So. We flew into Sydney. We vacationed there for a week, then drove up to Brisbane.
We stayed in a cute little Airbnb for the first 10 days during which time the following things happened:
- We visited five different units in the Northern Suburbs before finding one we both really wanted. We waited four agonizing days after our application before we learned we got our dream apartment (pics below). Dan met the departing tenant at the home inspection and she just adored him – obviously. She reminded us both of Evelyn, as she was so friendly and talkative and generous. She liked us both so much that she wanted to help us start off our new life on a good foot. To that end, she left a bunch of items in the unit for us including (but not limited to):
– Three-piece microsuede couch set
– Patio table, four chairs and an umbrella
– Cat toys, scratchers, and a pot of catnip she grew in the garden
– Cleaning supplies (vacuum, steam cleaner etc.)
– Gardening stuff like a hose and sprayer nozzles
– Calamari in the freezer for us
- We obtained access to the healthcare system but applying for Medicare through Centrelink (their Service Canada).
- We arranged delivery of our inbound possessions with the shipping company. (They wanted to know how many meters to the road, how many stairs, what kind of floors and so on).
- We completed payment for the cats we shipped here. We payed Boomerang Pet Carrier around $3000 to safely see Abby and Lily around the globe. Which they did indeed do.
- We opened bank accounts with Westpac, who are sadly quite invested in the fossil fuel industry – something I’d hoped to avoid. However, they were the first bank we found that would accept us without 100 points of identification.
- We ordered a govia tag, which allows us to drive on the toll roads throughout the country and automatically charges a device in our car. Until now, Dan has insisted we remain on toll-free roads which has led us on some wildly circuitous adventures.
- We bought a car. It’s a second hand, white 2006 Hyundai Getz which we bought 100% because it was the first car that someone who lives here said was a good car. We’ll take it. We’ll take it to go. It has 102000kms, is a manual transmission and was $6100. But we got it for $5900 or something like that.
- Dan bought himself a cell phone. He went from an antique phone (anyone whose ever used it agrees should be destroyed immediately), to a perfectly usable iPhone 5C. He’s on a two-year contract with that. Way to tie yourself down Dan 😉
- We met a nice Irish couple in the process of moving back to Ireland who were looking to offload all their Australian possessions at once. So for $2350 they sold us:
– Electrolux 7kg Front Load Washing Machine
– Electrolux 5kg Dryer
– Refrigerator (rentals don’t include this most basic of appliances)
– Outdoor BBQ
– Patio Table and Chairs
– Matching Pair of Queen Bed Frames and Mattresses
– Matching bedside tables (x4)
– Matching Five Drawer Dresser
– Matching TV Stand (including flatscreen TV and DVD player)
– Matching coffee table
– Matching end tables
– Matching dining room buffet
– Microsuede Loveseat
– Microsuede Couch
– Living Room Rug
– Matching six piece dining room table and chairs
– Matching corner lamp table
– Hoover (that’s a vacuum cleaner)
– General kitchenwares (glasses, cups, plates, knives, forks, saucepans etc).
May a blessing go with them back to Ireland!
- Dan toured his new school and learned of a program that will be running from October to May, instead of January to August. He was very pleased with the school and the people he met there and is actually looking forward to starting classes!
- Dan set up internet for our new place, utilities for our new place and basically all the boring tasks that I hate. He made me apply for a Tax File Number. I wanted to go out for a walk in the glorious sunshine to visit the rainbow lorikeets that live in the woods outside our house, but Dan said, “No, you’ve got to do your taxes.” It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever been told.
- We registered for Go-cards, the bus passes and learned how to use the transit system. It does not hold a CANDLE to the transit system in Sydney, but we’re getting used to it. Also we have a car now.
- We did a day trip up to the Sunshine Coast which was amazing. We visited Bribie Island and Caloundra – where we bought a HUMUNGOUS bag of tomatoes for $5 that a farmer named Billy had picked the previous day. I’m still eating tomatoes in and on everything.
- We successfully transferred our Albertan driver’s licences to Australian ones. I did not have them transfer my professional, commercial licence over, just the regular Class 5. [Side note: We haven’t seen a single school bus since we landed in this country. Not-a-one]. Anyway, to get our licences, we didn’t have to do anything. No driving test. No eye test. No medical test. They just saw we had a licence from Canada and said, “no worries, mate” and sent us on our way!
- We also met lots of local wildlife. Pictures will follow in a future blog when I sort out a better camera but for now I’ll say that in the wild (not in a zoo or anything), we have seen:
– one living kangaroo
– three non-living kangaroos
– three possums
– one python
– two geckos
– two pods of dolphins
– one pair of humpback whales
– millions of various birds (shrikes, thrushes, magpies, pigeons, doves, egrets)
– seven galahs (type of bird – I think it looks like a pigeon mated with a flamingo)
– 60+ Australian or Sacred ibis…ibises…ibisi?
– 60+ bats the size of crows
– 60+ crows the size of pelicans
– one pelican the size of a golden retriever
– zero spiders larger than a dime
– zero jellies
– zero sharks
– zero crocs
– three mosquitos
– Dan was attacked by a tiding of magpies. That’ll teach him to go running in the park!
– and of course we had one of the rarest sightings of all: Hugh Jackman!
Now if you’re paying attention, you will have noticed that we have got duplicates of a few things, so I’m looking forward to trying out my kijiji-skills in the Gumtree arena. Wish us luck!