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2 weeks in South Australia! (warning long post)

2 weeks in South Australia! (warning long post)

Old Aug 4th 2007, 11:14 pm
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Default 2 weeks in South Australia! (warning long post)

Hi everyone,

A BIG thank you to everyone who contributes to the BE forum - we couldn't have done it without you!

Let's start with a little about us. I'm married, no kids, Ford Mustang 1971 (noisy and costs a fortune - so a bit like a kid ). Came to Oz for the first time in 2002 for the holiday of a lifetime. Went to Tassie, drove from Adelaide to Melbourne along the Great Ocean Road and loved it and the people. In the airport back at Heathrow wondered what it would be like to live in Oz.

I'm a contract analyst programmer, and my husband is a maintenance gardener. We assumed we would get in on me being a programmer as first applicant for the skilled independent visa (this was back in 2002 / 2003). Anyway we were turned down by 2 agencies saying we wouldn't get in. However we met Paul Arthur from the Emigration group and had a free interview. He said just switch it round with my husband as primary applicant and we should get in. Oz expects all professionals to have a degree, and I didn't have one - just 20 years experience Anyway it worked. Got through medicals (I had to lose some weight but I was still overweight and got through!), police checks etc.

Validation our visas in 2004 I think.

The company we chose to move our pensions and sort us out is Montfort International (don't groan). I read the posts on the forum and we interviewed a few companies, but we felt that they were the best company for our needs. As well as having pensions all over the place, we also have a company each and property in the UK as well as Australia. Maybe if you have simpler things to move to Australia then they may not be worth it but for us they were great. They answered our many queries promptly and put us in touch with some good people. Geraint is not a shy person by any means but they have got the job done.

In Feb 2007 we came over to choose where we were going to live, but couldn't stay since it was my Mum's 70th birthday in June, and also we had our respective companies to wind up. In Feb we decided to live in Mt Gambier. It's in South Australia and half way between Melbourne and Adelaide. It has a population of about 25,000 people and is the second biggest place in South Australia (after Adelaide!). We decided on a house, and made the contract (here in S.A a contract is like exchanging in the UK) stating that we wanted to settle (called completion in the UK) in June, to give us time to sell the house. We also visited local hardware, electrical and furniture shops explaining that we were looking around now to furnish our house later in the year. We were offered up to 20% discounts in various stores an we kept their business cards.

Back in the UK we get a house buyer who is flexible when they can move which is excellent, but offers £12,000 less than we want. We accept anyway. After about 3 weeks they pull out of the deal. It's now April and we still don't have a buyer! The house goes back on the market and we get 3 offers in a week. We accept one and it's the chain falls to pieces after 2 weeks. We accept another of the 3 offers and this time get them to pay a holding deposit, and their offer is £11,000 closer to what we wanted. We agree that there will be 2 weeks between exchange and completion. When we go to exchange the terms are changed to 4 weeks - take it or leave from the person at the end of the chain (not our buyers). We accept that and agree an exchange date.

I had 7 moving companies come around to give quotes (probably too many but I wanted a good deal!) I discounted the ones with really bad reps on this forum since we wanted our stuff to get there in one piece. We chose Harrow Green. Penny at their head office was EXCELLENT! There is no other word for it. We must have changed the packing days about 6 times. Because the buyers solicitor kept asking stupid questions! The exchange day was sent for wed June 13th, and the packers were coming on thursday. The exchange didn't go through since the end of chain people (there were only 3 people in this chain!) paid by BACS which didn't clear! So Harrow Green came and packed on the thursday and friday and we haven't exchanged on the house. By the way the house in Mt Gambier had gone through smoothly so we now have 2 houses! Thursday and friday were fairly tense wondering whether the house would sell, and on friday afternoon we exchanged! Just as well since our stuff had already gone. We had left a few things like mattresses since we were still cleaning out the house and then would move in with my parents for a few weeks. The packers were great. They asked what you wanted and they packed it. They were quick and clean.

We hadn't bought any furniture in years and so we place anything we didn't want on freecycle. It's a great way of passing on stuff that may not be worth much to sell, but is still in good condition. It's done via email and we got rid of a lot of stuff that way.

We stayed with my wonderful parents for a few weeks. It was stressful at times but I wouldn't have changed those few weeks for anything!

I checked with the real estate agent who had sold us the house, and there was no phone line, or electricity, gas or water. This wasn't accurate but I didn't know that at the time. They never cut off the water unless a bill hasn't been paid, but I had visions of us not being able to live in the house once we got there! I contacted Telstra for the phone and Origin for the gas and electricity and S.A water for the water. All of that was sorted from the UK and the phone line actually was active in Oz before we left the UK. I also ordered broadband from Bigpond (Telstra) so that would be ready shortly after we arrived.

We decided to book our flights only to find to we couldn't get any! The only flight we could get on was way overpriced (FLIGHT PRICES GO UP IN JUNE!) but we took them flying via Malaysia with a stopover. We booked through Austravel who we love! We always get a good deal. However because we had already traveled on our visa we couldn't take extra bags, so we used the company Excess Baggage (a good tip from the forum) and they were great.

Once in Australia we had to chase Bigpond for the broadband. (By the way if your broadband cuts out when you pick up the phone make sure your house alarm has a filter on it if it connects to the phone line! It took us a while to discover that one). The other utilities were up and running as promised.

On the friday we stayed in a hotel after checking the house. On saturday we started shopping. We went back to those shops that we visited in Feb. Some of them remembered us. We got up to 20% discount and saved ourselves hundreds of $$$$. I'm not sure if you can do that is every town / city but it works here. We ask "Is that the best you can do?" and we get a discount. In one place all I asked was "Is that a sale price?" and the assistant said no but would I like to hear what it could be reduced to? Err yes! We used local businesses because they are local, and we want to integrate. We've been told several times that we are already losing our UK accents! Mind you we used to be told that after a holiday.

We thought we could use our UK licence for ages but when we went to buy a car they needed Aussie licences. We went down the local government office and applied for Aussie licences. We both wear glasses. The guy behind the counter asked if we'd ever been told that we had to wear glasses for driving. I said no which is true. In Oz (well in SA anyway) if you have to wear glasses then you need an eye test before you can have a licence, and that delays getting a licence. Neither have been told that we need to wear glasses to drive (my husband probably couldn't find the car without his glasses!). We were issued temp licences (and the full ones came within a week). With the temp licences we were still able to buy the car (pale green Hyundai Elantra is you're interested ).

Our stuff and the Mustang arrived last week and is going through customs / quarantine. We applied for the import car approval ourselves and it went through easily. However they insist that you have an Oz address to send it to and they will send you a copy. Well we never got the copy from them but our friend who's address we used sent us a copy (it was required by Harrow Green to send the car from the UK), and our friend sent us the original too.

My husband is now looking for work. We went to a career expo on friday and I was asking all the questions (what's year 11 & 12? What a certificate 1 mean? What's a diploma? etc.) Although it's advertised for all ages we were about 20 years older than anyone else there. My husband's not sure what he wants to do, but I've got an income from Success University and I will also be doing some IT work for a company back in the UK so I'm sorted for now. I'm looking at doing some volunteer work as well to get out and meet people. We will be joining the local classic car club also as a way to meet people (and because we love classic cars!).

Last week I had a skype chat with my parents using webcams and it was EXCELLENT! If you are not on skype (and you have a PC) what are you waiting for? There may be other similar programs out there but this is the one I started with and I've stuck with it. You have a instant text messenger, and you also have the free PC to PC calls, which you can do with a webcam. I set this up on a PC when I left my parents, and also set it up on mine. I don't think they really believed it would work. We could see each other clearly, and although it's not the same as being with each other it is better than a phone. Obviously this is all just my opinion! My Mum kept waving at me, and my Dad just kept saying it's interesting. By the way they are 70 (Mum) and 74 (Dad) and they have not had any real training in the PC, other then what I could teach them while I was there for those few weeks. Mum is also on email with my husbands side of the family, and since some of them live quite close together they are seeing more of each other. Even some of my friends are sending emails to my parents now!

What's the downside? I don't get to have lunch with my parents and friends as much as I used to. We don't have as much income as I would like coming in right now (although we do have some of the money from the sale of our house in a high interest bank account). It's also one of the coldest winters that people can remember here. It's not even freezing at night though so it's not a cold winter by Hertfordshire standards!

What's the upside? We are in a beautiful house. We have become sky watchers since we have an enormous window with views over the city. We are less stressed, and have more money in the bank than we had before. My husband is feeling the cold a little when he's inactive but his bad circulation will be better here than in the UK. The people are very friendly and helpful, and we are already beginning to feel like part of a community. In the UK we were too busy working all the time to become part of the community. I have skype to keep in touch with friends and family all over the world.

I think that's about it for now.

Sorry it's such a long email but I wanted everything in there in case it helps anyone about to move, or just moved over.

Just paying back what others on this forum have given to me, even though they may not know it. Paying it Forward as the film said.

Karen
Mt Gambier

P.S if anyone in the are whats to get in touch my skype id is kaz101 or send me a message on this forum.
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Old Aug 5th 2007, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: 2 weeks in South Australia! (warning long post)

What a lovely post! I have just returned from a few weeks visiting family in Sydney and Melbourne. Many years ago, when my brother was flying back to Sydney after attending a funeral in UK, he met a family on the plane who were flying out to Sydney to live and kept in touch with them. Apparently, 10years on they have settled in beautifully. He said the main thing they had to learn was that Australia isn't just UK but with better weather. Folks have to adjust and surely after planning for months, if not years, it would be sad if families just chucked it all in. Kaz 101 seems to have got it right
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Old Aug 5th 2007, 9:31 pm
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Default Re: 2 weeks in South Australia! (warning long post)

Thanks leftfieldlover - I think it's more because I'm a control freak - something I'm learning to give up!

Karen
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Old Aug 5th 2007, 10:30 pm
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Default Re: 2 weeks in South Australia! (warning long post)

Hi Karen

That was a lovely postive post, great to hear these updates when you are waiting to go, hopefully our landing will be as smoothly. Keep us posted on the future and all the best. Marie.
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Old Aug 5th 2007, 11:05 pm
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Default Re: 2 weeks in South Australia! (warning long post)

Hi Karen,
thnks for taking the time to write a great post. It's nice to hear about somewhere else in SA.
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Old Aug 6th 2007, 5:50 am
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Default Re: 2 weeks in South Australia! (warning long post)

Originally Posted by kaz101 View Post
Thanks leftfieldlover - I think it's more because I'm a control freak - something I'm learning to give up!

Karen
Glad to here you have settled, last time wesaw you was at the Moor Mill meet, seems like we are the last ones now, good luck

Mick
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Old Aug 6th 2007, 6:43 am
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Default Re: 2 weeks in South Australia! (warning long post)

Originally Posted by mickagnew View Post
Glad to here you have settled, last time wesaw you was at the Moor Mill meet, seems like we are the last ones now, good luck

Mick
Hi Mick,
Yep that was the last event we attended! Thanks we still need all the luck we can get!

When are you hoping to be over here?

Karen
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Old Aug 6th 2007, 10:09 am
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Default Re: 2 weeks in South Australia! (warning long post)

Originally Posted by kaz101 View Post
Hi Mick,
Yep that was the last event we attended! Thanks we still need all the luck we can get!

When are you hoping to be over here?

Karen
House has just gone on the market so fingers crossed and wait to see when it sells, let the stress begin

Mick
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Old Aug 7th 2007, 11:40 pm
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Default Re: 2 weeks in South Australia! (warning long post)

Really really enjoyed reading your post. Have you got over the cramps in the fingers, writing that lol
I liked mt gambia really nice area, we visited the lakes whilst there beutiful and stayed on a caravan park up there. Would def go back again one day. Hope you guys settle in and have a wonderful life
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Old Aug 8th 2007, 6:40 pm
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Wonderful post really enjoyed it. Long may your happiness continue
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Old Aug 8th 2007, 7:59 pm
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Default Re: 2 weeks in South Australia! (warning long post)

What a lovely post to read Good luck to you both
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Old Aug 9th 2007, 5:05 am
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Really enjoyed reading your positive post
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Old Aug 10th 2007, 7:30 am
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Default Re: 2 weeks in South Australia! (warning long post)

Hi Karen

Loved reading your post As i too am a control freak. Seem to be checking schools, cars, houses etc everyday.

Starting to get the jitters now as 3 weeks off moving and the house sorting doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Were originally going to SA but have now said we'll look at Brissie and see what we think.

Jane
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Old Aug 14th 2007, 7:36 am
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Default Re: 2 weeks in South Australia! (warning long post)

Great post, really interesting.
Thanks for spending the time posting it, enjoyed reading it.
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Old Sep 24th 2007, 5:44 pm
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Default Re: 2 weeks in South Australia! (warning long post)

Hi

Hope you are settling into to South Aus. We are also hoping to be heading to SA on a SIR visa. We are also applying under my husband who is Contract Gardener, he passed the TRA (has horticultural exams). We are now just waiting for acknowledgement.
Has your husband managed to find any work yet?
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