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So its been a crazy 3 months filled with lots of excitement and frustration but I finally arrived in Newcastle of all places ahead of my wife and son in order to set up things as best as I can. 


To go back a few months to the 17th of July, we received our visas quite unexpectedly as we were under the impression that it would take at least 5 months. This triggered a mad rush to try and find work from RSA. Both my wife and I have contacts in Australia which we started discussions with. I also started applying to positions on the east coast as we did not want to move to Perthfontein as we did not enjoy our visit there 2/3 years ago. This process like all other parts of the immigration process was emotionally draining as doors were either not opened or they were opened and shut. Turns out that Australians really are not interested in hiring people who are not in the country yet with most application going without a response or getting the standard "let us know when you are here" response. This was obviously expected but non the less extremely demotivating. Two months worth of frustration managed to get two conversations with recruiters (which lead to nothing), one interview through a SAFA whom I had mutual colleagues with, and at the end of the day an ex colleague came through and offered me a position in his company! This triggered yet another mad rush to organise the next stage of our process.


I received my job offer on the 13th of September and within the next day or so we had decided that I would go ahead of my wife and son to find a home, get a car, furniture, etc. Flights were booked on for the 1st of October and I confirmed that I would start work on the 9th of October which would give me some time to set myself up. Within a week I managed to book everything and luckily for me I only had 1 week of waiting. This is probably the shortest wait period of this "hurry up and wait" filled part of our lives. Final day arrived and I got myself to OR Tambo international and into the slow lounge after a smooth baggage drop off, customs and passport control checks.


I arrived in Sydney on the 2nd of October after a 12 hour flight with no sleep. I ticked the "immigration" check box on the arrival card and went through passport control with no issues. I have to say that the passport control lady was not as friendly as the last few times I had arrived in Australia though I assume that it had nothing to do with me being a new immigrant. I picked up a SIM card from the Vodafone shop at the airport terminal and phoned my car rental company to come and pick me up as a lot of the car rental companies are not based at the airport but rather in the surrounding areas. They then offer a shuttle service free of charge. Then followed a tiring 2h30m drive up to Newcastle and to my AirBnB. Driving in Sydney is horrible, why on earth would anyone want to do this? JHB traffic has nothing on Sydney in my experience.


On my first day in Newcastle I did the usual bank, drivers licence and medicare registration. One thing that I didn't expect is not to get my drivers licence and medicare cards on the day s it turns out that the card printing machines are only in the main centers which Newcastle is apparently not. I received a temporary drivers and medicare cards though and was told that it would take 5-10 working days and 2 - 3 weeks respectively for the cards to arrive. This was a bit disappointing but not too much of an issue as I still have my passport as photo ID.

In the afternoon I managed to look at a few cars and boy of boy was this an eye opener! Up until now everything looked awesome, streets are clean, people are friendly, everything works, etc. This was my first realization of what happens when you don't have a portion of the population which is exploited as most of the cars which I saw were horribly dirty on the inside! I mean I didn't even want to get into a few of them which had not been detailed yet. Nevertheless this is a small price to pay for the freedoms which a first world country brings.


Second day was spend car hunting in Sydney and I managed to get  a second hand VW Tiguan for a great price (took two hours of bargaining but I managed to knock off 10% of the price which was good to start off with). Second hand Volkswagens have very reasonable prices unlike the rest of the German cars here so I hope I have not gotten myself a burden from the beginning. Buying the car was effortless though seeing that amount of money going off my bank card with a simple tap was an interesting experience! Driving in NSW so far has been great (well except in Sydney)! People follow the rules of the road and are courteous. Yes the speed limits are low but on the other hand they are also reasonable, driving over the speed limits on the few occasions where I did was not safe. 


It was now time to start the house hunt which is where I still am. So far I have spent two days looking at houses which has been yet another eye opener. Most houses look like they are build with brick and mortar but that is apparently not the case, especially for new developments! Houses are built with modern light weight materials, this I guess is to make them easier and faster to build as to save on labor which is obviously expensive but why then are they so damn expensive to buy?! Yes the newly developed houses look modern and are quite practical but it is so strange to know that its basically a fancy shack! 😉 

So far my Saterday was spent looking at 7 houses and all except 1 looked good and I managed to apply for two of them with 1form which is an online application service. I am not sure how good my chances of securing a property are as we have two Maltese poodles who will be joining us in the new year and there was definitely a lot of people viewing the houses with me. I believe that this will be the biggest hurdle to cross but time will tell.


I start work on Tuesday the 9th of October which should help integrate me into Australian society which I am looking forward to. Its a very strange feeling to feel like a total outsider who has no idea how things work! Even basic things like going to Service NSW for adrivers licence and car registration rather than to Roads and Maritime. Shopping is fine and the self checkout counters are great but what happens if you buy loose fruit/veg? Can you still go through them? Oh and how on earth does recycling work? What do you do with beer bottles? The last time I did recycling was when I lived in Germany but that was totally different from what I see online. I guess I'll have a ton more questions as time goes by but I'll start off with reading the road users guidebook to sort out the driving portion. 🙂


Oh and one more thing, OMW has it rained a lot in the last 3 days with yet more rain forecast for the following days. Does it ever stop? How do people live with so much rain? This will definitely take getting used to.



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56 minutes ago, Rossen said:


Could help to chuckle on that one!


56 minutes ago, Rossen said:

why then are they so damn expensive to buy

The value is in the land. Do yourself a favour and check the price of new development land near where you stay. You will note then that the building/construction cost is less than <<<40% of total cost.


57 minutes ago, Rossen said:

how on earth does recycling work?


For anything you don't know, besides asking, just Google your local shire. This is the country of self-help and self-discovery!!!


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  • 1 month later...

So its been 7 weeks since I landed... wow has it gone by in a whirlwind! Looking back at my previous post brings some interesting feelings but mostly the feeling that everything will eventual be ok and that I should take it easy.


In the last 7 weeks I managed to set things up as best as I can. I got the first property which I applied for and was even given a choice of two houses by the agency. This was for a pet friendly house so the dogs will have a nice garden to run around in once they arrive mid Feb next year. There was a bit of a rush for the first few weekends to get as much furniture as possible which had its challenges. In RSA we expect everything to be in stock and to have free delivery within a day or two.... well I finally figured out why most cars have roof racks installed! As it turns out delivery is not free and generally costs around $80. Also most furniture items are either not in stock or are held at the warehouse which is obviously not at the store. If you are in an outlying town that generally means up to a week of waiting if the item is at the warehouse. Lets just say that finding a king size mattress which was in stock and could be delivered within a day or two left me with very few and expensive choices.


At the end of October I flew back to RSA to pack our Movecube and move over with my wife and 15 month old son. It was a crazy 5 days with two long flights and 3 days of packing house and move cube whilst trying to arrange work meetings and finalizing a few last minute things. We had booked a shuttle to take us to the airport as to avoid emotional goodbyes at the airport. The shuttle arrived with a toddler seat instead of a baby seat even though I confirmed the baby car seat twice so the driver got himself a baby car seat at the airport. The slow lounge at JHB international was converted into a giant playing area by my son for a few hours though we were lucky that it wasn't busy on a Tuesday afternoon. We had booked the bassinet seats but unfortunately my son was a little too tall for the bassinet so we eventually had to make a plan and he slept on mom and dad. Luckily we brought his pillow on the flight so it helped make things more comfortable for him. A note for anyone else with a child which might not fit in the bassinet, the arm rest between the seats right in front of the bassinet do not fold away for some ridiculous reason so book the middle 2 seats of the 4 seat row! 


Arriving at a partially furnished house with a jet lagged toddler was interesting. We managed to put him down fairly easily but he woke up just after we had fallen asleep and was up for a good two hours. Fun times! At least he got with the program within the first two nights. I enrolled him at a day care center within the estate we live in and had to get his immunizations up to Australian standards. going to the GP was an absolute pleasure and not having to pay for the visit was an interesting feeling. The little on had to get 3 injections which was definitely a too much. He's been getting over those boosters for the last few days and is definitely looking better nowadays. He's settling in nicely and is today at day care for the third time. Seems like he's coping well with the move even if he's a bit more unruly than usual. He's a very social child and does not like staying at home!


All in all things are finally starting to settle down a bit. We definitely have a long way to go until we are properly established but we've got the basics down. We did our first trip to the beach and were very thankful for the life we have been given the opportunity to have. We do realize that we are at a huge financial disadvantage in terms of the cost to our savings but we'll just have to work a bit harder to catch up. Its all worth it.


Some general thoughts:

  • The Aussies sure do seem to be a bit on the rebellious side. For example if you drive at the speed limit you will definitely be holding up traffic. Its an interesting position to be in. Do you speed with the rest of them and risk the heavy fines and demerit points or do you piss them off by holding up traffic?!
  • Gardening... damn the grass grows fast! Also, never rent a property with a sloping garden again!
  • The weather is definitely interesting. The two weeks of rain were followed by a one week heat wave and now a week of 25°C days with mild 12°C nights. Hoping for more of the later weather!
  • Those damned trolleys! Why on earth cant the back wheels be stationary! I truly hate those damned monstrosities!
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12 hours ago, Rossen said:

Why on earth cant the back wheels be stationary!

There is a method in the madness. When using the trolley on those flat ramp/escalator platforms, then the rear wheels find their way into the grooves and stopping the trolly from moving around.

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9 hours ago, ottg said:

ramp/escalator platforms

I haven't seen any of those around Coles/Woolies/target/etc. At least you get a good abdominal workout when you go shopping though.

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Honestly I'm getting used to the wayward trolleys - and actually find it useful that they can move directly left or right. So much easier to get out of the way or take a small gap, it's like parallel parking with the fixed wheel ones sometimes! 

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