Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad

Right now I'm packing up my life to move halfway across the world to Sydney, Australia. No big deal, right?

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Let’s catch up?

Well it’s been a minute, hasn’t it? I last posted on this corner of cyberspace almost 12 weeks ago. 12 weeks! It feels like forever, and also like no time at all. So in that most trite of phrases, shall we catch up on everything that’s happened to me in those 12 weeks?

Enjoying a gluten free chocolate mousse in Cote Brasserie, Marlow, UK. I love having my own special flag.

I moved house

You may remember I mentioned we’d been evicted by our landlord – sadly no juicy story, they just wanted to move back in. We had a lengthy 90 days to make the decision, but then some unexpected trips got scheduled and all of a sudden I had 3 weekends left to seal the deal.

Apartment renting here in Australia can be a bit stressful, and although the market has gotten a little less competitive just recently, showing up to viewings with a small crowd of other potential renters is still common. I was also trying to save some money and the cheap apartments go quick – no surprises there.

I did see some absolute doozys in my search, though. Check out the missing floor tiles. Not pictured: the mouldy walls, splintered medicine cabinet and broken tiles on the windowsill. And that was just the bathroom.

Yeah that’s a no, thanks.

Luckily, our new place is a bit of a find. It’s in a nice leafy suburb, fairly newly refurbished and to a high quality, plenty of storage, and it’s even got a tiny garden attached to it. Luckily, the bathroom is just a touch nicer than that mustard monstrosity above…

Of course, new suburb means new restaurants to try, new shops to explore, and new public transport routes to figure out. This suburb is only served by buses, unlike our old one which had a holy-grail-in-Sydney train line too. So our options are a bit more restricted, and there’s really only one sporadic bus that goes past our new place. Otherwise it’s a 15 minute walk up a big hill to more buses… We’ll see how long it takes before that gets old. I suspect it may coincide with the onset of hot weather.

I quit my job

If you subscribe to The Ugly, you’ll know more about that. If you don’t, tough luck because I don’t post about work on here. The walls have ears, etc.

Here’s a picture of me enjoying my leaving drinks. Cheeeeeeeers.

I got a new job

Hooray! The cramming, chocolate and diet coke paid off and I found myself being offered 2 jobs I was certain I was wholly unqualified for (sidenote: apparently that’s usual for women, ayyy patriarchy).

As I put it in The Ugly,

“Job A will involve working 12h days (not including commute!), probably minimal travel, and will take ALL my hustle. Job B will be the same, except may also involve travel.”

It was a tough choice, but… I chose the one with travel 😉 Friends, you know me.

Here I am en route to interview 2 of 4. Holy under eye bags – I really must have been as tired as I felt.

Sidenote, finding 4 interview appropriate outfits was a real struggle. I’m just not a jacket person… at all.

I’ve been there 8 days now and it’s equal parts terrifying and amazing. I’ve had to sign all kinds of iron clad NDAs, and do extensive eLearnings on the use of social media and what I am and am not allowed to do as an employee of the company. It’s quite scary and I’m still trying to figure out the ramifications for this space. More on that later.

I went back to the UK

Unfortunately my amazing Granny passed away just after her 96th birthday, at the end of August. Obviously it was a sad time for the family, but as my aunt pointed out, she had a long and fascinating life and lived it well. I was glad to be able to travel back for the funeral to celebrate such an amazing life – a luxury not granted to every expat. It was my first trip back to the UK since moving to Australia, so it was quite a weighty trip for many reasons.

Bucolic I tell you. This was the day I arrived – then the weather totally nosedived.

However, I tried my best to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse by taking the chance to catch up with as many lovely friends and family as I could while I was back. It made my little heart so happy to see them all.

Oh and I also travelled back via LA/Palm Springs. What? More on that to come.

In other news…

aka the quick fire round, because we’ve all been here a while now.

  • I got a new haircut! The hairdresser also managed to drip bleach on my favourite jumper and my last good pair of jeans, which was most annoying

Can one re-dye jeans without it running all over everything else you own forever…?

  • I got readdicted to The Block! (and then had no time to watch it)
  • My husband got a new job! (This is obv a major update but I don’t tend to share his business on here, so it’s relegated to the quick fire round)
  • We went to Perth and Albany, Western Australia! It was fabulous. We went to a wedding, caught up with internet friends, saw some wild dolphins, and walked in treetops. I love Australia.

Have you ever seen a sea so blue??

  • I got back to the UK just as the amazing summer weather broke, and after one day of sunshine it rained the whole time I was there. When I got back to Australia, the rains set in after the epic drought we’ve had all year. Anyone need some rain? Just send me over.
  • I rediscovered the wonder that is Savage Garden. I blame LA.
  • I’ve been away so long WordPress has a new editor. Fellow WPers, how are you finding it? Personally I think it’s quite snazzy but am fully prepared to stuff things up for a while to come.

A Nesting Nomad’s future

Speaking of the blog, we may as well address the elephant in the room. Well, as soon as I accepted the offer at my current place of employment the writing was on the wall. I thought I’d have ages to get some posts out before I started my new job, and then moving house took a while longer than I anticipated… then I had to go back to the UK… then we went to WA… then suddenly I was starting my new job and that has been a TRIP let me tell you.

So anyway, the upshot is I’ve never been the best at churning out content here at A Nesting Nomad, and things have really gone off the rails recently. I’m going to try and claw things back if I can, but ultimately my new job is my absolute priority (and then, y’know, my marriage, and whatnot). However, I love my little blog and the friendships I’ve made through it, so I do want to continue if I can.

With that in mind, I asked my Ugly readers what they’d like to see from the blog if I could only publish once a month on average. The results are in, and I’m pleased to say we have a unanimous winner:

Do a monthly general update, personal stuff as well as general expat stuff. Just whatever you’ve been up to. Use The Ugly for anything you don’t want to put on the internet, regardless of subject.

So that’s about what I’ll be doing. It also means I’ll be using The Ugly a lot more, especially given confidentiality shenanigans at my new workplace. So if you don’t want to miss a beat, here’s one more chance to sign up.

I have some small bits and pieces to come about Palm Springs, Western Australia, and my thoughts on my first return trip to the UK since moving to Australia. What would you rather read first?

So tell me everything I’ve missed while I’ve been away. What’s new with you? Fellow blogger friends, I’ll be trying to catch up on your posts… Expect some creeping.

-Rachel

::Hiatus::

I don’t mean to make this overly dramatic, but it might be a bit obvious that I haven’t been posting so I’m showing up quickly to explain why.

Well, sort of.

To begin with…

Since we last spoke, things got really interesting really quickly. The first thing that happened was to do with work, which I don’t talk about on here Just In Case, so instead I’m going to update whoever is interested in that via The Ugly. You can sign up at the end of this if you haven’t already.

The TL;DR of the situation is that I now need to spend all my free time cramming in… let’s say… extra study type preparation and being nervous. My chocolate and Diet Coke consumption has skyrocketed which is not a sustainable solution but what can you do?

Some calming scenes from the past few months. Isn’t Palm Beach the ultimate? Note: this is the height of winter. Winter!

And then…

We got served notice of eviction. Our landlord wants to move back in so that means we’re out. They’ve given us 90 days to move out which personally I think is quite generous, however the timing sucks. I don’t have any spare time to look for a new place outside of work hours and, as you can probably guess, the chances of me being able to view flats during working hours are approximately zero point zero.

Add to that the fact that my husband is job hunting at the moment, so he’s working on that in his spare time. Anyone who’s looked for a job recently knows it can be a full time job in itself, and consequently we’ve barely seen each other. It was his birthday at the weekend and we spent the day in a café practicing maths ☹ Then we lined up diaries and worked out he’s going to be away for most of August. So that’s sad in and of itself, but also means I might need to do the whole move myself – a bit tricky for someone who can’t do any lifting thanks to my special snowflake spine.

But above and beyond all this, I am so, so grateful to live where we do and have the lives we have. We are lucky ducks.

Sometimes I deal with stress in other areas of life by writing more here; sometimes by checking out completely. This time it’s been the latter. It’s all good, the things we’re dealing with right now are not that serious in the grand scheme of things. They’ll work themselves out with time. I’m just doing what I need to to focus on those now, and then I’ll be back, and life might look quite different for me then.

The Ugly

In the mean time, if you want to read The Ugly and you’re not already signed up, here’s your chance.

Either which way, catch you on the flip side!

-Rachel

I am two in Australia

I normally post something here on my actual birthday, because it seems like a fun thing to do (like the year when I was in Santorini, or Bangkok, or my first birthday in Australia last year), but this year apparently the fun boat left me far, far behind. So far behind that it’s been almost two months since the day itself…. Oops. Ehh, things have been a little hectic around here.

I just celebrated my second birthday in Australia, and it was pretty huge to reflect back on everything that's happened in the past year. Also I got a fun new necklace. So there's that.

I may have mentioned that things got a bit busy for me in May (and April, and kind of March too?) so my birthday somewhat crept up on me and then whizzed past all at once. My biggest sister (who normally lives in the north of England) was in Australia at the time of my birthday, and I had originally planned to have a birthday dinner with her. However, she was at a conference and the schedule kept changing so it didn’t quite work out that way in the end.

What actually happened was that I woke up on my birthday to some lovely cards and beautiful Australian native flowers from my husband, which was a brilliant start to the day. He tried to make pancakes but that didn’t quite go to plan, so I had cereal instead and headed off to work.

I spent the day at work which sucked – I don’t often talk about my work on here because I get nervous in case anyone ever finds it, but I’m so fed up with my current project that I’m not afraid to say that my day at work was miserable. I didn’t tell anyone it was my birthday because I didn’t want any fuss, and it was overall a fairly depressing experience.

But then I came home again and S and I headed off to Birthday Plan B, which was pizza a deux.

I just celebrated my second birthday in Australia, and it was pretty huge to reflect back on everything that's happened in the past year. Also I got a fun new necklace. So there's that.

I wore my birthday necklace, which is so bright it punches you in the face with cheerfulness. That’s kind of what I needed. And here’s why you don’t need to feel sorry for me for my distinctly average birthday (not withstanding the best efforts of my husband, thank you S).

Because at the end of the week before my birthday, my biggest sister arrived on a plane from England! I used my remaining annual leave to take two days off at the end of that week and we had an absolute blast. We were joined by my second biggest sister for some of that time, and we spent it chatting up a storm, eating up a storm, and shopping up a storm (see: cheerful birthday necklace).

I just celebrated my second birthday in Australia, and it was pretty huge to reflect back on everything that's happened in the past year. Also I got a fun new necklace. So there's that.

It was indescribably great to hang out all 3 of us, and I don’t remember the last time I went proper girly shopping with people who can be trusted to give me honest opinions.

And then that weekend was my second biggest sister’s birthday party, so we all put on our party frocks and danced to Chumbawumba and were jointly baffled by a cronut wall (nope, still can’t explain what that was). It wasn’t my birthday party but I certainly enjoyed myself as if it were.

And then the day after my birthday I went for a delicious dinner at El Karim, a Lebanese restaurant in the next suburb over, just like I did last year. Except this time I went with lots of the new friends I have made in the past year. So, that was nice, seeing how things have changed in a relatively short space of time.

Oh, we’re not done yet. The next day I went for lunch with Sam, who had made me a surprise birthday cake! And sang! And it was so unexpected and also delicious, I must say. We had misadventures with boomerangs and tried to cram a catch up into my lunch break (always a challenge) and then I listened in as the rest of my colleagues collectively lost their minds over Sam’s cake which I’d left in the kitchen.

I just celebrated my second birthday in Australia, and it was pretty huge to reflect back on everything that's happened in the past year. Also I got a fun new necklace. So there's that.

And last but certainly not least I had a birthday tea with S, my second biggest sister, my two nieces and nephew, her husband very briefly, and my sister in law and her husband who had arrived late the night before. And I got another cake! This one was shaped like an echidna and I was very impressed with my husband’s baking skillz.

I just celebrated my second birthday in Australia, and it was pretty huge to reflect back on everything that's happened in the past year. Also I got a fun new necklace. So there's that.

We also had a proper kid style birthday tea, with sausage rolls and crisps and crudites. I’m sure they weren’t called that when I was a child but you know what I mean. My favourite was the straight up bowl of marshmallows….

I just celebrated my second birthday in Australia, and it was pretty huge to reflect back on everything that's happened in the past year. Also I got a fun new necklace. So there's that.

So what I’m saying here is that while my actual birthday was a little low-key this year, the days surrounding it were extremely fun filled. And now I’m two in Australia.

Do you have a no work on your birthday policy? Or would you if you could?

-Rachel

I just celebrated my second birthday in Australia, and it was pretty huge to reflect back on everything that's happened in the past year. Also I got a fun new necklace. So there's that.

That news I was going to tell you about…

Well hello there oh great neglected space. It’s been a hot minute since I showed up here (although my page views have been some of their highest ever, how’s that for validation) and I have a LOT to update you on. If you thought updatey your matey was big, this is huge. I mentioned it back in my last post here, almost a month ago. And then I just… vanished.

More about that in a minute, but first let’s get to the news because there’s clickbait and then there’s just being annoying.

We got our permanent residency visas!

This will be old news for any of you who read The Ugly, of course. If that’s you, yay and thank you, and feel free to skip ahead.

Our subclass 186 permanent residency visa was just granted! This is a tiny story about how I found out, and how I told my husband. We're official Australian residents now!

The whole and full story is, as with most things visa related, quite boring so I’ll give you the highlights. As I may have mentioned once or twice (or a lot of times if you read The Ugly, again, thank you) I wasn’t expecting to hear back about the visa for maybe another 6 months. They have a long processing time and I didn’t see a reason why I should be at the front of any queue.

Turns out, one Friday lunchtime, I got an email from my migration agent who told me that my company had been approved as a sponsor. First big milestone down! So I replied back saying how glad I was to hear it, and when did she think we might hear about my application? A couple of hours later, my phone rang. I thought she would be ringing me to answer my question, but instead she congratulated me on MY application being approved! We’d done it, we were residents!

Of course, I wanted to ring S straight away and tell him but was so overwhelmed I had to go to the loos and have a little cry to myself first. After getting that out of the way I decided that I wanted to have a bit of fun with how I broke the news. So I went to the supermarket nearby and bought this hideous card:

Our subclass 186 permanent residency visa was just granted! This is a tiny story about how I found out, and how I told my husband. We're official Australian residents now!

And wrote this on the inside:

Our subclass 186 permanent residency visa was just granted! This is a tiny story about how I found out, and how I told my husband. We're official Australian residents now!

Then I printed off copies of our visa grant notifications and stuck them inside. I wish I were more of an artiste, but I am not a Pinterest friendly person so this is my very best effort. I handed over the whole thing at the airport while we were waiting for a flight to Brisbane, and filmed his reaction.

It was classic S and very understated, but he was so relieved. I’m not going to post it on the internet but if you know me IRL and you want to see the video I might share – if S says it’s ok. Anyway we spent that weekend in a bit of a blur because we couldn’t really believe it. I think we both suspected it would come, but neither of us thought it would be quite so soon. Here we are doing our best shell shocked faces:

Our subclass 186 permanent residency visa was just granted! This is a tiny story about how I found out, and how I told my husband. We're official Australian residents now!

When people kept asking me what my plans were now that I had my permanent residency visa, all I could think was that I’m going to buy a lot of houseplants. That’s literally all I could think of. Because, you know, houseplants are expensive to buy and they don’t travel around the world well so when you buy them, you need to be sure you’re staying put for a bit. And I love plants. So now I can buy lots 🙂

And that’s the story of how my 186 permanent residency visa was granted. If you’ve got any questions about the process or want to know what migration agent we used (she was amazing and I would 100% choose her again) just let me know. I might do a more detailed post about it in the future but it’ll be a snooze fest for 99.9% of you so I’ll save that for sometime in the future.

and then…

The first useful thing I did post PR grant was to finally upgrade to a NSW drivers license in which I look like a total degenerate (I’m sad to say I actually put in an effort for the photo and everything). I was going to post a photo but it’s not photographing well and on reflection that sounds like a bad identity-thefty type of decision so… ask me to see it in person if you need cheering up.

As for the reason I’ve been gone for almost a month, that would be a combination of visitors, bad work times and a dolly mixture induced perma-coma (nothing better than sweets from home, thanks Catherine!). We’ve had visitors more often than not since Easter, and whilst I had prescheduled content for the first and second waves of visitors, the third and fourth waves were just beyond me. Blogging three months in advance doesn’t work for me – and luckily enough it doesn’t need to, as this is just a happy hobby. As for the work stuff, the less said about that the better yeah?

I’m back now, or at least I will be just as soon as I’ve finished these dolly mixtures, so tell me what I’ve missed!

-Rachel

Our subclass 186 permanent residency visa was just granted! This is a tiny story about how I found out, and how I told my husband. We're official Australian residents now!

Updatey your matey (in pictures)

In my friendship group, the phrase ‘updatey your matey’ generally signals that the next few hours will be spent deep in conversation about 1001 things, as and when they occur to the participants of the conversation, when said participants haven’t seen each other for some time. Which is sadly rather common in friendship groups where you’ve moved away from wherever it was you met in the first place, and are now deep in the Corporate Grind.

Well, that got depressing very quickly. What I mean to say is, I feel we haven’t seen each other for a little while and it’s high time I updated my matey. Here’s what’s been up with me in the past month or so aka since I vanished from around these parts.

We went to Brisbane

Brisbane is always a good time. In May, S had a work trip to Brisbane scheduled so of course I went too. I had a blast, all except for the weird exhibitionist showering situation I encountered in my AirBnB (you’ll have heard allllll about that if you watch my instastories). Let me just say, it adds a whole other level to my complaints about bathrooms these days.

Moving swiftly on from that, I had a great catch up with Mica and her lovely two boys who kept us very well entertained, especially after we fuelled them with gluten free brownies.

I also had an excellent brunch with Courtney, just in the nick of time before Houston was born a few days later.

There were also drinks with an old coworker who tried to persuade me to join the Sydney branch of his office (I have to say, I’m very tempted) and a train trip just to eat gluten free cake.

I am nothing if not predictable.

Visitors happened

We have had various family staying with us for six out of the last 10 weeks, and tomorrow my friend arrives for another two and a half. We’ve been firmly in Entertain Mode, and going to see some of my favourite bits of the city. Like Taronga Zoo, where we made a bird friend:

and hung around near the bridge as much as we could.

I also took my first ever visit to Luna Park, which I’m surprised has taken me so long to be honest. I wasn’t sure what to make of it all, but I’m glad I’ve been at last.

It was my birthday

Somewhere in there I celebrated a birthday and managed to spread the fun over an inordinate length of time. I was deluged in cake, had lots of people around to celebrate with and got a free pizza.

Does it get better than that?

I made some more birthday cakes

May is a busy month for birthdays in our family. It’s my sister’s birthday at the beginning of the month, and since it was a Big Birthday she asked me to make a cake for her. It doesn’t look that great but it tasted amazing:

Then it was my nephew’s birthday at the end of the month, and since it was …a birthday he asked me to make a cake for him too. I managed to negotiate him down from a car transporter (?!?) to this chocolate creation, which unfortunately looked better than it tasted.

Luckily he’s four so he was mostly concerned with trying to drive the (not to scale) cars around the little fondant icing road. Oh, to be four again.

I put my back out and it sucks

This is just another chapter in the endless saga of my metal spine, but I’ve recently been having more problems with it than usual and this is a) inconvenient and b) expensive. My physio is a bit baffled as to what the problem is, so I’m now looking at maybe needing to get a new kind of scan that can cope with my metalwork and doesn’t contain as much radiation as a full CT scan. I have yet to find out how much this will cost me… But seeing as it’s been giving me grief for about 6 weeks now I think it might be time to up the ante.

It’s really cold here now

People who say Australia doesn’t get cold are telling you lies. No, it’s not freezing and yes, I still feel very lucky to be living in this climate but it’s been cold and rainy here the past few days and apparently, after a long and beautiful summer, my tolerance for bad weather has decreased dramatically.

Gratuitous sister pic because this crazy northerner in the middle was wearing t-shirts around town while I was swathed in 17 layers. I have truly acclimatised.

I need a new (Australian) winter wardrobe

I wish I were one of those people who have a new capsule wardrobe every season, and it’s perfectly on-trend and minimalist and ethical. However, I am not one of those people. I accepted this a while ago, but now I need to accept that the three work jumpers I have been wearing on rotation for the past 4 years need replacing.

The trouble is I have no idea what to replace them with. I’m not good at farshun, and have no idea what kind of outfits people wear in offices these days. Help? What do you wear to the office, what do you use for inspiration, and where do you shop??

I have news!

If you get The Ugly, you’ll hear about it tonight. If not, stay tuned…

(sneaky chance to sign up in case you forgot)

What’s been up with you lately? Updatey your matey!

-Rachel