Friday, 28 August 2009


Last weekend we took a drive up to the Hills District and saw some very reasonably priced and lovely homes. You have to buy a piece of land seperately of course - but the homes are stunning. They have about 20 fully built showhouses fully furnished so you know exactly what you are in for: Then during the week I went with a work colleague to vist a council up in the Blue Mountains and we stopped for a bite of lunch and he showed me a view overlooking the valley from echo point - we were up there for business so I never took a camera, but it is truly spectacular!

To say we are looking forward to our container arriving is an understatement! Our butts are calloused and really sore from these hard fold up chairs and the novelty of pumping up our bed every evening is wearing off! Here are some pics of what our flat looks like - the furniture as they would say back in Afrikaans - power! When it finally arrives next month - holding thumbs, as so many others have said, it will be like Christmas in September! Since we started this emigration procedure 18 months ago, the waiting has been a constant companion - and we still suck at being patient with it! No worries - stuff that! Hurry up and get here already!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009


We have been here for 3 weeks in Sydney, but it feels longer. Maybe because we have changed living places 3 times, but SA feels a lifetime away. When I think back on the year and months before our departure, we had so much optimism for life on this side of the pond. I guess we were idealistic and that needs to rightly be brought into line with reality, but there is an old saying: 'Where you go, you will be.' I have been working long hours to try and get a handle on things and a grasp of this market. Everything I do seems to take forever and I long for the comfort of the familiar, because the disorientation one normally feels in leaving a job is compuounded and magnified by emigration. You really start from scratch with no network of people to call on and no safety net in a sense.

I guess that I long for a sense of routine because it creates a context within which and from which one can happily explore. It is not the same as being on holiday where everything new is exciting and wonderful and you can just appreciate it for what it is. The sensory overload here is tiring as you have to begin to find patterns to things - consciously endeavour to make roads and goods familiar so that it becomes a known and given to counter the seemingly insiduous ever -new. Certainly, as much as I love travelling the world and seeing new things and am awed by it -as you may have seen in my earlier blogs, at the end of the trip there is a feeling of belonging and affection and even release when someone says: 'It's time to head home.' Just the word: 'home' conjures images of a fireplace, good food and wine, family and friends laughing and teasing and even just sitting talking nonsense together, a messy mix of random memories! I do know that I am deeply blessed that the word evokes such memories and images as many people have never known that. It is not an easy thing to build a home and I think that more and more I have come to appreciate that like happiness, it is almost always a by-product of a lot of other things. As corny as it sounds, I really look forward to the day when this is not just our permanent chosen place of residence, but truly our home.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Not a bear

I haven't had a chance to google this, but apparently our Aussie buddies from Sydney's Northern Beaches insist that a Koala is in fact not a bear, but a Koala. Well, ok if they say so.. We have named our Koala that they gave us on arrival, Kobie Koala, to reflect his heritage as well as that of his parents. And here he is with a piece of chocolate fugde cake type thing that Carmen bought today and that miraculously has survived all of 3 hours. I am not betting it will see tomorrow morning though...

Car for Car men

Today we made an offer on a car for Carmen at a Toyota dealership. It is an odd thing here that even if somebody has registration papers, the car could still be stolen or under finance or whatever and can be repossessed. So buying from a dealership is your safest bet. SA's system is better in that the bank retains the reg docs until the car is fully paid up. Anyway, the test drive was a little different. The first thing you notice when you walk onto the lot is that all the car doors are unlocked. Test drive?
'No problem', says the salesman - here are the keys. And he turns around and heads back inside the dealership - I'll be at my desk when you get back.'
'Err, you aren't going to come with us...?'
'O Ok.'
So off we went. Just a run of the mill 2008 Toyota Corolla 1.8 Auto with low k's so I think we have a deal.
Dealer: 'So you guys starting out here?'
'Yes, hoping to make Aus our home.'
'Ok tell you what, at no charge, I'll throw in an extra 3 year warranty on top of the manufacturers warranty on the car so you are covered for a total of 5 years and you can relax and get settled here - one less thing to worry about, ok?'
'Er, ok thanks!'
Then they called over the service manager - this is who will be looking after you etc. and it wasn't even a new car. Anyway, they all made us feel very welcome. But boy their interest rates are high if you wanted to finance a vehicle. A friend recommended that we finance part of the vehicle and not buy it cash as it helps to build a credit record for when you buy a house, but though the prime is at around 5% or so, rates begin for corporate deals at 9%! and vary all the way up to 17%! So whilst the prime interest rate in SA is higher, your actual rate there may in fact be lower than here! Weird. Also even if they promise you lower rates - like some advertise 2.99%, they hide the real charges in monthly admin fees or whatever. So your payments may in fact be the same - very sneaky little buggers!

Another happy experience of Aussie service: Earlier in the week I had booked a time slot for today with a mobile tinting company to come and tint my car windows darker, because, as I am on the road, my vehicle is kitted out with an inverter that powers all my electrical gadgets,a phone kit, hard drive, GPS and car desk mount for my laptop and with the darker tint,I wouldn't have to remove my laptop from the desk all the time as it wouldn't be a temptation for an opportunist thief. Anyway, the guy rocks up as arranged, takes one look at my car and says: you have the darkest legal tint allowed, so I can do it, but you will get a fine if you get stopped. So on his advice, I decided against it. I offered to pay the call out fee as I should have checked on the level of tinting but he refused in typical Aussie fashion: No, no worries, mate.I wasn't too far away anyway.'

O and we finally visited a wonderful guy shop today called 'Bunnings'. Like Builders warehouse, but rougher and twice as many tools! They have like 50 different types of work gloves! I needed some safety gear for work, but we also decided to get a Dustbuster - those rechargeable little hand held vacuums as our proper vacuum in the container only arrives in a week or 2 and we couldn't face sweeping / brushing the carpets of our flat manually all the time. This is going to be a real test of the little unit - we'll see if it lasts the 2 weeks...

Tomorrow we may be spoiling ourselves and going to movies: $16.00 each and if you want the fancy chairs: $33.00 per ticket on Saturdays and Sundays! Missing our cheap Vitality R14 movies big time! Cheers for now!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

In SA we would call it a bit of a k*k day...

Today the honeymoon feeling was punctured somewhat. I guess I missed family and friends, my parish community and had an 'off' day at work. I suppose that reality would inevitably bite, and day to day routine take over, but I thought it would take longer. I miss my family and friends and perhaps the familiarity of knowing where everything is, while at the same time, I am glad to have been given a chance to start a new adventure. Australia is a country of great physical beauty, much like Cape Town and Knysna - without the litter, crime and beggars. Funny enough, I saw a young student being booked by a traffic officer at the traffic lights here in Sydney for trying to clean people's windscreens. My Australian companion remarked: 'Shame she is only trying to pay for uni", until I took him 5 or 10 years down the line if they allowed that and stopping at traffic lights becomes the running of a gauntlet. Though I am certainly enjoying the many freedoms that physical security gives you here, there are also some freedoms that are missing here and that SA had, although they were also beginning to fade - freedom of expression would be one: it is difficult to have the robust debates that one could have in SA without offending, as all speech is sanitised and you have to be very careful not to offend. Sure it makes for politeness and great courteousness, but it also means that society in general doesn't share on issues of the heart - be they politics, religion or whatever, and so, sharing superficially, except for those most close to you, means that in the main, wider society appears shallow and soulless. Australia is not perfect - it has never claimed to be and I guess I also want those reading here to know that I am not blind to her faults. But on the balance, I still choose it, as the right to life of every human being, necessarily underlies all other rights of our shared humanity. At least even if this country does not respect that right to life with regards to the unborn, unlike SA, it at least does so with regards to those ex utero.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Day number...and where the heck am I?

I am losing track of the days... Any new job is disorientating, I guess, but moving countries and doing it doubly so. I suppose at least they speak a variation of English here, which makes it somewhat easier. I asked the other day for a koki and was met with a blank stare. So basically if I'm not sure what things are called, I read the label of the item concerned. 'Permanent marker' therefore produced an instant and helpful response.

I just have to vent about the traffic here and more specifically my Garmin GPS.

I have been fighting the whole week with my blasted GPS. It is not that it is faulty. It does things just to cheese me off. It works a treat when it works and I especially bought a fancy one with bluetooth and traffic reports and the only thing that makes me restrain myself from dropping it in acid and hammering it repeatedly with my car jack is the fact that I believe I would get lost more often than it does. But it has been a close call sometimes ... The skyscrapers in the city sometimes make it disorientated and it has taken me around in circles more than once. I can deal with that: I normally look for the Harbour Bridge as I would have used Table Mountain as a reference point and it somehow comforts me and - more often than not - the Garmin as well, and then it is able to lead me the rest of the way home. The problem is when it is been bloody vindictive. I will be cruising happily along, settling into the rhythm of the traffic of my new home city roads and then out of the blue the little cretin on the dashboard will say in the sweetest female British voice: 'Take the next exit' - completely ignorant or more likely, unconcerned that I have to negotiate 4 lanes of traffic to get there. And then.... as I near the top of the offramp and am faced with choosing a lane going left or right, she will be silent. Dead silent. I can scream at her and threaten to rip out her innards; I can slow down to a crawl and watch old couples in walkers pass me on the pavement, as I wait for her to say something but it doesn't help. Until I am finally forced to choose a lane and commit to it and turn right, immediately after which point, she announces decisively: 'Turn left' - I swear there is a note of sadistic pleasure in the voice sometimes. The she will say: 'recalculating' and feign myriad calculations to find another route and proceed to tease me for half a dozen blocks announcing that I turn left or right on such and such a street just after I have passed each successive street. I have stopped shouting and swearing at the GPS, because my apoplectic shouting and gesticulations at the stupid device were attracting attention from other motorists. The damn thing is taking years off of my life. Anyway, I am thinking of nicknaming her Margaret...

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Day 6 actual day

On Sunday, after Church, we went and bought a whole lot of stuff from K-mart - the basics that we will need while waiting for our container. Then off to Coles (not Margaret's one - another branch) we went and saw that they have stuff in a special section: Ghost pops, Wine gums, Provita, Pro-Nutro,etc. All the SA stuff you can't normally get over here that easily- at a price of course. But I looked above it and it was listed as Mexican food? Go figure! As we were warned, it does take a while to get used to new brands and shopping takes a while longer. Afterwards, on the way home, I spotted a little shop called Argyle’s Shop and Rentals so I swung into a parking bay in a street nearby. From Friday, when we move into our new unfurnished apartment, we can do without most things, but we need a fridge until our container arrives, so Carmen and I decided to get a small secondhand one in the meantime. So we popped into Argyles and all the appliances were lined up but not a soul in the place, so we went back to the front and on the door there was a notice: ‘If this shop is unattended, please come 2 doors down to number 26.’ Like, huh? Imagine this in SA! Anyway. We walked 2 doors down and entered. Behind an old desk sat Mr Argyle, thousands of papers in piles around the large back office. He was at least 82 years old and had owned the business for over 30 years. We decided on a bar fridge and he slowly,.... excrutiatingly slowly, wrote out the invoice by hand, and advised us solemnly that even if we lost the invoice, he would still honour the 3 month guarantee. He then nodded to himself and disappeared to the back. We stayed where we were, unsure if the deal was concluded or not, but after a minute or two of rummaging through one of the piles he shuffled back over to the desk, collapsed into the chair and began to write out a certificate of guarantee for us, while our frozen food melted away in the car. I told him it wasn’t necessary but he insisted. I didn’t doubt his word that he would honour the guarantee if he was alive. I just thought he would expire before the guarantee. Anyway, certificate safely in hand, he offered to help us to the car by using a tip trolley to take it to the car for us, but I didn’t fancy having to explain away how I as a South African passport holder came to be holding dead Mr Argyle, a venerable Australian citizen, so I lifted up the fridge in my arms and we headed down the road as casually as we could, ignoring the studious non-stares of the pedestrians and hoping that nobody who had witnessed our public trolley spectacle, saw us now.

Day 6

Before I get to Sunday, I forgot to mention that on Saturday when we went with the ferry for our scenic little trip from Manly to Circular Quay, I had one of those moments... After taking a leisurely walk down to the terminal, the first alarm sounded to indicate that the ferry was about to leave, so we rushed up to the booth, tossed our change under the glass into the booth and the friendly assistant quickly issued our tickets, which we grabbed and ran towards the ferry. The terminal works like a tube turnstile - you slip your ticket in a front slot as you enter and it releases the turnstile and pops the ticket out on the top. Tony, Mira and Carmen slipped quickly through, the alarm growing more and more urgent, while my turnstile rejected my ticket, I vaguely aware that the assistant in the booth had shouted something at me, which was muted because of the glass. I thought she said: 'The ferry is leaving!' so I threw a flitting, desperate smile of acknowledgement and frantically thrust my ticket into the machine which again and spat it out, and I heard the women shout something again - louder but still muted. 'Yes, I know, you freaking moron,' I swore under my breath at her, as I frantically stabbed my ticket repeatedly at the stubborn turnstile: 'The ferry is leaving - I can also hear the 300 decibel alarm!' I glanced for a millisecond and saw Tony and Mira and Carmen looking out at me, puzzled, through the windows of the ferry? I had a momentary flashback to Paris. Then I heard the woman in the booth throw open her window and shout loudly:
'What?' I whirled on her.
She dropped her voice and said simply:
'Turn your ticket around...'
So I did. And the turnstile opened and I boarded the ferry just in time not daring to look back.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Day 7 - Back to the Grindstone

So what happened to Day 6? I started work today - only 1.5 hours each way in traffic, because I go agianst the flow of traffic, but am really tired - very nice bunch of people that I will be working with which makes a difference, but a funny thing happened when I walked in this morning: Our company utilises trailers to tow our smaller equipment around that does not need to be transported on a truck. Since our units have low ground clearance, they are special trailers and custom made. Well 2 of the 3 were gone this morning - stolen over the weekend! Welcome to Sydney! Will let you know if they catch the buggers! By the way, I did rub Saturday's win by the Springbok's in their faces over here :-). Funny enough they respect our team, but hate losing to the kiwis more! I will try and post about day 6 - it was quite an eventful Sunday, but I need my bed so goodnite from downunder.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Day 5 - Manly - Circular Quay

Another of those Aussie names - Manly - where we are staying has a ferry terminal and today we got the ferry from Manly to Circular Quay which is the terminal right alongside the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House together with a friend of mine and his girfriend up from Canberra, who spent the day with us. The weather was clear and skies blue. I have attached pics of the view from our flat looking over Manly Beach and you can see the ferry (green ship) heading out across the bay. Then a shot of Tony and Mira (weird name I know - she is from Croatia originally) with us at Starbucks :-) and finally one of Carmen outside the opera house. Felt like real tourists today. Never took a photo of it, but we also had Krispy Kreme donuts - evil stuff! Carmen wouldn't let me buy a green hat with corks :-( but I will get one soon anyway when I am alone... Cheers!

Tourism Website

Got this forwarded to me from my Aunt Gwen and couldn't resist: These were posted on an Australian Tourism Website and the answers are the actual responses by the website officials:
Q: Does it ever get windy in Australia ? I have never seen it rain on TV, how do the plants grow? ( UK )
A: We import all plants fully grown and then just sit around watching them die.
Q: Will I be able to see kangaroos in the street? ( USA )
A: Depends how much you've been drinking.
Q: I want to walk from Perth to Sydney - can I follow the railroad tracks?(Sweden)
A: Sure, it's only three thousand miles, take lots of water.
Q: Are there any ATMs (cash machines) in Australia ? Can you send me a list of them in Brisbane , Cairns , Townsville and Hervey Bay ? (UK)
A: What did your last slave die of?
Q: Can you give me some information about hippo racing in Australia ?( USA)
A: A-fri-ca is the big triangle shaped continent south of Europe . Aus-tra-lia is that big island in the middle of the Pacific which does not .... oh, forget it. Sure, the hippo racing is every Tuesday night in Kings Cross. Come naked.
Q: Which direction is North in Australia ?( USA)
A: Face south and then turn 180 degrees. Contact us when you get here and we'll send the rest of the directions.
Q: Can I bring cutlery into Australia ? (UK)
A: Why? Just use your fingers like we do...
Q: Can you send me the Vienna Boys' Choir schedule?(USA)
A: Aus-tri-a is that quaint little country bordering Ger-man-y, which is oh, forget it. Sure, the Vienna Boys Choir plays every Tuesday night in Kings Cross, straight after the hippo races. Come naked.
Q: Are there supermarkets in Sydney and is milk available all year round?(Germany)
A: No, we are a peaceful civilization of vegan hunter/gatherers. Milk is illegal.
Q: Please send a list of all doctors in Australia who can Dispense rattlesnake serum. (USA)
A: Rattlesnakes live in A-meri-ca which is where YOU come from. All Australian snakes are perfectly harmless, can be safely handled and make good pets.
Q: I have a question about a famous animal in Australia, but I forget its name. It's a kind of bear and lives in trees. ( USA)
A: It's called a Drop Bear. They are so called because they drop out of Gum trees and eat the brains of anyone walking underneath them. You can scare them off by spraying yourself with human urine before you go out walking.
Q: I have developed a new product that is the fountain of youth. Can you tell me where I can sell it in Australia ?(USA)
A: Anywhere significant numbers of Americans gather.
Q: Can you tell me the regions in Tasmania where the female population is smaller than the male population?
A: Yes, gay night clubs.
Q: Do you celebrate Christmas in Australia ?(France)
A: Only at Christmas.
Q: Will I be able to speak English most places I go? (USA)
A: Yes, but you'll have to learn it first.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Day 4 - Misery has a name. Margaret.

Today we paused to catch our breath and tried to do some washing. The coin-operated laundry next to our holiday flat only takes 1 dollar coins and since we needed a couple of things from Coles, we decided to kill two birds with one stone. With long queues at the other counters, Carmen and I glanced at each other, braced ourselves and lined up in front of the till manned by the cloud of darkness who had refused to serve us the previous day. Ok, admittedly, we are cowards - Carmen and I both counted the items in our basket twice to make sure we weren’t over the 12 item express checkout limit and after briefly debating whether Darth Vader would count a sealed pack of 6 hangers as a single pack or say that technically they were 6 items in a pack, we proudly placed our items on her counter. With my most winning smile, determined to rouse some semblance of humanity from this rock of misery, I stole a glance at her name tag:
‘Exactly 10 items – see we remembered, Margaret!’ I announced proudly to her, even using her name for dramatic effect.
Stony silence and a blank hostile stare as though I was from the moon.
I swallowed hard. I was not going to let this bastion of blackness deflate my happy mood today. I was in sunny Australia and everyone we had met except this wretched creature of gloom had gone out of their way to be friendly and welcoming:
’Only 10 items!’ I repeated cheerfully, and pointed upwards at the small sign above her till,
‘Remember yesterday…we…’ I trailed off as my eyes searched in vain for the sign which was nowhere to be seen..
She shook her head with an impatient sigh as she threw our items into a bag muttering under her breath:
‘Somedays I don’t know why I bother!’
I don’t know what she meant by that and I didn’t ask.
My wife was only slightly less intimidated than me, especially since I was safely between her and Attila the Hun’s clone. I froze, as she piped up, tentatively from the rear: ‘And if possible, could you include a couple of dollar coins in our change, please?’.
Blackness flung open the till, shaking her head: ‘I don’t have any – they leave me the whole day without any change!’ she announced loudly, the other cashiers studiously ignoring her.

We exited quickly through the doors, still short of half of our objective - coins for the laundry and now unable to muster the courage to ask for change without feeling obliged to buy something. Then we spotted a little Italian ice-cream shop (Gelatari) - any excuse for an icecream!
The friendly shop assistant handed us the tiniest ice cream I have ever seen, (Bambini’ ice creams are delicious, but, and again, I do not exaggerate, they are the length of my index finger including the cone.) (I do not have large hands either). As she took the 20 dollar note, we asked for dollar change.
‘O no, so sorry’ she gushed apologetically, in typical open and friendly Australian fashion, ‘but we have none – it has been a busy day.’
She tried to help by offering us 2 dollar coins but we thanked her and declined.. Thoroughly underwhelmed by the day’s lack of success after all of our stellar achievements of earlier in the week, we headed home. The jet lag now beginning to really make itself felt, we tried - again not very successfully - to catch up on some much needed sleep and recharge our batteries. O well tomorrow is another day. No worries.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Day 3

I collected my phone – for those who care a Nokia E51 and my car a black Ford Territory and was pleasantly surprised – it been a Ford – they make some nice cars, but well have the reputation of being big American gas guzzlers but Aus make their own cars and don’t suffer the reputation of their American counterparts and this one is very well finished - I had had my heart set on a Toyota Kluger, but must admit, am happy as can be with this one. Automatic – a must in this insane Sydney traffic! And 4.0l V6, a Bok van Blerk cd playing, arm out the window – who’s cool now! J

Carmen and I sadly parted with T and S at my offices feeling like fledglings abandoned by their foster parents and the security and home cooking of Avalon and headed out GPS engaged to begin the next part of our wonderful adventure. Then we went to do some grocery shopping.

What is up with these Aussies? Seriously, they will look you dead in the eye when I point to a popular range of shops and are puzzled when you stare in disbelief at the names of these places. A discount shop – like the cheap crazy stores in SA are called Willy Wonkers – I swear I am not making this up… I mean? Anyway we go to Coles (like Pick ‘n Pay) and take one of their blasted trolleys that are impossible to control – all four wheels move so you kind of wrestle them down the aisles. Loaded up about a quarter trolley we head to the cashier. Their were about 3 cashiers working as it was quiet and about 4 other customers paying. So we headed to the one that had no one in the queue – a miserable old women who glares at Carmen and points upwards to a small sign above the till: 12 items or less. Now we are one of those obedient couples who never try and ‘cheat’ by taking a trolley to a basket checkout, but the sign was really small so we missed it. Anyway, we backed off and she turns around and bellows out to the empty shop: ‘Next customer please!’ I turned to Carmen and then to my trolley and then looked at the cashier. There were no other customers in the store. I silently wished her painful bunions and we queued at the next till. Our car was parked 2 streets away so we asked the cashier (a nice one) if we could possibly take the trolley down the road and offload into our car and bring it back. She helpfully said ‘no problem’ so we headed out into main street Sydney pushing a full shopping trolley down the pavement. Carmen turned to me about 5 metres into this and said: ‘You know Rodney, I don’t see anybody else doing this. People are looking at us’ And she was right. They were. Everybody battled with their bags, but nobody else had hijacked a trolley. There was a good reason for this. Outside the smooth pavement of the shop, it was fine. The errant trolley was controllable – with difficulty – but it was achievable. Then you cross the road and hit the paving of the car park road and all hell breaks loose. The trolley bucked and kicked like a rodeo pony. Eventually, we took one end each: Carmen pulled it viciously from the front while I shoved and kicked it along mercilessly from the back swearing like troopers and wishing all manner of plagues on the manufacturers of the trolley and the miserable cashier for good measure.

But by the time we got back to the flat and had eaten our supper, and we were finally able to link up to the internet again with 3G - $200 later and a world of frustration, our mood had markedly improved. I must say, you guys in SA are in for a bit of trouble when the new law for prepaid comes into effect over there, where you have to register your details when you buy a prepaid cellphone. We had to give passport numbers and addresses etc. Remember FICA at the banks? Similar process.

Anyway – here are some pics of the temporary holiday flat we are in for the next 9 days before we move into the long termer. Or on the net:

Will try and post again soon.

Day 2

We stayed for 2 nights at S&T place a cousin of mine in a beautiful leafy suburb near the beach in Avalon north of Sydney. We had arranged to view a long term (1 year) rental place while we were still in SA – a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 2 garage apartment in Homebush Bay – right near the water with tennis courts, a proper multi lane lap pool, gym, running tracks, cycling tracks and right next to the Awesome Sydney Olympic Park with unreal facilities. If you love sport, this is heaven. I have attached some pics of the place. If you want to have a look at the actual unit we are renting: this is the link to it:

When we went to see the actual unit it was a nice size – difficult tot gauge but probably 100-110m2 and well kitted out with piped gas 2 balconies – one piped for a gas braai and just very civilised. As I was walking through to the bedrooms, I remarked in passing to the agent that there really was a lot of cupboard space and waved my hand in the direction of a set of double doors. ‘O that’s not a cupboard he said flinging the doors open to reveal a laundry room perhaps 6m2 with a tumble dryer mounted on the wall, space for a washing machine and its own sink – it was so cool, Carmen said she thought I was going to demand the papers right there and then to sign – I almost did. To cut a long story short, we loved the place and so within 28 hours of our arrival we had found a long term place to stay which we love!, signed the lease, paid the bond (deposit), got approval, collected our car and phone, bought and updated a Garmin and been feeling altogether very chuffed with ourselves – knowing of course there is a Somebody watching over us and for some unknown reason, smoothing our path.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

The Move: Day 1

After boarding an SAA flight to Jhb, we had an uneventful trip via Qantas to Sydney. As the wheels lifted off from Johannesburg International, I felt nothing. We had said our goodbyes in Cape Town and that was so hard because we have left people behind that will only join us in a while, but of SA there was no sense for me of loss. We landed in Sydney and S & T collected us with a real Aussie welcome and the gift of a cute, soft Koala bear toy and after dumping our bags at their house, we took a stroll together in the gathering twilight down towards the local Woolworths. Mom's were walking with their kids in prams, there were no beggars with their bibs and implicit threats in the car park or loiterers outside the shop. The shelves were quite confusing as we searched for different products, but it was such a sense of freedom to walk out and home in suburbia without any concern for safety or negotiating a gauntlet. For any who read this blog, let me put this out there: I have no intention of ever trashing the land of my birth, but I also have no intention of not sharing the things that I appreciate in this new life either. We walked by Avalon beach and it was peaceful - some surfers (there are always surfers out on the water) catching some small waves. This is the life I want for my wife, my parents, my siblings, my family and friends and my future children. It is what a home should be.

The Move: Prologue Day before leaving

After days of packing, wrapping up bank accounts and basically wiping out any traces of our hitherto existence, it was the final evening before our flight out. I have attached some pics of the chaos that was our flat that was taken over by Kings removals – they were methodical and if all our stuff arrives safely on the other side in Sydney, it would have been as painless a process as one could ever have hoped. Excuse the picture quality - was taken with a cellphone.