LezGoMelbourne

A lesbian couple loving free, learning anew, and living in Melbourne


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10 Tips on Moving to Australia: Eat, Breathe, Live Like a Local Part 1

Moving to Australia feels like I can do anything. I was positively excited to try out what this city has to offer. I want to mingle. I want to go places. I want to go out and eat. I want to know where or how I can fit in.

My way of doing that is by knowing my way around the city or the neighbourhood. I want to have my own share of favourite hang-out spots. I want to have an instinct of where I can go on a Thursday night or a Friday night. I want to manoeuvre the markets, the lanes, and the find exactly what I am looking for.

Friends, even acquaintances, will gladly advise you some places that you need to take note of like the Asian grocery or a market stall where you can get really good seafood. Those are some of the essentials. However, what I’m sharing with you are some places that I could find within a few steps or blocks from my place.

1. Hotel
You want to grab a drink with some of your buddies? Go to the nearest watering hole, also known as your local bar. Here, they call it the hotel. Yes, you read that right. And no, they are different from the ones who offer guests accommodation but they do have that too.

2. Bottle shop
There are bottle shops that close early and some that are open until 1am. Knowing where to get a bottle of cider after a hard day’s work or if you just plan on bringing some wine for dinner with friends, this is the place to go to. This place is really handy, especially when the walk is too long and it is too cold to go to the grocery which may or may not carry your preferred drink or brand.

3. Laundromat
Your apartment may be equipped with a washing machine or there is a communal laundry facility in the building. However, don’t be too confident that you won’t run into any problems with the laundry machine. You need to be a boy scout and prepare for the worst. Locate where the nearest laundromat is and save yourself the hassle of hand washing everything.

Hmmm Burger, Lezgomelbourne, JusBurgers

Hmmm Burger

4. A Great Burger Joint
You earned your hunger. Only a really great burger would do. Remember, you are in Australia. Quality beef, lamb, and veal is cheap. That means a great burger isn’t too far behind. So, if you want to reward yourself with real comfort food, you will find yourself a great burger place that serves a grilled patty.

5. Chinese Take Away
Rice? Noodles? Dumplings? You can have all three if you want, especially when you’re too busy or lazy to cook.

6. Pizza
I think Filipinos enjoy a great burger as much as a great pizza. Try the local pizzerias first. If you don’t think they’re better than the big wig fast food chains back home, which I doubt, then by all means, go for the one that best suits your palate.

Melbourne Australia Coffee Shop Cafe LezGoMelbourne 10 Tips on Moving to Australia: Eat, Breathe, Live Like a Local Part 1

A great cup of coffee

7. A Good Cup of Coffee
This is Australia. The number of cafes and brekkie places here is more than I can imagine. There is good food to be had. And the coffee, a number of good ones are out there I’m telling you. You’re in for a great brew.

8. Pie Shop
You’ll be seeing pie shops everywhere in the city. There’s quite a few of them scattered around the suburbs. Why is a pie shop on this list? Well, if you want to be a local I assume you would want to have or develop an appreciation of pies. So grab a freshly made one from a local store before you grab a frozen pack from the grocery.

9. The Post
Snail mail is alive and it is nice to send your loved ones back home a postcard or two just because you remember them. Also, it comes really handy to know where you can collect that package your mailman can’t leave at your door.

10. The $2 Shop
I thought that the only places I could score some nice bargains from are Dimmeys, The Reject Shop, and Arthur Daley. Well, there is a $2 dollar shop here in my neighbourhood and it really is like a scaled down version of these discount shops, albeit with a narrower selection. Still, I find that I can buy a range of items here without breaking the bank, like a cake carrying case, a rolling pin, and even tabo. Yes, tabo like the ones we have back home.

Disclaimer: LezGoMelbourne is not paid by nor affiliated with any of the companies, shops, or brands mentioned above (if any). These are LezGoMelbourne’s personal opinions with no intention to cause or do any harm. These tips/guides are not to be taken as fact or absolute. Please consult with a professional for your own counsel.

© LezGoMelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com 2013 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including photos if any, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lezgomelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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10 Tips on Moving to Australia: How to Cope

Having arrived late last year, I was able to keep myself busy by taking in a bit of the sights Melbourne has to offer. The first couple of weeks were truly exciting since everything is new and different. You get to check some of the things the city has to offer like the parks, the local watering hole, the nearest place to get brunch or Chinese take-away, and of course for the sweet tooth like me, where to get your fix for gelato.

Arriving late last year also means I was occupied with shopping for Christmas presents. Yes, we are quite lucky to have more than a handful of friends when we got here. There were get-together dinners, exchange gifts, and parties.
By January, I was getting settled on a routine. There are days reserved for a trip to the market, nights for playing badminton, and a whole day spent on making a full diner with friends. Then there was the Australian Open and Australia Day too.

And wouldn’t you know it, a few days after, the calendar moves to February. It’s love month and the Chinese New Year has come and gone too.

Nothing says you have to get a move on than two New Year celebrations. I would love to have a job by now, but, that is not the case.

So, if for some reason you find yourself stuck or unmotivated or lonely, you’re not the only one. You can keep your sanity in check and maintain your positive attitude by always doing something. In my case, sleeping in and watching television all day helps pass the time, but it doesn’t make you less depressed.

Lezgomelbourne Yarra River

Walking along the Yarra River

While you fine tune your resume and here are some ways you can do to beat the blues away. Again, I’m making a list because it’s just a really nice and easy way to organize my thoughts.

1. Have you talked to someone today?
Hello! How are you? Even a simple exchange of greetings is enough acknowledgment. So take advantage of these days when you can make new friends or acquaintances.

Talk to people who matter while you are not yet too busy to catch up with them. Use whatever social media you can. Skype, Facebook, Yahoo Messenger, Viber, and WhatsApp are just some of the applications out there.

2. Participate
I’m sure you have your own stories, your own stock knowledge, and other ideas. You can share these to the community or to the world wide web by writing your own blog like I did. Share what you find interesting, inspiring, or even helpful.

If you think making a blog is too demanding of your time or patience, you can always post your ideas in forums. I’ve mentioned some sites in a previous post, here.

Hopefully, that would give you an idea on the kind of people you want to engage with or the kinds of topic you want to discuss.

3. Pick up your old hobby
Do you knit? I would love to learn how to knit. I think one of my hobbies is picking other hobbies. Lols.

All I’m saying is it’s the best time to practice or indulge yourself with your hobby. At the end of the day, you have made some progress or end up with a finished product in your hands that you can be proud of.

4. Life is out there
Explore a different part of your neighbourhood, or a different neighbourhood altogether. Don’t stay cooped up inside the house. While it isn’t too cold out, while you have a few hours before picking up your kids at school or fixing dinner, you can roam like a local. Walk. Get some sunshine. Breathe in the air. And don’t forget your sunscreen.

If you want more ideas, this other post here and here just might help you.

5. Have a Calendar
Do you know what you are going to do tomorrow? What about the next day? Next week? A calendar encourages you to set some activities you can look forward to. It can be a simple letter you need to write or a short coffee break with a friend. It can be anything you want it to be.

6. Learn something new
Do you like pomegranates? I do. You haven’t tried it? Well, you won’t know unless you try, right?

7. Be Grateful for Something
We all have bad days. We all go through a rough patch every now and then. The thing is, you can always choose to look on the bright side.

8. Love yourself more
People can beat you up physically, emotionally, psychologically. Life is hard enough as it is. We need to help ourselves and love ourselves more.

9. Time Out
It’s okay to take a break. You earned it for trying day in and day out.

10. Make your own list
Always aspire for the things you want to achieve. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short-term or a long-term goal. Write it down. If you can think it, you can do it. If at times you forget, put it up on the walls or on the mirror where you can see it every day. Give yourself a boost.

I know, it’s beginning to sound like a self-help post. But, it is what it is. I try to take my own medicine so I don’t get stuck in a rut. It’s not a pill. It’s not a cure all. It’s just about getting busy and staying positive. It takes some effort, but it’s better than beating myself down. It’s just not healthy for my self-esteem.

Disclaimer: LezGoMelbourne is not paid by nor affiliated with any of the companies, shops, or brands mentioned above (if any). These are LezGoMelbourne’s personal opinions with no intention to cause or do any harm. These tips/guides are not to be taken as fact or absolute. Please consult with a professional for your own counsel.

© LezGoMelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com 2013 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including photos if any, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lezgomelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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10 Tips on Moving to Australia: The Cost of Living

It’s hard to calculate just how much change you would have to get accustomed to when living in a different country. Settling down in a new house, in a new neighborhood, all of it can take some time.

But after a month of two, you should be able to find your way in and around Melbourne with ease either by train, tram, or bus. You can easily map out where the nearest convenience store is , where the post is so you can drop your mail, where the bottle shop is so you can grab a cider or two, and of course, the nearest market or grocery for fresh produce.

You can easily build your routine within a few weeks, but how much is the change going to cost you? I have tried my hardest to research about the cost of living in Australia. So far, there isn’t a concrete or fixed amount out there. I guess it all depends on the lifestyle you live and what you can afford. But, to give you a rough idea and maybe help you manage your budget, here is a list of expenditures you can expect on a weekly basis for a couple with no kids:

Fed Quare, Federation Square, Flinders St, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Lezgomelbourne, Lez go melbourne, Melbourne CBD

One of the many city views on Federation Square, along Flinders St

1. Rent

The closer you are to the city, the pricier and the smaller your unit or apartment becomes.  The same holds true for really popular streets or neighborhoods. Nevertheless, you would be spending roughly $300 – $350 per week on rent for a 1 bedroom apartment located near the CBD.

2. Health Care

For a couple, you would be spending roughly $100 every 2 weeks for health care coverage. The estimates vary if you are availing private health care, which policy, and other extras.

3. Food

Every week, I try to keep my grocery down to a maximum of $50. However, that budget can be very limiting especially if you like variety in your diet. It also doesn’t include any toiletries and other household effects like cleaners.

Remember, almost all products are priced at $1 per piece or more. This partial list, as of December 2012, costs roughly $23.  Imagine if you add in your beef, chicken, pork and other produce, not to mention your rice, it’ll only cost more.

2 Litre Milk                                         $2.00

250g Butter                                        $1.40

500g Spaghetti                                  $0.69

750g Bread                                         $3.50

Brown Vinegar                                  $0.95

1 Dozen Caged Eggs                        $2.90

2 Litre Pineapple Juice                   $2.77

1 kg Cashmere Potatoes                  $2.98

1pc Iceberg Lettuce                         $0.90

250g Strawberries                            $1.98

1kg Tomatoes                                    $2.50

 

4. Utilities

Electricity is responsible not only for your refrigerator and television, but also your electric stove/ oven and your hot water, unless, of course, it runs on gas.  Your bill might run up to $100 per month or more with additional appliances in the house such as dishwasher, dryer, or heater.

Depending on your tenancy contract, water bills are due quarterly or yearly, and may or may not be paid by your landlord. Please check with your agent accordingly.

5. Communication

Buy a prepaid sim for $2 and load up. Network to network text messaging is free, but other than that, you need to pay for calls and data. Without international calls, you may spend just $30 a month.

6. Internet

If you have applied for an ADSL connection, it may cost anywhere from $49/month or more, depending on your data plan. On the other hand, if you have bought a prepaid internet kit, you may spend more than that if you are unaware of your consumption. If you make video calls every day, watch a ton of Youtube videos, and download a lot of files, you can spend $25 in an instant. A budget of $20-30 per week is good for a modest use.

7. Transport

If you commute to the city everyday by train or tram, you may spend roughly $30 per week, excluding Saturdays and Sundays.

8. Take away

Running errands can leave you hungry. Sometimes, you just have to grab a bite to eat. The cheapest ones out there are $5 pies and $5 baguettes. Wash it down with $3 coffee and it’s a simple break you can indulge yourself in. Yes, indulge. Australia makes great coffee.

French toast, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Lezgomelbourne, Lez go melbourne, Brunch Melbourne, Food Melbourne, Food Australia, Brunch Australia, Dining Melbourne, Dining Australia, Cafe Melbourne, Bistro Melbourne

Dining in one of the many cafes and bistros in and around Melbourne is exciting and all too tempting

9. Dining out

A plate of grub can cost anywhere from $10 to $18 and it all depends on where you eat. An average meal costs $10, be it  TexMex, Vietnamese, Chinese, or Fish and Chips.

10. Entertainment

Ticket for two at the cinemas can cost anywhere from $40 – $50. A walk in the park or on the beach, free.

Now, you have a more realistic figure for your household when it comes to making your weekly or monthly budget. Hope it helps you. If you have better ideas, why don’t you share your own thoughts and tips!

Disclaimer: LezGoMelbourne is not paid by nor affiliated with any of the companies, shops, or brands mentioned above (if any). These are LezGoMelbourne’s personal opinions with no intention to cause or do any harm. These tips/guides are not to be taken as fact or absolute. Please consult with a professional for your own counsel.

© LezGoMelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com 2013 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including photos if any, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lezgomelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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10 Tips on Moving to Australia: To Buy or Not to Buy

I was in a shopping frenzy two weeks prior to my flight for Australia. I was thinking, what clothes do I need? What was worth buying here that was cheaper? Do I need to bring my books?

I am a bargain shopper and I want nothing but a good deal with every peso or dollar that I spent. So, what is it that I just had to pack in my luggage and had to have shipped? And what makes sense to just leave behind? Read on and find out.

1. Bed sheets
Philippines is a textile manufacturing and garment producing nation, so if you look really well, you’d be able to find lots and lots of good sales and deals on items from something as small as socks to as big as bed sheets.

I had brought with me two sets of queen size bed sheets with a 500 thread count, both of which I had bought on sale for around $40 equivalent. If you were to buy bed sheets here, it would probably go for $39 that barely has a 300 thread count. It’s one of the luxuries you can afford.

2. How cold is cold?
I kept asking everyone as to what the weather is like in Australia. It differs from state to state, but it can be agreed upon that it can be quite chilly. And even though the temperature doesn’t go below zero in winter, you can gauge just what winter clothes you need.

I, for one, bought thermal inner wear, and a thermal lined jacket. Many may laugh at me but I can’t stand walking out on a windy, 14C evening. It’s summer here and that temperature is but normal at night. So you can imagine how cold it’ll be by winter time when it goes down to 2C.

3. If you’re going to ask, “Can we find tabo in Australia?” As a Melbourne resident, I can say that yes, you can buy one but finding it is not easy. We went to Queen Victoria’s Market and entered an Asian Grocery, I think it was Minh Phat Supermarket and bought one for around $2.50. So go get your tabo now or later, your choice.

4. Buy new shoes. Sanitize and disinfect old ones.
Buy new shoes and pack it with you. Old shoes means you have to wash them, wait for them to dry, and then put it in your luggage.

It is much cheaper to buy shoes in the Philippines. Even a pair of boots in Payless Philippines has much better quality than a pair of boots, on-sale, at Rubi Shoes on Bourke St.

5. Toiletries such as shampoo and conditioner can be quite heavy to add to your luggage. And you can’t have liquids shipped by air or sea freight, to the best of my knowledge. So, keep them to a minimum. Purchase what you need for a couple of weeks and not more than that.

6. A pair of denims is a great investment, now and forever. One that fits really well gives anyone that tailored look. That way, you can wear it for a casual stroll along the city or dress it up on a Friday night out. Splurge and find a good tailored pair or two to bring with you.

7. Jackets. You can never have too many jackets, I think. You wear one over a dress, you wear one for the office, you wear one for the movies, and you wear one for winter.

8. Underwear, lots and lots of underwear. A good pair of briefs, on sale, can cost $5 each.

9. Buy something for your skin, especially if you have the sensitive type. Weather or temperature changes can be rough on your skin and you are best prepared to handle it with products you know and can rely on.

10. A month’s worth of over the counter medication is more than enough. Don’t forget to declare them, if or when you are in doubt.

You can also read:
10 Tips on Moving to Australia: The Necessary Preparations

10 Tips on Moving to Australia: All About Packing Up for Down Under

Disclaimer: LezGoMelbourne is not paid by nor affiliated with any of the companies, shops, or brands mentioned above (if any). These are LezGoMelbourne’s personal opinions with no intention to cause or do any harm. These tips/guides are not to be taken as fact or absolute. Please consult with a professional for your own counsel.

© LezGoMelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com 2013 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including photos if any, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lezgomelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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10 Tips on Moving to Australia: All about Packing Up for Down Under

Southgate, Yarra River, Melbourne, Australia, Lezgomelbourne, Packing, Travel, Tips

The Yarra River and the Southgate Cityscape

I am a bit OC when it comes to packing. I have to have my lists, Ziploc bags, Sharpie, packaging tapes (which for security reasons, as I recently found out, you cannot bring in your carry-on luggage), and scissors among other things.

I don’t have any idea as to when or how many days you should pack before your departure. (I was packing for a whole week and I was stressed at the very last minute). I’m guessing, you should be packed, at least your check-in luggage, two or three days before your departure date. Afterwards, you can just dump anything you forgot in your carry-on luggage or purse.

Other than that, here are a few simple things you can do to make sure you got what you need:

1. Pack new clothes and ship the old ones.
You won’t be taxed for your clothes purchases, as far as I know. To be on the safe side, make sure you don’t go over $1000 on your shopping expenses, including your gadgets. So keep your receipts.

Your old clothes can be shipped as unaccompanied personal effects, including old shoes. Make sure you have used or owned them for 12 months and have had everything sanitized. Write down everything that you packed too.

2. Sea freight or Air Freight?
There are many pros and cons to having your stuff shipped from the Philippines to Australia. They call it reverse cargo and it comes at a much heftier price tag than sending a balikbayan box from the US or Australia to the Philippines.

Sea freight packages needs to be picked up at the port, which means you have to have a car. Second, you may have to clear customs by yourself and pay certain taxes. I don’t have experience on this regard so you may want to ask around. But from what I gather, you can ship as much as 3 boxes for the price of one. Still, you may have to wait for about 15 days to a month for it to arrive.

Air freight ships your package door to door, in 3-4 days. However, this does not guarantee that you won’t be charged by customs for certain taxes. There have been stories about that going around. I, however, didn’t get charged for anything at all. So, you may want to verify that and you may also want to shop for the cheapest cargo forwarder around.

PS. From what I gathered, FedEx doesn’t ship used clothes.

PPS. As of Oct 16, 2012, the DTI released a number of cargo forwarders who are blacklisted because some of the packages failed to make it to their destinations. You can view it here.

3. Check your airline baggage restrictions.
PAL offers 23kg for economy flights, a hand-carry luggage limit of 7kg, and two carry-on items such as your purse and laptop bag. JetStar allows you to choose your baggage allowance, allowing you to purchase up to 40kg. The only drawback is JetStar does not offer direct flights from the Philippines to Australia, unlike PAL.

I have also been reading certain information on the forums that you can try and get the help of IOM or International Organization for Migration for booking your flights as family/migrant to Australia. The contributors to the forums also said that you would be able to get between 40kg – 60kg baggage allowance per person. Again, you may verify this on your own.

4. Electronics
You may be asked to pay certain taxes or fees by Australia customs for bringing in more than $900 worth of new electronic goods or gadgets. But, if your gadgets have been used or owned for more than 12 months, then I’m guessing it’s all good. So, once again, keep your receipts if you can.

But, the duty free concession for minors is less than $450. So please, compute and check how much your household will be bringing in. You can read more about it here.

5. Piracy
Australia is strict when it comes to piracy. So don’t bring any pirated CDs or DVDs. I’m not sure about pirated, luxury bags, but to be on the safe side don’t bother.

They may also do random checks on your laptops or external hard drives. Purchase and store only original software, music, movies, and books. No pirated materials!

6. Bag it!
Place all your gels, liquids, lotions, and even perfume in Ziploc bags so the customs can easily see how much liquid you have on your carry on. More than 100ml and Philippines customs will chuck it out before you board the plane. But, if you plan to put them in your check-in luggage, double bag it for good measure.

7. Porn
Do you really have to?!? No porn!

8. Food Stuff
You can’t bring in any dairy products or food with dairy as an ingredient from the Philippines such as milk, cheese, or polvoron. Meat products, canned, dried, or otherwise, cannot be brought in Australia as well. Certain spices, fresh fruit or dried fruit with seeds, produce, and other food stuff with seeds are not allowed either.

One way to breeze through customs is to just not bring in any food, even the ones from the airplane. But, if you persist, read and familiarize yourself with Australia customs rules and regulations.

9. Cigarettes
Only 50 pcs of cigarettes is allowed tax-free. Bring more than that and you either have to throw it away or pay the appropriate fees and fine.

10. Wood, shells, feather, and raw hide.
No, no, no, and no. If the restriction on animal by-products is too vague for you as it was for me, I declared the pearls that I was wearing to Australia customs and I had no problems whatsoever. So, if in doubt, declare it.

This list is not a comprehensive guide that lists what can be brought in or what shouldn’t be brought in. It is a rough guide that will give you an idea on what restrictions there may be. So, once again, if you aren’t sure, declare it to customs. Or you can learn everything by heart here, here,
and here.

You can also read:

10 Tips on Moving to Australia: The Necessary Preparations

Disclaimer: LezGoMelbourne is not paid by nor affiliated with any of the companies, shops, or brands mentioned above (if any). These are LezGoMelbourne’s personal opinions with no intention to cause or do any harm. These tips/guides are not to be taken as fact or absolute. Please consult with a professional for your own counsel.

© LezGoMelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com 2013 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including photos if any, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lezgomelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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LezGoMelbourne Guide – 10 Tips on Moving to Australia: The Necessary Preparations

Once you’ve gotten your visa approved, now is the time to make other life changing decisions. I’m sure you have plans already laid out, even before you applied for a visa, but now it’s time for everything to take shape. Time is crucial.

The moment we received notice of our approved visa, my partner, Boo, had less than one month to prepare. I had around two and a half months to pack, prep and fly as well. Every day of the week since then, we had to accomplish something. And so should you.

It’s time to drill it in your head that you’re moving to Australia. Building your life there can be both difficult and exciting, but before you can get to that part, you have to fix your priorities first. So, settle your affairs one at a time and remember to do the following:

1. Make a calendar and set the date.
You may or may not have an employer waiting for you, but it is important that you get things in motion so you can properly prepare yourself or your family for the move. This way, you can have as much time as you want or you can easily allocate what little time you have and spend it with your friends and family.

Prepare your calendar so you can make the most out of your everyday. Planning ahead means you’ll save yourself plenty of head ache, and of course, money. That means, you also have to book and pay for you flight as soon as you can. The early birds get to pay a cheaper fare than the others.

2. Money is crucial.
Count what’s in your piggy bank because you won’t be able to go far without it. Ask yourself, how many months can your savings afford you or your family housing and living expenses? One month may not be enough, even if you have a job waiting for you. You just can’t risk it, especially if you don’t know firsthand how expensive it is to live in Australia.

3. Gather all the documents you need and identification that you can.
There are so many reasons why you need them that I don’t know if I still need to emphasize it. Still, you need them because: You need doctor’s prescriptions for certain medications that you are bringing with you. You need skill certifications for your profession. You need to produce employment history when you are job hunting. You may need police clearances when applying for another visa. You need school transcripts for you or your children. You need medical records and birth certificates and so on and so forth.

PS. Photocopy everything and have important documents validated or notarized.

4. Print your Visa Approval Notice or Letter
Yes, the Australian Embassy in the Philippines no longer stamps your passport. Your visa is attached electronically, but for some reason, the immigration officers in Philippine airports still want you to present proof that you have an Australian visa. Don’t ask me why, it’s just the way it is. Been there, done that.

5. Update your resume and your references
You need to update your resume and make different versions of it. Why do you ask? Well, if you are making a career change or applying for different positions, your resume should reflect the requirements of your potential employers.

Also, you need to secure the telephone numbers and email addresses of your references. They have to be up-to-date so employers can easily communicate with them.

6. Secure your bank accounts, forward your mail, and cancel subscriptions.
You can easily do some of these transactions online, but since it’s the Philippines, sometimes it’s more reliable to just transact over the counter. I easily activated Cirrus on my BPI ATM card at a bank branch and had them forward any bank statements to another address. Also, you may want to ask BPI to approve a local account, such as your mother’s or your wife’s account number, so you can make online deposits to it even when you’re overseas.

Face-to-face transactions are more reliable. One time, I encountered a bill collector for a local cable subscription company who was more than keen to cancel my subscription for me. He also asked that I provide him with some monetary assistance as cancelling cable subscriptions can be tricky. I smelled something fishy. So, I went directly to the cable provider’s office and cancelled my subscription without paying anything. So, beware of your bill collectors. Some are liars! They can be devious.

7. Research and shop for a new neighborhood
Nobody will do it for you, so you have to look hard where you and your family may live. Think about neighborhoods with proximity to the things you need, like school for the children, your commute to work, the nearest grocery, and the post office among others. Walkscore is useful if you want to know where or how near things are.

Another site which helped me a lot is www.realestate.com.au. I really recommend it.

8. Go to POEA and get your Exit Clearance. And for emigrants, secure your CFO sticker and attend your PDOS or peer counseling seminar. You can check the following website for more information: www.poea.gov.ph and www.cfo.gov.ph.

9. Secure your dollars.
You can withdraw and access your money from any ATM in Australia, but it also helps to have a few dollars on hand. So far, I have seen only one foreign exchange accepting Philippine Pesos and that is at the airport. At the time, they are selling Australian dollars for Php47. Yipes!

You can bring in as much as $10,000 Australian dollars, but more than that, you have to declare it. But, if you can access your money through your ATM, why would you even hold on to that much cash?

10. Build your network
Filipinos can be found all over the globe, so I am sure you can find a friend or a relative somewhere, somehow. They’ll be more than glad to help. At least that’s what the reception I have had so far. Anyway, to help you set your expectations and get your hands on some real and friendly advice, you can interact with lot of Australian residents and Filipinos on www.pinoyau.info and
www.forums.whirlpool.net.au.

For other ideas and tips, best to visit the site of the Australian government on immigration about moving to OZ here and here.

You may also want to read:
10 Tips on Moving to Australia: To Buy or Not to Buy

10 Tips on Moving to Australia: All About Packing Up for Down Under

Disclaimer: LezGoMelbourne is not paid by nor affiliated with any of the companies, shops, or brands mentioned above (if any). These are LezGoMelbourne’s personal opinions with no intention to cause or do any harm. These tips/guides are not to be taken as fact or absolute. Please consult with a professional for your own counsel.

© LezGoMelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com 2013 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including photos if any, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lezgomelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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Hello Melbourne! And the First 10 Things that Happened or I Did When I Got Here

Hello Melbourne!

Swan St, Richmond, Melbourne, Australia, Oz, Dimmeys, LezGoMelbourne

Walking about town on my first day in Melbourne

This city makes breathing wonderful and difficult at the same time. Lols. The latter is quite true if you’re a smoker. As of date, I have been smoking an average of 1-2 sticks of cigarettes per day ever since I got here, which is somewhere around a couple of weeks. I am quite amazed at myself as to how I was able to do that. I usually smoke around 10 cigarettes a day and maybe even more. I hadn’t really put much effort into quitting or stopping, nor did I plan to drastically change my habits. I guess when you can’t smoke inside the house or anywhere within the compound; you’ll be more than forced to cut down on smoking.

As much as I would want to casually light up here or there, I’m basically afraid of getting caught not smoking where I shouldn’t be. And if I wanted to go out, sometimes I’d want coffee too, and a cup of joe can cost me anywhere between $3-$5, which is a bit heavy on the pocket if I do that at least twice a week. It may be chump change for some, but let’s do the math; Australia sells the most expensive cigarettes I know. For $16-18 dollars a pack, I could buy one, even two whole reams of cigarettes back home. And so, smokes and coffee can easily reach to $100 expenditure a month. Yikes! The government can really dissuade a lot of smokers if they keep adding up the numbers. Anyway, enough about my vices.

I am glad to be in Melbourne. I am loving our apartment, the neighborhood, the weather, the parks, the buildings, and the food. Oh, there is so much more to see and explore I can’t wait to tell you what I managed to find, to read and to do.

Even though I haven’t updated this blog with more recent post as much as I want to, (and even though that’s bound to happen one way or another either because I am living my life or other stuff kept getting in the way) I’ll be sharing my experiences however mundane they are so you could learn too and manage your expectations. Here’s a short summary of what I have encountered, and some tips too along the way:

1. I got the flu. The first week I arrived, I was shot down with the colds and fever. Boo (my partner) told me that almost everyone she knows who gets here becomes sick. I guess you just have to get used to the weather fast or else. But then again, if you have lived where there are 4 seasons in a year, or in Tagaytay, or in Baguio, I don’t think you’ll have any problems.

2. Know how to use your keys, which opens what gates, and which button buzzes in your partner, or your friend, or the courier delivering your package and other goods you ordered online.

3. Boo got me a prepaid sim card and I tried to talk to a machine with as much accent as I could muster so I could activate it. Tip: If you have the same telecommunications provider, SMS or text messages are free. Yes, just like back in the day when Globe or Smart didn’t charge you for anything.

4. You need to save your $1 and $2 coins if you live in an apartment with communal laundry. There are instructions left in place, either in the room itself or on the machines, so people like you and me who has never seen or used a coin-operated washing machine/ dryer can get these things to work and clean our undies.

5. Get to know the neighborhood so you know where you could do your errands or simply ride the nearest tram or train. And for that matter, get a Myki card. Boo got me one so I didn’t have to deal with that one.

6. I shopped at Coles and checked-out and bagged my own grocery without any hitch (I don’t live in a cave, but it’s kind of a novelty to me because we don’t have or do them back in the Philippines).

7. Always have a couple of tools handy like a screw driver and a hammer, especially when you have an unfurnished apartment. You know you need to assembly those pieces of furniture you bought from Ikea.

8. Know how to operate the oven. Actually, I’m still having a difficulty with this one as I can’t find any manual on the internet about Gorenje Pacific freestanding cooker/oven. All that the knob indicates are the numbers from 0 – 60. I am guessing that this is the timer, but I still can’t figure out how to properly manipulate the heat.

9. I tried doing all the simple things like getting a bottle of Coke from the vending machine. But stupid me, I wasn’t familiar with the denominations that when I dropped in a big coin that says 20, I had initially thought that I had already sufficiently paid for my drink. My Boo was kind enough not to laugh at me and said I dropped in 20 cents and not 20 dollars. Argh. The humiliation!

10. Collected the mail and saw how many catalogues and unsolicited posts are jammed in it. Yes, you will regularly get this. Even though others don’t want it, I kind of like it. It makes me feel like I have important shopping to do. Must not let those discounted items go to waste!

Disclaimer: LezGoMelbourne is not paid by nor affiliated with any of the companies, shops, or brands mentioned above (if any). These are LezGoMelbourne’s personal opinions with no intention to cause or do any harm. These tips/guides are not to be taken as fact or absolute. Please consult with a professional for your own counsel.

© LezGoMelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com 2013 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including photos if any, without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Lezgomelbourne/Lezgomelbourne.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.