Friday, July 19, 2013

Aussie Migration - 2 years later...

As you know I have not updated for almost 2 years. You might wonder if I had drowned in the deep treacherous sea of Melbourne migrants. Not to disappoint, but I live to tell the tale.

I was busy making a living, trying to halt the persistent depletion of our bank account, and at the same time perhaps trying to teach my daughter Abbycakes Cantonese before her vocabulary drops to a grand total of zero words.

The flaming questions at the tip of your tongue are probably:
Was it worth it? Is it good as everyone say it is?

My answer, briefly: Yes and Yes&No.

Yes it's worth it. It's great here, but it's hell making a living here. There is zero financial & job security here (at least in my field of IT). Lots of uncertainties with the economy and high dollar, people getting laid off, ridiculous increase of utilities and taxes (mine was $150 per month for just water), etc etc etc. But still, worth it. The worth is in intangible things.

I shall elaborate further in a later post. Have to run out to pick up Abbycakes from Kindergarten. She is very fortunate growing up here, but lacks the academic skills her other Malaysian cousins. But that is also another post.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Aussie Migration - Our progress so far

Today is day 4 and a Sunday. We feel like we've been here for weeks. We've done so much, met so many people, provided with so much information. Kinda overwhelming.

I'm sitting in bed in our host's house feeling just like that; overwhelmed. Progress so far is impressive. I thank you God for the road that has been laid right in front of us and all we have to do is just to step on it and keep walking. So far, we've gotten a rental. The property belongs to a friend of a church friend who also know our hosts Jess and Daniel. It's a 4-bedroom 2-bath in a suburb called Knoxfield. One of the rooms will be locked up to store the owner's stuff or use whenever her parents come to Melbourne. They are PRs and return a few times a year. Since the house is big enough for all of us, we don't mind sharing.

Then we've gotten all the usual stuff done; Tax Filing Number (TFN), Medicare, Bank Accounts. The TFN can directly be applied online here but you will need a mailing address. We used Jess and Daniel's address for this initially.

As for the Medicare, you can just drop by any of the major shopping centres in the suburbs and you will find Medicare offices there. KK just had to fill up a form for us and showed our passport to the nice lady. Ten minutes later we have our temporary cards in the form of computer slips printed out directly. The actual card will only arrive in a few weeks I think. Anyhow it doesn't matter as we can present our temp slips to enjoy Medicare benefits whenever we visit a clinic.

Both of us opened bank accounts with Westpac. Tomorrow will move some funds over from our online MBB account. There is a limit of 10k for online transactions on Maybank's side and we can only transfer this maximum amount at a time. I do know that if you want to transfer more than that, you will need to do it over the counter using telegraphic transfer.

We also bought a car! But then, that's a story for another day. I'm pooped!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Aussie Migration - Packing & Shipping Stuff 3

HBRelo came and went. It was a smooth process of stacking, loading, form-filling and cheque-issuing, all wrapped up with a neat handshake. Even the too-large framed wedding photos that would not fit into any boxes are accepted. Nothing is left behind, so it's totally awesome. I'm glad we went for this.

Last minute labelling:
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Some of the boxes:
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The 3-ton truck from HBRelo that came to our house.
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The boxes after our packer stacked them together to simulate how it will look within the container:
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Goodbye stuff! See you again in 2 months time!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Seremban's Miracle Lake - Old Convent Site

I heard the most intriguing thing today from my aunties in Seremban. We were returning from a wonderful dinner in Taman Megaway and during the trip home, we passed through the old Seremban Convent (aka Convent of the Infant Jesus) site which is now an abandoned football pitch-sized plot filled with water. This plot has been abandoned for more than a decade.


Apparently, locals believe that the water has taken miraculous qualities ala "air zam-zam". A friend's mother who had shingles (Chinese 'snake') swabbed herself with the water from the site and the sores on her skin dried up and formed scabs, leading to quick healing afterwards. Then, another guy who had stage 3 cancer swigged this same wonder drink and later walked out from the hospital with a clean bill of health. Pretty bold claims!

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The Seremban Convent was demolished and rebuilt in another location when the original piece of land it stood on was jointly purchased by 2 companies (one of them Metrojaya) to erect a 7-storey shopping centre complete with entertainment outlets, bowling alleys and restaurants. However, due to the economic crisis in 1997, all construction work stopped. Three levels below ground were completed at that time before it was discontinued. This body of water is actually 3-storeys deep!

The land was acquired based on an agreement to relocate the school and the statue of Mary. However the latter term was not adhered to and the statue was simply thrown into a rubbish pile.

Soon after that, the project site mysterious filled up with water coming from underground. No matter how much the engineers and workers tried to siphon out the water, it just kept filling up again and again! It was then when the project was abandoned and the water completely covered the 3 base levels (easily 60 feet deep) together with the water pumps and machinery.

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According to Aunty, there was a man who was at the edge of the water who was trying to fill up some bottles. He slipped and fell into the water and his cries for help alerted a security guard who was stationed nearby. Apparently, the guard jumped in to help and during the dive, he claimed to have seen the Mother Mary statue at the bottom of the lake with her head still bowed in eternal prayer. I was thinking, if you could see 3 storeys deep into a lake, the water has to be super clean!

The freaky part about it, is the water level of the miracle lake does not decline or increase despite heavy torrential rain or long drawn-out droughts. It is also inhabited by tropical fishes and plant life. On a good day, you can even see waves on the surface of the water!

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Some people take the miracle lake as an eyesore, while some think of it as a blessing. I take it as Nature getting back at Man. Fascinating, ain't it?




Coloring at Home

Abby is so into colouring books and stickers nowadays. What she loves best is to sit with us at the dining table (while we're on our laptops) and colour and print stuff onto her art block. She has the full supply of crayons, color pencils, magic pencils, Mickey mouse chops, stickers, you name it!

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I bought Abby a pair of plastic kid scissors in hopes that she can learn to cut stuff and play crafting with mommy but at this point she's still struggling to hold it properly. Once in a while, she would manage to make a small snip and that will please her so immensely!

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She would, however, absolutely not allow you to teach her. She would look at initial demonstrations, but not more than that. Such a smart-aleck. This kid is stubborn. Don't wanna contemplate how she will be when she's in her teens.

Also noticed that Abby could be left-handed. Another creative person in the family. Praise the Lord :)

S2 Park in Seremban

We went to the S2 Park yesterday with Abby. Weather was great, with minimal haze and slightly cloudy. There was a great breeze and it wasn't hot at all.


Surprisingly, the park is very well-kept with a huge lake. Fish-feeding is allowed too. Unfortunately we only had time for playground-time for Abby before rushing off to somewhere.

There were a few security guards scattered all over the place. One of them even cautioned my husband to not sit on the seesaw with my daughter as adults are not to use the playground facilities! So strict, but then if this level of control played a role in the great maintenance of the park, I don't mind.

Playground parts and props are all spick and span. Some are aged but functioning well. Grass and hedges are trimmed. It's really gorgeous! Haven't had a such a relaxing time in a Malaysian park for the longest time.

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After a while the skies grew cloudy and it started to rain. We ran back to the car and went instead to the newest McDonalds drive-tru outlet in Kepayang for some munchies. There's an indoor playground in there too!

Sweet smiles all around from the ice cream and fat saturated food. Thank God for times like these!
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Aussie Migration - Packing & Shipping Stuff 2

Finally gotten the quotation from HBRelo. Details as below:

Our breakdown charges as follows:
1) Origin service and ocean freight up to Melbourne port -RM 2,650.00
2) Destination service upon arrival Melbourne port up to your residence inclusive of AQIS fees, destination port, wharfage, NVOCC fee, Delivery order fees and THC charges- RM 6,100.00
Total: RM 8,750.00

There are 25 boxes. It will take 2 months including quarantine. Door to door service.

Still pricey but at least will have some peace of mind that the boxes will arrive at our doorstep, with other people handling the clearance, quarantine, transportation, etc.

Will need to fill up and provide the below:
2) Photo-copy of passport (all pages including blank pages and visa)
3) Completed Australian Custom form
4) Marine insurance form (3.5% of total estimated value)
5) Packing list


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The plus point of going with relocators like HBRelo instead of Air Asia Cargo is that our boxes could be collected ahead of time before we fly off, and stored in a temporary storage. Until we get a rental in Australia, we will only provide a 'care-of' address. Once we have an actual address, we can email the relocator. Timing-wise, this is more convenient for us.

On top of that, they also accept cheque, unlike AirAsia Cargo who only works with cash. AirAsia Cargo sends the lorry over with the weighing machine. For all the boxes you want to ship, they will weigh and require the total bill be settled in cash. So if its tens of thousands, you'll still have to pay in cash. Headache!

Boxes will be collected tomorrow. We issue a cheque and don't have to think of it anymore. Ah, bliss.

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