People have stopped asking me how I’m settling in.

I’m taking that as a good sign; 5 months in, oh you must be set. But I’m not. I’m making great strides, sure. It’s definitely still a work in progress, as you shall soon see.

The Good

Moar visitors ¦¦ Hot on the heels of my sister departing came S’s (and now my) good friend from university days. She was with us for 2 weeks and it was great to keep the visitor train rolling. The great thing about having visitors is it’s a great excuse to take them to all the touristy sights, go out for nice meals, and generally behave as if you’re on holiday yourself (even if you have to work). Trips included outings to the Blue Mountains, and the Northern beaches. They’re classic trips for a reason!

I also just found out that my Mum’s cousin will be in town next week. Hooray! She won’t be staying with us but we’re planning to meet up as we speak. Can’t wait!

I got a haircut ¦¦ Ok, big news there Rachel…!? But seriously, this is pretty major for me. I was seriously overdue for a haircut for a very long time because I was too scared to go and try a new hairdresser. I’m not sure what I was putting it off for, it’s not as if I could have lasted until I’m back in the UK again (probably a year away at the very earliest!). So I thought well if I’m gambling I may as well gamble all the way and bought myself a groupon. I’m really pleased with the result! Here’s a little before, with me enjoying a nice brochetta:

And after, enjoying one of the Three Sisters up close:

NB Pablo!

In other Life Admin news I also found and registered at a doctors, which I’d also been putting off. The GP I saw was absolutely lovely so I’m pleased with how that’s turned out. The dentist I crossed off a couple of months ago due to a random gum issue but the sticker shock of that one put me off returning after the recommended 6 months. My teeth are pretty decent… I’ll pass thanks.

This may all sound trivial but to me it’s a sign of Settling In. For me, when I have my essential services set up, it really begins to feel like I live somewhere. Anyone else have this? Expats and/or frequent movers, how do you find your new services in your new town? Do you try and get a personal recommendation or swing with a groupon from time to time??

The weather is warming up ¦¦ Things are getting pretty toasty here in Sydney and I’m so happy about it. It’s just very pleasant at the moment, with nice warm days but cool evenings and generally a good breeze so things don’t get too intense. When things begin to get a lot hotter I may be saying something else, but I’m trying to enjoy the weather as much as I can while it’s so perfect.

The change in weather does present some issues in terms of workwear, though. I own zero hot weather work clothes – I have never worked anywhere hot before, and with air conditioning I’m always freezing in offices. But if I need to get a train/bus/etc to wherever I’m working, I’ll need to not have given myself heatstroke by the time I get there. I’m guessing that, as ever, layers will be key but I haven’t quite got it down yet. Any suggestions very welcome.

The Bad

I have no idea what to do at the beach ¦¦ So I alluded to this in a previous Ugly, just in case you subscribe to that. Someone once told me they can always tell a Brit from an Australian by how they view the beach: as something nice to look at, or a place you go to do stuff. I’ll give you three guesses which is which.

So as a wholly unprepared Brit, I had no clue what to do with myself on our recent trip to the beach. I mean, we don’t even have any beach towels yet. It was too cold to swim, but too hot in the sun, I had to cram myself in a tiny patch of shade right at the back of the beach, I blinded others with my white white skin, my drink went warm, I had no appropriate snack, and turns out that sand is not actually all that soft to sit on after a while. If I’m honest it was a bit of a failed attempt by two absolute novices.

Still, I refuse to be beaten by a bit of sand. I took notes of what others were doing around me and S and I are busy devising a future beach plan. We will need beach towels and a sun shade as a minimum, I think. I’m also considering an esky (non-Aussie speakers that’s a cool or ice box) and maybe a beach chairWatch this space.

The online vs offline balance ¦¦ I haven’t posted here for over 2 weeks. We’ve had visitors, work has been busy, etc etc. I’m normally a proponent of do what you have to do, online is not your first priority, never complain never explain. Nobody cares. But this blog has proved such a great medium for meeting new people, I don’t want to just let it slide completely. Also, I enjoy doing it. So I think I just need to plan a bit better, and get into a routine that works. Also ask for guest posters if I’m going to have visitors coming – not the rubbish “hello dear we love your blog” guest posters but actual real people whose writing I enjoy, like my sister’s. So, watch this space while I get myself together but I should be around a bit more now.

Enjoying offline life in the Blue Mountains

Impermanence ¦¦ I have a bad back. In the UK, I had a special desk chair (that was the bane of everyone who ever tried to help me move house in the last 12 years) that was just right for my gammy spine and helped keep me in vague order. We didn’t bother shipping the chair over here because, as you may have gathered, it’s a bit of a beast and it would have cost a fortune. However…. my back is not enjoying the cheapy dining chair I’m currently using at my desk. And I don’t want to buy a special chair because we might only be here for another year, and the ROI on that just doesn’t stack up. But if we do end up staying, then it will be worth it. Of course we won’t know that for a good while yet, so it’s hard to make a decision. In the mean time I’ll just keep stalking Gumtree and hoping someone nearby wants to offload a decent desk chair.

The point of all this isn’t a lesson in second hand furniture sourcing, but a point about decision making. It’s hard to make decisions in life, big or small, when you don’t know where you’re going to be in a year. I always knew that. But knowing something and living it is quite different.

The Ugly

Gotcha – no Ugly last month, so you’ll get a double bill this month. Aren’t you lucky?! In case you’re new around here, I’m sharing The Ugly side of things via email so I can be more honest on things that I’d rather not splash up here for all to see.

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 a few days after you see this post, just to give everyone a chance to sign up who wants to.

So I need to know. What is your essential beach gear? And what do you do at the beach?

-Rachel

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