Wednesday, September 28, 2011

One Step Closer

We are one step closer to actually having a home here in Sydney.  Today we completed an application to rent an apartment in an area called McMahon's Point.  (It's a two bedroom in hopes that we will have some future guests.)  The plan is to finish signing all of the lease info tomorrow and pick up the keys to our new place.  After we get the keys, we will be renting a car to pick up some little things for the apartment (though it's furnished, we want to have our own sheets, silverware, etc.).  Then, we'll stay just one more night in the hotel and make our final move on Friday morning. 

McMahon's Point is a peninsula that juts out into the water.  From the train station, you can walk directly downhill out to the harbor.  Thank goodness our place is at the top of the hill because I don't know that I could walk all the way up the hill every morning.  I am really looking forward to finally feeling like we have an address and a place to live.  Once we get in the place and get a little more situated, I cannot wait to share some photos.  For now, here is a photo from the bottom of the hill. 

Not a bad view
Big shocker here, Todd loves the new place because we have a view of the bridge.  He LOVES bridges...

Todd looking longingly from Observatory Hill
I have to say, one of the most amazing things about Todd (besides his love of bridges) is that he has kept me laughing since we started dating.  And, luckily this trip has been no different.  I have run the gamete of emotions since we got here and we have certainly been in some of the most interesting situations while looking for apartments.  But, I can always count on Todd for a silly look when someone says something completely off the wall to us or a great joke about the completely awkward situations we have gotten ourselves into while being here.  This has been a pretty hectic week and I am sure I would not have made it through without this guy.

View from Woolloomooloo--yep, that's the real name of the city

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sunny Side of the Street

It is amazing just how much weather can impact your day and even your mood.  Saturday and Sunday were two of the most rainy and cold days imaginable.  In fact, Sydney experienced more rain in that 48 hour period than they have in 93 years.  Thanks a lot for the warm welcome. 

Todd and I spent all day Saturday looking at apartments--attending what they call "inspections" here.  The inspections last about 20 minutes, so you have to be there as close to on time as possible.  We spent the day running from one place to the next to ensure we were on time for as many of the showings as possible.  It is important to note that the rental market here is completely different than in the US. 

All of the rental properties are leased through real estate companies and because these properties are in such high demand, the real estate companies don't have to do much to try to sell you on a place.  They also don't have to clean up or make the place look nice because it's pretty much a given that every place will be rented very quickly.  There was one place we looked at that I legitimately thought might have been the scene of a violent crime.  But, I'm sure it will be rented--if it isn't already rented. 

With all of the rain and grossness of the day, it was difficult to imagine what these apartments might look like on a nice day.  That being said, we weren't over the moon about anything we saw.  Side note, when people ask me how I knew Penn State was the right college for me, I tell them about the first day I went to visit.  It was rainy and cold and just about as gross as you can imagine.  But, I still absolutely loved the place.  I figured that if I could be that excited about a place on the most awful day possible, it was the right place for me.  Saturday was just like that rainy day in State College--the only difference was that I couldn't see myself living in any of those places.  Granted, a 6 month lease is quite a bit different than 4 years in college.  But, no one wants to move into a place they are disappointed in from the get go.

So, that brought us back to square one by Sunday.  We decided to take the day off of looking for places and instead embrace the laid back Australian culture by having a couple (or more) beers and watching rugby.  We ended up walking around a new neighborhood in order to get to the "hotel" (i.e. bar) to have a few drinks.  Seeing a few other areas helped us make the decision to widen our search and possible think about moving into neighborhoods we had not originally considered. 

We spent a good portion of Monday exploring new areas and making appointments to view apartments on Tuesday.  We are headed out the door now to see some of these places.  Fingers crossed, we will have more luck today--the sun is most certainly shinning today and I'm hoping that is a sign of things to come.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

On Hawaii Time?

Todd and I arrived safe and sound in Sydney about two and a half days ago.  Much to my surprise, the flights here weren't nearly as difficult as I imagined.  Neither of us slept much, but we were able to catch up on some movies we wanted to watch and get some sleep here and there.

Not sure why I'm so excited to be on a plane for 24 hours.

By the time were arrived, I'm not sure Todd or I knew which way was up, let alone what time it was.  But, we did our best to stay awake as long as possible.

We saw the Opera House, the Botanical Gardens (a beautiful space similar to NYC's Central Park) and the Harbor Bridge.  Clearly, Todd's favorite part was showing off the bridge--I am convinced he might move across the world just to be in close proximity to a "cool" bridge.  Then, we walked through a great area called "The Rocks" which consists of old "hotels" (i.e. bars) and little shops. 

After a quick stop to grab a drink and a local specialty--potato wedges with sweet chili sauce and sour cream (so delicious!), we headed back to the hotel.  Our extended stay hotel is just across the street (make sure to look right, left, then right when crossing) from a mall.  One of the more surprising things about Sydney has been the malls.  The one close to us is quite large and has a couple of grocery stores inside--right next door to department stores.  There are also specialty food stores in these malls.  We walked up to a seafood store/fishmonger right next door to an electronics store.  It was a bit odd to say the least.  
Once we returned to the apartment, I completely passed out.  Todd woke me up to go grab dinner and then I went right back to sleep.  

Yesterday, we checked out the first of quite a few apartments and headed to a neighborhood called Kirribilli which sits very close to the harbor.  

Though that first apartment was a bust, we decided that either Kirribilli or a neighborhood a little farther north called Crow's Nest would be good choices for our first apartment here.  Last night, I yet again fell asleep early, woke up to eat dinner and then went back to sleep.  Todd seems to be pretty acclimated to this new time zone whereas I think my body thinks I'm stuck somewhere between Hawaii and here.  

After seeing a ton more apartments today, Todd and I worked up an appetite for some fish and chips.  We stopped by a hotel to grab some really good bar food and watch a football game--Australian rules, of course.  Todd is doing everything he can to explain the rules to both rugby and Aussie football.  So far, it is super fun to watch but I'm not positive I always know what's going on with the game.  

Fingers crossed, I'm going to do my best to stay up until a regular time tonight.  It's not looking so good though...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Packing and more packing

As I write this, T is sitting in the bedroom putting the last of his clothes in 'space bags' to pack for our trip.  I, on the other hand, am sitting on the floor seeing as we don't have a couch anymore. 

Hopefully it is not too obvious that I'm trying to avoid the last little ends that are always the most annoying to pack.  I did, however, pack a good portion of my clothes already.  Now we are ready to get on the plane...

Flying this way would save a little money at least!

Can't you tell how much I've packed?  It's a little funny because I'm going to come back after our trip, so I can't take everything with me.  But, I think we finally have a good plan as far as what we are each taking with us.  One step closer!  I honestly cannot believe that we are going to get on a plane it just a few short days.  And, with everything that we have to do before the trip, I have a feeling those days are going to just fly by.  Luckily, after a few hiccups, we were able to find someone to take our apartment and T was able to sell his car.  I really did think to myself earlier this week--if I ever had any doubts that this wasn't the right decision, they were put to rest when everything that needed to happen before this left actually fell into place.  We will meet the person who is buying T's car first thing on Saturday morning (before heading to the Tech game).  And, we sign over our lease on Monday afternoon.  Hopefully after that point all we will have left to do is get on a plane!  So crazy--I don't think all of this will be real until I step off of the plane in Sydney. 

T's last day of work is tomorrow, so it's time to get him so beauty rest before saying the first of his goodbyes.  I can't wait to post some great pics from Australia next week!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mini-time capsules

It's time to start packing!  And, I have moved enough times to know how stressful it can be.  It seems that moving across the world only adds to that stress.  A few weeks ago, we finally firmed up our travel plans.  T and I will leave Atlanta in the middle of September.  I'll stay with him in Sydney for about 2 weeks and then come back to Atlanta to finish out the year at my job.  But, T will stay in Sydney and start his new job the afternoon after I leave.  When I get back I'll be shuffling between friends' houses and my mom's place for three months--not ideal, but after taking a look at the other options, it seems like the best solution.  We are planning to be completely out of our apartment by the time we leave later this month.  So, we are packing up everything we each own and separating into piles--bring with us/store here.  Side note--this does mean that T and I won't get to see each other for about two and a half months, which kind of blows. 

Luckily, we are in agreement over what should be stored and the few things that we will take with us.  As we put most everything we own (that hasn't already been sold) into boxes, I keep thinking of where we will be when we open them.  We have decided that we will stay in Sydney for 3-5 years.  By the time we open these boxes, so much in our lives could potentially be different.  The plan is to come back to Atlanta, but who knows what will actually happen.  I can't stop fast forwarding in my head to a time when we'll be opening up those boxes again.  Maybe that's how I'm keeping myself from stressing about the fact that so much of our stuff still needs to be packed.