Expat update: Month 11

11 months a Sydneysider, and still surprised every day. Just yesterday I learned a completely new phrase to me – going doggo. It means to lie down and try and ride out something under the radar without being noticed – for example:

Me: Doesn’t Wakeen* know he’s supposed to be delivering xyz important piece of work today?
Client: Nah, he’s gorn doggo
Me: …???

Yes, I had to ask for that one to be explained and now I’m going to use it all the time. Expect it when you speak to me next.

So with that, here’s what’s been going on in month 11.

The Good

My niece’s birthday party ¦¦ My oldest niece just turned 7 and I was very glad to be able to pop round and see her on her actual birthday, as well as attend her birthday party. It was a super cool concept for a party – it was held in a Lego themed kids party venue, and they ran all sorts of Lego oriented games for the kids. My niece seemed to have a lot of fun, although was sweetly overwhelmed at 30+ kids singing happy birthday to her.

S and I made a Lego themed cake for the occasion – here I am trying to hold up its immense bulk. It really was huge.

But, it was also delicious and that’s all that counts. Special mention to the sugar paste Lego men that my sister bought!

Visitors again! ¦¦ The visitors portion of this post has returned triumphantly. My parents in law just arrived this week and it’s their first time in Australia, so the pressure is on to show off the place. To be fair, it does all the hard work for us (how could you not love it here?!) and it’s just great to see them.

You may catch some of our escapades on Instastories while we refine our Essential Sydney Hit List.

Getting to know my new home ¦¦ I loved exploring the Hunter Valley and Newcastle this month, and just to update you on an important point, I did get my hair cut after all. At the very last minute. Isn’t it always?

I Survived ¦¦ …my first Australian summer! I was really bracing myself for some totally unmanageable heat, but we’ve not needed our air conditioning that much at all. We only had to have it on for maybe 3 days during the day, and maybe 10 -15 nights total. Honestly, I think that’s not too bad! I just mostly enjoyed the novelty of leaving the house for an entire day and not even needing to bring a jumper. Imagine!

Planning our expativersary ¦¦ It will be our first expativersary in the blink of en eye, and I want to mark the occasion. I’m thinking we either do a big ticket activity that we’d normally baulk at splashing out on (Bridgeclimb?) or a something special but a bit more realistic, that we can do maybe every year (an afternoon tea somewhere meaningful?). Plans are in the works…

The Bad

House prices ¦¦ I’ve probably whinged a lot about house prices on here before so I’ll keep it to a minimum. House prices here are stupid. You will struggle to find anything within an hour’s journey of the city that’s less than $1m. We don’t know if we’re staying long term yet (still waiting on that visa decision), but if we do, we need to seriously think about what our approach will be. We might need to just forget about being able to buy in Sydney at all, and explore other places to invest our money.

Maybe I’ll spend all my money on sweets instead? It’s worryingly tempting.

Bridging visas ¦¦ We haven’t had some visa chat in a while so let’s restart it, shall we?! As I mentioned, we’re in the queue for a new visa (permanent residency). This queue is currently over a year long, so we’ve got a while to wait. My current visa expires in October, and then we’ll move on to a bridging visa until a decision is reached on my permanent residency visa. The trouble is, you can’t travel on a bridging visa and there are all sorts of other restrictive rules around it. So we may need to apply for a whole other type of visa, or try and extend my current one, so I never have to move onto the bridging visa. Yet more visa discussions with work in my future, which I am not looking forward to.

Sightseeing mishaps ¦¦ Ok so this one isn’t really bad, it’s mostly just funny now. We recently took a sightseeing excursion by boat around Sydney harbour – what a great way to see another side of our new home! Here’s me looking suitably nautical and ready for some genteel boating:

And here’s me 5 minutes later when it turns out our tiny speedboat has to go quite fast to keep up with the guide, and generates quite a wash, and the tiny windshield of the boat is utterly inadequate in protecting me from said wash.

I ended up with water going around (?!) my sunglasses and into my eyes, which my contact lenses did not enjoy. I was being smacked in the face with harbour water waves every other second, and holding on for dear life as we bounced around the waves. Luckily S was driving as I spent half of it with my eyes screwed shut.

Like I said, it’s mostly just funny now – and the good news is S had a great time. I had to go home and wash a thick layer of salt from my face. Niiiice.

The Ugly

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 what do you think we should do for our first expativersary?

Rachel

See previous months’ updates here

This is the monthly series where I chart the good, the bad and the ugly of life abroad. Find out what ups and downs the 11th month of living in Sydney held for meat www.anestingnomad.com

*www.askamanager.org, my new favourite website

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