Thursday, 29 October 2015


Arggggghhhhhh! 37 is the first birthday I've hit where I've really felt like, oh crap, I am meant to be an adult by now. I AM SO NOT AN ADULT RIGHT NOW. SOMEBODY STOP THIS AGEING PROCESS MALARKEY!

As is tradition in our house, the day started off with the Official Birthday Table and Cake For Breakfast ritual. Also the Age Represented In Flames To Show You How Your Time On Earth Is Rapidly Burning Away, You Candle In The Wind, You...

That carrot cake is all miiiiine...
Also at this stage is the PREZZIE OPENING!! I had some lovely gifts from friends and, after much cajoling and hissy-fittedness, Jan got me what I wanted - a new camera. Those of you who know me well, will know my history with cameras is... uhm.... iffy. In fact the lake where we got married is currently in possession of one of my cameras, thanks to a boat trip that saw me drop it into the murky depths*. Enjoy your selfies, fish!

* In fact, we were a bit dubious about getting married at that lake, as I've also fallen into it fully clothed...

So Jan patiently tried to explain to me that my choice of new camera was probably a bad idea, as it was not a simple point-and-shoot jobbie, but involved me learning things such as 'aperture' and 'Focus' and 'F Stop' and I am more of a 'break down into full toddler tantrum when <insert any technology here> requires me to do anything beyond pressing one button'* kinda gal.

* iTunes is my nemesis and I will loathe it for eternity. WHY CAN'T I EVER JUST DO WHAT I WANT TO DO, DAMN YOU!!!

But I held firm to my choice, because why? Because it looked VINTAGE and that clearly trumps everything.

Oooooh, aaaaaah, look at the lovely VINTAGE, everyone!
I'm super pleased with it, and have even started to learn about all its functions, which I hope to work on more when we go to Tasmania next month. And it has already enabled me to take these super-artistic, highly professional shots:

Knobbly Knees (in all their glory)...

Breakfast Detritus (with NOTHING on any coasters...)

And my personal favourite - Top Of The Bottle.
Due to some shortsightedness on my part, I was actually working all day on my birthday. Although this totally eventually paid off in a whole extra cake - very kindly made for me by my lovely, lovely work friends.  Clearly, however, I don't have a picture of this, as I snarfed it down pretty much instantly - as a comfort for the fact it was 34 DEGREES outside and I could have been ON THE BEACH and not in the office casually know as 'Siberia. This was highly upsetting given that my birthday is usually conducted in cold, rainy autumn weather in England. Woe and alas - let me eat more cake to compensate!

However, it was still pretty warm in the evening,so  our friends came round for dinner and we ate outside on our balcony, which was really lovely, and the perfect way to usher in our next summer of Aus living!
Hmmm, maybe I need some more work on that Focus thang...

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Visa displeaser

If you've been with us from the beginning, you'll know that the whole reason we came to Australia was a random conversation with a colleague of mine, who had been offered work out here, but who couldn't go herself, so... hey! Why don't you go?! Jan and I discussed it at length* and decided to go for it. And so we got a company-sponsored visa for four years,

* "Cate: Fancy moving to Sydney?
  Jan: Yeah, sure."

But recently, the company I work for was bought by another company. And so the saga began.
"But surely they can just transfer your visa to the new company?", I hear you ask. And the answer? Stupid governmental bureaucracy is much the same as estate agencies - universal and universally awful.  For undisclosed reasons, they couldn't just transfer the visa - I had to apply for a new visa.  Only..... *pauses for dramatic effect*..... they've changed the list of jobs that can qualify for the visa! And, yep, you guessed it, mine's not on there! Your name's not down, you're not coming in! Release the Border Police:

The only real option was for us to ask Jan's company to sponsor him and get a new visa that way. Fortunately for us, there were already registered with the relevant authorities, as a company that is eligible to sponsor employees. Also fortunately, Jan is very good at what he does, and they didn't want him to be eaten by the Border Police just cos his loser wife had a loser job. So they got on making the application for Jan.

And so began.... the.... waiting..... Anyone who has had to fill out any sort of complicated paperwork will feel the pain of The Wait and the stress of your life being in the hands of someone else. Shall we book our honeymoon?! No, for fear we will get booted out. Shall we plan our next trip home? No, we might be there sooner than expected. Shall I book that dental appointment? NO, we might need your gold* fillings to pay for the flights home. Shall I book that leg waxing? Uhm.. maybe - it could make you more streamlined in the water for when we have to swim to Manus Island.

* Neither of us has gold fillings. Don't get me wrong - I have several fillings, I'm just too cheap to pay for gold ones. Heck, I'm so cheap I didn't even pay for the porcelain version! I got the old amalgams - who cares if they're black and they've got mercury in them?! They're cheap!

Anyway, a few centuries* later, we heard we had got a bridging visa. No illegal immigrants, us! A bridging visa is basically a visa that allows you to stay in the country while they work out if you actually can stay in the country - and in fact on a bridging visa, you are unable to leave the country! So we had basically gone from being unsure whether we should be here,  to being unable to leave. Uh, progress?!

* weeks, but dayum waiting is hard..

Then, after another couple of weeks, the wait was finally over and the country has deemed Jan, at least, good enough to stay here. We have a shiny new visa valid for four years - and now I am the dependant! Which means I can gad about quitting my job and spending all day on the beach if I like, while Jan is tied to the grindstone, providing for his ineligible wife! Hey, this might not be so bad after all!

Highly professional graphics added by me!