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Sydney, Australia
Una arquitecto en construcción de un nuevo proyecto de vida...

lunes, 27 de febrero de 2012

Documents and renting

As I told you in my last post, the day I arrived I applied to get  the TFN and the day after I medicare_cardenrolled myself in Medicare.

Well, last Wednesday I got by mail the letter of the Australian Taxation Office with my TFN. Now I can legally get paid when I get a job and I can go to the bank to register my TFN in order to get full interest on my savings account without the government tax withholding.
Later this week on Friday I got my Medicare card, also by mail.


Now, about renting, I'm talking about looking for a place to live. Although I have already rented a place for 8 weeks and I have only been here for 2 (I still have 6 more weeks in my current place), I have started to look around some of the suburbs of Sydney. This not only to get to know them, but also because of a matter of time. I've been told that here most places that are shown for rent/lease are not available right away. Most of the times the list comes out 2-4 weeks before it actually becomes available for you to move in. So in about 2 weeks I have to formally begin to look for a place to live.

Although Juanpa and Caro told me I can stay there for two more weeks than we agreed, and though I really like North Parramatta, I do want to start looking for another place closer to the city, or at least closer to the train station, where I don't have to depend on the bus. Even better I'd like to look for a place near my full-time job (which I'm going to get really soon) in order for me to walk there or at most go by bike.

In that order of ideas I've found that North Parramatta is REALLY FAR from the civilization... it takes me about an hour and a half on weekdays to get to the city, from the moment I open my door. On weekends it may be a little bit longer... and that is in regular bases. Yesterday, for example, there where train repairs in 4 stations prior to Parramatta, so I had to take a bus from Granville... well, going from Zetland where Arturo and Cari live (near the CBD) to my place and then to Coogee beach (like 20-30 min by bus from Central Station) took us about 4 and a half hours!!!!!!! We got to the beach almost at 7 pm... as you can imagine we didn't bathe or anything. We walked for a while, ate something, spent some time there and around 10:30 went back home. Well, I stayed all weekend with them at their place... if after going to Coogee I would have wanted to go home, it would have taken me at LEAST 2 hours, and I'm not sure I would have found a bus at that hour of the night.

… So, I want to move closer to the city. It would be great to live there by myself in a one-bedroom unit, but it’s quite expensive; so I’m considering sharing a two-bedrooms, two-bathrooms unit with someone (if you, reader, are interested in this, don’t hesitate in contacting me).

On the next post I’ll write about the areas I’d love or at least would be nice to live in.

viernes, 24 de febrero de 2012


As I said in my prior post, from now on I'm writing my posts in English, to embrace my arrival at my new country. So I'm telling you the story of my first week here day by day :-), not only as an anecdote, but also as a guide of the first errand you have to do as soon as you get to Oz.

Day 1:
Last Sunday 12.2.12 at 10:40am Ellu and I arrived from a 40 hours trip to the Sydney airport. Tired, smelling like crap, but most of all: REALLY EXCITED... our new life was just beginning.
We stepped of the plane and headed off to immigration where our passports where stamped (and our yellow  fever international card was checked). As I declared I carried wood (I had a jewellery box made out of wood,  a belt and a scent burner) they made me go through the AQUIS stage, where all my luggage went through a scanner and where they made me open the suitcase with the wood in it. After checking it they let me go with a smile and good wishes regarding my migration.
At the airport Ellu met with his brother and sister in law (which I knew from school 'cause I studied with her sister since the 4th grade until high school graduation); well, and I met with Juanpa, the guy who rented me his unit for 8 weeks. At home, Caro and Lucas (his wife and gorgeous baby) were waiting for us :). Juanpa and Caro are these Venezuelans I got to know through Aussie Neighbour, because of a post they wrote renting their unit. We spoke using Skype and we liked each other right away. They are an awesome couple I'm really happy to have met.
Well, continuing with my arrival story... that day after arriving, I took a really needed shower, we had some lunch and then we departed on the mission: KEEPING-GABY-AWAKE-TO-AVOID-JETLAG jajaja.
We went to the supermarket and I did my first on-arrival shopping. The good thing is that I only needed to buy food and cleaning things, because their unit is fully equipped.
We got back home at 7 pm more or less. I turned the computer on to write an email to my mom and dad and to apply for the Tax File Number.
The process is really simple... you enter their website and just follow instructions. The only 2 things you need for that are your current address where they can send you the TFN and your passport (because you need to fill in our passport number and some data about your visa). When you're done, make sure  to write down the confirmation number and wait for it to arrive by post mail.
Finally, at 9pm I went to bed :-)

Day 2- Monday 13rd:
I woke up quite early, at 7am... turned the computer on, talked a bit with my mom (she met the guys) and had a nice breakfast with them.
Juanpa and I left the house around 9:30am, went to the post office to pick up a package they were waiting for and I "aproveché" to send to the Venezuelan Embassy in Canberra the papers they ask for in order to get the Consular Registration my mom to "tramitar" "Cadivi Remesa Familiar" [in another post I'll write about this].
After that we took the bus to the Parramatta Westfield, which is quite close (even walking distance depending on how much of a hurry you are). There I enrolled into Medicare. You have to fill up a form, then they (the person who is with you) put your data in the computer and give you a. receipt and you have to wait about a week for the card to arrive also by post mail.
Well, then we went to the city to the main branch of the Commonwealth Bank where I opened my account. Why? Well, because if you open an account being abroad, you have to activate it as soon as you arrive in the country so you can use your money. But that can be done at any bank branch, however my debit card was there, so I did both things in one trip: activate the account and pick up the card. I also updated my home address and asked for statements because you may need them for some transactions and errands.
Then, after staying a bit in the city, we went back home to have lunch with Caro and Lucas. After that the 3 of us went again to the Westfield in Parramatta in order for me to get my so desired iPhone. This first time I couldn't get it because  I didn't reach the 100 points I needed (the phone story is going to be written in another post). The recommendation of the clerk was for me to get a Photo ID issued by the RTA... with that I could reach the needed points. Then we went home and it was time to go to bed.

Day 3- Tuesday 14th:
Juanpa, Caro and Lucas left at 7am to go to the airport to catch a plane to Venezuela. It was my first day by myself.
I had a great breakfast (English muffins with cheese cream and scrambled eggs) and headed off to the RTA.
I got there, took 2 numbers (I didn't know at first which was the one I needed to take), filled a form and waited. When they called my number I went to the booth and gave my passport, the filled form and the bank statement where I had my full name with my current address. Everything so far was perfect until the attendant said: "It's 46$"... when I heard that the phrase that popped in my head was: "WTF!!!!!!!"... and well, with a smile I handed my credit card. Then he took my picture. and in about 10 minutes I left the building with my Photo ID... ready to get my so desired iPhone.
Got to the Westfield, which is only 2 blocks away from the RTA, went directly to Telstra, and after a second attempt I left the store with NO iPhone (again, this deserves its own post). Anyway, after that I was supposed to meet Ellu at Town Hall station, but for that I had to call her from the new phone I didn't have, so I ask for the Telstra girl for a phone where I could call and she allowed me I use the one from the store... after 6 times trying to connect with Ellu I left her a voice message in her sister-in-law's mobile and got even more frustrated jajaja. Then I called Liber, one of my best friends here, who had a pin I bought last year, so she could give it to me to have a phone... guess what?!?! I also reached her voice mail!!! So, no comments.
I left frustrated as hell and went to Town Hall and when Ellu didn't arrive I went to Bondi Junction to get my originals and translations (of the documents I used for the visa application ) from the SCA people.
I got there at 1 pm, expecting the worse, taking under consideration the morning I had. But everything worked out perfectly after that.
Yenny (in behalf of Penny jejeje) took all my documents, gave them to me and the receptionist let me use the phone to call Liber again... this time she DID pick up the phone (in the morning she was vacuuming so she didn't hear it ring). We talked and agreed to meet in Hornsby 'cause she had a doctor's appointment there at 2:30pm.
I went as quickly as I could (Hornsby is far from Bondi Junction) and got to her GP at 2:15... we talked a few minutes and when she was called in, I took Sophia, her gorgeous daughter, and went for a walk :-) (I bought myself a new pillow... really nice, soft and Eco-friendly made by recycled plastic bottles)...
At 3 we returned and met with Liber. We were together until 4:20 aprox 'cause at 6 I was going to meet Arturo (another close friend) at Green Square 'cause I was going to borrow from him a phone (a perfect “potecito”) which is the one I used until Sunday. We met, talked for 15 min, he gave me the phone and walked me back to the station. I got home that day at 8 pm.
I didn't stay longer with him because although I know, rationally, that here walking at night on the streets is safe, there is still some Venezuelan paranoia in me that makes me feel a bit scared of walking alone in the dark.
After arriving home, I made the application to enrol myself in the Skillmax course, which is meant for migrants to help you write resumes and cover letters in the Aussie way, so it becomes easier to apply and get a job.
The process to enrol depends on where you want t study. If it's in the city Ames you can do it online... you need to fill up the application and then upload some docs: your visa (has to be a 175 or 176), your IELTS results (minimum overall score of 6,5), and your qualifications (which I uploaded both in Spanish and the translation I picked up in SCA earlier that day).

Day 4- Wednesday 15th:
This day I was supposed to straighten my things and put my place in order... all my clothes were still in the suitcases. But instead I spent all morning talking through Skype with my mom and dad in a group call... it was hilarious!!!
I also spent my morning applying for a job in the City of Sydney (let's see if something comes out of it - fingers crossed)... it was quite an application, because besides having to modify my CV and cover letter to be suitable for that specific job, I had to write 3 paragraphs about how I met the selection criteria and I had to upload my qualifications, which I did both in Spanish and its translations.
That morning I also received an email from the Skillmax saying I was accepted in the course starting Monday 5th of March, and if I wanted to study there I had to accept some conditions in order to verify my enrolment.
I didn't do that at that time 'cause I wanted to see if I could enrol for the one beginning the prior week which was going to take place in Chastwood. So Ellu and I decided to go there ad fond out if we could do that.
Around 2 pm we met in the Chatswood station, after I went to the Westfield there to buy some credit for my prepaid phone. We walked to the Macquarie Community College where the course was supposed to take place, and guess what?!!! It didn't exist anymore!!! All the neighbours guess they moved (all in shock).
Well, after that we decided to go to the city to enjoy the rest of the day.
That night I confirmed my enrolment in the city's Skillmax course: I begin classes the 5 of March; Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 1 to 5 pm

Day 5 - Thursday 16th:
That was the day!!! I was going to straighten my things out!!! But noooooooooo
I went to the bank to make a deposit, and walking to Parramatta I saw a bus that went straight to Ellu's place... so I texted her and took the bus there and we spent the day together.
While being together I had lunch... my first Laksa here :-)

Day 6 - Friday 17th:
Well... on Friday morning I stayed home... FINALLY storing my clothes in the closet... didn't finish but was a very good start.
Friday afternoon I went to Waitara to meet Coralia and Leo. Cora is an architect I met in our Aussie Neighbour. She is quite a special person, really nice and easy going, and very willing to help and give a hand in whatever she can.
Leo and Cora gave me some advise regarding my resume and cover letter, being one of the most important ones that in the cover letter we must write the same exact words that appear on the job add. For example if the add says:"we need an experienced architect with strong skills in Autocad" well, you MUST write exactly that. Why? Because both the cover letter and resume are scanned by a software that looks for the key words; if you don't have them, you won't be even considered.

Day 7 - Saturday 18:
That day I finished with my clothes in the morning and in the afternoon our group met in Arturo and Carila's place to celebrate we all were finally in Sydney, the first of us to be working (Arturo) and our first Aussie to be born this week: Anabella :-) We had a GREAT time.
To end my first seven days in Sydney that night I had my first fire test... I ripped my insecurity-feeling-band aid off: for the first time I was walking home by myself in the dark at night. It was a mix of emotions among frightened to death, happy, excited, nervous, etc. I got home almost bursting into tears because of something that should be natural, something that here is natural... it was my first time and I had a mix of emotions.
After that I'm not afraid anymore to walk home at night.

jueves, 23 de febrero de 2012

Preparativos para la mudanza XI- La última semana antes de la partida

Este post tenía que haberlo escrito hace mucho tiempo así que es muy posible que se me pasen un montón de cosas de lo que realmente hice.

Creo que solamente hubo 3 sucesos / aspectos importantes como para escribir en el blog:

1.- LA DESPEDIDA: justo el fin de semana antes de mi partida hice con mis amigos más cercanos y familia una despedida a lo venezolano, es decir una "sanduchada" de pernil con mucha caña tipo contri. Definitivamente es algo que hay que hacer y que hay que vivir. En mi caso particular vinieron las personas que tenían que venir :-) aquellos que a lo largo del tiempo han estado en mi vida, inseparables a pesar de las distancias y circunstancias, inclusive aquellos amigos que quiero muchísimo y me dieron la grata sorpresa de venir un rato a compartir conmigo. Lo malo de todo es que fue muy poquito tiempo y no pude estar con todo el mundo tanto como hubiese querido.

2.- DE LO ACADÉMICO: bueno, al respecto también fue de corre corre y medio. Justo el viernes anterior a mi partida, justo una semana antes me dieron la buena noticia que podía terminar mi tesis de psicología acá en Oz y que podía defendería a través de una vídeo conferencia. A partía de ese día cuadré con una amiga para que formalizara mi inscripción formal de este semestre, cuadré con mi tutora y con el Coordinador de mi mención la prórroga de la tesis y para el lunes ya tenía todo cuadrado al respecto :-)
Del doctorado pues esa semana también fue de buenas noticias y de corre corre. Ese mismo lunes 6/2 pude FINALMENTE formalizar mi inscripción ante secretaria UCV, porque algo pasó que no estaba en sistema; pero gracias a MUCHA gente que se movió para que saliera (ojo, dentro de los canales regulares) todo se dio para poder hacer el trámite yo y no tener que dejarle eso también a mi mami.
Aparte mi tutor de tesis VOLANDO me corrigió mi seminario de tesis I y aprobó sin correcciones para introducirlo en Comité Académico. Eso me lo dijo el martes en la noche, y yo con las maletas y todo a medio hacer... pues dejé TODO para ponerme a imprimir los ejemplares correspondientes (y en eso pues corregí una cosita con la cual no estaba muy satisfecha), y hacer e imprimir no sólo las cartas de entrega formal, sino también la de solicitud de apertura de Seminario de Tesis II. Originalmente pensaba desincorporarme por un año, pero como todo comenzó a fluir de esa manera pues aproveché el ánimo del momento para seguir avanzando... claro, con la visión de  sentarme casi full con eso mientras busco y consigo trabajo.

3.- LAS MALETAS: bueno, eso es toooooodo un tema.maletas Originalmente con Air Canada yo podía llevar 2 maletas de 23kl cada una (los pasajes comprados luego del 27 de octubre sólo permiten 1), pero pagar un equipaje extra me costaba 225$ a 4,3 lo cual en definitiva era como enviaría por ipostel pero con la diferencia que me podía llevar yo mis cosas conmigo sin riesgo a que no llegaran y sin tiempo de espera.
En fin, estuve haciendo maletas desde el lunes antes, embalando en bolsitas plásticas distribuidas equitadivamente entre las 3 maletas cremas, perfumes, etc... en definitiva artículos de uso personal. Igualmente hice con la ropa y con los zapatos, pues bueno, uno nunca sabe si las maletas llegarán al mismo momento que uno al destino.
Otro consejo que puedo darles respecto a las maletas es que todas esas cosas que tengan que declarar póngalas en una sola maleta, así cuando lleguen a migraciones en Oz sólo tienen que abrir esa única maleta.
Del resto pues en el aeropuerto estén pendientes de forrar las maletas con plástico, no tanto por un tema de seguridad antirobo, sino porque al forrarlas comprimen el contenido por lo que todo dentro de la maleta queda bien ajustado y previenen que se rompan cosas adentro.

Bueno, del resto de esa semana les puedo decir que uno esta tan agotado del corre corre que lo único que quieres es montarte en el avión para descansar un poco. Ya al final a mi no me importaba nada; cada vez que mi mami me preguntaba qué hacia con alguna cosa mía le decía: quédatela. regálala o bótala.  Es increible lo fácil que es al final desapegarse de cosas... y darte cuenta de qué es lo que realmente importa.

Por otra parte les comento que a partir de este momento escribiré en mi blog en inglés, en virtud de mi nueva vida :D

miércoles, 1 de febrero de 2012

My Top 10 people

Hace unos días, estuve hablando con un amigo respecto a mi ida, de los ups and downs y de las cosas y personas que uno extraña con la migración a otras latitudes, y bueno, en esa conversa le comentaba que lo que haría mi migración a Oz PERFECTA sería el poder llevarme a 10 personas.
Así que este post está dedicado a esas 10 personas que me llevaría a Oz.
(Sin orden específico...)

1.- Mi mami: tengo sinceramente pocas palabras para hablar de mi mami, porque es la persona con la que más apego tengo (posiblemente con la única). En definitiva no la extrañaré un montón, porque sé que estaremos todos los días chateando y hablando como si nada fuese diferente, y sé que pronto ira a visitarme y en algún otro momento se mudará a Oz conmigo... ella sí es mi top 1 jejeje (seguramente al leer eso se pondrá a llorar como una tontis jejejeje)

2.- Mi papi: teniendo una relación con altibajos, con más altis que bajos, siempre hemos estado no sólo en contacto sino unidos. En los últimos años nuestra relación se ha fortalecido un montón, y en estos últimos meses a mi partida ha sido un apoyo invaluable... Ese es otro que no me preocupo en extrañar porque igual sé que estaremos en continuo contacto, y él es otro patacaliente que sé que me visitará muy pronto a Oz :D

3.- Mi abuela Cecilia (la paterna): como les dije en un post de hace mucho tiempo, ella es a quien más le está pegando mi partida. Ella me crió los primeros 3 años de vida, por lo cual se imaginará tenemos una relación muy estrecha. Aparte nosotros tenemos un deporte familiar, que todos los sábados (desde que dejé de trabajar) practicamos sin falta: jugar diriva y canasta (cartas)... sinceramente eso lo voy a extrañar un montón!!!

4.- Mi abuela Loli (la materna): ella por su parte me crió a partir de los 4 años. Nuestra relación fue un poco tormentosa, sobre todo en mi adolescencia pues las dos tenemos un carácter súper fuerte, pero bueno... con los años ha mejorado. Ahora, a pesar de ser más jóven que la otra abuela, está un poco chocha, pero igual me mima como siempre.

5 y 6.- Mis hermanitos (Oscar y Ricky): yo les digo "mis bebés", a pesar que son unos tarajallos más altos y grandes que yo de 21 y 20 años respectivamente. Ellos son mis amores... a pesar que sólo nos vemos como 2 o 3 veces al año (al grande ahora lo veo más porque está trabajando con mi papá). Es de esas relaciones que la distancia y el tiempo no influye ni en la relación ni en el amor que nos tenemos. Obviamente la brecha de edad es importante, pero mientras más pasan los años, más cercana se hace. Esos son otros que seguramente irán full a Oz jejeje... si no se terminan mudando también.

7.- Mi primo Julio: él es mi hermano más que mi primo. Nos criamos juntos pues sólo nos llevamos un año y medio de diferencia y con él si comparto fullll.... claro, de vez en cuando nos echamos nuestras desaparecidas y podemos estar 6 meses sin hablar (no por algo en específico) y luego como si nada. Él casi siempre está presente en los sábados de deporte familiar jejejeje. Supuestamente ya está ahorrando para ir en Diciembre a visitarme para que no pase mis primeras navidades allá sola (vamos a ver si va.... pero por lo menos la intención si está :D)

8.- Vicky: ella es mi otra hermana, aunque no sanguínea. Somos amigas desde 1er grado (hace 24 años aproximadamente). Hemos crecido juntas en todo sentido: físico, espiritual, emocional y mental. Somo personas muy diferentes y sobre todo complementarias. Siempre nos pasan las mismas cosas en el mismo momento (o por lo menos muy cerca en el tiempo), y por eso crecemos en balance acompañándonos mutuamente. Nuestra relación, como todas, ha sido extraña y con altibajos, hemos pasado épocas sin hablarnos peleadas, y luego casi como si nada volvemos a hablar. Es de esas amistades que de verdad son: en las buenas y en las malas, en la salud o en la enfermedad, en la pobreza o riqueza, etc, etc, etc sin que más nada ni nadie importe. Lleva ahora casi 3 años viviendo en España, y la lejanía no nos ha separado, sino por el contrario nos ha acercado en otros aspectos de apoyo. Ahora yo en Oz, no dudo que se seguirá fortaliciendo nuestra relación... y viva la tecnología y el Skype

9.- Amy: otra amiga que se ha convertido en hermana... A Amy llevo 11 años conociéndola (gracias a una persona que decimos que entró en nuestras vidas con la única finalidad de presentarnos), y cada vez nos acercamos más. Ella fue fundamental en mi proceso de separación, un pilar invaluable (en conjunto con su familia). También como toda relación, nos hemos alejado y acercado en muchas oportunidades, y al final también termina siendo una amistad que pase lo que pase estaremos ahí... De hecho, me llamó hace unos días (cada vez que me llama de la nada es para darme un notición), para decirme que le dijera cómo es que es lo de la visa de turismo para Oz, porque en Junio va a visitarme :D

10.- (last but not least) Michi: otro muy buen amigo del colegio, aunque no entra dentro de la categorización como hermanos... Sinceramente no me acuerdo cuándo lo conocí, para mi siempre estuvo ahí en mis recuerdos, pero definitivamente no es tan fácil de descifrar pues nunca estudiamos juntos (yo estaba en la sección venezolana y él en la alemana)... pero bueno, como promedio podríamos decir que también nos conocemos como desde hace 20 años aproximadamente. Igual que con mis otras relaciones (coye, como que tengo un patrón) nos hemos alejado y acercado a lo largo del tiempo... con la diferencia que luego de graduarnos creo que nunca vivimos en la misma ciudad (la mayoría del tiempo ni siquiera en el mismo país), pero igual, indistintamente de las distancias y del tiempo, y de alejarnos y acercarnos, siempre ha estado ahí (así como yo para él), y también en estos últimos meses ha sido fundamental en mis procesos de separación y de mudanza.... Ahora estoy en proceso de convencerlo (sin presionarlo mucho jejejeje) de que vaya para mi cumple a Oz y así me enseña a esquiar jajajajajaja... vamos a ver... jajajajaja

Bueno, ell@s son "my top 10 people"... claro, hay más gente (no muuuuchaaaaaa) que es súmamente importante para mí: mis tíos, más amigos que son MUY queridos y cercanos, etc... pero bueno...

...así como también tengo (e iré configurando con el paso del tiempo) mi "top 10 aussie people", dentro de los cuales uno de ellos me dijo algo muy cierto, que es que a Oz no llego sola, llego con mucha gente que se terminará convirtiendo en mi familia :D... ya de ellos hablaré posiblemente en otra oportunidad, aunque no creo que sea muy cercana.