So, uh, I’ve received a lot of feedback from people being like, “Wow, I had no idea you were so obsessed with television.” I think more than that it’s just that I find myself really missing American TV, but anyway, I spose I first should’ve mentioned that a number of important developments have transpired over the past week:
1) Our air shipment arrived! Two weeks later than it was supposed to!
So our air shipment (nine boxes of hanger clothes and shoes) was supposed to arrive on Wednesday, April 15. It got to Australia on Friday the 17th, then sat in customs and quarantine until Friday, April 23rd when the moving company called to inform me that it had cleared and was ready to be delivered.
“Great, can you bring it this afternoon?” I asked naively.
“No. Monday’s already been booked, shall we bring it Tuesday the 28th, then?” the moving lady said brightly, in one smooth sentence that didn’t allow me a word in edgewise.
“Uh, ok. Great,” I muttered, realizing I didn’t actually have much of a say in this at all.
So on Tuesday a bunch of dudes arrived at our door with all these boxes, which are now taking up a decent chunk of our living area. We gave the moving company explicit instructions to air ship all of the clothes that were in our drawers, but somehow none of them made it. Which means I just have the same five casual outfits to wear over and over again until they arrive. Let’s hope they’re actually in the shipping container! BTW, that arrived at the Panama Canal on April 22, but you can’t track things once they leave US waters. So our stuff is somewhere out on the open seas, arriving God-knows-when and then sitting in customs for an indeterminate amount of time. Yippee!
2) Our visas were approved. I have a kangaroo label in my passport, and it’s kind of awesome.
It’s kind of crazy to think that we are now legitimate [temporary] residents of a country other than the U.S. We had to go to the Department of Immigration offices to get our labels (which aren’t required, but seemed like a good idea for showing potential landlords and whatnot), and it was just like going to the DMV. We didn’t have to wait more than 15 minutes or so, though, and in the meantime they were showing “Entertainment Tonight” on a flat-screen in the waiting area so at least I was entertained. Who knew they were coming out with Transformers 2? And good for Valerie Bertinelli for keeping the weight off, while poor Kirstie Alley has struggled and is moaning to Oprah. Moving on…
3) We found an apartment! And the process was eerily painless…
So both from reading blogs and talking to just about everyone I know who’s moved here (that would be three people), I’ve heard that the apartment hunting process can be really stressful. Rather than make appointments for private showings, real estate agents hold 15 minute “inspections” where anyone can show up to see a place, then request an application. The husband’s co-worker in Melbourne relayed horror stories about showing up with 20 other prospective tenants and getting passed over every time since she didn’t have an Australian rental history or references. So, in advance of visiting four different places last Saturday, I emailed the agents to ask exactly what info we’d need to present if we wanted to apply. One of them sent me the necessary forms so we filled them out ahead of time. The good thing is unlike in New York where you pay an application fee, you can apply for places here and don’t have to put money down until you’re approved and want to reserve a place with a week’s rent deposit. So in that respect, there’s a bit less pressure than in New York.
We arrived to the first open house and sure enough, there were like 15 other couples there. Because I get anxious and competitive, I insisted that we give the guy our forms before anyone else could. We also gave him a letter from the husband’s employer stating his salary and that we’re here for two years. The agent was like, really excited. “This looks great!” he said, and then just asked that we fax him copies of our passports when we had a chance.
We visited three other places, and liked one other enough to submit an application. Fast forward to 8:30 am Monday morning, when the agent from the first place called to let us know our application had been approved, and that they’d take it off the market if we gave them one week’s deposit (rent prices are quoted by the week, rather than by the month here). Later that afternoon, the guy from the other place also called to say our application looked good. Things aren’t supposed to be this easy! It was actually kind of unsettling, particularly after the harrowing experience we went through last year trying to get a place in NYC.
Anyway, long story short we decided to go with the first apartment, a 2BR, 2 bath duplex in a converted warehouse (the extra bedroom and bathroom are for all of you who will be coming to visit!). It also comes with a garage parking spot (not that we have a car yet, but whatever), and best of all, a washer and dryer. We get like twice as much space as we had in New York for 2/3 the price! The main drawback is that the kitchen has limited counter space, but let’s get serious, that’s a low priority for me.
The apartment is on the edge of Paddington and Darlinghurst, just down the hill from a bunch of cool bars and restaurants but on a quiet, residential street. It’s also like five minutes from a park and pretty close to the water. If nothing else, I think it will be a very different experience from what we’re used to, and it will be great to have so much space. Here are a few pictures from the real estate listing:
So yeah, hopefully we’ll be moving in around May 20 or so (whenever our stuff decides to get here). I’m definitely itching to get out of the CBD and settled into more of a neighborhood. I think the mailing address is technically in Darlinghurst, which they call “Darlo” for short. I kind of love saying that.
Ok, I think that just about brings us up to speed. I’ll conclude with a new, possibly ongoing feature: the husband’s rant of the day about Australia (he asked that I include those in my blog posts). Today’s entry: In Australia they say, “How you going?” rather than, “How are you doing?” or “How’s it going?” Basically we’re both trying to get past the awkward pause that ensues each time we try to compute that confusing, unfamiliar phrase.
That’s it for now. Except, p.s., GO SOX!