So it’s now been a month since we landed on the sunny shores of Sydney, and it’s about time for an update because SO much has happened. Without further ado let’s get to it.

The Good

Getting paperwork sorted ¦¦ On our first working day in the city we managed to tick off most major stuff – we got our (partial) Medicare cards and our Tax File numbers sorted. I got myself a super fund not long after and it wasn’t even that painful. Centrelink isn’t exactly the most fun place to hang out but it seems to be run relatively efficiently, the lady we saw didn’t mind us asking questions, and pro tip they have free printers for you to use if you need to.

Being able to borrow a car ¦¦ On the day we landed in Sydney my sister’s parents in law informed us we could borrow their car, and would we like to go and get it right now?? So we did and we’ve been driving it ever since. It’s a stately dame of a car but I’m terrified we’re going to do it some harm (it’s like a member of the family and at 20 years old it’ll be graduating Uni any day) so driving it has been a bit tense.

Buying a car! ¦¦ Turns out second hand cars in Australia are REALLY expensive. They hold their value extremely well, possibly because of the good weather? Anyway, the price difference between a 10 year old Golf and a new Mazda 2 was negligible, and the hassle factor difference was significant, so we went with the new car. I’m very excited! It’s our first ever new car! We pick it up tomorrow and I can’t wait.

Familiarisation exercises ¦¦ We’ve been doing all sorts of things under the heading of Familiarisation. It’s essential you know.

We’ve had Gelato Familiarisation:

Beach Familiarisation:

Brunch Familiarisation:

[The Copper Pan, St Ives]

[Dock Dot, Melbourne]

Local Currency Familiarisation:

[My brother in law had a lot of spare change he hadn’t sorted. So we did it for him one afternoon. It was actually pretty fun sitting in the bank sorting through alllll those coins. And he generously paid for lunch the next day with the proceeds, which was unnecessary but greatly appreciated]

Sausage Sizzle Familiarisation:

Lots of food I can eat ¦¦ In contrast to last month where I had a lot of plain boiled rice and not much else, I’m loving the gluten free options on offer in Sydney. There is so much, both in supermarkets and out and in restaurants. I’ve had delicious Lebanese, Thai, pizza, and even a gluten free afternoon tea. Because that’s one habit I’m bringing here from the UK! Review coming soon, don’t worry Kelly…

My colleagues are nice ¦¦ All of them have been super friendly and welcoming, and my new boss(es) are lovely. We had a meeting all together in Melbourne in my second week and it felt good to be part of the team.

Cat sitting ¦¦ One of my colleagues has been away so we’ve been looking after her cat and flat for her. The cat is very pretty.

The flat has been very useful to use as a workspace as S and I are both working from home at the moment. The cat is very cute, as you can see, but likes to walk heavily on my stomach at 4am.

The Bad

Work is a bit slow ¦¦ My work is project based so there are peaks and troughs. I’m quite used to it but coming to a new place and being immediately in a trough is quite hard. At least my colleagues are nice and very understanding though, my boss keeps apologising!

We can’t figure out where to live ¦¦ Such a first world problem! We are in a lovely city, with no immediate rush to find a place to live, and we just can’t seem to decide which bit we want to live in. Feel sorry for us! No but seriously for some reason we just can’t seem to agree on where we want to go. Or a budget. Or what matters to us. I want somewhere with stuff going on but relatively peaceful and with lots of trees (I’m not exactly a party animal) but S wants to live somewhere as busy as possible. So we’ll see how that one goes.

No routine ¦¦ I never thought I’d say this, but I do miss having a routine. More than anything else it’s throwing my meal planning game completely off, which I do not enjoy.

The Ugly

As before, I’ve decided that I’ll be sharing The Ugly side of things via email. That way, I can share a bit more honestly on things like work and personal matters that I don’t want searchable on t’internet. Seeing as you’re all my friends, I’d just feel a bit happier doing it this way.

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 2-3 days after you see this post, just to give everyone a chance to sign up who wants to. There was no Ugly last month because I was on holiday and really, that just felt a bit too whingey. So it’s back with a vengeance this month.

Catch you in your inbox!

-Rachel

Linking up with  Kristen and Gretch for What’s New With You.

Two days ago I turned 31. As I sat waiting eagerly for my gluten free Lebanese feast to arrive, S asked me a question. What were your favourite things that happened while you were 30? Well, it didn’t take me long to realise there were quite a few.

30 was very, very kind to me. The very best bits were all friends and family related, but seeing as you probably don’t know them, I’ll share some things you might be slightly more interested in. So here are some of the great things that happened while I was 30. I…

¦¦ Moved to Australia

2 ¦¦ Travelled to 4 new countries: the US, Andorra, Indonesia and Malaysia (technically I transited through the UAE on one of my flights to Australia but I don’t think that counts. I also stood 10 feet from Myanmar but I don’t think that counts either.)

3 ¦¦ Saw the sunset in Santorini

4 ¦¦ Saw the sunrise in Borobudur

5 ¦¦ Threw a joint 60th birthday BBQ with my husband, the first time our families have been all together since our wedding (six years ago)

6 ¦¦ Flew in a seaplane

7 ¦¦ Went on a cruise

8 ¦¦ Travelled to 8 US states, all for the first time

9 ¦¦ Got my braces out!

10 ¦¦ Rode in a becak twice (two times too many)

11 ¦¦ Rode a train for over 45 hours

12 ¦¦ Rode a scooter for the first (and hopefully last) time. No I did not drive (S took one for the team) and yes I pulled this face the entire way.

13 ¦¦ Spotted wild whales

14 ¦¦ Visited Melbourne for a day

15 ¦¦ Visited Mildura for a day

16 ¦¦ Applied for, and was granted, two Australian working visas

17 ¦¦ Discovered New York with my bestie

18 ¦¦ Celebrated my Grannie turning 90 in the most traditional of English Country Houses

19 ¦¦Visited the Sutton Hoo hoard at the British museum

20 ¦¦ Picked up post in an Indonesian post office from a lady who spoke no English – and I speak no Bahasa – but we made it work. She was lovely.

Sidenote: explanation of the little plushie I received in the post coming soon.

21 ¦¦ Sold, gave away or threw away over half of everything we owned

22 ¦¦ Walked the canals of Birmingham

23 ¦¦ Took a boat down the canals of Bangkok

24 ¦¦ Fell in love with the space needle

25 ¦¦Fell in love with the Sagrada Familia

26 ¦¦ Cooked everyone who came for dinner the same pudding (a self saucing chocolate thing) and it came out different every time

27 ¦¦ Had my photo taken by strangers in Indonesia, because I am so white. I mean I know I’m pale but seriously. Way to give a girl a complex.

28 ¦¦ Cooked with poo

29 ¦¦ Had pizza 103 floors up

30 ¦¦ Watched the sunset over Bali from the beach in Lombok, with the waves lapping against the shore and a drink in hand

What are some of the great things you’ve done this year?

-Rachel

Today is my very first Australian birthday! Here’s how I spent my day…

~ Breakfast under butterfly bunting

~ Cat sitting for my colleague which meant a cat shaped hot water bottle for most of the day

~ Cake breaks

~ Visa related paperwork (yes, here we go again, and no, I don’t want to talk about it)

~ Biscuit breaks

~ A delicious Lebanese dinner – all gluten free! – at El Karim in Roseville

(Seriously, I’ve eaten SO well since coming here)

~ More cake breaks

Here’s to 31!

Catch you next year…

-Rachel

In: Sydney!

NB this is post 8h red-eye flight which I would not recommend as the best way to arrive into any country. Just saying.

Transferring: all my blog reading to Feedly. Bloglovin’ got too Big Brother-y for me.

Replying: to comments now I’m back in the world of the semi-functional. So you can expect replies to comments you don’t even remember making.

Eating: All the ice cream I can before the weather gets too cold.

Who am I kidding, I’ll still be eating ice cream even when it’s freezing.

Realising: it’s definitely cold enough for jumpers here (and socks, and slippers, and warm pyjamas) and I have definitely not brought enough. I’m rotating the three jumpers I do have and hoping I don’t run into the same people every third day.

Adventuring: to new places, especially pretty ones like Cronulla. Check out this beach:

It’s epic. Good ice cream nearby, too. I mean, so I’ve heard.

Stocking up: on my favourite chocolate which I’m almost certain they’re about to discontinue. You can now only get it on Coles and it’s reduced to clear… It’s the Cadbury Marvellous Creations Raspberry Lemonade and it’s so sugary and so delicious.

If you can find it in the shops… run, don’t walk.

Adjusting: to my new work environment. It’s very the same and very different all at the same time. I’m treading with care.

Thanking: the guest posters who have held the fort while I’ve been out registering for Medicare, tax numbers, Opal cards… In case you missed it, there have been a few expat stories and a piece about the realities of solo female travel.

Brunching: like a boss. Because how can you not?

This is Jellyfish, in Manly. In case you suddenly find yourself in need of some epic smashed avo.

Reading: Tintin to my niece who is a big fan. She’s just learning to read so she likes books where she can follow the story in the pictures. It’s not particularly PC though, so I have to keep breaking off to explain that nowadays it’s not ok to refer to people of Chinese heritage as ‘yellow’, etc.

Also reading: Big Little Lies by none other than Liane Moriarty and very much enjoying it. I can’t see the tv show here but I’ve never read the book so I figured I’d give it a go. It’s been a good one to get myself into an Australian frame of mind, although obviously a fairly stressful way of doing so. I’m about 3 pages away from the end so I think I’ll just go and finish it now…

How was your week?

-Rachel

Glad to be rejoining the party again with Van, Marcella, Lauren and Isabel for Wanderlust Wednesday.