Week Two: Sydney & Settling In

Week Two: Sydney & Settling In

Featured Photo: A bit of the Sydney skyline from my post by the Sydney opera house. Taken just after an interview in CBD (Central Business District). 

Sunday – April 10th

We arrived in Sydney Sunday morning. The flight from Perth was just under four hours. Getting to the hotel from the airport wasn’t much trouble, either. We arrived at the hotel around 9 am in the morning… only to find that we weren’t allowed to check in until after 3 pm.

We were able to leave our suitcases (4) in the hotel lobby, then we took off to explore around the area we were staying in: Bondi Junction, NSW.

There is a ridiculous amount of ramen around Spring Street, Bondi Juction. Just walking around that morning, we found 3.

We bought Opal cards immediately. It’s a transit card that uses the same technology as pay wave. It also gives you discounts off of the regular fare based on how often you use transit. Seeing as how clean Sydney transit is (bus and train), it’s likely we’ll be using these Opal cards quite a bit.

We saw Bondi Beach that first day as well. I foolishly thought I could wade in the shallow waves and cool off. I was dragged down by them immediately and I banged up my shin pretty well. Turns out everything is deadly in Australia, including the ocean.

Guess what we had for dinner that night?


Monday – Saturday

Jamie was off to work that Monday. I spent most of the day spamming jobs. While I do have a job offer from an ex client here, I also wanted to know what my options were. The website Seek seemed like the website that had the most postings.

I also spent some time looking for places to live. Because we were looking for share housing, I used Gumtree. From what I saw, Gumtree seemed like the Australian equivalent for Craigs List.

We worked fast. I spent the rest of the week commuting to different areas. I got an interview with a hiring agency on Wednesday in CBD, then I was traveling around the rest of the week to other localities (Bondi Beach, Maroubra, Randwick) looking at places to live.

Sydney, like Vancouver, is a huge tourist city. The areas closest to the beaches were often renting rooms to backpackers for cash. This made it a lot more difficult for us to weed out the serious renters from the sleazy ones. Although, there’s something to be said for the places I visited on weekdays… perhaps they were more sleazy because they weren’t at a full time job.

Folks in Sydney also refer to rental visits as ‘inspections’. I haven’t really heard it called that before.

The house hunt came to an end on Saturday, when we found a room share in a 2-bedroom apartment in Zetland. The apartment is on the expensive side, though the building is very close to work and it’s mid-range flashy.

I was actually pretty nervous for the interview I had lined up on Wednesday, even though it’s with a hiring agency. As soon as I sat down and was asked to talk about my work experience though, I (somehow) eloquently sprouted off the list of things I did at my previous job. Who knew I had a knack for talking myself up. I remember forcing myself to think like someone who was full of myself.

After the interview, I took a walk down to the pier to see the Sydney Opera House.


The train in Sydney runs much like the Sky Train in Vancouver, although the interior is much larger and immaculately clean. There are 2 levels in each car.

Apart from looking for jobs and places to live, I was able to open a bank account (took 10 minutes) and apply for Medicare (took 15 minutes). The short amount of time that it took to get anything done here was incredibly refreshing. It seems that their government workers are well-paid enough to be happy and good at their jobs. I’m not pointing fingers, but some countries I know could learn a thing or two from Australia.

All in all, my first week in Sydney and second week in Australia has been painless overall. Who know immigrating to a new country would be this easy? Although I’m sure it helps that I was Canadian to begin with.

I’ll check in again next week. I’ve got some job interviews lined up this week so we’ll see how all of that goes.



Week One: Denmark

Week One: Denmark

Featured Photo: Caromy (Jamie’s sister)’s hound. Her name is Hindrance. Very appropriate, I think. 

April 3rd

We drove down to Denmark on the Sunday after we arrived in Australia. The drive down was about five hours long. The speed limit along Albany Hwy is between 110 km and 80 km/hour, depending on whether you’re approaching a small town or not. Although the small towns are few and far in between. There were much more dead kangaroos than there were towns.

April 4th – April 8th

We spent the following week just enjoying ourselves on the farm. The first two days at the Macdougall farm felt a little, however I was immediately used to the peace and quiet after the third day.

During my time there, I learned how to remove the netting from a tree and how to net a new tree. We also replaced the wire fence for Marion’s garden. It doesn’t sound like a lot of work, but each task usually requires more than one person to do.

There were also waddling geese at one point. The Macdougalls are duck sitting for some friends… and these fat ridiculous geese tried to break out a couple of times. They weren’t much trouble to bring back though, essentially you just had to walk them back to where you want them to be. A few of these geese could fly and two of them could not. It was pretty funny seeing them call to teach other when they were reunited again.

We drove back up to Perth on the Saturday, and we flew out from there to Sydney.

Day One: Perth

Day One: Perth

Featured Photo: I took this photo from the back of brother-in-law’s jet ski. We went out on the jet ski as soon as we got back to Ben’s place from the airport.

We arrived Perth around noon on Saturday, April 2nd.

Ben, Jamie’s brother, came to pick us up at the airport. I managed to forget one of our suitcases as we were waiting in line to exit customs.

Perth Airport has actually upgraded their system to use ePassport exit. Using that saved us a great deal of time, although it does mean that you don’t get a stamp on your passport. At least not one you can see. There is an electronic signature on your passport.

If you are going to need that physical stamp on your passport for anything (like getting Medicare), then make sure that you use the line up.After

How we managed to get my suit case back: We called the airline’s customer service. They weren’t answering at first–probably helping someone else out or maybe out to lunch. We were pointed to the wrong office as well.

Later, when we were on the road back to Ben’s place, I called again and got a man named Shaun on the phone. He said that their office was downstairs  where the baggage carousels were, not upstairs like we were told. He had my suit case there and I could leave with it today if I was still at the airport.

So we ended up turning around. The process was relatively painless. We got back there and Shaun walked me through the employee’s area to claim my bag. Then I skipped the customs line on the way out.

After that, we went home to Ben’s, then went out on the jet ski. We had sushi (Ben made it!) that night with Ben and Libby.

The next morning, we drove down to Denmark.

Day Before Flight

Day Before Flight

Feature Photo: The living room of our rental home in Stamford, Connecticut. We’d already finished cleaning and moving everything. This was taken today–our last day in that apartment.

Hello. My name is Jane Macdougall. I am a 30-year-old Chinese Canadian woman. I was born in Taiwan, I grew up in Canada, I now live in United States, and I will be living in Australia in about 50 hours from now.

I got the name of this blog from the booklet I had to read for my Australian Partner Visa application. I thought it would make an interesting blog: Australian life from the eyes of a person who’s lived in 4 countries.

We’re currently staying with a couple of good friends at their home in Stamford. Tomorrow they will drop us off at JFK, where we’ll start our 27 hour flight (2 stops) to Perth.

Until tomorrow then. Wish us luck!