Friday, 21 December 2007

Old News - Newsletter December 2007

Another year draws to a close, and slowly I am starting to feel "home" here, after nearly two years in Australia.

Last January I sent off my application for a skilled independant permanent visa, which is based on points calculated from your age, qualifications and work experience. Luckily what I do is in high demand here at the moment, so I had points to spare! Even so, the paperwork took several nail-biting months to process, but I finally picked up my visa in August and I can work where I like and come and go as I please for the next few years, after which time they expect you to become a citizen. Passport 3 here I come!

Milord and I go from strength to strength. This has been a very good year for us after the initial learning curve of 2006! In the coming year we plan to buy a house together, and that will draw us closer and maybe make me put down roots here at last. Living in rented accommodation is just not the same!

I have been in the same job since March 2006, and I can't see me staying with it much longer. It has not been at all challenging this past year, and I was only staying because of visa sponsorship... I am now free to seek my fortune elsewhere! Hopefully for more money too ;-). It's a contract position so I can walk away at any time.

We've had a few memorable holidays this year. In March Milord and I went to South Africa for a couple of weeks and Milord fell in love with the place. We spent a week in Cape Town, and then a week in the Kruger Park. It was my first time in the Kruger and I was blown away! We are definitely talking about coming back sometime. He got to meet most of my family and friends, and is still with me so you all can't have been that bad!

In August we went to New Zealand to fetch my visa, and threw in a few days skiing in Queenstown. While it's a superb town and has stunning scenery, I wasn't that impressed with the ski slopes and I'm not sure we'll bother again - we'll probably try the local ski fields this coming winter. It was great to see H and C in Auckland though in their newly bought house.

In October K and P came over from the UK for a few weeks and we were able to join them for a few days of their trip. We went to Port Douglas, north of Cairns, for most of a week, and I'll definitely go back! Milord and I managed to sneak in a couple of dives, and it rates as some of the best diving I have done in Australia. Although that's not saying much... we are both very spoiled after the Red Sea!

Apart from that we haven't had much holiday this year. Milord's mum was extremely ill with cancer this year and we spent most of our free time and cash visiting her. She died in September, which is an enormous shame as I rather liked her. Milord is now "orphaned" and we will be spending Christmas with other folk who also can't be with their families.

On the weekends we sometimes get away for a break, or go flying in a light aircraft. We don't dive much around Sydney as it's cold and murkey, but sometimes we go for a snorkel to play with the underwater camera. Milord's been getting back into golf lately, and I'm still promising to get out my sketching gear but haven't made it off the couch yet! The summer has been extremely disappointing so far, very wet and mild. Hopefully it will cheer up before next winter - I'd love a scorching month or two ;-).

We have no holidays lined up for next year yet, as the house buying could put a stop to that sort of thing for a while... We are tossing around some diving/sailing plans though, so who knows?!

Stay well and have a wonderful festive season. Hug family for me, because I really miss you guys...

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