The times, they are a-changin’.
We’re moving! Goodbye 15 Duke Street. Goodbye, ants in the bathroom and possums in the roof. Goodbye, creepy dark garage basement.
Our new pad is only a few blocks up the road: still just a short few kilometers bike ride into the city and my regular haunts, around the corner from the library and favorite op shop. Much to the incredulous delight of my husband, we also now live around the corner from Hungry Jack’s, Red Rooster and McDonald’s.
(Hungry Jack’s is the Australian equivalent of Burger King, Red Rooster is sort of a seafood-themed KFC. I have to admit, it’s pretty good if you’re looking for fried shrimp. However, if you know Peter, you should probably come visit now because I suspect fast-food induced heart failure is imminent.)
Here’s a guerrilla style shot of our new home:
I started this blog not only as a way to keep in touch with those at home, but also to chronicle the adventures of living as an expat. Let me tell you: the rental market here is vicious. Dog eat dog.
Given the astronomical price of buying a home, it’s not surprising that so many rent. Also, in our current sort-of-seedy-but-not-dangerous-and-also-eclectic neighborhood, newer, renovated apartments are much rarer than the typical aged Queenslander style home we currently live in. Lastly, the comparative lack of urban sprawl makes inner or near-city living expensive and, for the nice places, scarce.
Combine these factors and you get several applicants for the same place.
Even viewing a new place is a communal thing: you walk through the rooms with seven or eight other potential tenants, eyeing each other, growling under your breath and wondering about their credit score. I found it a tad awkward.
Somehow, our trio of misfits (Peter, flatmate Matt and myself) beat out the hordes of other applicants and this beautiful new flat is now ours for the next six months!
This brings us to the next challenge of being an expat: we have no stuff.
I mean, nothing. No furniture (not even a bed), no appliances, not even towels or dishes. Mattress? No. Dresser? Nope, not that either. Our flatmate Kirsty owns all the furniture in our current place and has generously allowed us use of it. But now, we are pretty much footloose and furniture free.
In case you didn’t know, I like to reuse things. Not a fan of waste. I’m also not a fan of spending thousands to furnish a place when our future is so undetermined. (Trip to Thailand vs. new bedroom decor set. Seriously, no contest.)
However, after living with next to nothing to call my own for the past six months, I’m starting to feel the urge to accumulate at least a bit. So here’s the deal:
I’m going to embark on a project to furnish our flat with almost entirely secondhand or used items. I do have standards, thankyouverymuch, so these items will meet high measurements of aesthetic and quality. I’m not talking about eating dinner on beanbags out of mismatched colored tupperware.
New items cost a bit more over here than in the US, so my reasoning is partly financial, but partly eco-responsible. I think I can furnish the entire place for under $1500. (I secretly think I can do it for less, but since time isn’t always a luxury in the case of kitchen and sleeping items, I may have to spend more than I’d like.)
Time will tell. Remember, we’re talking all kitchen appliances, eating and cookingwares, washing machine, vacuum, bed/mattress, bedroom furniture, couch, table, desk, and if Peter persuades me, a TV.
So, if you care, follow this new adventure as I become a prolific thrifting, bargain hunting, tiger woman of the secondhand underground.