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iambrettstar

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ChrisH

Glad you made it!

 

My wife and I always chuckle when we see photos of people posing with their luggage at the airport on Facebook.  Optimistic smiles not realising what hell that same luggage will be on this side!

 

Struggling with your luggage the first time you arrive is a right of passage and makes for good reading!

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Welcome to Melbourne. Let us know if you have any questions. 

We arrived at midnight on New Year's eve and had to drag all the luggage up 2 flights of stairs. Luckily had teenagers to help. It's a roller coaster ride. Try take time to just notice and enjoy this beautiful city. 

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iambrettstar
On 5/23/2018 at 10:55 AM, FromDurbs said:

I was a bit irritated with myself the next day when we had to be out of the airport hotel by 11 and could only check into the airbnb at 2.  We basically sat on a heap of luggage for more than an hour in front of the building.  Your story makes me think I did make the right decision.  

Good luck !

2

Ha - that's exactly why I didn't want to do an airport hotel 😂 it's a story to tell, at least...

 

On 5/23/2018 at 12:39 PM, ChrisH said:

My wife and I always chuckle when we see photos of people posing with their luggage at the airport on Facebook.  Optimistic smiles not realising what hell that same luggage will be on this side!

 

We have those same photos! Although it was when the 2 porters were moving around the luggage for us at Cape Town airport that I realized that there was only one porter in Melbourne, and he was me 😂

 

On 5/23/2018 at 9:56 PM, Husky said:

Try take time to just notice and enjoy this beautiful city. 

 

Thanks - it really is beautiful! Yesterday we were painfully avoiding AUD-ZAR conversions while shopping at Coles in Port Melbourne, and when we finished loading the car looked up to a fantastic view of the city from the roof. So unexpected, and so beautiful!

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iambrettstar

So the whirlwind continues!

 

The apartment we rented for the first week had blackout blinds. Thus, we weren't aware of the sun rising, and slept happily through the timezone into midday. What a lovely sleep that was - especially considering that we had nothing like it again for the next 3 weeks.

 

Warning to parents of toddlers: you know when you first tell people that you're expecting a baby, and the parents among them tell you that you're going to be tired and frustrated and at your wits end, and how you kind of believe them but you don't really understand until you're in it, and one day it hits you (like at 3am a few weeks in when you're in a mountain of diapers, burping a screaming baby after 3 nights of no sleep...) and you're like "Oh, I get it now"? A jet-lagged toddler is exactly like that.

 

We got over our jet-lag relatively quickly; I think I've had 3 nights tops where I've not been able to get to sleep or get back to sleep if I've woken up at 1am. As adults, we're able to lie down and close our eyes and try numerous things to get ourselves to sleep. Our child? Yeah not so much. So, our first weeks were kind-of foggy due to a lack of proper sleep.

 

Nonetheless, we got a few things done.

 

Day 1

We walked 3 blocks to Melbourne Central to the Coles there and bought some groceries, and walked back. The rest of the afternoon we zombied out, before heading back to grab a bite to eat from Mr Burger. It was pleasant enough...

 

Day 2

A school friend and his wife took us to lunch at what he considered the Aussie version of Spur. It was TGI Fridays, which isn't like Spur at all....walked through the city, over the bridge past Flinders, and had a coffee on the South Bank somewhere. Head back and took turns entertaining the very awake toddler.

 

Days 3 - 7

These passed in a mad blur. We activated our bank accounts with NAB and got our cards (so quick and easy!), and then downloaded the realestate app and tenantapp and booked inspections pretty much all day, every day. We had a week in our AirBnB, and originally planned to AirBnB out in the suburbs we liked while inspecting, but realized pretty soon that there's just so much to see and choose from, so we booked a further 2 weeks in the CBD, 1 block away from the first place. We managed a train ride out to Macleod to have dinner with family and took the train home afterwards. It was quite odd to be using public transport, and then walk through the CBD to our apartment, at around 10pm at night, and feel completely safe.

 

The morning of day 7 was spent carting our luggage from apartment 1 to apartment 2. If you're interested in Melbourne weather's variability: I made 5 trips between the apartments with our luggage. Every time I came downstairs for the next trip, the weather was different!

 

Week 2

We felt a bit more comfortable after the 1st week, but still pretty tired given the toddler's jet-lag. So we took it relatively easy: we reduced the number of inspections (and I did quite a few where I went by myself, to speed things up). Registered for medicare and centrelink at the same time (be aware: they won't do medicare registrations after 4pm, because it takes quite a while to get everything done on the system, so go early). Booked an appointment for our driver's licenses. Applied for TFNs (arrived in the post after 2 days...) and got our medicare cards (also arrived after a few days) - posted to our family's address.

 

For those concerned about verifying identity: we've been able to use our passports, bank statement from NAB (printed at the branch showing the address of our family member, but they'll do airbnb as well), and our medicare cards for most things. I was able to verify my identity for my TFN using those 3 things. However - I applied to open an account with UBank, and they weren't happy with those things as proof of address. They required my driver's license, which I'm only getting next week.

 

Started applying for rentals...

 

Week 3

Another blur, though less so as sleep increased...and I started work, so a bit more routine started. Also, at this stage, we were starting to panic a little about where to live and whether we'd be accepted anywhere. This forum had made it quite clear that you had to offer 8 years of rent in advance, have 3 concurrently running jobs and $2,000,000.17 dollars in the bank, wear a tuxedo to inspections, and have Malcolm Turnbull with you at all times to personally verify that you exist and are physically present in Australia and will definitely pay your rent on time.

 

(if you haven't been able to make it out - I'm using hyperbole to show that I'd built the whole thing up in my head to be something far larger than it ended up being!)

 

In the end, we got the first place we applied for, which we really like (in Elwood), by using 1form and uploading identity documents like passport, driver's, birth certificate, a bank statement showing the $10K we'd transferred into our NAB account, 3 months payslips (as I'm still working remotely for my SA company), a reference from the estate agent that sold our house (I have a template if anyone wants), and a reference from my father-in-law that we definitely rented his apartment and that we definitely paid our rent on time. We didn't offer rent in advance, and we didn't offer more than asking price.

 

We didn't schmooze all that much, I didn't dress up at the inspections, and we just said: "we really like it, we're keen and are going to apply". A few days later it was accepted, and we collected the keys the day before we were due to check out of our AirBnB. Lekker!

 

In this time we also paid a visit to 2 different Montessori schools, and our daughter was accepted at one in Brighton East It's a lovely school - about 3 times as large, and 10x as jacked/maintained, as the school she was at in Cape Town (which we loved and was amazing). She had her first session today and loved it. For those that are interested in Montessori schooling here - it's considered private education, so you'll end up paying for it if you're on PR.

 

School - tick!

Apartment - tick!

Bank cards - tick!

TFN - tick!

Medicare - tick!

Centrelink - tick!

Driver's licenses - on Wednesday :)

 

Points of interest

  • There are gas braais/cookers at parks, and people use them! We watched in awe at Flagstaff gardens as some people came up to the cookers, cleaned them, cooked some sausages, cleaned the cooker again, and sat down to eat. They're free, and you just press a button to switch them on.
  • An entire aisle for Yoghurt?!? The variety in stores is awesome! I know it's overwhelming for some, but we're loving it.
  • It's been said before - but the efficiency is a welcome, welcome relief.
  • Much to my disappointment, people do speed, and people do jay-walk :( 
  • Hook turns are not as confusing as people make them out to be.
  • Whittakers chocolate. Oh. My. Diety. Do yourself a favour.
  • Some restaurants charge extra to take leftovers home and some restaurants don't let you take leftovers home at all. Laws, or something?
  • I'm not proud of this, but I miss Castle Lite! VB is awful, Furphys is average, Boags is not great, and craft beer is super expensive when converting my ZARs. Anyone care to recommend a half-decent lager/light lager that doesn't cost a week's rent and is passably tasty?
  • Bunnings is worth emigrating for!
  • Whoever the first person is to sell boerewors rolls outside Bunnings will make a killing.
  • R175 for a 4-minute hand-wash of your car is apparently enough of a bargain to slap it all over billboards on the side of the road.
  • Aussies leave their sh*t lying around everywhere! Inspecting places, people leave their bicycles and baby-car-seats and unused couches and pretty much anything and everything in stairwells, on stoeps, under carports...
  • Shopping at Ikea is like playing the Sims (the shop-mode bit) in real life.
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SimpleSimon

For beers, try: Crown lager, Tooheys New/Old. And a lot of bottle shops stock South African beers as do South African speciality shops. All in good time.

Still no good - learn to drink wine. Australian wines often win international competitions.

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ChrisH
9 hours ago, iambrettstar said:

I'm not proud of this, but I miss Castle Lite! VB is awful, Furphys is average, Boags is not great, and craft beer is super expensive when converting my ZARs. Anyone care to recommend a half-decent lager/light lager that doesn't cost a week's rent and is passably tasty?

 

Not sure if you'll find this in Melbourne, but give xxxx gold a go.

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vitchie

Also give Hahn Superdry a go, it is the closest to Castle Lite for me.

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FromDurbs
11 hours ago, iambrettstar said:

There are gas braais/cookers at parks, and people use them! We watched in awe at Flagstaff gardens as some people came up to the cookers, cleaned them, cooked some sausages, cleaned the cooker again, and sat down to eat. They're free, and you just press a button to switch them on.

It took us too long to learn this.  Tin foil.  Take tin foil, line the gas braai with tin foil and braai on it.  You dont have to clean before you braai and you dont have to clean after you braai and you use the tin foil as a serving tray.  Perfect. 

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iambrettstar
5 hours ago, SimpleSimon said:

Still no good - learn to drink wine. Australian wines often win international competitions.

 

I'll get there 😀 I've considered joining one of those wine-of-the-month club things, where they send you a few bottles each month. I figure that's a good way to get acquainted with the wines here. Anyone tried this or know of any worth it?

 

2 hours ago, FromDurbs said:

It took us too long to learn this.  Tin foil.  Take tin foil, line the gas braai with tin foil and braai on it.  You dont have to clean before you braai and you dont have to clean after you braai and you use the tin foil as a serving tray.  Perfect. 

Great suggestion! I'll keep that in mind for when we go.

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RedPanda

Hahahaha.!!! I literally laughed out loud!

Great post :ilikeit: 

You'll settle in fine ;) 

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SimpleSimon
12 hours ago, FromDurbs said:

Take tin foil, line the gas braai with tin foil and braai on it. 

Best to add a bit of oil to the tin foil. Otherwise you’ll be increasing your aluminium intake dramatically. I guess it adds to the crunchiness of the meat.

 

23 hours ago, iambrettstar said:

I miss Castle Lite! 

You could also try Pure Blonde. Few carbs but people do complain it’s like making love in a canoe.....

...............

...............

..............

........ it’s @#$&*ing close to water.

 

 

Edited by SimpleSimon
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SimpleSimon
10 hours ago, iambrettstar said:

I figure that's a good way to get acquainted with the wines here

Do a wine tour of the Yarra Valley rather. It’s a great way to spend a day.

Don’t forget to buy some whiskey. Give the toddler a couple of capfuls and your sleeping problems are over.

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  • 5 months later...
iambrettstar

So! We've officially been in Melbourne for 6 months and 1 week.

 

I know a lot of people have struggled with the transition, but we feel like we've just slotted in so comfortably, and totally love our little lives here.

 

We have made changes in our lifestyle - we live in a 2-bed apartment (walking distance to the beach, though - yay!), we don't own a car and make frequent use of public transport and flexicar occasionally.

 

I work from home, and my wife is a home executive looking after our 3-year-old, so we don't find ourselves in Australian company as often as someone in an office would - but we are locals in our neighbourhood and are getting to know some of the baristas and shop owners and settling in.

 

My wife's mom and sister came for a visit a few weeks ago, and it was great to take them around our 'hood and show them where we live, where my daughter goes to school etc. and have an excuse to do a bit of sightseeing.

 

I can honestly say that I don't miss SA at all, in any way. I do miss the community of friends we'd developed over the years, but that grows over time.

 

We've done a small trip down the Great Ocean Road, and a weekend down the Mornington Peninsula, but we really need to get out more!

 

Halloween was an experience - in Elwood where we stay, there's a street that's known for people doing up their houses and handing out "lollies" - the neighbourhood was filled with kids dressed up, going from house to house and knocking on doors for sweets. "Chuck me a lolly, mate!" It was refreshing/mindblowing to see kids wandering around, unsupervised, safely having a blast in their neighbourhood. We also noted a few parents wandering around with a glass of wine, collecting their share of lollies, which we'll certainly be doing next time around...

 

Updated points of interest:

  • I did end up finding that "lager-like" beer: I either go for Hawkers Pale Ale or Mornington Peninsula Pale Ale.
  • I like snag and bread - who'd have thought!
  • We've found some Australians (Melbournians, maybe?) quite rude and abrupt - I'm not sure if this is because our accent immediately identifies us as different, or if Melbournians are cliquey like Capetonians? For the most part, Aussies are warm, friendly, and helpful: but we've definitely encountered the cold shoulder several times.
  • I still love how stuff just works
  • For the most part, we've stopped converting our ZARs now...where before I'd baulk at coughing up $13 for a beer or $23 for a pizza, we now drop those Aussie dollars like nobody's business...or we at least see them in dollar terms, not "holy sh*t that's R365 for a pizza and a beer" terms  😜
  • AFL is huge in Melbourne...these people do not stop talking about it. Nobody's even vaguely interested in the boks vs wallabies, or the cricket - but they'll talk for hours about AFL and the trades and all kinds of things I don't understand. I'll have to get into it a bit more, next season, if I'm to survive conversations in Melbourne...

 

We're now planning our December/January holiday (a tad late, seeing as though everywhere seems booked up or prices hugely inflated) and looking at some trips next year around the country.

 

Little one starts cycle 1 at the montessori school next year, and she has her first ballet show on Sunday, and she's doing swimming lessons. My wife volunteers at the toy library and has joined a ballet class at the same studio as my daughter. I've joined the local soccer club. Life goes on, and it's great! We're so happy we made the decision and went through with it.

 

For anyone in 2 minds - just do it!

 

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You’re a great writer @iambrettstar , really enjoyed the read! Congrats on making a success of your move 😁

 

Ps. I  think if anyone takes poor old Malcom Turnbull to a Melbourne rental inspection now, they’re sure to be declined. Such is the fickle Aus political landscape 😂

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