Monday, July 31, 2017

Renting in Australia - things are different here.

So after much confusion, a lot of running around, and 5 million stupid questions, we have found an apartment to rent. It was an ordeal!
Apartments don't get listed until about 4 weeks out from their available date, so we had to wait until later in July to look at places. They are listed online, not on a common website but through different agents. The agents are the ones who set up public viewing times, so we had to register for a viewing with the specific company.  Once our registration was confirmed, we had to make sure we showed up early as you only get a 15-min window to preview the space and if you are late you could miss it, tough luck to you! And the inspection times? Scheduled on week days, during the day - so how are you supposed to go if you are actually working to make money to afford that apartment?  
After our whirlwind inspection, trying to elbow past 5 other people to see what the bathroom looks like, if we thought we wanted it, we had to rush home and submit an application with a bunch of supporting documents to prove we could afford it. With some agents you can fill out the application online, with others you have to fill out a paper form then scan it and email it to them. They will present to the landlord who looks at the applications and approves on a "first in, best dressed" basis. (it really pays to get your application in first; apparently if the first applicant is reasonably qualified they won't even look at the rest) They rent by the week here, so move in dates are all over the place.
Another odd thing: you have to bring your own refrigerator! I find this really weird, as every apartment we have seen has a different sized opening allocated for the fridge. What if yours is too big? Or what if you have had to buy a tiny one to fit into a previous place, and now you get a bigger, better kitchen? Do you have to buy a new one every time you move? What do you do with your old one? Is there a huge secret market for previously owned refrigerators? I'm going to have to look into this...

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Australia here we come!

(I forgot to publish this prior to my "We've moved" post... ooops!)

I have to admit that when I first met my soon-to-be Aussie husband, I harbored dreams of living in Australia. After actually visiting the place and meeting his family and friends I was SURE I wanted to live in Australia. Well as luck would have it, my Aussie husband was offered a job transfer to Melbourne! In Australia!!!
Who says dreams don't come true?

 I will be sad to leave my friends and family in the States, but hey - I get to live in Australia!

We've moved halfway around the world! Now what...?

So what nobody ever tells you about moving internationally is that until you get moved in to your own apartment or house with your own furniture, you have nowhere to call "home". It is a very unsettling and lonely feeling. Even in this era of Skype and Facetime and Whatsapp, you feel totally disconnected from anything familiar and comforting.
They also don't tell you just how much work is involved in getting your life going in a new country. Sure - you know you are going to have to work your ass off to get all your things sold and the rest of your stuff packed and your accounts closed in your "from" place, but if you are like me and haven't moved more than a few miles in the last 20 years, you forget just how much you have to do in your "to" place.
Setting up bank accounts, getting debit/credit cards, buying a car, switching over your mobile phone service; these are all things you have to do almost immediately. Done? Great! Now you get to figure out where to live. And how to find a place. And how the whole Real Estate thing works. It is nothing like House Hunters International where you have a charming agent to whisk you all over town and show you places well out of your price range so you can choose one and live happily ever after.
Our Australian experience finding an apartment deserves its own chapter.  Even my Aussie husband was confused!
I can't imagine what it would be like if they didn't speak the same language. (mostly...)