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Diary & Deliberations of the Dinkies


EmNew
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Yay, apartment is ours !!!

Off to the bank I go for bank cheque for bond and another for first months rent. We were fortunate to not have to offer or pay extra in terms of more months rent upfront. We had no rental history, but I asked the agent who sold our RSA home to write a reference as to condition of house when she sold it, and confirming period of ownership, and I am sure that helped, along with a great agent at Hocking Stuart this side.

Then it's shopping for those items that we didn't pack in container( that is till waiting in Cape Town to be filled by others, so we won't get that until 2016 anyway :-( ) that we will need straight away. That will hurt the budget, so now additionally grateful we got a standard lease without needing to resort to offering more money upfront to secure it.

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I like this. (But have exceeded my daily allowance of positive votes...blah blah...) :ilikeit:

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  • 3 weeks later...

So, it's been almost 2 months to the day since we landed.

I posted what we got up to in our first 10 days under "Settling In", 10 days in Melbourne - impressions etc

Since then, hubby has settled into his new job and is apparently getting good at 'faking it until he makes it " :D It has been good to get a payday deposit into our bank account, that I can assure you!

I am battling to break into the accounting job market though. I did take a 2 week break, and got back into the saddle today, but it was quite hard, considering the tally of rejections for applications to date. I know it's a bad time of year to be job hunting, and the reality is it is difficult. I will persevere though, and learn from mistakes made on previous applications ( such as I uploaded PDF cv's when you should upload .doc attachments for the recruitment "autobots" to search through more easily )

On the non job related side, everything is fabulous. I have to admit that most , if not all, has exceeded our expectations.

We are still blown away by the friendliness, politeness and awareness of others that we have experienced. I was really starting to feel alien in SA, clothed in an invisibility cloak, as everyone else around me seemed so self absorbed and totally unaware of anyone's existence but their own, whether it be on the road or at the mall etc

Here people meet you in the eye as you walk past and greet you. Generally people are very polite, and have no issues helping random strangers or thanking you for simple gestures that went totally unnoticed in SA.

We spent a few weeks searching for our own place - went to a few inspections and fell in love with a small boutique apartment building in Hampton that was ideally situated for public transport and walks on the beach. We had just applied for it, when it was discovered it was also being sold on the market, and the owner was waiting to see if a tenant or purchaser had a better offer. That spooked us, and we withdrew our application. We then found another apartment in the very same building, with a better layout and applied for it. We didn't offer anything more in terms of additional rent upfront or a bigger bond, but we did supply a reference from the agent who sold our house in Durbanville and the name of the friends we were staying with when we arrived. Application was approved same day, and we moved in on our 17th wedding anniversary this last weekend!

I can say that it is a pleasure to be in a well kitted out apartment, with everything on our doorstep. On paper, one would say we've taken a step backwards - having had 3 beds, 2 baths, home office, kitchen/dining room, separate laundry/scullery ,a large separate lounge all set in huge grounds in SA, and now we're in 2 beds, 1 bath, open plan kitchen/dining/living with a 14m2 courtyard balcony. However we're much happier here. It's just 2 of us , so the size is better now, and considering hubby walks to station to catch the train, I can walk to shops / bank and we have evening walks on the beach trails, we could not have chosen a better place if we tried!

We've done some drives out to the Dandenongs, which we love - so beautiful and lush! I can see that area fast becoming a summer favourite to escape the heat ( when that arrives as its 16 today with an icy wind ). The Yarra Valley awaits, so that will be for another excursion out of the city limits.

The Bayside area is also really beautiful - Half Moon Bay, Ricketts Point etc. Still need to explore areas like St Kilda Beach , but after driving there by accident whilst exiting Elwood on a scouting mission, and sharing the road with a tram, whilst another one came towards us, I think we still need to recover and leave that for another time ;)

This Saturday we plan to catch the train into the city one evening, and check out the Christmas lights in the squares, City Hall, and on the bridges across the Yarra River.

We're also embracing the cultural aspects of Melbourne, and have booked for Shakespeare at the Royal Botanical Gardens in January next year ( am thinking it will be Maynardville meets Kirstenbosch, on a grander scale )

A lot has been written about the Big Brother / draconian laws here. However, that appeals to us. Yes, some seem a little unnecessary, but on the whole, they are logical. They are there to make it safer for all. Our main road has a speed restriction of 40km from 7am until 10pm at night - it hasn't bothered me one bit. No one gets irate with it, they just go along with the flow. As soon as drivers clear the zone, the transition to 60km is smooth - no tailgating, no lights flickering, no annoyance. Just a way of life. It has got to a point now that when we get on a freeway where the speed limit is 80km, it feels so fast and reckless in comparison ;) The only hooting I ever hear is the train when it approaches the level crossing and I have never heard tyres squealing on the road as someone brakes hard.

We're also blown away by the choices faced when shopping - even for power and water utilities! ( Would recommend Powershop for electricity - great service for connection and they have a super app to monitor your usage and have prepaid specials to buy upfront )

As vegetarians, we had a hard time finding fresh products other than vegetables to eat in SA. Here Coles / Woolworths have a huge fridge section devoted to tofu/paneer/tempeh products and they even stock Frys, a South African frozen vegetarian meat substitute range of products, as well as Quorn, and something new for us, Veggie Delights

So, to sum up , are we happy here so far - YES!!!!

Do we miss anything other than loved ones and family in SA - no.................

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PS : one thing I can't get used to yet is the crossing between shortening and lengthening of words

It's one thing to call the afternoon "this arvo", but when a grown man says he will organise a "swapsies" for an incorrect item supplied and another grown man says he needs to pick his son up from "schoolsies" , it's quite weird ;)

Edited by EmNew
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Oh, wow..sounds like it's going really well with you. :)


;) remember to look for a cosy coffee shop..

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Hi Em,

I'm glad things are going well. Hopefully things on the job front will also pick up for you soon. In the mean time you might have a bit more time to explore the city. I am very embarrassed to say that we have been living in Cape Town for the last 7 years and there are still a lot of places we have been meaning to go see that we still have not and probably won't be able to in the time we have left here...

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  • 3 weeks later...

Em, it's so heartwarming to hear that you're part of the Melbourne family already. Do you have any pics of these utopian locations that you're surrounded by? It's one thing seeing the tourist shots on Google Images or filtered-within-one-inch-of-death pics on Instagram, but I far prefer seeing things through the eyes of someone I know on the ground, living life beyond the holiday. So please share if and when you can!

? ?

How is the job hunt going? I don't know if you've seen some of my previous posts elsewhere, but I'm easily beyond the 200 mark, though obviously being outside of the country means I have exponentially less chance of hearing back unless I try and navigate around the normal process where possible. Have you had any feedback or invites for an interview? Have you found that you have enough jobs to be able to apply to on a daily basis on Seek, LinkedIn and Indeed? I have no doubt that you'll be snapped up when the right job presents itself, but speak from experience when I say that it's a hard wait, especially when you have the visa already sorted - and, in your case, when you're already living in the country! Take heart and keep on going. The universe has your back, and won't let you get just any old job. The right one is in the wings!

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On 12/12/2015 at 10:28 PM, mistermoose said:

 Do you have any pics of these utopian locations that you're surrounded by? I far prefer seeing things through the eyes of someone I know on the ground, living life beyond the holiday. So please share if and when you can!

? ?

The universe has your back, and won't let you get just any old job. The right one is in the wings!

Hopefully these attachments work MisterMoose - no filters here - just me and my little Canon Powershot :)

 

We have not ventured far or often outside of the CBD , and the Bayside area where we stay - mainly Dandenongs and Mornington Peninsula, which are both beautiful.

I am love with the CBD itself though. I love the mixture of old and new architecture, the Yarra, the vibe etc.  Can't really do it justice in photos. One thing you will note from the photos - the sun does indeed shine in Melbourne - maybe not for the whole day, but you do see blue skies and sunshine - enough for me at least, who prefers a cooler climate.

 

I am persevering with the job applications. 4 done today. There are plenty of positions advertised, just not clearing the 'local experience' hurdle.

Brighton Beach bathing boxes.jpg

Half Moon Bay with Cerberus wreck to right of pier.jpg

Yarra River with Flinders Street Station.jpg

Crimson Rosella.jpg

William Ricketts Sanctuary Dandenongs.jpg

National Rhodadendron gardens 1.jpg

Federation Square and Flinders Street after sunset.jpg

Sullivan Bay on Mornington Peninsula - site of first British colony in Victoria.jpg

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Wow, they are lovely!!! (and I see you went to Rickett's Sanctuary! :D )
You really did take some marvelous Melbourne photos!

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Em I've been thinking about you with looking for an accounting position and not wanting too much of a gap on your CV.

 

Here is what I think might be a plan of action for you seeing as you have gone through a stressful process of migrating and now dealing with family back home:

  • Give yourself a "career break"
  • Enrol at Tafe to do tax subjects (it's part of the accounting diploma I think but they will advise you).  Studying will explain the "gap" on your cv and you will look proactive that you undertook training on your own bat to full understand the Australian tax system.  You will also meet fellow Aussies.  Try to attend evening classes if you can as you will then meet working people.
  • Ring up H&R Block (tax company) to undertake their tax training early next year.  It starts in about February and is comprehensive hands on tax return prep training.  They then employ people from this course (must get 80% plus) for the tax season.  Then you will have your "Australian experience".
  • Also sign up for the Xero Roadshow in your city as it is free and will be a target rich environment of all manner of accountants and software providers.  Get yourself some business cards from somewhere like VistaPrint so that you can hand out your details if asked.  Treat the Roadshow as a fact finding mission where you ask about the employment market, ask what practice software people use (some names are Handisoft, Reckon, etc.)

 

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Hi RYCL,

 

Thanks so much for the advice and tips - I really appreciate it.

I am going to be enrolling for the CTA1 foundations course in 2016 ( I sadly missed the boat in October for the last enrollment for 2015 ) I was going to do it fully online, but I know the Tax Institute runs evening classes in Melbourne's CBD, so perhaps will go that route instead.

Ironically I 'discovered' H&R Block last week, when I was walking down our local shopping street. I was a little suspect, as they had the poster in shop window offering training and subsequent employment, but another notice mentioned they were only back at those premises in July 2016, so wondered about the legitimacy thereof. ( have since done some internet investigations and understand :) )

 

The biggest hurdle is the tax at the moment , but I have been told I can get around that by applying for management accountant or virtual CFO roles, which is where my best skill-set lies anyway.  In the mean time I am borrowing the CTA1 notes from a friend, and at least getting myself acquainted with as much theory as I can. 

 

Career break.......that's the hardest thing to do actually, albeit a practical one. I have been full time employed for 23 years - it is hard not to have work as a focal point....

 

 

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36 minutes ago, EmNew said:

 

Career break.......that's the hardest thing to do actually, albeit a practical one. I have been full time employed for 23 years - it is hard not to have work as a focal point....

 

 

 

That's exactly why I am suggesting it.  Giving yourself permission to take some time for yourself, to discover who you are in this new place and how distance can bring into focus the bonds of family relationships and expectations which may have held us captive.  I speak from experience *sigh*    I took almost a year off when we got here (no kids back then either so no "real" excuse).  But the break did my soul good and it was the right thing to do.  Also this past year I have used a diary / planner which has changed my life.  Only wish I had found it years ago: 2016 Shining Year LIFE Goals Workbook

 

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Beautiful shots, Em. So nice to see these scenes from your point of view.

 

Keep the job apps going in. I'm doing mine right alongside you, with a couple of interesting conversations on the go. Just heard back this morning re a job I applied to yesterday, and we're having the first HR chat/interview on Wednesday morning. You just need to get the right person to see just how impressive you are, regardless of where you've lived before. That's the tricky bit, but it's definitely doable. I think we'll be popping some champagne together in the first month, maximum two, of 2016. Watch this space!

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10 hours ago, EmNew said:

Career break.......that's the hardest thing to do actually, albeit a practical one. I have been full time employed for 23 years - it is hard not to have work as a focal point..

 

Currently my biggest personal challenge....hard to accept not having a routine of going to work and instead having to plan my day around ironing, cleaning, mopping (currently the joke of the family), fetching the kids etc. 

 

Goodluck with the job hunt - busy looking at registering for the CTA1 too.

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I can't tell you how nice it was to read your update.  I love that you are happy and embracing this new way of life.  And your pics are so lovely.  Melbourne has gone from a "last resort" to "wow, that looks beautiful" in my book.

I just identify so much with what you said expecially walking on the beach and enjoying the rules on the road.  Those are exactly the types of things I hope to enjoy too. 

Best of luck in your job search.  Look forward to hearing all about your first Christmas in your new home. 
Take care.

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On 11/9/2015 at 7:17 AM, RedPanda said:

I like this. (But have exceeded my daily allowance of positive votes...blah blah...) :ilikeit:

 

There is a daily allowance? :o

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, almost one year since I started these internet ramblings, and 3 months since our first full day in Australia.......

 

I think the toll of the stress of the last year has finally caught up with me - was hit by a nasty flu bug on Christmas morning, and have barely moved much apart from between couch and bed since. It has been a good time for reflection though - still not regretting our decision to move to Melbourne. 

 

2016 will bring about even more changes - hubby moves on to his second job since our arrival - one that found him, and hopefully I will find the right position for me. 

I have enrolled in an Italian beginners course that starts in the evenings early next year - I have a love of all things Italian and apart from stilted phrases memorized from phrase books whilst travelling there, have never had the opportunity to learn it properly. 

Then it's the more serious studies of doing some tax courses to beef up my resume with local academics whilst I pursue someone willing to give me local work experience.

I will up the networking as much as I can  , and do some cold calling type applications too, rather than just applying for positions advertised on Seek etc. In other words, become a full time employed job hunter! 

 

Wishing all a Blessed 2016!

 

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All the Best for 2016 Emma. I am sure 2016 will be as successful for you as 2015 as turned out to be. Congratulations to your hubby for finding his second job, not bad hey :-) Even though as yet you have not found work you are using your time wisely and finding joy in your life. No point sitting at home and being down in the dumps, rather learn a new language and that way you are experiencing something new and meeting new people.

 

i migliori auguri!!!

 

:-)

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2016 is going to get off to an amazing start for you, Em, watch and see. Jan is going to be filled with new things, new enquiries, a new spirit to meet new people and take on new employees in new roles. Enjoy the next week or two, dream big things, and watch them fall into place in the new little while. Your long journey and tenacity are about to pay off. For now, kick back and enjoy a little (too much) champagne :)

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Oooh, guess what? They invented teleportation and it didn't make the news!

 

Local leg of our shippers advised us today that our container's ETA is 10/01, but when I do the track and trace, the container is currently literally being loaded in Singapore, after it took a little holiday over Christmas / New Year in Singapore after leaving Cape Town. So, the only way a container being loaded in Singapore 07/01 would arrive at my doorstep in Melbourne 10/01, is if it teleports to Customs in Melbourne, for the local people to truck to our place....

 

 

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Is it possible they only mean that the container would arrive at the docks on the 10th? #JustAsking ;)

But whatever the case may be, at least you know it's on its way, and will be with you sometime soon.

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Welcome back RedPanda hope you enjoyed your holiday ?

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8 hours ago, Chips said:

Welcome back RedPanda hope you enjoyed your holiday ?

Hehehe..thank you, yes, it was exactly what we needed. :blush-anim-cl:

Now we have 4 months left to get the last things in order...sheesh, but time flies!

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Before you know it 4 months will be over, enjoy every day. Glad you are revitalised for 2016 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Technically, after arrival in Melbourne, Dinkies should have been changed to Sinkies ( Single income, no kiddies ), but that sounds just too depressing!!

 

However, it is most definitely Dinkies again!!!!!!

 

The last 48 hours have been a whirlwind. I had been pursuing various tactics whilst looking for employment, and last week I was using LinkedIn as my tool. I looked at a job posted by a recruitment agency that I had not dealt with before. That lead me to their company profile page on LinkedIn. I happened to note that that one of the senior recruitment agents at the company was also a University of South Africa graduate, so I decided to reach out to her.

We had a lovely chat, and she was able to point out a potential issue with my CV that had not occurred to me, or had been raised before. The only feedback I ever got was that I had no local experience. She said her immediate reaction was that I had run my own accounting and tax practice for 13 years, and that I would make a difficult prospect to sell to a potential corporate employer. She also said that their firm dealt specifically with CPA/CA candidates, so she would most likely not be able to assist. She did however give me some contacts of other ex Saffer accountants in Melbourne that might be able to assist with other contacts so I was able to start networking with them.

 

However on Wednesday, I received a phone call from a colleague of the agent that I spoken to, saying a role had just landed on her desk, not yet advertised, and she really thinks that I am good fit, despite no CPA/CA qualifications. It was a 8 month contract role to fill in whilst current employee went off to have baby #2  She had forwarded the decision maker my CV and was awaiting his response. He green lighted an interview for yesterday, which lasted 1.5 hours, and I thought at the time it had gone well. Then it was after 5pm, and Hewitt's swan song match at the Australian Open took priority. I did get an email from the agent saying she was court-side and would contact me in the morning with an update.

 

So this morning, I get the best call ever!!!! I got the role!!! So I am now the temporary Head Office Accountant for an ASX listed company, and will be getting all round exposure to Australian financial/management accounting and tax compliance. I start next week, on 27th, so the whirlwind ain't slowing down! It really is a great role to have as that first job, and am feeling so Blessed right now. 

 

 

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