to say I came away changed. Tokyo, man. It’s a trip.

I got new hair!

I’ve been inching blonder and blonder every time I post, so here’s the latest. I really like it and I’m enjoying my Summer Hair. I’m still in that slightly awkward phase where I’m figuring out exactly how often I need to wash it and styling and whatnot, but overall I’m a happy customer.

Me + new hair + a sister 🙂

Which is handy, because it cost me an ABSOLUTE FORTUNE. I’m not sure what’s going on, but I seem to only be able to either do a terrible Groupon haircut or one that is literally 10x the price. I can’t find a middle ground. Surely there must be a middle ground? My quest in 2019 is hereby to find a reasonably priced haircut. There, I’ve said it now.

Brain: there’s everyone else on the internet picking an inspiring word for the year, or designing their life, goals and being a Boss Lady and here you are just aspiring to get a cheaper haircut. Aim low, girl.

Christmas was quiet

And that’s exactly how I wanted it. We went to morning church, where the worship leader tried to mess with a classic with hilarious results (pro tip: don’t mess with the classics), the talk was good, and our church family were there. It’s the first year I’ve been to my own church at Christmas since before I was married (!) and it was honestly so refreshing to feel at home on Christmas.

After church we headed straight to my sister’s place, where we had pink champagne on the deck in 30 degree heat and ate more prawns than should be feasible. There were presents, most notably a giant Christmas train for one lucky nephew – how my sister knew exactly what he meant by ‘Christmas train’ is still a mystery to me but hats off to her.

I also ate my weight in pavlova because my sister’s mother in law is a genius cook. And you can’t argue with a Christmas pav. You could possibly argue with having custard with it but let’s move swiftly on.

Our final call for the day was to my friend’s flat where we had assembled some Christmas orphans. Believe it or not we put away another significant sized meal…

…and discovered a Netflix show called Nailed It, which I highly recommend watching as a group activity. It’s definitely not quality TV but something about it was just absolutely perfect for the time and mood.

Oh and turns out my friend has a pretty amazing pool in her complex that she only just discovered, so we went for a Christmas evening swim (after deciding that fat makes you more buoyant so it was actually a good thing that we’d just made such pigs of ourselves). I mean I say swim; we mostly just hung out in the jacuzzi bit and chatted but same same, right?

Somewhere in there I spoke to family back in the UK, and S and I gave each other our presents at about midnight when all was said and done. All in all it was a perfectly chilled, minimal fuss, just right Christmas.

New Year was interesting

It’s no secret that Sydney goes big for fireworks, and since we sat them out last year we decided to brave the crowds and go and see them this year. Turns out my office has a pretty spectacular view of the harbour and they were letting employees come in and watch if they wanted to. It turned out to be a very civilised vantage point for the evening and we got a pretty mind blowing view of the fireworks, too. They really were spectacular.

Unfortunately, getting home was another story as there were various train shenanigans afoot – but after dealing with misinformation, stressy crowds, some randoms who decided to punch on and get themselves arrested, we made it home by about 2am. Not bad, but I think I might do something different next year.

AOB

For the quick fire round this time I…

  • am not enjoying this new editor. When it autosaves it seems to boot the cursor back to the beginning of the text block and ALSO starts typing backwards?? What and how is that helpful?
  • went swimwear shopping for the first time in many years. Luckily I went with a friend whose life choices also involve prioritising chocolate over exercise, however, the sight of my pale flab reflected back at me in a changing room mirror is burned into my psyche forever more. Who can recommend me some exercise that isn’t running? I’ll take whatever you’ve got.
  • got bitten just beneath my eye by a mosquito, which is surprisingly annoying when it swells up. Here I am about 3 days in. It took forbloodyever to go down, the stupid thing.
  • was supposed to have 3 weeks enforced leave over Christmas which I did not want (would have left me with 2 weeks annual leave for the rest of the year, plus it’s expensive to travel at Christmas, and busy) but was told was set in stone. Until the 21st, when I get a phonecall requesting me back in a week early…
  • was a judgy judgeface with bad spelling on our intranet (actually it’s not even bad spelling, what’s it called when people transliterate foreign languages poorly? Eg ‘wallah’/voilà?) and look, I know it’s a bad habit and I need to stop, but seriously. A bonified yogi? I can’t.
  • have just been booked on some more training in Stockholm at the end of January. Hoorah! I’ve been once before for work but that was a while ago, so if you’ve got any gluten free or general tips for Stockholm, please let me know. I suspect I will have close to zero free time (classes are scheduled 8am-8pm, not including obligatory networking/team bonding time outside those hours…) so short and sharp suggestions would be the most welcome.

In summary, I feel like I flew over the finish line of 2018 arse-about and limbs flailing. I’m still trying to catch up with myself and so far I have no goals, plans or even wishes for 2019 yet other than I hope I keep my grip on reality throughout. That’s about the best I can hope for at this stage.

So tell me, what’s new with you?

-Rachel

Linking up with Kristen and shamelessly pinching her linkup name as my post title because my imagination has been drowned out by excessive Christmas chocolate consumption.

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17 Comments

  1. 3rd January 2019 / 19:32

    Happy New Years, friend! Good to see you posting – I should do a similar post. HA 😉 Hurrah for the new, cheaper flat! And omg, 3 months to get internet?? WTH!!! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the new job!! Huzzah!! It makes such a difference…! How fun that you got to go to Japan!! Japan is such an amazing country!!

    So wait, you guys have the Christmas shut down but that comes out of your annual leave?!?! Errr How awesome that your mom made it down!! Was it her first time?

  2. 3rd January 2019 / 22:08

    Happy New Year! So many good things in the last couple months. Your mum visiting, new apartment, TOKYO (please blog that – its one of Danny’s dream destinations). Also so cool that your office has such a great view and allowed you guys to watch from there,

    Wishing you all the best for this new year!

  3. 4th January 2019 / 01:24

    oh my so many things! I’m so glad you’re in the new job and it’s overall better than the last. and family time! and new hair! (which blonde is always a win in my book – just makes me feel happy ha). the NYE convo we discussed sounds like a madhouse – so many things overrated about that ‘holiday’ but maybe staying in next year? ha. anyway glad all is overall well! oh and the new WP editor is weird for sure. but I heard you can go back to the old one so I may look at doing that.

  4. SMD
    4th January 2019 / 03:14

    What a lovely pool to loll around in after Christmas day.

    Glad your Mum came to visit.

    Love the hair!

    Five out of seven nights of things makes me a troll.

  5. 4th January 2019 / 04:29

    So good to read a new post! You’re way ahead of me in that respect. 😀

  6. 4th January 2019 / 06:05

    You’ve seriously been so incredibly busy, especially with your new job! I swear the meeting new people and having to learn the ropes is always the hardest and scariest part about starting something new, but I’m glad that you’re enjoying it! And Tokyo for training! That’s so incredible, and I’m so jealous! I hope that you get to go on so many more trips with your job! And I’m glad that your mom was able to come over for a visit! I know that not seeing my family would be the hardest part about being an expat!

  7. 4th January 2019 / 06:07

    Wow what a recap! So many fun things in here to read. Job training in other countries is the best (hopefully you’ll be able to get away for some sightseeing in Stockholm)! I cannot imagine having so many work events in one week haha. I would complain if I had more than one : )

  8. 4th January 2019 / 06:25

    It was so nice to catch up with you and glad to hear that you’re doing well and liking your new job! I love when you can watch the fireworks from the office — a great perk, for sure. Happy New Year and hope 2019 will be even better 🙂

  9. 4th January 2019 / 08:58

    So pleased I got to see you in among all that fun (work) and frolics. We went to friends in Kirribilli for NYE and had a lovely time but the getting home sucks balls. I think next year, I’m going to stay home and watch the fireworks on the telly! Hope 2019 is full of awesome x

  10. 5th January 2019 / 08:23

    I don’t think I’d cope well with 3 months without internet, haha! 🙂 Your new apartment sounds lovely overall though, and what a fun Christmas and new year you had! It’s so cool you got to go to Japan! 🙂

    Happy New Year! Hope that your 2019 is off to a great start and you’ve been having a great week 🙂

    Away From The Blue Blog

  11. 5th January 2019 / 16:40

    Woah, you’ve been busy! I’m glad that the apartment is better than the last, and at least way cheaper! That’s awesome you get to travel some for training- never been to Japan, so that’s exciting! Have fun in Sweden too!

    -Lauren

  12. 6th January 2019 / 01:06

    Woo yay so glad that you had a great Christmas and that the new job is going well! The mozzies were such a pain when we were on the NSW coast earlier in the week – I swear they love biting me!

  13. 6th January 2019 / 02:05

    I installed the classic editor plugin because I got so frustrated with the new editor. (I think you are on wordpress, too.) CHEERS to seeing the fireworks (despite the shenanigans), a cheaper apartment, and enjoying the new job! One of my coworkers just got back from Tokyo and she says the culture is so crazy (very late nights, very much shenanigans) but now she’s completely disgusted with how dirty the US is because it was so clean there. I definitely did enjoy following along on your adventures. 🙂 Finding someone to cut your hair is a huge undertaking. I pay more than I should, but my stylist listens to me and doesn’t try to make my hair edgy…. so I pay for that premium, happily. 😉

  14. 6th January 2019 / 05:46

    ok, so much stuff!! glad the new place is awesome, even with those annoyances, the fact that it’s cheaper is fabulous. love the new hair, good luck on the cheap haircut quest. i honestly never found a go-to hairdresser at home because i was either never happy or it was too expensive.. hence why my hair was down to my ass when i moved to america. now my bestie is my hairdresser, which is zero percent helpful to you, i know. omg that pav looks SO good. never had pav and custard together, but i like both so, why not? glad the new job is going well, all the travelling yay! the networking sounds draining for sure, but i’m glad you’re liking it.

  15. 6th January 2019 / 12:22

    Sounds like your new job has some nice perks, and that’s a great view of the fireworks 🙂

  16. 8th January 2019 / 10:51

    Happy New Year!!!

    Definitely laughing over “bonified’ but I’m related to a lot of bad spellers so I laugh a lot…

    Glad the new job is going well and training in Tokyo sounds way fun! I loved visiting Tokyo, I would definitely go back to Japan if I had the opportunity.

  17. 16th January 2019 / 18:18

    Happy (slightly belated) New Year. I’m glad to see good things happening for you. So jealous that you got to go to Tokyo for work!

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