We’re finally all moved in to our new apartment, yay! So far, we’re really loving it and embracing anything and everything that comes along with living right smack dab in the middle of the city. We chose to live in the city for obvious reasons: to be close to Will’s work (just several blocks away) and close to all the action. To give you a good perspective: our bank is about a block away, the post office is two doors down, our internet company is across the street, grocery store is two blocks away, the city library is right behind our building, and our church (Hillsong) is also a block away. Oh, and one more awesome thing? The tram is RIGHT outside our building (which also means we get to hear its *ding ding* sound each time it arrives and leaves the platform haha, but we’ve successfully shut out the sounds; plus the trams here are actually really quiet – which is sometimes scary when you’re about to cross the street and realize last minute a tram is coming right at you! yikes) We also have a spot right across the street where street performers frequent each day – usually it’s between these two very talented violinists, and it’s quite soothing to be able to get housework or personal things done in the house while listening to their pieces. If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen a video I captured of this guy who comes every few days to play/sing some jams, like Phil Collins, Sting, The Beatles and more. He’s actually really good, and we’ve enjoyed listening to him rock out on the street :) A delayed apology for how late I am on posting this, as I know several of you guys have asked me about our new home, and although I won’t have official photos this time around, I will soon soon soon – I promise. I may do some “in progress” photos first next month, and then have a full on apartment tour later on.
Last Friday, we had our furniture delivered and a few appliances, and got right to work on assembling them. We ended up getting our dining room table/desk, which has worked out perfectly in terms of space for the two of us (and it’s a dropleaf table, which allows us to turn it into a 4-person table for whenever we entertain), as well as our side tables for the living room, couch, bed/bed frame and nightstands (thanks, IKEA!) By Monday, our apartment began to feel like home, and spent most of last week finding small decorative touches, such as our funky bohemian placemats (as seen on Instagram!), various pretty mugs and plates/bowls – and we also brought our comforter cover from home. My mom got it for us for our wedding, and I just couldn’t part with it because of how it just brightens up the room (it also has a bohemian feel to it – Indian ikat print with yellow, red & turquoise all over it). I’m so happy I brought it with because it feels like a part of home is here with us :) – and because our place has a very neutral color palette to it, and we both love LOTS of color and patterns, as you can see below with the picture of our dining table/desk (with my birthday gift from Rachel! the K & W are from Typo – I. love. that. store).
As far as actually getting set up in our apartment, the whole leasing process was pretty much the same as in the U.S. You can come and see the apartment (it’s actually mandatory here – see my ‘house hunters international – Melbourne post’), and then put in an application. Once everything is approved, you then have to sign the lease and pay the first month’s rent up front. Next comes paying the bond (security deposit), which can sometimes be equivalent to your first month’s rent, and if your rent is above a certain rate per week, it can actually be more (usually your rent + an additional two weeks). The great thing about the bond here, is that it goes to an official agency called the Rental Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA), so you give the check to your leasing agency and they send it to the RTBA. This means that unlike the U.S., your security deposit is safely housed by this company and paid back to you once you vacate the properties, pending everything is in good order. Back home, the policies are so wishy-washy and it depends on the state you live on when you can expect your security deposit back, how much you’re getting back (I’ve even heard horror stories of people never getting their SD’s back and having to take it to court). No such issues here with that, and the RTBA sends you a receipt that they’ve received your bond, so if any troubles arise, you can show them proof that they have your money – kudos on that, Australia!
Getting our electricity was really easy. We set it up through a company called FastConnect, which partners with our electric company (AGL), and on our leasing application, we gave our leasing agency the permission to authorize FastConnect. They called us to ensure that the date we were moving in was okay to turn on our power, and by the time we arrived after picking up our keys, it was already on! They were very nice and it was a very efficient process. Setting up our internet has been an interesting story in itself – unfortunately, no unlimited internet here in Australia unless you’re willing to pay a ridiculous amount of money each month. We were totally spoiled back in the U.S. with Comcast and its lightning fast internet; here, it’s about a third of the speed and about the same cost, meh. We’re getting it set up this week, so we’ll be able to judge then on how well it does and whether or not we’ll go over our allotted amount hahaha (hopefully not!)
In other news, it’s been a great experience getting settled in, learning the metric system (to fit our appliances, cooking food, washing machine settings, etc lol) and enjoying life here! Below are two quick snapshots of our block – which we love. It’s so, so busy all the time (except at night, thankfully!) because of the multitude of shops and restaurants. The first photo is just of our street, and the second one is of Town Hall, which is diagonal from our apartment building (and our tram stop, which is finally done with construction – that wasn’t that fun to listen to each day, although we somehow drowned out that noise too lol)
Also, this past Tuesday was my golden/crown birthday! In the U.S., I think it’s called a golden birthday, but in South Africa, it’s known as a crown birthday – the birthday where the day and your age are the same. Admittedly, I’ve been excited for this birthday for a long time. Maybe because 26 is a favorite number of mine, or because now I can officially say I’m in my late twenties *flips hair* …but then that also means I’m closer to 30… uhhhh… anyway *hurriedly looks for subject change* it was a great day :) woke up to some sweet messages via calls, text, What’s App, Twitter and Instagram (thanks so much everyone! :-*) and then took it easy the morning. I went out to Vic Market with Rachel (hey Rach!) and had so much fun browsing and walking around. It was an exceptionally beautiful day – in the high 60s and super sunny. I had some Mexican food at La Cantina and washed it down with INCA KOLA (I love it), and came back home to clean/organize the apartment (hey, I enjoy that ok) and Will came home early from work :) yay! I hung out with him for a bit and he surprised me with the sweetest card – I definitely teared up – and then screeched at the end of it because next weekend, he’s taking me to HEALESVILLE SANCTUARY, aka we get to go see the koalas and kangaroos and wombats *screaaaaams* I am so excited. Look out for a blog post about it coming very, very soon ;-) wheeeee! We had a yummy dinner that evening at Nieuw Amsterdam with his coworkers, who have become like our fellow American partners-in-crime as we learn about this fun and wonderful place together :) overall, amazing birthday! Thank you so much to Will and everyone (near and far) who made it such a special day!!! <3
Welp, that’s all for now :) I’ll be posting sneak peeks of our apartment as it slowly comes together, and am excited to show you all!
Also, a very happy birthday to Melbourne – 179 years :) whoo hoo! There were so many festivities in town today, and it was so gorgeous outside: a whopping 70 degrees, the warmest it’s been since we’ve arrived. August babies are the best ;)
Love you guys!