If I was to relocate overseas…

I drafted this post a long time ago, maybe 2015 or 2016, but it was even more interesting to re-read given my flatmate moved internationally to live back in Australia.  And his boxes have arrived! So I can report on his decisions below in italics in 2017!

So, work’s restructuring.  I feel confident.  I have to feel confident, I have to lead 60 people through it.  But I legitimately free OK.

The BF’s work (see how old this is?)is making HUGE changes, which could see opportunities internationally.  We could possibly move internationally.

Even if the above is only a dream… people do move house!

If we move far, we would not pack
– almost anything electrical (TV, VCR/DVD, fridge, washing machine, desktop computer, blender, iron, toaster, kettle, food processer) flatmate seems to have sent a computer screen, cables and cords, a modem (how he thought he could wait months for that!)
– second hand/Ikea furniture (dining chairs and table, occasional chairs, IKEA bed frames, buffet, kitchen trolley, coffee table, outdoor chairs and table) yep, he brought no furniture
– linens (towels, sheets, donna covers, cushions) again, all supplied by me in the initial months
– cheaper ‘art’: second hand canvas photo prints (3)! again, none.
– decorator items like birdcages, Astroturf rabbit, ornamental Easter eggs well… no, but.. there has been about 30 tchokees arrive and be put out on a common area.  They are travel souvenirs..

We would take with us
– clothing of all seasons, location dependent flatmate seemed to have sent many clothing items on the slow boat!
– personal electronics like laptops, tablets and phones; toothbrush and hair dryer obviously!

We would store!?
– sentimental items like photo albums and journals and art
– the couches – I love them. They were bought new. They will not sell well. It took me a long time to find the ‘right’ sofa. My parents stored theirs for three years and only just replaced them (stored from 1995-1998)
– cushion covers if I love them – this one totally surprises me!  What WAS I thinking?
– books – I don’t have many, what I do have, is because I WANT to keep them, but with a clear limit (ie one tea chest sized box)

Things I have NO idea about
– cutlery and crockery – they’d last time, but they are heavy so there’d be little point in taking them he’s not shipped either, but… done well to break some glasses and crockery – special skills, cause I can’t recall the last time I smashed something!
– kitchen gadgetry from pots to pans to utensils – which is similar to the above so, the flatmate has bought some things of his preference (cast iron pans) as little things like silicone rings for eggs and oversized ice cube trays.  His choices usually puzzle me!  He’d packed to ship items like a knife sharpener, and got impatient and re-bought one.
– lamps – I LOVE some of them. But again, HEAVY! And electrical, life can be unkind to them when they are out of use Flatmate loves that we have lamps (well… uses them) but thinks one is a little too bright…  Didn’t see the rush to buy a dimmer globe when it blew, so I’m ignoring his feedback :p

What this made me realise? Buying cheaper furniture that I like, whether Ikea or second hand, makes me less invested in keeping it if life changes. That being said, I’m happy with it. I don’t want to upgrade it.

A dreamy future

I think we all have this fantasy of what life ‘might’ be like if only… And I thought I might try to capture those thoughts, so I could perhaps work towards it!

I wish for a home that is comfortable.  It’s lived in.  Everything isn’t rigidly straight and tucked away and perfect, it’s lived in.  But it’s not uncomfortable for visitors – it’s not grimy or dusty or clutter-y.  They feel they can put their cup or mug down – there’s always somewhere nearby and easy, but nothing seems to precious – too breakable or stainable.

There’s people always around – coming and going.  But it’s laid back and casual – it’s not a show.  It’s not a performance.  They will sit and chat to me as I prepare wholesome food.  I no longer think making jam is a sin for those trying to be healthy and eat less sugar, but see it as a way of saving nature’s bounty from waste.  There’s ample containers to store all the things I prepare, and ample room in fridges and cupboards to store things, but not lose things! There’s enough to feed whomever may be around and be hungry.

The bathrooms are clean – no dust bunnies.  Nothing cringe worthy in it’s dirtiness.  There’s no mould growing.  There’s no funky smells.  And the medicine cupboard, it’s stocked, but not over stocked, and anyone may open it and take what they need.  Nothing in there is a secret or taboo or gross.

The laundry is functional – there’s somewhere to hang the clothing needing ironing.  There’s a place for everything to be tucked away.  Things can easily soak.  Lost socks can linger in a special place awaiting a mate.

The home is bathed in sunshine and warmth. When it’s cold and blustery outside, it’s snug.  When it’s warm and muggy, there’s a gentle breeze.

There’s a garden, with warm sunshine and delicious cool shade.  Things grow with ease. I grow food and fragrant flowers.

The things I’ve realised I prefer in a home

Moving into the lighthouse has helped me further refine what I look for in a home!

  • a sink dimensional to the bench space: there’s no point in a huge sink at the expense of bench space (ie the light house) and there’s value in small sinks as they take less water (thank you loft)
  • gas stoves are wonderful (light house), but 5 burner is overkill for a small kitchen
  • air conditioning being built in is SO much quieter than portable aircons. But if it’s ducted, it needs a timer and zones.
  • insect screens on the windows – I realise now that the 2 bedder was great for having screens on all openings – making the mozzie bait safe (me!); the loft needed one on the sliding door and I would have invested in one, but moved out before my second summer.  Here – the windows all have screens but the bifolds don’t and I notice an increase in bedtime biters if I leave the bifolds open in the dusk hours.
  • dishwashers – for 1-2 person dwellings, a single drawer dishwasher is a brilliant idea.  The loft had a fullsize one, and I seldom filled it for a load.
  • mixer taps! I never thought about the kitchen sink NOT having a mixing tap, and it’s a step more than you really want to deal with when you want to quickly rinse something in warm water.

I still want a bathroom with a window – something none of my past three homes have had.

I always seek out

  • pantry. The light house was super shallow and I think this is the optimal style to not lose things behind other things
  • linen closet. Somewhere that’s central to all people is better than something that will be steamed up in the bathroom.

And all three have had lifts (something that was on my ‘don’t want list’ when I was buying!).  In the two bedder and here, being on level 3, I’ve been pretty thankful to have a lift!

Frustrations with the Zero waste home

So… I’m getting myself all a tither with another blogger in the blogosphere – and there’s no way I can whinge without you knowing who it is.  I’m hoping I can be an adult, and rationalise it all, and work through it, so here’s hoping!

Bea Johnson runs zerowastehome.com  Overall, I’m totally on board with lessening the waste we create and using less of the world’s resources.  So why do I find myself losing my patience with her?

1. To get to zero waste, and the slick look of her house (which I won’t insert photos of, cause I need to ask for permission, so head to her site, surely a LOT of stuff had to be donated – not refused, not reused, but recycled.  Perhaps I got on board with her movement too late?

2. I can’t ‘search’ her blog to find the ‘start’ of the journey (or what she does with a certain hiccup in my route to zerowaste).  There is a tag cloud, but no ‘in the beginning ..’ Which brings me to the next point:

3. The answer to a lot of questions on her facebook stream is to suggest the topic is covered in the book.  Now, to me, selling a book isn’t a wastefree proposition.  To be sure, like any other book, I’ll be borrowing it from the library. (And I know that won’t earn her any commission as much as if I bought it AND the library did, but I’m not feeling charitable here!)

4. What compromises has she had to make to get to zero waste?  Has she plainly done without certain foods or products – to support her number 1 objective of zero waste?

5. Comments are closed on old posts – this frustrated me.  When I find a post with something relevant, I’d like to ask something – rather than starting a fresh comment on her Facebook page (where the lack of ‘string’ to a blog topic being better suited).

Looking for a job

Looking for a new position to work in hasn’t been easy. I thought I might process my thoughts in writing.

I do have an engineering degree. I don’t feel that I’ve worked in role which have utilised the technical components of either what I studied OR what is in the industry. After two years in a graduate program, rotating every six months, I went into a permanent role which was project management of small electrical infrastructure projects. All distribution level, which is, suburban street sizes. And all connecting to a mature and established grid, so there was little in respects to technical suitability of the solution etc etc. I recieved a design, and worked to get it installed as designed (well, unless the design totally missed some site based difficulties…!)

From there, I went into more managerial roles. It involved a lot of odds and ends as tasks to start with. Improving performance of a group of field staff, who didn’t do project work, so weren’t in the existing systems of scheduling. Dealt with some consultation with staff on changes to their rostering and work location – which might sound like one 1 hour meeting, until you factor in a heavily unionised work force. I was also asked to look into how to condense two depots into one.

After this role, I went on to manage a small team of office workers in managing maintenance documents – they prepare the instructions for field staff. I really enjoyed this role, as there was a lot to teach the team who were new to the role, but not the business. It was also when I started being involved in an IT transformation where field staff would be issued with iPads, in an effort to streamline work. It was incredible how much I learnt about the existing software, and the limitations and challenges to move it to a mobile device which may not always have internet connections.

I have another three years of work experience to rabbit on about, but the point is… I don’t know how to articulate that this is what I like to do. It’s not an ‘engineer’ but it does require some technical knowledge, and an ability to interface with other tradespeople to understand. Ultimately, it’s a problem solving role. Googling ‘problem solver’ as a job description… not so successful (Lies… the Seek ad show 15,212 problem solver jobs!)

I do not want to work in

  • sales
  • safety/risk management. Sure it can come up, but not the focus.
  • making slideshows. You can’t make me lol!

Any nudges or hints on where you think I should put my feelers, I’m all ears

If not this job, then what?

*Drafted sometime in 2018 but never published*

I have a job now, and I don’t enjoy it.  I find it hard to self motivate.  It’s related to feeling so out of my depth.  There’s so many layers of management that review and authorise everything we draft, so that can cripple my ability to feel it’ll ever pass. I’m also not clear on what our role can influence and change – external parties see us as being able to change laws, but really, it’s pretty unlikely.  Ministers wish we did more for customers, even when it’s a private company that now runs the company, not the govt.

I took this job as I felt I was stagnating in my previous role.  Not being challenged and not really learning.  It feels similar now; there was learning, but I mostly feel blah.

Whilst I was on a month’s break from the long standing job, I ended up brainstorming a business idea with my friends.  I didn’t really do anything more with it, other than meet with one of my priests to talk about their perspective.  It’s related to an industry where I could take an entry level job to test the waters.  When I had an informational interview with one family owned business, I realised just how lowly paid it is.

Prior to this call, I’d spent time analysing my expenses this year.  Looking at what I budgeted vs what I spent.  I don’t usually actively budget, but with the four weeks off work, I took half my usual salary and with some big bills, threw me for six.  When I look at all my spending (and not saving), I worked out the salary I could live on.

The numbers surprised me, they are low.

They just aren’t as low as this information interview number.

Cabin fever

I’ll admit, there’s been some cabin fever. I have learnt that I need an outing a day, and ideally something either social or mentally engaging. Monday week ago I settled for a few errands but then felt under house arrest. To alleviate that, this is what I did the other days:

Went to the Art Gallery of NSW and saw the graduating high school student art. Some was necessarily juvenile, or at least, not my taste. I walked from home to the gallery, via the library (to collect a book about the frugal art of hedonism!). When I got to the gallery I made a bee line to the cafe, and slowly sipped my pot of chai tea.

Multiple layers, notice the three different icons in the central top windows

Wednesday, I went back to the same precinct that the Art Gallery is in, but this time to read and swim at Andrew Boy Charlton Pool. It is on the harbour, with views of the naval base, so it’s lovely even if you don’t swim.

Chai in the gallery cafe

Thursday I’d found a $10 deal for a movie ticket – far better than the $20+ it can sometimes be, for the film Escape Room. I went to a lunch time session and then browsed other shops around the city. I’m incredibly good at restraining from impulse purchases!

A card i could have bought

Friday I caught up with two friends. After a coffee with one friend, we walked the street and browsed the old wares and second hand shops as we discussed our job less state – hers being a bit more recent, and a bit of a shock. Another friend came over for a swim.

I ended up so busy, I didn’t think of job hunting!

Creature of habits and routines

It’ll come as no surprise to those who know me that I’m a conscientious person. And with that, comes routines and habits. And even in a period of unemployment and wide open spaces of unscheduled time, I’ve still come to a routine.

I now wake much (an hour!) later – at 6:40am. This gives me time to briefly review my notifications, get dressed and walk to the gym for a 7am work out. After my 45 minutes of sweating more than I think is humanly possible, I saunter home. I then make the planned breakfast *the plan being set by F45, the gym I go to. It’s usually either a smoothie, an omlette or eggs some other way, and occasional toast with chocolate/peanut butter concoction. Depending on my inclination, I’ll either wash up then (the previous 24 hours of dishes) or I’ll head to the local cafe for my cappuccino. (Fun fact: after many years as a mocha drinker, and then trying decaf long blacks for F45 challenges in 2018, I’ve found a more moderate coffee – it’s a skim cap with honey, so still sweet but less so? maybe?)

At my local cafe, I take the newspaper and read it cover to cover. Sometimes, annoyingly, someone calls. Don’t they know they are interrupting my routine? Even to tell me about that ONE job I’ve applied for in this brief sabbatical? I jest.

Once the paper is read, I return home to wash up, if required, and then shower. After that, it becomes a wide open expanse.

As the blog title hints, I have a stack of lists. I have a list of items I want to buy (both clothing and household items). I have a list of errands and chores to do around the home, including things I’d prefer do on a ‘big screen’ of the laptop when I’m next at the library or my parent’s house. I also have a list of tasks for my upcoming European holiday. When you’re going to Greece, Hungary, Italy, Croatia for fun, and further England & Wales, Germany and France to see people you love, there’s a fair bit of logistics. I thought I had it sorted, til ferries only ran two days a week, or flights only started in the true summer season, and not the shoulder.

Some days, I have ‘coffee dates’ with former work acquaintances and colleagues. Other days, I head to the library to use their internet. Other days, I stay home, and get cabin fever!

Most afternoons I take to the bed upstairs to lie down and read. Surprisingly, with such a leisurely schedule, my need to nap has diminished, and if I do end up napping, it tends to make my night sleep more broken.

A good day is when a few more of those listed items are struck off. Most days see me also add a few more tasks though!


OK, first, WordPress backend looks oh so different. Let’s see how I go?

For my readers who I comment on your blogs, you might know that I’m currently not working. My government contract was cut short. It was due to run til mid April but due to budgetary issues, and a looming March election, they cut it short to the beginning of February.

I was actually perfectly OK with this news. This time in 2018, I took four weeks of leave at half pay, to explore boredom and hopefully be inspired as to what to do next in my career. Following that time off, I was offered the contract role, and left the company I’d been at for nine years. Of course, I was paid out the long service leave entitlements (if you have no idea what I’m on about, international readers, this is a helpful post). I started at the state government after Easter 2018.

I was given one week’s notice. Many were aghast it was such short notice – for me, it felt right. My last employer required only a week’s notice. The kicker was that I was told a DAY before both my birthday AND the day I was moving back into the loft. The loft being the property I blogged a lot about in 2012 and 2013. I actually worked my birthday, and Dad supervised the move of furniture. I’d slowly moved all non furniture items in car trips. The property was actually vacant a brief while, as I got it repainted and laid new carpet. The last tenant’s dog damaged the first three stairs (and a few more other things). So I’ve asked the agent to recover costs for repairing those stairs, and the cost of carpet cleaning – which I’ll put towards the new carpet.

In the three weeks I’ve been off, I’ve spent a bit of time getting things sorted around the house. I scoured Facebook Marketplace and have found cheap and free items I was missing. Weird stuff like ice cube trays and some storage in the bathroom/laundry area. I’ve also got rid of strange items – a collection of three cutlery trays.

I’ll try to post more regularly, though I don’t have the internet at home. It’s an intentional decision, to stop me from being a recluse with Netflix. So I take myself to various libraries in the City of Sydney – they are amazing! There’s a whole new on in Green Square, and a beautiful one in Custom’s House. And I’m going to skip the blogging recommendations and post without photos. Might remove some of the road blocks to me posting more often!

Jetsetting – again

Once again, I find myself travelling.  This time, to Germany, for a fabulous christening and then a side trip to Copenhagen – cause when in Europe, you may as well see the next place on your bucket list!

Delightfully sunny day to arrive in Frankfurt

The beautiful building my friend’s apartment is in. It’s beautifully sunny with lovely wooden floors. I didn’t want to leave.

It was a very short turn around between being asked to be a Godmother, and the actual christening (which, of course, I was not obligated to come to, but couldn’t see any good reason not to attend).

A Sunday stroll around Heidelberg

I had four nights with my lovely friend, her husband and her baby daughter, before taking the train via Hamburg to Copenhagen – they put the train on a ferry! It’s cool!

The funny look is cause i was eating , in Hamburg station(and seriously, it’s hard to see your face as you take a selfie)

The pastry of Hamburg – having German friends helps you use the few minutes between trains to try the best things!

The ferry deck – both the departing shore and the arriving shore has wind turbines, as well as some in the sea.

An attempt at proof of us, in a train, beside trucks, in a ferry!

Getting off the train to go to the upper decks of the ferry

I’ve only just arrived in Copenhagen, and it’s already great.  I arrived as the sun set, it was cool, but not too cold.  The hostel is everything it promised – hip, stylish, but affordable.  The rooms are great – the list of ‘things I could have brought’ for this place include: an s hook or a coat hanger for my coat, a padlock for the locker, thongs (my feet want to be free of shoes!).

Golden hour for me to fall in love with the city by

The train trip started around 7am, and I arrived around 6.30pm, so a long day.  I was well equipped by a delicious snack pack from my friend.  And I bucket load of throat lozenges as I battle the start of a cold.  The journey was quite enjoyable – I saw a lot of really pretty countryside and wind turbines. I passed most of the time listening to podcasts – some I’d pre-downloaded, but many I listening to using the wifi on the trains.

Have you been to Denmark? Any recommendations?