Of course it wouldn’t be a trip for me if I didn’t face some kind of problem. My journey to Australia took quite a bit longer than it was supposed to (sound familiar?). My flight left Cleveland at 7:43am EST. I arrived in Chicago about a little later and had a five hour layover until my flight to LAX. In LAX I was supposed to have a 6-7 hour layover, with my flight to Sydney leaving at 10:20pm PST.
My flight was supposed to start boarding at 9:15, so around 9:00 I made my way over to the gate. This is when I first saw “Delayed” up next to the flight. I was baffled as it must have just changed, since I had been religiously checking the flight status all day. The flight representatives announce that the flight was delayed due to a mechanical problem with the plane and they had no idea how long it would be. After sitting there over an hour they finally announced that the problem couldn’t be fixed and our flight would not be until the next day. At first they told us it might only be little earlier than 10pm the next day, which would really just mean we’d get into Sydney at 3, 4, or 5am instead of 6:45!
Thankfully I was in business class, which meant I could go to the Red Carpet Club to get my accommodation for the night sorted out. Still there was a ridiculous line and a lot of angry people. At least, though, they told us that our flight would depart at 11am the next day, allowing us to still arrive in Sydney on Thursday, just 12-13 hours late. Eventually I got a voucher for a room at the airport Marriott, including $15 toward a meal, and I headed to join the masses waiting for the hotel shuttle bus, then the crazy line at the hotel check-in. It was nearly 12:30am by the time I made it into my hotel room (which was pretty much the furthest you could possibly get from the lobby!) I pushed myself to walk back to the lobby with my laptop just to let people know what had happened, as we had canceled my phone plan starting the 24th, which meant it stopped working pretty much exactly when they announced the fate of my flight and I was unable to text or call anyone. (more…)
The big move is days away and I’m busy packing, arranging, editing resumes and cover letters, and spending time with family. And of course looking online at jobs and apartments. I thought I’d make mention of a little experience we had while apartment hunting.
I’ve been looking on a number of different sites for apartments, including domain.com.au, Gumtree, and Craigslist. In the process I can across some apartments that seemed good and some that simply seemed too good to be true. I sent out emails to all the ones that sounded promising, and got one email back on a “too good to be true”-r. The apartment owner called himself Rev, said he had been transferred to the UK, where his wife currently was (with the keys to the apartment with her) and I should email her to work out details. I emailed with her as well, both their emails were similar. They sent me the same pictures of a very nice looking apartment, the emails were written in pretty poor English and emphasized how they just really wanted someone honest and trustworthy to take care of their apartment. They even went so far as to give us a specific address and to tell us that they would call and that they might even drop in on us for visits once we were living in the apartment. (more…)
Well, I’m happy to update that my visa for Australia was finally approved! It took a little over a week, but I had received an automated response to an e-mail I sent the processing center that their processing (and responding to e-mails) was being delayed up to six days. However, I received my visa without having to submit any extra documents. A friend of mine who had gone to Oz on this visa last year told me she had to submit these documents (I had specifically asked her about showing proof of having AUD$5000), but I think perhaps she had used a service to help her with the visa because in looking at such services online they usually ask for all this documentation up front. They also charge a lot of extra money on top of the AUD$250 visa fee. The Work & Holiday visa process for Americans is so easy, I really recommend doing it yourself and not using any extra service.
(And that six day delay was only for the subclass 462 applicants. Oscar, who is under subclass 417, had his approved just a day or two after he submitted his application.)
So last night I spent some time jumping up and down with glee, and today I went ahead and booked my plane tickets. Bright and early on the morning of Tuesday, March 23rd I will be boarding my plane to Chicago, waiting around for a long time, flying to LAX, waiting around for a really long time, then finally, at 10:20 p.m. PST I will finally leave for Sydney, arriving early Thursday morning (or not), thanks to that pesky International Date Line.
I’m glad to see things finally shaping up and getting on track. Now it’s just back to finishing up that resume and starting to seriously look at jobs and apartments. The excitement is definitely building up now that I am officially on my way, and I have endless thoughts of Sydney on my mind!
I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately, overwhelmed by all the things I knew I had to do and in turn completely unable to do anything especially relevant to the big upcoming move. (On the upside, I’ve cleaned out about two tons of stuff from my room.)
Today things finally started to turn around. I had forced myself into making a set decision and ordered a new camera last week (Canon S90, which I love already!) and was expecting it to arrive today. This morning I heard the dogs go crazy, and assumed it was my camera being delivered. Imagine my surprise when my mom yells, “I think your passport is here!” I couldn’t believe it; in fact I was more ready to believe that my old passport had arrived from Jordan than that my new, “expedited” passport had arrived after just a week of “processing.” Not to mention I was supposed to get an e-mail when its status changed — but it was a pleasant surprise nonetheless.
The good kept coming, especially when I realized the passport is good for 10 years, not just two like they told me it would be in Jordan. Getting my passport finally put me in more control of my situation, and I immediately finished filling out my Work & Holiday visa application online. Things got a little hairy when it recommended me to attach some documents, but didn’t tell me what kinds, and in the end it wouldn’t let me upload any anyways. But I feel much more confident in things now that I have so much more time to get things done if I do hear from the Aussies requesting additions to my application. (more…)