10 September 2007

Long-time no inform

So, the insanity of visa application took full hold not long after my April visit to Aussieland. The visit itself was fantastic and confirmed every thought I'd had of living with my sweetie. But.. that was about the last pleasant experience of the whole Visa process.

99% of my Prospective Marriage Visa (Subclass 300) application is turned in at the embassy, and we're just waiting on a few more very slow-pokey papers to show up in the mail before we enter full-on nail-biting mode. But first, why we decided to use this visa and not others.

There are different conditions that apply to the various apps (partner-wise, here). We're a straight couple, so that ruled out the Interdependent Visa. We aren't married yet so there goes the Spouse Visa. That left the Defacto Spouse, and Prospective Spouse options.

Defacto (called common-law in some countries) was appealing as no legally binding ceremonies were necessary, but it did require that we live together for 1 year prior to applying, with me either on a tourist visa or somehow getting a student visa for a year, which in turn meant no income for the entirety of that year (or marginal income, if on a student visa).

Prospective Marriage (aka Fiance Visa) is a preliminary visa, lasting 9 months from date-of-issue, and allows time for you to move to Australia and marry your fiance. THEN you apply for the Temporary Spouse Visa, which gives you two more years, THEN still you apply for your Permanent Spouse Visa, which makes you a permanent resident of Oz. The biggest benefit of taking this prolongued route is that PMVs appear to be a tad easier to obtain than Defactos, and you can work from the day you enter the country.

That said, none of these are easy to get. Be sure its what you want before you attempt any of them. And don't do it for any reasons other than desperate and enduring love, because even the strongest relationship can nearly shatter due to the stress of the whole process.

Now that I'm in the waiting room of Visa-Pergatory, I'll try to write more about what got us here.

19 February 2007

An Arm and a Leg

I've said it before, and I'll say it many times again. It costs a lot to go to Australia. Whether for a couple weeks, or the rest of your life, we're talking about the opposite end of the world, here.

So to give you some idea of what kinda scratch you need for this adventure, I've added a running tally to the site. This is where I'll list every one of my standard (and maybe not so standard) expenses. Now, I'm a lucky girl in that my darling partner is paying a good bit of this with me. It helps to have help! If you're doing this solo, for work reasons or to join someone who can't afford to chip in, start saving sooner and saving harder, but the tally is still for one person, paying for themselves or not.

Slang of the Day — Pom noun. An Englishman. Alt. Pommy, Pommy Bastard. [Amer. use: Brit, Limey.]

03 February 2007

Baby Steps - Part 2

Get your papers
Passport! Don't can't leave home without it!

A lot of people get a passport out of habit these days. After all, you need one to go even to Canada. I, however, missed the boat on this jetsetting trend and got mine specifically for this trip. Thankfully, the Aussies dig us, so a full tourist visa ($70 AUD) isn't required if you're planning a typical trip under 3 months long. All that's required is the handy, and invisible, Australian Electronic Travel Authority fee!

So, planning was the order of the day.. everyday.. for the entire month of December. I thought my head would explode from all the details, and it started to wear on my mood quite a bit. I mean, real life doesn't stop just because you're planning the most important trip of your life. There was still work everyday, bills to manage, family gatherings at the holidays, and lions, and tigers and bears, oh my!

I still didn't have money enough in December to apply for my travel goodies, but I did manage to get every other detail in order. You don't have to be rolling in dough to get moving on your plans. Fill out paperwork, keep an eye on the airlines, and spend those stressed-out sleepless nights reading about what it's like from through the looking glass.

Obviously, not everyone will be able to save up enough money in 2-4 months to afford the journey. So pick a realistic start-date for your planning. But if you are an earlybird-on-steroids, be sure to budget for rises in travel costs, and occasional shifts in government fees.

Most of all, have fun! Check out touristy sites, or buy a great book on Australia. Start getting in the mindset that will keep you from going nuts over the next year (yes, I said year.. and that's minimum) it'll take move your life to Oz.

Slang of the Day — Whinge verb. To whine, complain, or bitch. noun. hissyfit, a complaining tantrum. Usage: "She's (whinging / having a whinge) over stupid airline prices."

01 February 2007

Baby steps - Part 1

Setting the date
Going to Australia can be a bit daunting. Not so much because of the legalities.. in fact, it's a fairly easy country for Americans to visit. But the distance, time and cost can make one a bit aprehensive, so starting the plan early will only save you panic attacks later. (Well, it'll spare you at least a few panicky moments!)

My partner and I set the date before we even had a right to, I think. He'd been talking in loose terms about how great it'd be to show me the coastal roads and hillside paths from the back of his motorbike since the first weeks we met. And I suppose I could confess to dreaming of the South Aussie beaches, the cool night breezes easing the hot, arid day. Oh yeah, and maybe a bit of my then friend.

It was closer to August and the official start of our trans-world romance that we actually began thinking of a date for my trip. It was a bit laughable at the time. I was in debt up to my wahoo, could barely afford rent and still had The Slowfooted ExTM sleeping on my couch. But dreams are dreams and we let them wind on.

The original plan was to be in Adelaide for the Red Hot Chili Pepper's too-rare appearance in the southern city, but tickets were gone long before the ideal geled. Somehow, the date stuck with us over the next months and so mid-April it was! We really couldn't have chosen better if we'd tried.

Some folks would say its best to go at the most rugged, harsh time of year to really test your mettle. Me? I'm a wimp. I want to be there when I have the best shot of loving the dry, sunburnt climes of South Australia. Americans aren't always prepared for the intense sunshine, or the lack of rain and it can be a bit disorienting. Check out Australia's Bureau of Meterology for more info than you could ever need. It also doesn't hurt to start learning how to read temperatures is celcius. I've almost got it nailed!

Slang of the Day — Tinnie noun. Can of beer; small aluminium boat. Alt: Tinny.

01 December 2006

Over the Rainbow

What takes me from the Nation's Capitol of the US all the way to Adelaide, Australia isn't all that unusual, I suppose. After all, in this age of internet-everything-from-diapers-to-dominatrices, following your heart to the other side of the world is almost passé. But that's exactly what I'm doing.

I fell in love with an Aussie man, and now begins the long, arduous process of going over the rainbow to Oz.

Hopefully, some of my story will help others in their travels overseas. While I'm at it, I will throw in some thoughts on surviving a two year long distance relationship, without going crazy.. well, not too crazy.

So, pack your suitcases and get your passport! It's going to be a bumpy ride.

Slang of the Day — Aussie [aw-zee, ô'zē (not aw-see)] noun. Person from or of Australia. adj. Australian in origin. See also, Australian.