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SophieTheSoph

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Everything posted by SophieTheSoph

  1. SophieTheSoph

    UK election: where does your vote go?!

    I am planning to vote in the forthcoming election in the UK but can't find any info on which candidates get your vote if you're an overseas national, i.e. who (individual) are you voting for? Is it based on your last know uk address or something? I know this forum always has someone who knows the answer to everything, so thanks in advance Sophie
  2. SophieTheSoph

    UK election: where does your vote go?!

    I was meaning more in the sense of the function of voting as an overseas person - i.e. without a constituency and therefore without candidates, as opposed to which party to pick (I know who has my vote already ). e.g. if I vote for the Greens, which MP am I electing (or not)?
  3. Does anyone know any shipping companies who let you pack your own boxes (but not furniture) for shipping? I had PSS round to do a quote and they said as we only have about 200 cubic foot it would cost the same for them to pack it as if we packed it ourselves, which seems a bit weird. We partly wanted to pack it ourselves for convenience, partly to save money, but also as it's all done on space I (perhaps stupidly ;-)) think I can pack a bit more in (or at least have a greater incentive to). Anyone packed thier own? Thanks Sophie
  4. SophieTheSoph

    Bunbury - Insider knowledge needed!

    Yes, I've been reading their posts with interest Paul1Perth! Would love to move that far down, but OH will be at college for a couple of years in Bunbury at least. We might make it as far south as Busselton - lets hope everyone there is as friendly!
  5. My partner and I are considering a move to Bunbury area from Sydney, where we've been for the last 18 months. The big motivation is that my OH wants to retrain at TAFE, and Bunbury seem to do the best course. Plus we love the outdoors, and aren't 'big city' people anyway, so never planned to stay too long in the big smoke. Our main concern is around work and living.... I am an experienced marketing manager for the not-for-profit/government sector, and earn good-ish money in Sydney. I know this kind of work will be very unlikely to come up in Bunbury, but I am ready and open to a change, from admin type jobs (I am very organised and a good project manager) to even something like cafe work. Very much seeing it as a chance for a total life change, and would be quite happy not to sit in front of a desk all day! We've obviously researched rental costs and so on, but most jobs advertised online in the area don't give any idea of salaries or hourly pay. Does anyone know what the going rate is for cafe work? Or a fairly simple office job? Or, conversely, how much you would want as a minimum salary in the area to support two people (while OH is studying)? We're both very frugal with money, and ready to try a different way of life, but equally don't want to be idiots about it! Thanks, StS
  6. SophieTheSoph

    Bunbury - Insider knowledge needed!

    Thanks Burmans - I'm hoping there will be enough bits and pieces around to keep me going for a while, and maybe a 'proper' job in my field will come up some time. I am resigned (and excited) to think that the move will offer all sorts of new and interesting opportunities beyond my previous experience, so if my career takes a whole new direction, so be it. A good test of my versatility and resilience!
  7. SophieTheSoph

    Bunbury - Insider knowledge needed!

    Thanks sussex boy - nice to know that its workable in Bunbury on a bit of a budget! Looking increasingly likely that we might make the move in the new year, hopefully by then everyone will be ready to start advertising all the good jobs again...
  8. SophieTheSoph

    Big smoke to country town: any tips?

    Thanks VERYSTORMY - really useful. We moved over here with nothing last year, and I rather like the challenge and excitement of the unknown! I guess moving is always a risk, but you have to take a few chances in life I think! Good to know there are some removal options. I quite like the idea of driving all the stuff there! Sophie
  9. SophieTheSoph

    Big smoke to country town: any tips?

    We moved to Sydney just over a year ago, and while we love its 'big city-ness' we are more outdoorsy small city/town type people. Luckily we knew this before we came, and have always been planning to move on to somewhere smaller eventually. We are thinking/hoping/planning to make the move from Sydney to Bunbury/Bussleton in WA over the next year, and I wondered if anyone had any tips for: How to find jobs in small places (do we need to be there first?)? How to physically move our stuff? Differences/observations? Is moving without a job very risky? (I will do any job, and we have savings to keep us going if needed) Any advice or tips from you lovely PIOers would be very welcome :smile: Also planning a couple of specific posts on the jobs and WA boards. Sophie
  10. SophieTheSoph

    South West WA - tips

    Thanks for the replies ali and Paul1Perth I'm quite excited about the change in pace actually - definitely one of the attractions for us. My partner commutes 90 mins each way to work every day so would be nice for him to wrestle some of that time back! They do have some jobs on Seek etc, but I suspect that a lot of stuff just goes locally. Just need to pluck up the courage to make the leap... Sophie
  11. SophieTheSoph

    South West WA - tips

    My partner and I are hoping to relocate from Sydney to SW WA over the next year. Can anyone give us the inside scoop on Bunbury/Bussleton/Margaret River? What are they like to live in? Are the people friendly? Are they the kind of places where jobs are more word-of-mouth than advertised on Seek?! Any advice gratefully received Sophie
  12. My partner (33) is interested in a complete career change, following our move to Sydney 9 months ago. He's interested in becoming a surveyor (land, etc. rather than quantity/building). He's done a bit of research on where to start with training, but as a 'mature' student with family commitments he wants to make sure he's makin the right choice before he leaves his steady job and embarks on 4 years of study and the bottom of the ladder again. Are there any land surveyors (or similar) who would be happy to have a chat with him about the job and/or put him in touch with someone he could do work experience or shadowing with? Any contacts or advice gratefully received! Sophie (on behalf of Ru)
  13. SophieTheSoph

    Sydney: first 2 months

    We've finally got our broadband up and running, so it seems like a good time to do an arrival report for you good PIOers! Background: I got my PR visa about 5 years ago, validated, then met my boyfriend in the UK while waiting to move over to Aus. Decided to stay, and to cut a long story short early in 2011 we decided to give Aus a go together and applied for his defacto spouse visa. The condition of grant was that I had to be in AUstralia when his visa was approved, which meant that I arrived a few weeks before him, but that wasn't too bad in the grand scheme of things. Anyway - he got a subclass 100 (perm) straight off, so that was great. I arrived in late September, and stayed with friends in Bondi for a few weeks while I got over the jetlag and waited for the boyfriend to arrive. Was a bit surprised by the cost of some things (booze, some food), but soon got used to it. Accomodation: As we moved over here with no jobs lined up, finding an apartment was extra challenging for us as we didn't have any proof of earnings. To try to get around this we offered a copy of our bank statement with rental applications and did an intro letter offering 3 months rent up front. To be honest, the rental market where we were looking (the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney) is insanely competitive - one open house I went to had 30 applications before they even opened, and had queues going down the street to view - so regardless of having a job or not it seems like a slightly random system to me! Basically for anything half decent at a decent price you'll be competing with a lot of other people, and most places go for a lot more than advertised (friends mentioned this, and rental agents confirmed it). I kept my eye on Gumtree, and in the end something that sounded good came up, direct with the owners, so I emailed back with a bit of info about us, got the first viewing appointment I could and jumped at it once I'd looked round. Luckily the owners were really nice, an very understanding about our situation and were happy to rent to us at the advertised price with 2 months upfront rent. So, we're in a lovely 1 bed apartment in Clovelly (where I have lived before about 10 years ago), near the beach, good shops, good transport but pretty quiet and civilised for the Eastern Burbs. Rent is $460 which is a fair bit, but significantly less than many of the places I viewed with agents, and compared to trying to live in short term rentals or hostels is pretty competitive. Work: We both came out here without jobs, so have been starting from scratch really as no recruiters in our feilds wanted to discus jobs until we were in the country. Its been a bit of a slog getting out CV's right - they love the super long CV here with LOADS of detail - no restrictions on the amount of pages! I've had a few interviews and come second for a few, but have been fairly selective about what I apply for. My area of work is fairly niche, so there aren't masses of jobs (and its not a job on the SOL) so I am being patient and just trusting that something right will come along soon. Worst case scenario, I will get a temp or retail job over x-mas time to pay the bills while I keep going for 'proper' jobs. My boyfriend is in a similar position, so at the moment we're both spending our days looking online, applying, then finding fun stuff to do that's free, so lots of swimming and walking and exploring the city. It's a bit of a strange limbo time - not working, but not being on holiday - but I'm sure as soon as it comes to an end we'll really miss it! Best things about Australia so far: $1 avacados, friendly people, great asian food, Pure Blonde lager, waking up to the sound of exotic birds, seeing wild kangaroos (in Canberra), catching up with old friends and family, wearing flip flops all the time, different shops, amazing coffee (large weak skinny flat white for me please!), spectacular storms, the wonderful floral smells... I could go on! Tips: Setting up a bank account before we came was easy (we used NAB but loads of the banks do it).Meant we could look for the best exchange rate and move some money before we arrived. We've been using Moneycorp to move our cash about and they've been fine and fairly quick. Carry your passport around with you for the first few weeks - I seemed to need it for everything! Registering for Medicare was simple, but queueing for my turn at the office took a while - you have to take a number and wait. But then it was just one form. We are still waiting for our shipping which left the UK nearly 3 months ago. Try to time your boxes to arrive when you move into your rental as otherwise you end up having to buy stuff while you wait. If you're going to be looking for a job, its worth expanding your CV out to suit the Aussie market - I needed to include more detail on what I had acheived in my roles. Anyway - that's it for now. Good luck to everyone trying to get visas and hoping to come out soon. Looks like its going to be a lovely summer....And feel free to ask questions. Sophie
  14. SophieTheSoph

    Sydney 30 Somethings!

    Sorry Dave - hadn't checked my notifications for a while! We've lived all over the south west in the UK, and are originally from Newbury (boyfriend) and Nottingham (me). We're up for a meet up in Feb/March - bbq, drink, whatever!
  15. SophieTheSoph

    Sydney 30 Somethings!

    Hi all My boyfriend and I are in our early 30s and living in the Eastern Suburbs too. We'd be up for a drink if we're free when you go out - can never make too many friends! StS
  16. SophieTheSoph

    Sydney: first 2 months

    Hi Playghirl Sorry fo the delay in replying. I got a job and started just after new year, so have been on super relaxation mode in the evenings to make up for the shock to the system after going back to a 9-5 after so long! I think we must be 4 months in now, and as I mentioned I have found a permenant job, which is great. The pay is good, and the people seem nice and luckily for me its only a 30 min walk from our appartment (in Clovelly) to work (on the UNSW campus in Kensington). I found and applied for the job myself - the recruitment people I spoke to seemed to be all talk really! Not very good listeners, though to be fair to them I guess the few months pre-xmas were fairly quiet. Anyway, its always nice to get a job from your own hard work, plus to know that noone is making a commission off you! My partner is still looking, and has been assured by recruiters that the market will start to pick up in the next few weeks. Fingers crossed. We're generally loving Sydney life - beachy x-mas, watched the Coogee 9pm fireworks from the Clovelly carpark with a couple of beers and a pizza (best new year for ages in my book!), lots of swimming and a great day out at the (free) launch of Sydney Festival yesterday. I guess we'll start to feelless like tourists now I am working and have the normal working week routine. Glad to hear you're doing ok too Mary. StS
  17. Ours took 3 weeks to get through customs, then another 2 for the delivery agents to actually bring it to us, so 5 in total. And I had to do all the chasing! We got our stuff last Friday - so nice to see all my familiar things again! Hope yours comes through quickly. StS
  18. Hi bma My partner (the applicant) was working when we lodged our application, but I had just been made redundant so had no proof of income. We had a few grand in savings (not loads, but a little), and put something in my statement about AoS that we were confident that we would both find work, and that we could find someone else to give AoS if needed (we sort of took a punt that we'd be able to find someone - anyone - to vouch for us if needed!). I must say I found it really annoying that they don't give some firmer ideas of what is and isn't acceptable for both the 'usually residnent' and AoS stuff - they are so prescriptive with the other requirements (which makes it easier to know if you qualify or not) but give scant guidance on some things leaving you to have to take a chance. StS
  19. Hi jm21 My partner appled for a 309/100 this year - we are both British, and I have PR but had only validated and never lived in Aus on my 5 year PR visa (which was coming to an end). I was concerned about the 'usually resident' requirement and the assurance of support, as I had just been made redundant in the UK so only my partner was working. But...we put in our application anyway. Our case officer called shortly after they were assigned and discussed the situation with me. The assurance of support was not an issue for them (seemed like a formality to just sign the form - no evidence needed). The 'usually resident' requirement was a bit more complicated, but the CO said they would be happy to consider me 'usually resident' if on the date of visa grant (so, after the 5-6 month wait after applying) I was in Australia. They were evn happy to tell me within a day or two what that date might be. It meant I had to fly our to Aus a few days ahead of my partner, but that wasn't really a big deal. My other half was granted a 100 (perm visa) as we have been together for many years, with no huccups, and we both moved out here a couple of months ago. I can't offer any advice as such, but just wanted to let you know that it is possible, and that the CO we had a very helpful attitude to the situation. Good luck! StS
  20. SophieTheSoph

    Sydney: first 2 months

    I can understand that MARYROSE02 - applying for jobs is pretty tedious after a while! There's only so many times I want to tell you how great my attention to detail is and explain which computer packages I can use before I just get bored! A friend of mine who's lived here for a few years and used to work alongside recruiters gave me some coaching on getting my CV right - PM me if you want me to pass any info on. Also, with the cover letter, you're supposed to use it like a first interview to explain how you meet each criteria (yes - very dull!), so using each criteria as a heading then doing a paragraph on each. I have it on good authority that come early Feb the job market is going to pick right up again, so if you can temp until then I'm sure you'll be fine. StS
  21. SophieTheSoph

    Do car boot sales exist in Australia?

    Moving into our first apartment in Sydney and need to get some cheap and cheerful secondhand stuff. In the UK we used to do this at a car boot sale, but I can't seem to find the equivalent here, only individual 'garage sales' which are too small really. Does anyone know if car boots exist here? And if so, has anyone been to one anywhere in Sydney? Thanks! StS
  22. SophieTheSoph

    Do car boot sales exist in Australia?

    Thanks for all the replies. I am definitely looking forward to council pick up time! People seem to chuck out the craziest things. But in the man time I'll need to hunt out the garage sales and see if I can track down a market of some kind nearby (don't have a car). I went to 'Junktique' in Glebe the other day to see if they had any good second-hand stuff. Some of the stock was lovely, but it was soooooooo expensive for what it was. My eyes were on stalks! Maybe I'll collect all the stuff up when its council pick up time and start my own shop.... ;-)
  23. SophieTheSoph

    Bondi Hostel Sydney - Goes up in flames

    Weirdly I am staying with friends a couple of doors down from this place, with an open window that backs onto the hostel and I didn't hear anything or even wake up! Normally I can hear the backpackers out on the balcony - must be getting desensitised to the screaming and whooping that usually goes on there! Glad no one was injured though.
  24. My partner just had his 100 visa granted! Very excited and delighted! Applied on 26th April, so a 5 month turn around. Our CO was PS, who was very straight down the line and clear and helpful. Good luck to everyone else still waiting.\:biggrin:
  25. We had our stuff packed last Tuesday, which had been estimated before packing at 110 cubic foot. When the packing guys had finished I asked them approximately how much we had, and they estimated between 90-100 cubic feet, which seemed about right to me given that we had decided not to take a couple of items in the end. I have just had our final invoice through, and the shipping company are now saying that we have 140 cubic feet - about 50% more than the packers thought! During conversations with the guys doing the packing they were telling me they had 20+ years experience between the 2 of them, so I would be very surprised if they were that far out. Does anyone have experience of this? Do you think I can challenge the cubic footage now that I can't see it all? Not sure what to do, but don't actually believe the final size could be so much more (and don't want to pay for imaginary cubic footage!). StS
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