We landed into Sydney on a dark Saturday night. Our first experience of the city was being ripped off in a taxi to our accommodation.
We decided to stay in an AirBnB studio in Maroubra for our first two weeks. This would allow us to have our own space while we went in search of jobs, a home and dare we say it – a routine.
We arrived at night to find our way to the studio blocked by a massive German Shepherd – the guarddog of our German hosts, Colleen and Michael. We would be staying in a studio apartment above their garage at the back of their garden. It was small but it was ours. John remarked that first night that between the attic like roofing and the fact that we had to keep quiet so as not to alert the Germans below that it all felt like Anne Frank’s house!
So with our temporary base of operations established we immediately set about our infiltration into Sydney’s population. First up was to replace our Oyster Cards for Opal Cards.
Next we had to (literally) suit up. There was not much room in the Osprey backpacks for business attire so what was needed was a bit of a boring shopping spree for suits and boots. The local Westfield at EastGardens provided the perfect hunting ground. This was the first occassion we had shopped for clothes with a vengeance in a long time. It felt a bit like that montage scene in Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts is transformed from a street walker to a member of high society. John had to get some help as he had changed dimensions since London. Karen had to relearn how to walk in heels!
Karen needed a follow up visit to shop for her friend Erica’s, birthday present. While this was going on, John was tasked with Laundry duties and after 10 months of travelling he finally met that one annoying person you will meet. She had such gems as:
John: We would like to do some laundry. Can we use this machine?
Rude Lady: What else would you use!
John: Do you have any detergent that we may kindly use?
Rude Lady: 1 scoop for 1 dollar. I am watching you so only 1 scoop!!
To use the dryer there is a sliding scale of pay based on how long to use the machine. The cost is then doubled! On asking why, she responded…
Rude Lady: Service charge for use of machine. You got a problem with that?
So armed with Resumes and dressed to kill we went to the Sydney CBD to meet our first agent, Nigel from Edinburgh. As we walked to his office John noticed that Karen was wearing the wrong shoes!!
But it wasnt all job hunting. We got back to one of favourite hobbies – cooking! With our own kitchen full of utensils – but no tin opener, we cooked some tasty meals!
With a winning smile and stronger CV it only took Karen 6 days to find a job – a little sooner than she had hoped. In between this the dynamic duo had started looking at house shares around the city. One of these was in a spare room in a flat in Chinatown. A basic description would be a crime scene! John was mad at Karen for having to take his shoes off as his socks were cleaner than the carpet!
This became the tipping point and with Karen in employment we decided to just get our own 1 bedroom apartment for 6 months. With the help of some friends this became a quick process.
Welcome to Sydney!