Hi everyone - meant to get on a little while ago but somehow time seems to have escaped me! Here is my 5 week-ish update:
Arrived Sydney Tues 22nd Oct and spent a few days there catching up with friends - it was a nice way to start my journey here, fun and chilled and I think it helped take the edge off everything!
Landed in Adelaide on Sat 27 Oct and was welcomed by my friend, who took me for a drive down to Glenelg and a glass of wine over lunch - Hello Adelaide! It was a beautiful day too, warm and sunny which was a nice welcome.
I was very lucky as I was able to stay with my friend (who lives in Ingle Farm) for the first 4 weeks which helped enormously both financially and emotionally - and she has been an absolute star and helped me so much, driving me around to look at suburbs, printing things, picking me up some days from town, taking me shopping, etc...
The first Monday I was here, I hit downtown early and did all my admin stuff:
BANK - I had already opened an account with WestPac in London, so went to my branch here to pick up my card... unfortunately even though the ID part had already been done, the card had not been ordered, so had to wait 10 days for that. Kind of annoying but not the end of the world as I have been using my UK card.
MEDICARE - I still had my medicare number from when I came here as a backpacker (many) years ago, so she just updated that and I was supposed to get that in the post in around 3 weeks. As of this week, I still had not received it, and when I went in to change my address on Tuesday they have re-issued my card and I should have it apparently within a week.
TFN - I still had my TFN from when I was here previously, and I have been told I just continue to use this one
DRIVERS - swapped my UK license and received my new SA license by that Friday, super fast!
All of this took no time at all, I was in town at 8.30am so everywhere was really quiet and I hardly waited at all at each place.
I have also got a metro card for the bus and tram which I use all the time - if you haven't got one, I really recommend that you do. It's MUCH cheaper and also so much more convenient than digging in your purse for change. I went to the railway station to do it as the metro office always has such a huge queue - at the station it took me a few minutes and I was up and running. Very easy to recharge your card either at one of the self serve machines or there are loads of places that you can do it, like newsagents etc.
As of this past weekend I just moved into my rental place - it was a huge relief to find something I must admit, you get a little disheartened with all the open houses, some of the places are just horrid, and while I was happy to compromise, I also needed to like where I was going to live! Also hard to get to them in time for the 15 minute slot when you are mostly reliant on public transport. I am very happy with my new place, it is in Camden Park on the way to Glenelg. I have both the tram about a 12 minute walk away and buses off Anzac Highway about an 8 minute walk away. I think in terms of public transport, it's a pretty handy location. I looked at loads of different areas, both the suburbs between the city and the beach, east (Norwood, Kensington Gardens, Magill) and also some south and eventually found this one which ticked all the boxes. When I handed my application in, I made sure I had all the ID docs and proof of my funds to go with it, and they let me have it on condition that I paid 4 weeks of rent up front instead of the usual 2 weeks.
My things were delivered out of storage and I am in the midst of unpacking and trying to create some order - ha! I used John Mason and found them good from start to finish. The guys who brought my stuff were friendly and thorough, unpacked all the big stuff and everything except the clothing and linen ones and took all the boxes and packaging away with them. I have a few boxes still and they will come back and pick them up. I had two breakages, one glass and one china plate, and the top of my old-fashioned wooden wardrobe is missing, but they think they have located it and will be updating me hopefully today. All in all I think that's pretty good. No mildew, and even though I am washing all my stuff before packing it away, it actually is fine, just needs freshening up. Customs opened 4 boxes but all was okay.
Work - I am a PA/EA. Have registered with agencies, met up with all the work contacts I was given and have sent my CV off to anything I see on SEEK. However nothing yet. I was warned that things are generally slow here and that coming up to Christmas/Jan is always slow too, so will see what happens. I didn't anticipate having work in my first 4 weeks but I had hoped that there would at least be an interview! It is a little worrying, but I am trying not to stress too much. I have definitely noticed what other posters have said in that everything here seems to take quite a while, even if the agency is interested in you they seem to take forever to come back to you, not what I am used to! Ultimately I have decided to hold off buying a car until I have a job and that way can still pay rent etc for a few months without worrying - it's not ideal to not have a car right now, and I might just end up with a $500 car which is not what I want, but there are worse things in life! :-)
I am trying to decide if I am going to start hitting the coffee shops etc and see if I can pick up something, or whether I just try and enjoy this time getting to know Adelaide and instead of going to Newcastle for a week over Christmas to see my brother and his family, I may go up for 2 weeks and enjoy the time with my nephews while I can. At this stage Christmas is only 4 weeks away really, so I just wonder whether it's realistic to think any positions will come up before the New Year.
What else? I have been to Central Market many many times and love it, there's a coffee place in there that I love, but sorry can't remember the name! You sit up on stools if that helps, and all the staff look a bit retro! One day I treated myself and had brunch there and had the most delicious french toast with strawberries, maple syrup and rhubarb compote - DIVINE! However most days I make myself a sandwich, grab and apple and then hit town... I feel a bit like a backpacker again, but I refuse to pay around $10 for lunch every day! the great thing about Adelaide is all the parks and places to sit and the water fountains to refill your water bottle. I particularly love the area at North Terrace, running from Government House to the Art Gallery - loads of benches, sun and shade, it's a great place to sit and have a breather, and public toilets at the library.
I joined the city library - all I needed was my drivers license and I got a card straight away, and after 3 months of being a 'probationary' member you can then take out up to 100 items, crazy! It's free, and you can take out books, CDs, DVDs and mags. I have since then also joined the library at Glenelg - as of March next year I will have one card that I can use at both (they are having a roll out of the new system). There's also free Wi-fi at the library, and PCs where you can book 15 minute or hour slots, which was helpful while I was trying to sort the dongle out. Very hard to be without internet!
I have been to the Migration Museum (interesting), the Aboriginal display at the SA Museum (very good, worth a look), the Art Gallery (beautiful, if you like art you should go or at the very least just go to look at the interior, as it's a beautiful building). The Botanical Gardens were very nice, though I confess having just been in Cape Town with my parents for a couple of months, they do not compare to Cape town's Kirstenbosch Gardens, which I have decided must be one of the most stunning in the world.
Otherwise I have just done a lot of wandering around, trying to familiarise myself with Adelaide - as I said I take the bus and tram quite a lot, walk a lot, and have had no problems. Sometimes I end up waiting a fair while but I just remind myself this is not London and I can't expect as regular a service!
Beach wise I have only managed to go to Glenelg and Grange, I preferred Grange as it was not as busy. I haven't yet managed to get to the Hills, but looking forward to when I do get there, will have to wait for a car to really get out and about.
Internet - as I type this I am sitting here waiting for the guys from Adam to come and install my phone and broadband - am using a dongle and an amaysim sim for temporary internet access until that's all sorted, and that's working fine. Annoyingly they can't tell me when they will be here aside from between 8am-7.30pm.... luckily I have lots of unpacking and sorting to do, but I am planning to go to the movies tonight so they had better be here before 5pm!
Mobile - I have a Virgin pay as you go, which initially was costing me an absolute fortune, but turns out it was on the wrong 'plan' (long expiry) so since changing it's been much better and $29 gives me something like $350 of credit. Next month when I recharge $29 will give me $400 of credit. I can't wait to get on a contract though as I am so reliant on my phone and am having to be so careful about ringing people and only ringing landlines to keep the costs down, and I find quite a few people only have mobiles these days. I also desperately need a new phone, I have an old nokia from about 2.5yrs ago, it's antiquated compared to what most people have these days!
All in all I think Adelaide is a lovely little place - definitely more of a big town than a city, which I like. Everyone has been very kind and helpful and let's face it, I can't complain about the weather too much..... though I must admit while I like hot weather, nearing 40 degrees is not much fun! I am not missing London at all, but then I never felt like it was home there even after 10 years, and find myself missing Cape Town more, but that's probably because I have just been there and is originally my home! I think having my own place and things around me will really help me to feel more settled and then of course once I am working and making friends, the rest falls into place, but I am very happy to finally be here.
Hopefully I have covered everything, sorry it's a bit long but while I had a moment thought I'd try get it all down. And thank you to all those people who have posted these sorts of things in the past, I learnt such a lot when I was doing my research and it has definitely helped me now that I am here.
See you around Adelaide!