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?


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



  1. 29th March 2018 / 22:52

    Oh I can’t believe it’s nearly a year since you moved here! How nice you got to enjoy your niece’s birthday! We had some family come visit from overseas earlier this month and it was just wonderful catching up, family is so very important! 🙂

    I like the lego cake you made too, it looks really impressive! My eldest tried to ask for a train cake again for his upcoming birthday – I made it very clear I wasn’t doing that all over again, took me hours, haha! We will see what he settles on as his party draws nearer. He’s asking for a sprinkle cake at the moment, so fingers crossed that’s still what he wants!

    Good luck with the visa discussions!

  2. 30th March 2018 / 07:09

    Wow nearly a year already!! Saying that it is 8 months for us soon! You are lucky it wasn’t too hot in Sydney it was pretty unbearable some days in Mackay and Brisbane! We still have the sitcon on!!!

    I like the bridge climb idea!! We are flying down again in August to do that with friends (well actually no they will be doing it I will be watching!!!!! Heights are just not my thing!!!)

    The pics of you on the boat remind me of some photographs my daughter took when she went whale watching in Canada – all composed one minute then drenched and bedraggled the next 😱

  3. Jen
    30th March 2018 / 11:27

    That’s such an interesting phrase! Haha I might have start using it.

  4. 30th March 2018 / 21:00

    You learn something new everyday because I’ve never heard “gone doggo” and I’m Australian!!

    And yeaaaaah, don’t even get me started on house prices here… I feel like the amount I need to save just goes up and up. A house in our street that’s going to be KNOCKED DOWN just sold for $1.86 million 🤦🏼‍♀️

  5. NCM
    30th March 2018 / 21:01

    Goodness, that’s a huge yellow brick of a Lego cake. Who knew you could buy sugar paste Lego men as well?!

  6. 4th April 2018 / 02:46

    Hooray for more visitors and getting to explore your new hometown! That sucks about the housing and visa situation, but hopefully things will get sorted out soon so you can actually get a plan in place! And the same thing happened to me when we were on our catamaran ride in Hawaii! There were some massive waves and we were soaked by the end of our trip! We still had fun though, just like you!

  7. 4th April 2018 / 14:37

    What a fun update! That cake is the business and I was in the same lolly shop just this weekend! Have you been to the Gunners Barracks for afternoon tea? That would be a beautiful backdrop for your expataversary – that’s come round so quick! We must celebrate with some superior sconeage… And soon!

  8. 5th April 2018 / 06:19

    Yay for the family and visitor times – all the more important when you’re overseas. I like the idea of doing something for your expativersary that you can do every year – but also splashing out would be super fun!

  9. 5th April 2018 / 13:14

    Where did the year go?!?! Happy almost one year in Sydney!! Oh man, that bridging visa… Can you travel around Oz or not even that? There’s always Western Australia to check out, fancy doing drinks at a vineyard in Margaret River? 😉 Have fun with your in-laws!!

  10. 5th April 2018 / 22:30

    Wow, nearly a year already – time flies!

    That cake is awesome!

    I would definitely die in an Australian summer. I nearly die here in proper summer! Although saying that we don’t have air conditioning at all so there’s no relief (at least until it rains, which it did a lot last summer).

  11. 5th April 2018 / 22:34

    I hope everything works out with the Visa. So many decisions – and such a long wait. I imagine that’s quite frustrating. Mmm…I don’t know what you should do for your anniversary. I like both ideas, either something big or something you can keep doing every year. At any rate, celebrating at all will be fun!!! 🙂


  12. 6th April 2018 / 00:22

    I love that cake! Really cute and a great party theme. Lovely that you were able to be there for your niece.

  13. 6th April 2018 / 01:56

    wow, time flies right? i can’t believe you’re almost at a year. i love the idea of celebrating your expativersary. honestly, what i do each year is look back on memory lane and surround myself with australian things. so it’s like i am doing the opposite of celebrating haha but it somehow helps with the homesickness? reminding myself of home? i don’t know. plus it’s miserable and cold here during my expativersary so there’s nothing to do lol. it’s the day after australia day, i really like that though. i love the idea of you doing something big like the bridge climb, you could do that this year and then however many years afterwards do something small, until you do something big again in year 5 or 10 or whatever. you can change it each year.
    that cake looks fabulous! you go girl.
    sorry about the housing market. i literally (lit.er.ally.) would never have bought a house if i stayed at home. just wasn’t something i wanted to do. it’s very different here in america and i imagine in england? i don’t know. it just wasn’t even something i ever considered at home.

  14. 6th April 2018 / 04:14

    Oh boy, how I know the visa stress. I am still “in limbo” rn as well, although I’ve been accepted twice before for two year visas and see no reason why I wouldn’t for another two years, there’s always so much worry and stress. Hope you get some good answers soon 🙂 Housing hunt sounds exciting!

  15. 6th April 2018 / 08:50

    The visa drama continues. Dun Dun Dun!!! It just never ends does it? I am so impressed with your cake. Like really, really impressed.

  16. 7th April 2018 / 03:27

    Love the local lingo, lol! 😀 That harbour excursion sounds hilarious but I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying getting to know your new home 🙂

  17. 8th April 2018 / 02:26

    hahaha oh i love the photos from the sightseeing mishap! I totally feel you, that’s every day in Scotland! And sorry to hear about the visa situation, I totally understand and it’s so tough, especially when it stops you from travelling and such. It’s very restricting!

  18. 10th May 2018 / 06:52

    Oh my god. I Never realized how much I need a LEGO cake!!!

    Great post, you seem to be having the time of your life. The adventure continues!

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