Monday, 10 December 2012

Tired? Understatement!!!

Emigration is not for the faint hearted.  We've been packing for a few weeks now. Not so much packing as sorting and organising.  Everything must go into one of these categories: Container, Luggage, sell, give away or throw away!

It is mentally draining to think of all this ... and trying to have future vision of what is going to be important and what not. 

I am drained!!!

The packing company came today ... and don't think the "Ag they come to pack" give you time to sit on your behind and watch them.  OH NO!!! There are 4 guys, each in another room and you have to be at all 4 places at once, helping, guiding and assisting.  Having a double storey house does not really help either... I had a months worth of gym training just by going up and down the stairs!    My husband joked and "we lost a lot of weight when we built the house, so looks like we are losing again by moving out" Ha-ha (I hope so!!)

We sat in Jaccuzi for an hour or 2 after the packers left ... to regained some strength and tomorrow, we do it all over again. 

Will post some photos of the packing after the container has left!!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

We sold the house!!!

Yes, that is right ... The house is sold!

The past few months we did some serious marketing with regards to the house and a private buyer contacted us a week ago. 

They fell in love with the house and we agreed on a price, signed the offer and today we heard that everything is 100% OK.

Thus, timing is perfect .. a week before the conainter company comes!!

In the mean time we are very busy with the preparations for the BIG MOVE!!!

Until later ....

Monday, 19 November 2012

As if we don't already have enough stress and too little time!!!

Only people who have emigrated or are in the process of emigration, can fully understand how busy you get closer to the actual date. Our deadline is the in 3 weeks time, because that's when they are coming to pack our container ... so every spare minute is spent to sort and get those last minute things done.

So... as if we are not stressed enough and as if we do not already have too little time at hand, we had a couple of incidents last week which stressed us out even further.

On Thursday afternoon, on Sarel's (husband) way back home from a meeting he stopped at a hardware shop to pick up an urgent item which he needed at home. Thinking it is safe in front of the shop's door and where the security guard is, he parked his car.

10 minutes later ... the car window's been broken and his laptop bag which was hidden behind the back seat was stolen. His Macbook, iPad and Identification Document was in the bag.

All is replaceable and the Macbook's been backup the previous evening. BUT THE EFFORT to get everything sorted!!!!

On Friday, Sarel took my car to run all his errands, including to go fetch a new window for replacement of his car's window at the glass centre, and where he parked to fetch the window, someone reversed into my car. No serious damage, but still .... effort, time and patients which neither of us have now.

So we had a bit of a "shitty" week... but as consolation ... we had a great week-end and I will tell you all about it in my next post!!! Great news!!!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

I resigned today!

Today I handed in my formal resignation. "Formal" because I am married to the boss and he is emigrating with me (LOL).  So he (and his business partner) was well aware of my impending resignation.

We've agreed that I would resign this month and for legal purposes I handed in my written notice. 

I've worked for this company for 6 years! 

A few months after I met my husband in 2006, I started working for his new company as they needed a person to look after the administrative side of the business.  I happen to be "in between" jobs and welcomed the challenge. (My experience lies mainly in Human Resource Management, but I also have ample business Administration and little bookkeeping experience)

I had sufficient experience and what started as a "helping them out" position, ended up being a full time HR-Finance-Administration-Marketing-Jack-of-all-Trades-type Manager.  Phew!!!
At times is was as difficult as that mouth full job description sounds.  Other times it was a breeze....

I thoroughly enjoyed helping my husband and his business partner setting up and growing their business.

Fortunately, the office is run from home and that gave me ample time to fetch the kids from school in the afternoon and help with homework.  That in itself is such a privilege!

In 2010 we hired an assistant and soon after she started, we decided to emigrate.  Thus, I have been "training" her since then to take over my position.  She proved that she is more than capable and therefore I can leave my job with a happy heart.

Weirdly, I feel quite sad about this resignation, but then again ... it is not a good-bye type resignation. It marks the end of an era.  I will probably always be part of the company via my husband who will still be involved, but my direct involvement will not be so intense any more.

It surely marks the beginning of the end of the formal issues for us here in South Africa.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Few days!!

Good grief people!!!! Ek weet nie meer of ek kom of gaan nie. I do not know whether I'm coming or going.

If feel the pressure with all the emigration preparations!!!Dit gaan maar druk besig met al die voorbereidings!

There is soooo much to do and so little time. As usual, there are things that could have been done a long time ago, but hey, I’m known for my procrastination!!!

Here is a list of everything I have done in the past few weeks:

·         Sold Furniture via Bid or Buy
·         Sold the Trailer
·         Scanned all major documents and filed the most important ones
·         Burned all scanned and not so important documents (see photo below)
Daar is sooo baie om te doen en so bietjie tyd.

It was just so much easier to burn a crate full of documents as Dit was net soveel makliker om 'n krat vol dokumente te verbrand as om 'n dag lank te sit en die shredder uit te brand!to burn out the shredder!!!


·         We sorted our camping equipment

·         We sorted our garage and luckily for my parents, they scored a trailer full of stuff which we can not use anymore or can nor or will not take with to Australia.  My domestic worker also left with a full load of stuff we can not use anymore.


Fortunately, very few of the items in this photo found their way back into our garage!

·         I scanned all my normal photo's so that all is digitally now.  (This is for in case the container gets lost of falls into the sea J)

·         I sorted my stamp collection and sold some on the auction site (Bid or buy)

·         I sorted out our books and donated the ones we don’t want to the library

·         The kids and I sorted their puzzles and games and we gave the unwanted ones to a disadvantaged crèche.

·         I sorted all my magazine cut out recipes and my cookbooks.

·         The kitchen is now sorted and finalised.

·         I made sure that all my credit accounts were closed properly and that it is all finalised

·         I am still busy arranging our farewell party for early in December

·         I sorted all my cross stitch and sold all unnecessary cross stitch magazines on Bid or buy.

This all done while I still have a job, kids to feed, house to run and helping kids with homework and exams.
I am also struggling with my sinus infection and try to get rest so I can get better. L

Thus, the conclusion … these are CRAZY TIMES and we live off multivitamins and take-away! 

Well, that's all I have time for to tell you now. 

‘till later

Monday, 8 October 2012

We have our tickets!!!

Finally!!!! We booked our flights to our new life in Australia!!!

This is all so exciting, but now the real hard work starts!

In 3 months we are flying and in 2 months they are packing our house into a container.

Oh, goodness, so much to to, so little time

Do I sound excited? Yes I am?

Am I nervous? YOU HAVE NO IDEA!!!

So much has happened and I will tell you all about what we've been up to in my next post.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

National Pride??

South Africans have a lot to be proud of!

Facebook is buzzing with people and organisations congratulating the South African Olympic Gold medallist.  To date, we got 3 gold medals. Just before the Olympics started, we celebrated old President Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday and most of South Africa did their 67 minutes of charity.  The World celebrated with us! The weekend after Madiba’s birthday, Ernie Els won the British Open and thereafter the Protea Cricket team also did well in England!

It feels good when your country does well and we are proud of these achievements, but ….

Is this national pride enough to keep me in South Africa?

I regularly read the articles AND the comments on the websites of Facebook, News24, YOU, Carte Blanche, various news sites, etc.  If something bad or scandalous happens in South Africa, then people want to emigrate, they criticize the government and want to see heads roll. For example the “toilet scandal” a few years back and now the school textbook scandal in Limpopo.

The moment something good happens, like our golden medals, then only is the government doing everything right and those who want to leave this country must be crazy, because look how well we are doing!  Look how this is bringing our nation together again, just like the ’95 Rugby World Cup and the 2010 Soccer World Cup in SA!

Now, while the country is on a “high” with our achievements at the Olympics, people are making comments and say we are stupid, unpatriotic and ridiculous to want to emigrate! I have heard that we do not have pride in our county and are not patriotic!

Let me tell you … I get goose bumps every time I hear our national anthem during the Olympics or at other sports events.  I get tears in my eyes, looking at our beautiful flag which flies proudly at the Olympics. Our family are glued to the TV and we cheer every South African on! We celebrated Madiba’s birthday by doing our bit for charity.  We watched as Ernie won the British Open. We get up early and go to bed late to support our sport teams.  During the Soccer World Cup build up, we proudly wore our yellow soccer jerseys – EVERY Soccer Friday.  We are proud of our Cricket team and we are sad that Mark Boucher got hurt and had to retire!

BUT …. The fact that we are proud of our nations achieve are not going to give my children the future they deserve. It will not ensure a decent job for them.  National pride does not give me safety and security.  National Pride does not make people drive better or be more patient with each other on the South African Roads.  It does not make politicians and other business people commit less crime and corruption.  It does not improve the quality of education.  It will not ensure my kids a chance to partake in the Olympic Games one day, because quotas may eliminate them!

The nation pride I have for South Africa are being slashed with each known street name change, with each city/town name change.  It gets diminished by giving my kids a curriculum which does not prepare them for the future.  The lawlessness, corruption and unfairness in this country are killing the nation pride I really want to experience.

Dear friends and family who are telling me that we do not have pride in SA and that we are unpatriotic, please tell me how much is left over to feel patriotic about?  Yes, we do have some achievements, but these have to live in the shadow of a nation which is falling apart. I will always love South Africa, but that love is limited to the memories of a country which once was ….

Friday, 3 August 2012

Frustrations and Update

I have been neglecting this blog the last month or so.  We are really busy with all our plans.
The sad news I first need to tell you is that the house sale did not go through.  The people who wanted to buy the house ended up not having enough funds available.  Or at least, that is what the agents told us.  We are a dash frustrated about this, but we are still very positive that the house will sell in time.

Further to the house not being sold, it is going up and down with our emotions.  We are definitely moving in DEC 2012,  there are just a few things to be sorted and then we can book our tickets.  WHAT A JOY THAT WILL BE!!!!???

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


I know I am supposed to tell you about our holiday in Sydney, but I am not going to do that now.  I have much more important news to share …. 

As you know, I am quite tired of waiting for our house to sell so that we can make or final plans to move to Australia.  And then … just like a thieve in the night … totally unexpected; we sold the house this passed week-end.


Now I don’t need to worry about the amount of specials I am missing out and how long my “soap stock” must last.  I know when the end is and I can plan around it!


On Saturday 5 May a couple came to view the house. Later that afternoon the agent phoned us to let us know that there may be an offer.  The next day at 10:00 the agent brought the offer over and we accepted.  A bit less than our original price, but good enough to cover our costs!  We are very happy with that offer.

We have to move the end of June.  Thereafter we will rent for 6 months (we want the kids to finish their school year) and thereafter we can move in December / January.  This is such an amazing feeling … so surreal!

I have to sort all the cupboards now and thus, by the time they pack our container at the end of the year we will have sooo much less to take with.

My trusted domestic worker (Margaret) just reminded me that this will be our 3rd move together.  At least we understand each other very well and she will be a great help!

After our move to the rental, I will have to finalize so many things for our immigration. The quotes for the container, flight bookings, accommodation in Sydney and a few other dreaded tasks such as cancelling our TV License!  After my 1st husband died in 2005 I tried to convince the wonderful staff at the SABC that a dead person can not continue paying his TV license, but they did not believe me.  I battled for almost 4 years before they gave up and cancelled his account.  I think they still don’t understand why I asked, but got tired of arguing. 

Now can you think what effort it will be to let them now we are immigrating and that we are not going to watch TV and listen to Radio in South Africa any more??? Any case .. I will try and cancel our account.

I also want to arrange a decent farewell party for us.  I think I will combine this with my 39th birthday party in December.  How does a pre-forty bash sound, or maybe a 39-forever party??

Any case, I need to do so much so let me see if I can sort a cupboard or 2 tonight.

I promise to post some photos of our Sydney holiday.  All I can say now is that we had lots of fun and that it was a very successful holiday.

Until later.…

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Sydney, here we come - again!

Later today we are flying to Sydney for a short holiday. We are all so excited!

This time, we are taking all 4 kids with.  They must get their entry stamp vir their PR visas before mid May.  This April school holiday is basically the only time we are able to take them.

As mentioned in my previously, we are on the same flight as very good friends of ours who are immigrating to Perth.  I feel it is an honour and it is very special to be able to be part of such a big occasion in their lives. 

We are flying via Perth and have a 10 hour stop over in Perth.  We are going to try and go into the City and see what we can do.  Maybe go to a park or maybe just spend some time on the beach.  We will be there at very odd times, so we are going to try and make the best of a “weird” situation.

 In Sydney, we are running on a very tight schedule.   We are going to try and show the kids a few houses – just so they get a feeling of the type of house and neighbourhood we are going to stay in.  We’ve arranged a short school tour for Megan, to put her mind at ease on the type of high school she may be going to.  If all goes according to plan, we will spend one day at the Powerhouse Museum.  There is a Harry Potter exhibition, with hundreds of authentic film artefacts.  This will be displayed in settings, showcasing Hogwarts, movie scene, etc.  My kids are Harry Potter fanatics and are so excited about this once in a lifetime opportunity.

As it is Sarel’s sons’ first time in Sydney, we will also try and fit in the usual tourist things like the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Rocks and Darling Harbour.

We are also celebrating my youngest daughter’s birthday in Sydney on Saturday the 7th.  We’ve planned a surprise for her, so I will tell you all about that later.  It is our “Sydney” niece’s birthday on Easter Sunday and we are celebrating her 3rd birthday with her.

We are only in Sydney for 7 nights and we have lots to do, places to see and people we want to go visit.  Sure we can rest when we are back in South Africa!

I will post photo’s as soon as I have a moment.

Until later …

Monday, 12 March 2012

Update Blog - March 2012

Hi Blog friends

Its been more than a months since my last blog!

It was by no means intentionally.  I've just been so busy the last few weeks, that I really did not have enough time to Blog.  Whenever I have a few minutes, I try to write a blog, but a day or so later, the news is old or our situation changed and there is more or better news to report.  I finally decided to sit down and write a 'catch up Blog'.

This year is going so fast, it feels as if I have already had 12 months in this year and the pace is not getting any slower!!!

Well, herewith some info so you know what happened over the last few weeks

Immigration Date:
Hubby and I decided to make our final move to Sydney during the April school holidays .... WELL, unfortunately that can not happen! Due to some unforeseen circumstances, the earliest we can move is later this year - hopefully by December.
We were already making our preparations, getting all the quotes, sorting everything, arranging with school etc, when an obstacle or 2 came our way and we had to change our plans.  I am very emotional about this, but I do understand the situation and am happy that we will be able to move by December.
Maybe this change is a blessing in disguise, as we still have few things on our bucket list to do....

Children, activities and School
Last year we hired an Au Pair who assisted us tremendously with the children, homework and extra murals.  She was a student and found herself a permanent position this year, so hubby and I came to a fork in our road regarding the children.  I am not pro aftercare, as I prefer individual attention at home for the kids. 
One of the girls also have quite severe ADHD and thus needs extra attention and individual assistance with homework, tests and projects.
My own work at my husband's company are becoming less as most of my duties has already been handed over to my colleague. My husband and his partner gave permission that I reduce my working hours and I only work some mornings now.  This gives the afternoons to spend time with the girls and to take them to the extra mural activities.  The horse riding is +25km away and I go there 2x a week. They also go for piano lessons once a week.  The rest of the time I spend helping with homework, projects and preparation for tests/exams.  It is paying off as my ADHD childs' average increased by around 10%!
Being a "stay at home mom" has new meaning to me and I enjoy every second of it.  I will not trade this time with them for anything. It is special to me!

Family week-end
I have a large extended family on my Dad's side.  We've been doing family week-ends for the past 15+ years and we try and do it every 2 - 3 years.  2 years ago I promised to arrange the next one and this happened in February this year.  It was a lot of arrangements and lot of stress, but the week-end was a huge success and I saw family whom I do not often see.  It was quite emotional as it may be the last family week-end I attended.

Holiday in Sydney
Seeing that we are not moving in April, we were faced with an added dilemma!
We have to "enter" Australia by mid May in order to "activate" our Permanent Residency Status. Sarel and I already did our "entry" in October last year, but we still need to take all the kids to get their "stamp".  So, we decided to make a decent trip and holiday out of it.  We are spending a lot of money to take all 4 kids to Australia for a holiday in April.  It am really looking forward to this, so that we can show the kids where we might be staying, maybe go visit a school or 2 and just relax!!!

On our way to Sydney, we have a 10 hour stop over in Perth, so we are looking for fun things to do in Perth.  If you have any contributions ... please message me.  Thanks!

Coincidentally, we are booked on the same flight to Perth as one of my best friends.  These friends are actually immigrating, thus, I will be there to help, support and experience their move to Perth. What and honour!?  I am so happy I can share this experience with them.

Well, this is some of the news and activities which kept me buys the past few weeks.  Hopefully, the rest of the year is a bit more quiet that the past 2 months and that I will have more time to keep you informed of our immigration adventure!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The soap is finished

The Soap is Finished!

In August 2011 I told you that the “end is near”.  In that blog entry I mentioned hwo difficult it is to make certain decisions, especially long term decisions. We really do not know when we will be moving.

In Augustus 2011 het ek vir julle vertel dat die "einde naby" is en dat dit moeilik is om sekere besluite te neem, veral langtermyn besluite. Well, the mentioned soap is finished now!
The few bars of soap I bought in June / July are finished. The “few months” that I hoped it would last is done. But you will not believe this.  The same soap was on special again at the local grocery shop – just my luck! So I bought a few more. Still that weird feeling that I may have bought too much….
I really feels that my everyday decisions making skills (and my search for specials!) are being pushed to the edge.
At this stage I pass every decent special and as weird as it sounds, it affects me emotionally, because this uncertainty filter into my every day operation.
The kids are back at school for the new school year, and even with this, I am not able to make long term decisions. I only bought the necessary stationery. I did neither by new school clothes nor school shoes.
With regards to extra murals: We want the kids to participate in sport, but it is not fair on the sport teams for them to quit in the middle of the season.  Once again, a difficult decision.  2 of the girls do horse riding, and the youngest loves netball.  We discussed the matter with her and she decided to give up Netball this year, and also start horse riding. This way she is not affecting the Netball team.
As soon as we know a date that we move or once we are in Australia, it will be an adjustment again, because I will be able to make long term decisions again.  That will probably be something to get used to again.
Now, if only the house could get sold!!!!!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Bucket List (1)

In the absence of a better word, Sarel and I decided to create a "Bucket List" of stuff we still want to do while we are in South Africa. 
A Bucket list is a list of stuff a person wants to do before he/she "kicks the bucket". We are not planning on "kicking the bucket" but we certainly have a deadline with regards to time in South Africa.
We've made a list of places we want to see of want to go to. There are so many places, but here are some of the items on this list which we were already able to do:
-          Mpumalanga Holiday (4 night/5 day holiday)
-          Kruger National Park Holiday (1 night , 2 days in the Park)
-          Durban Holiday (Long week-end, 4 night/5day holiday)
-          Maropeng - Cradle of Mankind (One day outing)
-          SAB – World of Beer tour (One day outing) – Unfortunately I forgot my camera at home and did not take any pictures of this outing.
-          Steam train (Fortunately this was a Year end function of the work and we took the kids along)
-          SA Lipizzaner show (“Spur of the moment” outing this morning. - photo's to follow)

During the next couple of days, I will post some of these photos of our Bucket list outings. The first of these photos are our Mpumalanga and Kruger National Park holiday in April 2011.

A giraffe in the Leopard Creek Golf Estate (next to the Kruger National Park) 

A ride in the Golf Car passed the Giraffe at Leopard Creek

Lunch at Pilgrims Rest - a Gold rush "ghost town"

The "Pinicle" Close to Graskop

God's Window - close to Graskop - You can see miles and miles of the "lowveld". Beautiful view!

A waterfall close to Graskop

The 3 "rondawels" or "huts" at the Blyderiver Canyon

This photo was taken on the balcony of our self catering unit at Crystal Springs - just outside Pilgrims rest.  We woke up to this view every morning!

It was Cara's 8th Birthday this day.  We celebrated by playing a round of put-put (mini golf) and went to a forestry museum and a restaurant at Sabie

The restaurant used an old train as part of the seating area.  The kids enjoyed the train's windows.

In the Kruger National Park you see a lot of  Impala.  The first few that you see you stop, take phones, admire them and then after the 14th herd, you don't even stop. :-)

This is my favourite animal.  So beautiful! I am busy doing a cross stitch of 2 Giraffe.  I will post the completed picture (once it is done!)

A warthog!  Funny looking animal ?!

At this lookout point in the Kruger you are allowed (at own risk) to get out of your vehicle (Elephant's river at the back).  Just as I took this photo, a little monkey (a real one) jumped into our car via an open window.  He stole a packet of crisps (Nick Nacks). 

And this is the culprit.  His little mouth was golden yellow from the chips.  He obviously knew how to eat the snack, as he held the packet properly and it looked like a small child having a treat.  Just after he finished he threw the paper on the ground.  Just like some humans I know.  As soon as it was safe to go near the paper, we picked it up and threw it in the bin provided.

Kids at a life size statue of an elephant at Skukuza Camp in the Kruger

This photo was taken an hour before we had to exit the Kruger National Park.  We were not too happy as we only saw 2 of the big 5 at this point. Many elephant and 2 rhino's.  We were so happy when we saw these buffalo.  At least it was 3 out of 5.

Less than 10 minutes before the Phalaborwa Gate and our exit time, we saw this Leopard.  We were so surprized to see this majestic animanl right next to the road. I was sooooo stunned and totally forgot to take pictures.  Sarel remined me to take photos. At least I got this one of the Leopard as he/she walked away.  Now we had 4 out of the 5.  The lion family hid from us.  Next time, King of the jungle, next time!!!

One of the many elephant we saw in the Kruger.

South Africa is a beautiful country and it is sad to think that we will not be able to go to the Kruger as often as we are able now.  But we understand that in order to have the freedom we want for our kids, there are some price to pay.
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Monday, 16 January 2012

1st Quotation

This is another blog entry that is overdue, but rather late than never…..
End of last year we decided to get a quote for the move to Australia and we contacted a company called Overt the limit. We got their contact details from the immigration agent we used. 
The representative who came to see us is Leslie Nienaber.  She gave me consent to publish her contact details. Her number is 011 964 8134.  They also work with import and export and other luggage issues – look at their services on the website (http://www.overthelimitluggage.co.za/)
Leslie was a tremendous help and gave us so much advice.  Being inexperienced in this field, you hear so many stories such as what you are allowed to take with to Australia and what not, etc and we just do not know what is the truth.
We’ve heard that we are not allowed to take wood, my heirloom a very old “riempie bank” (see photo) and that the piano would damage – thus we were very uncertain on how to prepare for our move without having correct info.
My Riempies heirloom

According to Leslie, we are allowed to take wood stuff (conditionally of course), feather pillows and my “riempie” heirloom.
As long as the wood and feathers are treated – no problem.  What would be problem is bamboo like baskets etc.  Also typical African wooden curios. The wood for these are not treated and can be a huge problem. 
The piano will be OK and I think it has a better chance of rotting because nobody plays it now, rather than being on a ship for a few weeks. J  I must remember to tell you the story about the piano and the piano lessons! But this for a next entry.
I have plenty of wooden cat ornaments (YES, I am one of those cat-crazy people!!!) and some are definitely not treated, thus, I will make sure I treat them before we go or alternatively, I will give it to my cat crazy family as a departing gift.
Apparently, if you take alcohol/liquor with, you may pay a liquor tax on it which is about 80% of the current AUD value of the bottle.  Luckily we do not have too much, but those that we want to take with, well, we’ll just have to pay if we want it.  Before we go, we’ll have a nice “empty-the-bar-party” and make sure we have enough beds for all around the house J
Further, some tips Leslie gave us was to make sure all our stuff is wash, sorted and arranged in all the rooms which the packers should pack.  The stuff we do not want to take must be stored in a separate room. The packers won’t go into that room.  All the stuff that goes into our suitcases must also be packed separate and kept in that room.
The packers will pack everything on this side and in Sydney they will unpack everything again. Obviously they will not put it away – that will be my job.
Now, it is time to tell you that I am a total control freak and when it comes to moving (which I have done a lot in the last few years), I know what to do, how it should be done and I WANT TO BE IN CONTROL.  I am dreading the move, because I will have to leave it in someone else’s control.
I think I will go to a spa for those few days!  I will discuss the matter with Sarel. (“wink”)
We have a 5 bedroom house, with 3 lounge/entertainment areas.  Thus, we will not be able to get away with a small container.  We got a quote for the 40ft container and the amount we were quoted is: R99,045. Thus, around R100,000. This amount does not include insurance, storage or fumigation. 
R100,000 sounds like a lot of money, but in honest truth, I can not replace my house contents for less than that in Australia.  It is well worth the money and on the other side, we will have our own familiar things with us and thus will feel more comfortable and happy with our own stuff.
Leslie uses KINGS INTERNATIONAL (www.kings-int.com) to do the move.
We will however get 1 or 2 more quotations, just to make sure we get the best deal.
For those who have already done this move, I am sure you are happy that you do not have to do it again, but for those who still need to do this move, I hope above info helps.  I will keep you updated with all our move info.
Cheers, until the next blog.

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Biltong convenience

This morning (Saturday) I woke up with a terrible sinus headache the familiar sinus-infection-horrible feeling.  I decided I am going to stay in bed and try and do as little as possible today.
After the needed morning toilet routine I thought, oh well, I am up, I can just as well go and eat something and have the necessary medication to help with the sinus infection.
After breakfast and the medication I went straight back to bed to go and feel sorry for myself.  Lying in bed I continued to read a blog of a South African family who moved to Australia a few years ago. Normally when I “discover” a new blog, I start reading at the 1st entry and continue my way until the last entry. It is like a book and I battle to put the laptop down to do other stuff until I have read the whole blog. 
This particular family also wrote about their Biltong adventures and their need to have biltong.  Like so many other blogs, they tell about making their first biltong as well as all the drama to get the correct gear, meat and spices.  Normally the bloggers tell us about the success and how nice it was to have their own biltong ready. 
Now, for the foreigners who do not know what biltong is: It is the most delicious dried meat snack you will ever have in any country.  Biltong is a snack tradition in every South African household and every child are brought up with biltong as a snack.  WE JUST LOVE IT!  It is like chocolate.  If you did not get your fix in a while you suffer from withdrawal symptoms which normally include a drooling mouth just thinking of it.
If you want to know more about biltong, follow this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biltong
Seeing that us South Africans love our biltong so much, it is normally a big deal if and when the expats make their own or if they have to buy some at ridicules prices in other countries.
I saw with my own two eyes that biltong sells for as much as AUD90 per kilogram. This is a very sad story as it is very expensive.  That is why most South African expats try and make their own biltong.

OK, back to me, in bed with sinus infection.  After a while I felt better, had my shower and went to the TV room to watch South Africa play cricket against Sri Lanka. Sarel was already wathcing and  I told him about the blog and the biltong and we started “drooling”.  It is time for biltong!!!!!
Luckily we still live in South Africa and there are biltong shops all over. We have specialised biltong shops as well as biltong available in all butcheries and grocery stores.  You can even buy biltong at the liquor stores (Biltong and beer or a nice red wine goes so well together)
So while drooling, I grabbed my handbag and car keys and off to the nearest biltong shop I go.  I walked in asked for R50 biltong and R50 dry wors (a dried South African sausage type thing).  Because I know the owner of the shop so well (from all the times I buy biltong there) he asked me how our Australia plans are.  I told him we are just waiting for our house to sell, but while we still live in SA, I am making use of the convenience of the Biltong shops.  He laughed and said that he thinks we are really going to miss the biltong shop.
By the way, this biltong shop sells its biltong at R150 per kilo (around AUD18)

While typing my blog, I am having a biltong sandwich and loving it!
We are really going to miss the convenience of getting biltong all over. Luckily we practiced to make our own biltong (and wors) last year, so I think we will be OK.  This is one of our projects in Australia – to make our own biltong and as soon as we do, I will blog all about our BILTONG ADVENTURES.

Monday, 9 January 2012

What we learned from our Australia trip in October 2011

I am sooooo overdue with this blog post and have to apologies for the delay.  With year end and Christmas time, I just did not have enough time to do this translation.  The Afrikaans blog has been posted some time ago.
The main reason for our Sydney visit last year end October, was three fold as follows:
1.    To do our 1st “entry” to “activate” our Permanent Residency Visas
2.    We wanted to meet other expats to get info. My sister in law arranged several meetings with friends of theirs and we loved meeting all the different people and to listen to their individual stories
3.    We wanted to see schools, neighbourhoods, and general “shopping” – to compare prices. 
Well, herewith a summary of our observations. Remember this is my interpretation, thus if you have something to add, change, or need to let me know I am on the wrong path ….. please leave a message.  I will appreciate all feedback.

·         Take as much of your SA stuff as possible with.  Furniture, crockery, linen, hobbies, tools, etc. Do not feel sorry for the domestic worker and give her tons of  stuff.  Everything you give away, needs to be replaced in Australia and it may possibly be at a much higher price than in SA.  Especially expensive while you are not earning dollars!  Look at furniture prices on Freedom’s website and you will see the furniture is more expensive.
·         If you really want to have new stuff like pots, pans, or furniture, rather purchase it in SA and send with the container.
·         Australian retail websites are in general a bit more comprehensive than SA’s (especially with regards to prices).  You can do your homework with regards to comparison of prices etc.
·          All the money you save by not replacing something in Australia can be better used to buy those necessary groceries that need to be replaced in Australia, or to spend it on yourself, family or kids to make the adjustment easier (like a week-end away) or for school clothes and supplies.
·         Some SA books are not important in Australia.  E.g. Afrikaans books, Church or industry specific books (which has no relevance in Oz), SA garden, animal and bird books are not necessary to bring with.  Obviously, if the book has personal or practical relevance, bring it with. I have heard about a person who brought 4 Afrikaans bibles and several Afrikaans hymn books – could not do tooo much with all those books. Sort your books, donate to the library/school or give to the family
·         Remember your house in Aus will most probably be much smaller than your house in SA, thus think carefully about the furniture you are taking with.   Bulky furniture may not be as practical. 
·         Also, do not buy too much new furniture/stuff.  If you survived without it in SA, you will most probably be able to live without it in Oz.
·         New furniture warning – The immigration guys may ask for evidence that your furniture is older than 1 year. Thus, if you still have your receipt, take it with.  If you can not produce a receipt and it looks like the furniture is new, you may be charge an importation tax (or something like this)
·         Australia has a very comprehensive storage retail industry.  There are several shops which specialises in storage solutions such as Howards Storage World and IKEA. (find them on the internet)  Plastic containers may be a bit cheaper in SA, but the quality and efficiency of these products in Australia is in my opinion much better.  Thus, don’t’ buy extra storage solutions in SA – come get it in Australia.  Have a look at especially Howards Storage World to see the type of solutions I am talking about.
·         It is preferable to buy your expensive appliances in Australia.  The most important reason for this is that you will have an Australian guarantee (not the extended guarantee which they try and sell you – just the regular one)  This is applicable for items such as TV, Vacuum Cleaner, Lawn mower, etc. The prices of these items are not too expensive (compared to SA) and at least you’ll have a valid guarantee. Thus, what I am trying to say is not to buy expensive new appliances in South Africa. What if you new SA Guarantee TV breaks in Australia?  Then you do not have a guarantee to get it fixed or replaced.
·         Don’t purchase new washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher.  These items are relatively well priced in Australia and most houses come with these appliances.  If yours are still in a good working condition, bring it with.  Just remember that you are most probably going to rent the first few years and most houses comes with at least a Dishwasher and Washing machine.  Thus, if you bring your own, you may have to store it (for a long time) in a garage or other storage solution before you are able to use it. I suggest you find out form the local retail agent what will be in an average house and then decide what you are going to bring with and what you are leaving behind.  But, I suggest you do not buy ones before you move to Australia.
·         If you have to purchase new appliances, purchase a brand name that is big in Australia (for repair purposes). Look at websites such as Harvey Norman and Bee Ling to see which brand names are popular.  I heard the story that LG products carry a 3 year guarantee – regardless which country – but I am not sure how true this is.
·         Just  like in SA, there are shops in Australia which sells “damaged goods/ appliances”. In other words, demo models, scratched or dented machines etc. These products are much cheraper.  In Sydney I know of 2 shops like these, 2nds world and the Good Guys. 
·         Purchasing a vacuum cleaner may be more complex than you thought.  Remember you do your own work in Australia, thus make sure the vacuum cleaner is comfortable and light weight.  You also have a good chance of ending up in a double storey, so remember who is going to carry it up and down the staircase.
·         Some items need to be cleaned spotless if you want to take it with. No need to get professional people to clean it and get certification etc.  Customs are not interested in your certificate.  These items include bicycles, garden equipment, vacuum cleaner, tools, garden tools, camping gear and garden furniture.  Rather clean it yourself (steam clean or pressure clean and save some money)
·         If you have kids, try and buy some clothes in SA. Build up a stockpile for the next few years.  Such as jeans, t-shirts etc. The classic stuff.  Clothes are expensive and it will take you a while to find the cheap shops or to be able to know which Oz shop offers the same quality as Woolies, Jet, Edgars or Ackermans. 
·         Beds are quite expensive.  Try and take your own beds.  Unfortunately beds sizes differ slightly in Australia, thus if you buy new beds in Oz, your linen may not fit. And visa versa. Thus thy and bring your beds and linen (Buy some extra sheets etc if need be)
·         Curtains.  This is a difficult one.  Most houses come with blinds.  But I had a look at the prices of the ready made curtains of shops such as Target, the Big W and IKEA are reasonable.  Thus, bring your curtains with, but it will not break the bank to purchase new ones in Australia. (ready made ones)
·         Towels are very expensive. Even the most expensive ones at Woolworths and Edgars are cheap compared to Australia – the ones I saw in any case. Thus, purchase your stock and bring it with.  This includes beach towels.
·         I love doing Cross stitch (and some other needlework) and compared cotton, wool etc prices. This is not too bad and I am quite happy to replenish my stockpile in Australia.
·         Bicycles.  In shops such as Target and the Big W (they are like Game in SA) Bicycles were prices OK.  We recently purchased a good bicycle for my daughter from Pick n Pay for R800.  The same type of Bicycles was about R1000 in Target. Thus, I am sure you will be able to afford it.  I did not compare the serious bicycles from specialist stores.
·         Bicycle helmets. These are also well priced in Australia.  I will feel quite comfortable to buy our helmets there.
·         Purchase a trolley which you can use when you move, to stack boxes on. You are going to carry your own boxes around and having one of those heavy duty trolleys are always a good idea.

I hope these tips will help you or at least put you in some type of direction. 
I am sure we are going to wish we brought some stuff with and wish we left some stuff behind.  Hopefully the opportunity we had to go and compare prices etc will be worth our money and help us to diminish our regrets.
Please comment and give me more info if needed