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?
Right now I'm packing up my life to move halfway across the world to Sydney, Australia. No big deal, right?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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 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 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).
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.
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.
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….
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?
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.
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.
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:
And wrote this on the inside:
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:
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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 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??
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!
This blog is all about balance. This blog is all about keeping it real. I told you the things I love about living in Australia, now it’s time for the not so good stuff. In the spirit of openness and transparency, here are the things that I don’t love about living in Australia.
Nights fall super fast in Australia. I’m used to the long twilight of the UK, particularly in summer (in the winter you don’t really notice it because it falls so early…). But here, it seems like it it bright sunshine one minute, and dark the next. If you want to enjoy the sunset somewhere, you’d better have your wits about you. And I find it makes me feel like I need to be going to bed far too early! To me, it being still hot at 8pm and also pitch black is very bizarre.
You guys, they FLY. Enough said.
I don’t mean to go on a driving related rant here because nobody likes those. But drivers here tailgate so badly, drive unnecessarily aggressively, and regularly fail to indicate. It honestly makes me, normally a very confident driver, not want to get out on the roads at all. It doesn’t help that a lot of people here drive big SUVs or utes; seeing your entire rearview mirror full of grille is quite terrifying. What if someone then switches lane suddenly in front of you without indicating? What do you do??
So you decide you’re not going to risk it on the roads but instead will take public transport. Good luck with that. For a new city, things seem to have been cobbled together rather rapidly and without a great deal of thought. So you’ve got bus stops in the middle of motorways/freeways. Bus lanes crossing traffic. No cycle lanes. No metro/underground. Small patches with great and regular train options (luckily the case where we live, which is why we picked it) and huge swathes of the city nowhere near any trains whatsoever. New train stations are being planned with no parking. No real viable intercity travel. Definitely no high speed trains or anything modern like that. No real future planning. Heck, they’re just rebuilding the tram system (at huge expense and disruption) that they tore out 50 years ago. I don’t get it.
The trains are double decker though. That’s pretty cool.
I still don’t really understand bushfires – in terms of, if you’ve never grown up with any sort of extreme weather/nature scenarios, it’s hard to fully appreciate them. I think most kids here are brought up with the knowledge of what to do if there’s a bushfire near you, but at the moment I feel totally uneducated and likely to do exactly the wrong thing should something bad happen. I live in the middle of a built up area so I’m pretty sure my fire risk is very small, but it’s definitely a risk eg when we’re travelling to more remote areas. Basically, bushfires terrify me.
I’ve banged on enough about this so I’ll keep it brief. I know it’s bad for the economy and whatnot but I secretly hope for a house price ‘correction’ so folks my age can stand a chance of getting on the property ladder. When the very ordinary flat you rent is worth $1.5m you just think why even bother?
Believe it or not, this
hovel property sold recently for just over $1m. Which was over the guide price, may I add. Don’t believe me? Check out the property info here. It makes me wonder what kind of nutty city we live in where a 2 bed, 1 bath dilapidated shell (that requires you to sign a waiver before you walk inside!) sells for over the estimated value of a million dollars.
And on that mind boggling fact, I’m off to go and cry into my smashed avo*.
What do you not love about where you live? Dish, I’m nosy.
*Sydneysider in-joke. Apparently us millennials are spending all our money on avocado on toast and that’s the whole reason we can’t afford property. Not the fact that the required deposit for this particular hovel would be $200,000 (in order to avoid paying loan protection insurance of up to 4%). Don’t forget your stamp duty of nearly $41,000 and other buying costs so let’s round that up to an even total cash requirement of $250k in savings for the pleasure of buying a home you can’t even walk into without wearing full-body PPE.