Down Under Diary 1 : The Week That Broke The Camel’s Back

I’ve decided to create a weekly ‘diary’ post every Tuesday to document mine and Jack’s life now that we are living in Sydney. First of all, it’s a great way for family and friends to keep up with what we are doing and secondly it’s a great way for us to look back and see some of the things we got up to. I also think it would be helpful for anyone else who is considering moving abroad to know what the reality of such a big move is like. I know that living in Australia is something I have wanted to do for over ten years now and feel incredibly lucky to be able to do so, however before I left I didn’t find a lot of information about moving to a new country other than people telling you fun things to do once you got there. Those posts were great and will definitely be useful in the coming weeks when we get ready to explore a little more, but when you arrive somewhere with literally just a suitcase of clothes you need a little more help besides knowing that there’s a cool new bar just opened a few bus stops away.

First of all, because we have been travelling in Australia for about three months, Jack and I had already sorted our tax file numbers, a joint bank account and Jack had a job offer which meant that once we had found an apartment we liked we could sign for it that day. Renting in Sydney is expensive and house hunting here is like a competitive, extreme sport, thankfully we managed to fall in love with our dream first home in amazing North Sydney. Even better, the only bills we have to pay here are gas and electric! The apartment is split over two levels, has 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and is quite simply the dream.

Whilst it is the dream apartment, the reality of furnishing somewhere as big as this by ourselves hit very quickly. The weekend before we got to Syndey, we ordered a sofa and a bed frame from Fantastic Furniture then found a cheap deal online for a mattress, but they wouldn’t be delivered for a few days after we had moved in. Essentially we were two people who had an array of summer clothes and two blow up mattresses kindly loaned to us by my fantastic family in Canberra who were kind enough to let us stay for the weekend before we moved. To make matters worse, we would later that night find out that one of the mattresses had a hole in it so it actually meant two nights on the floor for me.

We had rented a car from Bayswater Car Rental for our time in Canberra and for the first few days of the move, so once we had picked up the keys and dropped off our suitcases we headed to Kmart. We chose to shop at Kmart simply because we were on a budget and we needed to furnish the entire place in a few days so a shop that sold quite literally everything was one of the easiest options. It sold small pieces of furniture like TV stands and bookcases, electronics, kitchenware and ‘pretty’ things to make the place look more like a home. Plus the stuff at Kmart is surprisingly good quality for the price and somewhere I would recommend anyone new to Australia to shop at.

We filled the car up with multiple back and forth shops, drove back to the apartment to drop off what we had bought and then set off back out again for another Kmart haul.

By the time we got back, we were exhausted. One of the huge perks of living in Sydney is the availability of Uber Eats, so that was our treat for a long, hard day. It was clear from even that first day that setting up a home somewhere new was going to be hard when it was just us two. I couldn’t carry as much as Jack, so he was the one carrying the heavy stuff from the car in the basement to the third floor (hence why I refused to let him be the one to sleep on the floor!). Back home in England, we’d have had help from our friends and family with moving, but in Sydney we really were alone. Every bit of carrying, building and styling was to be done by just us. It was a lot to do, but we did it.

The next day was the same – shopping, loading up the car, driving back, unloading and repeat. Once again we were exhausted, but managed to enjoy another Uber Eats sat on the floor using the coffee table (the first piece of flat pack we built) as a dining table.

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More furniture, a fridge and a washing machine (thank you, mum and dad!) arrived over the next few days and slowly but surely the apartment began to take shape. We used Facebook Market Place to find a few bits for the apartment which, even though they were annoying to go pick up, made it so we could have an escape from building furniture, try out Sydney’s public transport and get to wander around different areas of the city that was our new home.

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It wasn’t all hard work, though. We still made time for a celebratory drink at a really nice bar in North Sydney called The Treehouse before heading into Sydney central to shop for more homeware and to Darling Harbour for another drink. It was important to us to still find time to celebrate this exciting new chapter of our lives and amongst setting everything up. Whilst realising that we were alone in Sydney, it was also a really proud moment to sit back and know that we had created our perfect home just with each other. And we didn’t have a single argument whilst building the flat pack!

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After two nights of Uber Eats life, we decided to give the Sydney takeaway scene a break (hopefully just a short break though because some of the food here looks INCREDIBLE!). Jack is the chef out of the two of us so he cooked – a chicken curry for him and a chickpea curry for me. In all honesty, it was better than Uber Eats. (Please also notice the paper towels we have been using as coasters – try as we might, we cannot find coasters ANYWHERE in Sydney. Do people here not use them?! Was there a crazy demand for them the week before we moved and they all sold out?! WHERE ARE THE COASTERS?!)

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The first night sleeping in a real bed on a real mattress was a dream. After a few nights on the floor, no chair to sit on and lots of heavy lifting, my back was in bits. But it was worth it to make the perfect first home for us.

So as far as seeing the sights or going wild in Sydney, this first week has been a pretty quiet one in terms of ‘living’ a Sydney life. However, in terms of pure back ache, endless screws, bolts and nails and contactless card payments, it was probably the busiest week of my life in a long time. Jack started his new job yesterday and I’m staying home to focus on my blog and my writing. We’re still figuring out our day to day routines, still finding things to make our apartment more homely and still figuring out what it means to live in Sydney. But I’ll end this post like we ended our week – with a drink, just the two of us, celebrating all we have done together and all that is still to come.

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6 Comments

    1. Aww that would be brilliant thank you! That’s really kind of you. Is North Sydney a great place to live? We’re enjoying it so far but it has only been a week so I’d hope we would be! Currently feeling a bit poorly – apparently when you first move over you catch all kinds of bugs because your body isn’t used to it here so I think I’m in the middle of that

      1. Yes I love it. Make a trip to Humm on Pacific Highway for breakie on the weekend you won’t be disappointed! Ah sorry to hear that! Lots of rest and you’ll adjust in time 😊

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