Monday, 31 October 2011

Good Bye Sydney

Its been 2 weeks since we arrived in Sydney.  Time to go home now - back to the kids, home and business.  If all goes well, we'll be back next year - before May 2012, hopefully for our permanent move.

It has been a very successful and busy 2 weeks and I will give a full report on our Sydney adventure once we are back home and I have a bit more time to give you a full report on our adventure. 

Until then, be assured, this holiday / Look and See helped me to confirm why we decided to immigrate to Australia in the 1st place. I am now even more convinced I am doing the right thing.

Now, one more stretch, about 4-6 months ..... until we are able to move permanently ....

Cheers Sydney, we'll see you next year.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

I am in Sydney!

I am in Sydney! Unfortunately not to stay yet, but only to do some business.
We arrived last week Thursday and will be leaving next week Tuesday.  Sarel and I came to Sydney to do a couple of “business” like activities.  Unfortunately not a lot of sightseeing or holidaying L
So far we did the following:
1.       The main reason for our visit was to “activate” our visa’s. Thus, to do our entry.  This was rather very un-ceremonial at the airport. The customs guy just politely said “welcome to Australia" and off we went. Stamp in the passport.  Entry to the Country – as permanent residents!!! Off course, once we left the customs area Sarel and I jumped up and down an celebrated, but God Forbid!!! Just not in the Customs area.  I was so scared to look “out of place” and end up on Border Security on the Discovery channel, that I deliberately kept my joy and happiness in until it was more appropriate to jump with joy!
2.       We opened a bank account some time ago and had to come and verify who we are in order to “activate” the bank account. We did this last week Friday and they sent our cards to my in-law’s address.  We received our bank cards yesterday (Wednesday).  Can you believe, I had a choice of a black or pink bank card. I chose the pink one!  I am so happy with it (and the bank’s service)
3.       We met with several expats – mostly friends of my in-laws who all stay here in Sydney.  We had such lovely chats with them.  We asked so many questions and got so many good ideas and advice.  It is too much to digest, but I am trying.
4.       We met with a relocation specialist – and she took us all around the Northern Beach suburbs. This is a very expensive exercise, BUT, and this is a very important but … it is worth every cent!  If we are able to chose the right school and area, it will save us a lot of money  in changing schools / areas etc later on.  Remember, in Australia, the schools are very strict on the feeding area, so if you chose the wrong side of the road, your child may end up in a school where you don’t want them. Thus, getting an expert to help is a huge expense, but a very good investment!!!
5.       We met with a family member of a friend of mine, and she showed us the Castle Hill / Cherrybrook area.  Very important to view areas on your own as well, in order to ask the relocation specialist about these areas as well.
6.       We went shopping!!! With our eyes only.  We went to compare prices so that we can chose what to bring, what to leave behind in SA, what to buy new in SA and what to rather buy in Australia.
We are also spending some quality time with my in-laws here in Sydney.  Love the time with our 2 and a half year old nice!
I will definitely do a blog with some of my observations, conclusions etc regarding our trip, but now, I just need time to digest it all for now!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

You know you are South African when:

I received this email yesterday and thought I would like to share it with you.

You know you are South African when:
·         Your employees dance in front of the building to show how unhappy they are
·         You know what Rooibos Tea is, even if you've never had any
·         We call it a braai, because BBQ is the name of a spice or chip flavour
·         Drying out perfectly good meat and eating it weeks later is considered a delicacy
·         A braai is a dinner party
·         You can sing your national anthem in four languages, and you have no idea what it means in any of them
·         You know someone who knows someone who has met Nelson Mandela
·         You go to braais regularly, where you eat tjops and boerewors and swim, sometimes simultaneously
·         You know that there's nothing to do in the Orange Free State
·         You produce a R100 note instead of your driver's licence when stopped by a traffic officer
·         Everyone understands the real meaning of: Ja-Nee, lekker and sharp
·         Travelling at 120 km/h and you're the slowest vehicle on the highway/freeway
·         You can do your monthly shopping on the pavement
·         You have to hire a security guard whenever you park your car
·         The police hire private security to protect the police station
·         You go to a wedding or other great event and watch the rugby and this is totally accepted and understood
·         You know that a taxi is not a “cab” or a safe method of transport, although it is one of the largest public transport methods
·         You know a taxi can move twice it's certified number of people in one trip
·         People are more terrified after 5 minutes in a taxi than appearing on a whole episode of "Supernatural"
·         To get free electricity you have to pay a connection fee of R750
·         More people vote in a local reality TV show than in the local election
·         A taxi overtakes you just to stop right in front of you
·         People have the most wonderful names: Christmas, Goodwill, Pretty, Wednesday, Blessing, Brilliant, Gift, Precious, Innocence, Given, Patience, Portion, Coronation, Star, Goodness, Moses, Lucky, Tiny, Bigboy, Terror, Firstborn and also ….. Lastborn
·         "just now" can mean anything from a minute to a month
·         You continue to wait after a traffic light has turned to green to make way for taxis travelling in the opposite direction
·         You're genuinely and pleasantly surprised whenever you find your car parked where you left it
·         A bullet train (Gautrain) is being introduced by the Government, but they can’t fix potholes
·         You have family on all the continents
·         The last time you visited the coast you paid more in speeding fines and toll fees than you did for the entire holiday
·         You paint your car's registration on the roof and this is considered normal
·         Prisoners go on strike
·         Ruwandan refugees start leaving the country because the crime rate is too high
·         The police ask you if they should follow up on the burglary you’ve just reported
·         Half the city pays for the other halfs’ electricity and water supply
·         A murderer gets a suspended sentence, but if you failed to pay your TV license, you get 2 years sentence
·         The police adives you not to stop if they wave you down in the middle of the night, but rather speed past them and drive to your nearest police station
·         You don’t stop at a red traffic light, in case somebody hijacks your car
·         The Student Union demands that academic achievement shouldn’t be a criterion for university acceptance, as it is discriminatory
·         Landlords may not evict illegal squatters unless they offer them alternative accommodation
·         Scholars protest at the lack of schooling facilities by destroying school buildings
·         Your insurance is higher than the repayments on your car
·         Crime actually DOES pay
·         You can't even go on a business trip to Oz without somebody asking knowingly: 'Oh, having a look around, are you?....'
·         You realise after watching the news on TV that nothing happened in the rest of the world
·         Nobody longer request anything, they “demand” it
·         Where the road narrows, the guy to the rear of you has right of way
·         The SABC advertises and shows highlights of the program you just finished watching
·         The petrol in your tank may be worth more than your car
·         You have to take your own linen with you if you are admitted to a government hospital
·         You actually get these jokes, understands all of them and then pass them on to other friends from South Africa or blog about it.

Oh, there is only one country like this!  Believe it or not, but I still love this country. I am just not happy about what is happening to it.
Have a wonderful day!