3weeks in NSW

Old Aug 1st 2013, 12:00 pm
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Default 3weeks in NSW

Hi all,
We left the UK about 5 weeks ago, following a very emotional couple of weeks.
We had an amazing leaving do but it was hard saying goodbye to our families and friends.
However, we had decided to have a holiday on the way, and I'm so glad we did. We spent 3 nights in a very hot L.A. and took the kids to Disney, then we had a blissful week in Fiji.
We are so glad we did this. We had a great time as a family and put all the emotion behind us. When we arrived in Sydney, we felt refreshed and rejuvenated and ready for the busy few weeks ahead.

So far, things have gone very smoothly. I think there are a couple of reasons for this.
Firstly, I did my research. Some of you know that I have spent years on this site and I think it's paid off!
Secondly, we had realistic expectations. We weren't expecting for my husband to be offered an amazing job straight away, without proving himself. We weren't expecting to find best buddies immediately. We were prepared to put ourselves out there and make an effort.

We spent the first few days in Sydney, seeing the sights and doing the boring administrative things like finalising my registration with AHPRA and going to the bank to activate our account.
On day 3 we drove up to Lake Macquarie. I had a brief wobble because it was cold and wet but I soon shook myself out of it. The holiday let was freezing so we went straight to Bunnings to buy heaters.
Luckily, the cold didn't last long. We have actually arrived to the warmest July in years, which has probably helped.

We got my son into school almost immediately and to my joy, he loved it from day one. This was such a relief as he hadn't wanted to come to Australia and had been very negative about it.
My daughter had a wobble on day one but was fine by the end of the week, once she had made some friends.
My work is good and I m going on a night out with everyone next week. It's less pressured than my previous job, so far anyway. I may have a different story in a few weeks!
My husband has found work and starts on Monday. He got this job through some expats that we met who have been very good to us. It certainly is who you know, rather than what you know.

Socially, we have met up with 2 British families and had a great time with both. We met them through a local expat Facebook group and had been chatting before we arrived. I'm hoping to make some Aussie friends through work and clubs etc.

We really like it here and can't wait for the weather to warm up some more so we can get out and enjoy the beautiful beaches that are abundant in this area.

Newcastle is a great place IMO and I'm glad we came here and not to one of the bigger cities.
It has lots of suburbs that have their own little shopping centres etc and although it has everything you need, it doesn't have a big city feel. We have beautiful bush, beaches and the lake as well as plenty of shopping centres.
If we want a big city fix, it's only 90 minutes / 2 hours to Sydney.

I don't think I have any observations that haven't been made before, but I'll share them anyway

THE GOOD

The sky - beautiful blue skies in the middle of winter. Even if a day starts out overcast, by mid morning the sun is out.

Sunsets - we have been blown away by the amazing sunsets we have seen here. Beautiful red streaked skies.

Clouds - I love some of the cloud formations, they are beautiful and interesting.

Beaches - lovely golden sand and plenty of it here. Newcastle and this part of the NSW coast is renowned for its beaches.

Wildlife - we have beautiful parrots into garden and I have seen loads of Roos! We even found a red back in the bathroom, captured it, made the kids look at it, then took a pic and posted it on Facebook to freak everyone out in the UK

Radio - I'm a shallow soul. I want to listen to chart music and people having a bit of fun. The Today network fulfils that for me - intellectuals among you may disagree!
We haven't gotTV yet and I don't watch it much anyway, so can't comment. Apparently though, X Factor here is on Monday and Tuesday night which seems odd.

Great coffee shops and outdoors lifestyle. No problem walking or cycling in winter.

Older Aussies with a wicked sense of humour. Don't find it to the same degree in younger Aussies but I have had such a laugh with some older shop assistants

Cheap good quality fruit and veg, if it is in season. We find that healthier food is cheaper here. If you want to go to Coles and do all your shopping there, buying processed stuff, then you'll find it expensive. But things like coconut oil and capsicum peppers are cheaper here.

Dan Murphy's. I love going in after work on a Thursday / Friday to buy a bottle of (cheap ) wine. It's full of other people doing the same and I love the "we've finished work" atmosphere. My OH loves the cold room with all the beer !

Well observed 40 kph school zones and the school bus network.

Double decker underground trains in Sydney - great idea!

THE BAD

Graffiti. It's everywhere. Not Banksy style good graffiti, just tags

The price of second hand cars. I sold my 6 year old Ford Focus estate in the UK for £2,200. Here, I bought a 9 year old Toyota Corolla wagon for $10,000.
I have to manually wind down the windows

Cold houses. This has been done to death so I won't go on.

OTHER OBSERVATIONS

Driving - the only bad experience I had was in Sydney. I was in the wrong lane and signalled to pull into the right lane but no one would let me in. The woman behind me got the right hump and blew her horn at me and called me an unrepeatable word. She could have used the empty third lane to go round me but she was too far up my arse. As she swore at me and gesticulated, I blew her a kiss. That made my day
Here in Newcastle, I've had no problems. Yes, people can under take and left lanes disappear, but hey ho, I'll assimilate.

Whole shops devoted to one thing. Eg, we have seen razor shops and vacuum cleaner shops. How do they make money?

Dogs on the back of utes, barking their heads off

People loving my accent. I could get used to this I haven't come across any anti British sentiment so far, yet I thought I might.

Cost of living. We have only just moved into our house and are not paying bills yet so it's probably too early to have an informed view. However, we find if we shop around, things are not as expensive as we had been led to believe.

We are not experiencing any home sickness yet but are aware we've only been gone for 5 weeks. It may happen at some point but we have agreed to shore each other up, if and when , this happens.
At the moment, we feel we are settling well.

In summary, we are enjoying it here so far and I think we will try and stay at least until the kids have finished school, if not longer.
It is worth saying though, that we didn't dislike the UK. I love it and could easily do another post with all the things I love about it. We weren't trying to escape anything, we just fancied a change and some sunnier weather. We didn't really have any expectations beyond that and so haven't been disappointed.

Last edited by Kapri; Aug 1st 2013 at 12:12 pm.
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Old Aug 1st 2013, 12:07 pm
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Default Re: 3weeks in NSW

Good update Kapri Sounds very positive overall
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Old Aug 1st 2013, 12:35 pm
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Default Re: 3weeks in NSW

Great update, very comprehensive. Got to agree with most things, especially the cold houses and we love the wildlife, too

Wish we'd had a holiday to start with, fantastic idea

All the best for the future!
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Old Aug 1st 2013, 1:21 pm
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Default Re: 3weeks in NSW

Great update Kapri. So pleased that things are going well for you!!!
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Old Aug 1st 2013, 2:22 pm
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Default Re: 3weeks in NSW

Great to see you've finally made it (after all those "will we?"/"wont we?" years ) and that it's shaping up well for you.
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Old Aug 1st 2013, 4:13 pm
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Default Re: 3weeks in NSW

Hey Kapri...nice to hear it's all working out for you.
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Old Aug 1st 2013, 7:36 pm
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Default Re: 3weeks in NSW

Originally Posted by Kapri View Post
Hi all,

...

THE GOOD

Sunsets - we have been blown away by the amazing sunsets we have seen here. Beautiful red streaked skies.

Dan Murphy's. I love going in after work on a Thursday / Friday to buy a bottle of (cheap ) wine. It's full of other people doing the same and I love the "we've finished work" atmosphere. My OH loves the cold room with all the beer !


OTHER OBSERVATIONS

Whole shops devoted to one thing. Eg, we have seen razor shops and vacuum cleaner shops. How do they make money?
Great update Kapri! Good on ya. Glad you're all enjoying it so far and have realistic expectations.

I love the sunsets too and the walk in cold rooms.

I am also amazed how some of the 'one thing' shops stay in business, let alone make money!



EDIT: Just Googled Lake Macquarie, NSW sunsets and seen some beautiful photos. Lovely part of the world.

Last edited by Alfresco; Aug 1st 2013 at 7:41 pm.
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Old Aug 1st 2013, 10:10 pm
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Default Re: 3weeks in NSW

Yes, it's great to hear a story where you know it's never going to be the same as you expect but embracing it all regardless and still having fun.
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Old Aug 1st 2013, 11:51 pm
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Default Re: 3weeks in NSW

Glad it is going well for you- one word of warning: DON'T feed the birds. They will come in large gangs and vandalise your property. Cockatoos eat wood- well they actually sit and peel it off windows, decks, fences etc. They also peel rubber trims from cars.
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Old Aug 2nd 2013, 1:44 am
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Default Re: 3weeks in NSW

Originally Posted by Kapri View Post
Hi all, .

Kia Ora Kapri

At long last you are in the Antipodes. Congrats. It's been a long while coming but well deserved.
I hope your new Oz life is something special every single day

from me
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Old Aug 5th 2013, 1:44 pm
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Default Re: 3weeks in NSW

congratulations sounds like you are doing well

Caroline is right about the cockies we fed them and they took the aerial apart the owner had to get a new one and wasn't happy!

I'm glad the kids have settled well that's a huge hurdle and that your husband has a job.

you worked damn hard and made it well done
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Old Aug 6th 2013, 10:16 am
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Default Re: 3weeks in NSW

Thanks everyone

Another observation: everyone parks by driving into the space rather than reversing!
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Old Aug 6th 2013, 10:23 am
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Default Re: 3weeks in NSW

Originally Posted by Kapri View Post
Thanks everyone

Another observation: everyone parks by driving into the space rather than reversing!
One of the things my neighbours asked was why I reverse onto my drive (and I nearly always reverse into parking spaces - it's supposed to be more fuel efficient )
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Old Aug 6th 2013, 11:42 am
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Default Re: 3weeks in NSW

Originally Posted by Kapri View Post
Thanks everyone

Another observation: everyone parks by driving into the space rather than reversing!
Yes indeed, and don't park on the wrong side of the road.


Originally Posted by old.sparkles View Post
One of the things my neighbours asked was why I reverse onto my drive (and I nearly always reverse into parking spaces - it's supposed to be more fuel efficient )

It depends how long it takes!
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Old Aug 6th 2013, 10:23 pm
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Default Re: 3weeks in NSW

You have to park in the direction you are driving, unlike in the UK. If your car is the wrong way round, you can be fined. (I don't mean reverse parking, but making sure your car points the way the traffic is flowing once it is parked.)

I can reverse park, but much prefer to drive in forwards. It is easier for me to back out, although I have bumped into things occasionally- or rather things have bumped into me. Still waiting for the insurance to sort that one out. Why is it more fuel efficient? You have to manoeuvre in either way.
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