Moving Day!

In comparison to the events surrounding my move across Manly, the actual moving in day itself was very unstressful, if tiring. The drama started a few months ago, when Andrea’s flatmate announced that he was going to start looking for a new place. Having been coveting her beautiful view for months, I was really excited!

Having small, furry, rather noisy and sometimes smelly housemates was starting to wear on me, and it wasn’t long before my impatience got the better of me. When Rachel’s room unexpectedly became available, I decided to change my plans and move in to her place in Little Manly. It also comes with a beautiful view, not as amazing as Andrea’s, but from the bedroom itself which is rather nice.

The view from my room

However, Andrea was less than amused! Luckily for me she is also the forgiving kind though, and plus she eventually realised that she’d probably had a lucky escape.

A couple of weeks before the move, I had arranged for the internet to be connected at the new place … sadly, they also cut off the wireless at my old one! Cue a week or so of frustration – it’s amazing how I now feel totally lost without super fast internet at my fingertips wherever I go. Possibly something to do with also wanting to make Skype calls on a regular basis.

Over the next few days, Rachel was away so I stayed in what would be my new room, admiring the view from the bed, and counting down the days until I could move all of my stuff in! I made endless phone calls to the internet company, and unplugged and replugged in every single cable to my modem at least a hundred times until finally they sent a technician. On Friday morning, Vivi and I sat with our laptops and a 3G connection while he took apart the phone socket, discovered the phone line wasn’t connected properly, and promptly sorted it out. We stared and crossed our fingers as the modem light went from flashing red, to blue, and then back to red, until finally it stayed blue. We named our home network magicworks, because at that point in time I think we both believed it!

I went back to my own place for the last two nights, then finally the day arrived! We had a great girls night out on Saturday, with the result that I wasn’t feeling the best on Sunday morning, but I had a long day ahead and there was no time for hangovers. I left the house to get the car, only to return two minutes later having forgotten my glasses. This pretty much set the tone for the day …

First stop, IKEA

My first stop was IKEA: I needed a set of drawers for some extra storage space. I haven’t been to IKEA in ages – I haven’t really done much shopping in ages either, but I had to curb my shopaholic tendencies and stay focussed on just buying what I needed: drawers, and some storage boxes. I left with just $4 worth of impulse purchases, which must be a new record.

Next stop: Harvey Norman to pick up a tumble dryer. I found the shopping centre in Chatswood, found the right floor, went to get out of the car, and couldn’t find my key (GoGet have a really cool system, similar to Street Car in the UK, where I have a credit card sized “key” that locks and unlocks the car – the actual ignition key is secured inside the car). I searched my bag and pockets, but nothing. I was beginning to panic: I couldn’t even leave the car unlocked because it would automatically lock itself after a few minutes, so if I closed it then I wouldn’t be able to get back in. I didn’t understand how I could have dropped it at IKEA … eventually reason set in, and I found it down the far side of the passenger seat. Phew.

Shopping done!

Back on track … dryer collected and loaded into the car, and back to the new place to drop it off. I arrived, and nobody was there, they’d all gone out for breakfast … I managed to drag the heavy boxes out of the car and into the garden on my own, but it’s been a while since I wished that much for a strong man to help me!

Back to Pacific Parade, and the first car load took nearly an hour to load, but most of the big stuff was in. The drive across town took less than ten minutes, but included about twenty sets of traffic lights … luckily I wasn’t really in any hurry, it was still early afternoon. By the time the first lot of cases and stuff had been emptied, I could barely get in to my bedroom (not because I have THAT much stuff, but I didn’t do a great job of arranging it).

First load ready to go

Andrea was also moving stuff the same day, she’d hired a ute to pick up a fridge and some larger furniture from across town, having sourced it on Gumtree (her flatmate was moving out and taking all of his furniture, so she was about to have a pretty empty flat!) We decided to go together to the mall then to drop off her ute, so that she didn’t have to walk home. She was jetlagged, and exhausted … I suddenly realised that I was actually pretty tired already too, and I still had another car load to go, and furniture to build!

The car all stacked up for the final run

We made it to the mall, and finally the last car load was emptied. I dropped the car back in its spot near Pacific Parade, and collected my bike and my surfboard, which was too big to fit in the car so had to be moved on foot. I wheeled the bike over to Andrea’s, where my surfboard was going to stay in her garage at least until the summer! Finally I biked over to the new place. It was kind of strange to finish off the move on my bike :)

Viv was home by then, and together we got the new dryer into its new home and reconstructed my small shelves in the utility room, they looked pretty cool actually and Viv was delighted.

The new dryer

I managed to clear a way through the stuff into my room and stacked the cases against the windows. I was still determined to finish putting together my new drawers, even though both Silvio and Viv had told me to take it a bit easy, it had been a long day, but I was stubborn as ever …! Eventually, with the help of a couple of glasses of wine, they were done. And they looked good too!

I do follow instructions …

Getting there with the drawers

Moving fast!

By ten thirty, finally, I had managed to unpack enough clothes to last a couple of days, make up my bed, and bring enough order to the room to be satisfied. My eyes were almost closing …

It took a few more days to clear out the rest of the suitcases but I’m delighted with my new room! It’s light and quiet, and I can’t imagine a better place to wake up in :)

New home

First day in Sydney was a long one.

Here’s how it went:

I try to squint out of the window to get my first view of Australia, but it’s mostly just clouds until the plane bumps a bit and I realize we’ve landed.
As I disembark, the HSBC adverts along the walkway are familiar and I wonder if I’ve accidentally caught the plane back to Heathrow. It turns out to be the right one though.

I stand uncertainly in the customs queue, wondering if everything will be OK with my visa and if I’ve completed the landing card correctly. One of the other passengers gets told off by the official for getting in the wrong queue. It’s a bit of an anticlimax when she barely glances at my paperwork, stamps the password (didn’t use up a new blank page though, how am I going to fill it up?!) and sends me on my way.

My bag’s made it – yay! I have to line up with the other passengers while the customs officials lead a police sniffer dog along our bags, but they take no notice of mine, so I’m through. I find my driver, he hands me my welcome pack including a mobile phone (bonus!) and we set off to my new home.

I realize there is no apartment key in the welcome pack and wonder if I’ll have to camp on the beach. This is quickly and calmly resolved and the agent will meet us at the apartment (who knew Australians were so efficient?)

My driver decides to try and educate me about Sydney suburbs: “This is Redfern,” he begins, “don’t come here at night.” I try but I can’t take in much more of what he says, my brain’s just too frazzled.

We arrive at the apartment and I meet my new flatmate Cathy. The agent talks me through the paperwork for the apartment and my brain aches even more. I sign and he leaves.

I realize that my backpack is missing, and hope the driver has driven away with it and not left it on the kerb (sidewalk?). Again, I am amazed at the Aussie efficiency and friendliness, within a few minutes he is on his way back with it.

Backpack arrives! I dig out my iPod stand from my luggage and discover that my UK-AU adapters were in the box I took out at the last minute because it was too heavy. Damn.

Cases unpacked, shower, check emails. Update facebook. I spend a few minutes enjoying the sun outside on the little balcony, but I’m beginning to feel dozy.

I have a balcony!

I need to get up and move around to wake up, so decide to go and find some tea and an adapter. I locate a Coles less than half a mile away but forget the map; luckily the lady on reception is super-friendly and provides m a hand-drawn map. She draws the road map to get to the supermarket on one side of the paper, then turns it over and draws a map of the supermarket layout on the other, marking the adapters next to the milk. I’m a bit skeptical, but she’s bang on, and now I can have music and hair straighteners this weekend!

I walk back to the apartment. The road signs all look the same as in the US, which is odd considering they drive on the same side as us. I see some nice looking restaurants near the apartment and a Nando’s almost directly opposite, I’m not going to starve.

TEA!!!!! It’s Tetley’s as well. God knows I need the caffeine.

Off to find the TW office for lunch: 51 Pitt Street, Sydney.

I’ve found 59-65 Pitt Street, 37 Pitt Street, 50 Pitt Street and 56 Pitt Street but NO BLOODY 51!

Oh, there is one after all.
Arriving in the office, I felt like I was starting a new job. I hadn’t even considered this aspect of going to a new office! (which was pretty silly, I guess). It didn’t take long to feel at home though, ThoughtWorkers are the same all over the world, over half the people I met were from outside of Australia, and they were all friendly and chatty.

I had lunch at the office and met up with Rachel and Sarah (recent transfers from London) – it was amazing to see them again, and we made plans for Friday pub (TW tradition).

Met with Danni to figure out some of the final details of the transfer, and left with a (luckily, reasonably short!) to do list. Hopefully I’ll at least have Monday to work on that before I have to be billable …

Off to the bank to open an account.

Sent home again to get driving license and email my Visa confirmation.

I am the proud owner of two Australian bank accounts and an almost-complete credit card application.

I find the Telstra shop. It looks like an Apple store (well, except for the Nokia and Motorola products) and there is no information anywhere about pre-pay options. I ask for help and am told there is a half hour wait for an assistant. WTF? But I have my Kindle with me and nothing else to do, they have cold water and comfy seats, so I yawn and settle in.

My phone is set up – I have interwebz again! Yay!

Well earned glass of vino in the TW office!

Glass of wine in the TW office. I stand chatting to Sam and Andrea about jet lag while we wait for the others to be ready to leave for the pub.
“I’m fine, except my brain feels frazzled,” I say, “So if I say daft things tonight, it’s because of the jet lag, not because I’m a complete idiot …” I wave my hands to illustrate my point and somehow knock half of my wine over. All across poor Amy’s going-out-top that she’s brought in for this evening. Oh dear … at least I have an excuse (and at least it’s white and not red). She forgives me, thank goodness.

First sight of Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Wow. We stop at a bar and slouch in sofas outside, watching the sun go down over the Opera House. This is amazing.

Andrea’s first “Manly Ferry Alarm” goes off. She snoozes it and we order more drinks.

First view of Sydney Opera House (Quackers didn't make it in to this one!)

Andrea and the other Manly-dwellers finally decide to catch the next ferry, and I admit defeat and head home to bed. The tiredness has been constant all day but thankfully not really got any worse until now.

Head on pillow. Sleep.