Of Arrivals and Departures

After a week in Phuket, I’m back in Sydney to continue on my daily grind as a mortal being of this earth. The first week was tough as I have lots of things to do at work. I thought I have ticked off a lot of my pending items for action before I left for a week holiday – but voila! the list of outstanding items just keeps filing and filing

Anyhow, all things are back to normal now (well that’s what I want to believe). Well, not really as last Saturday, Mami Elsie a.k.a maltesers has arrived in Sydney! She will be staying with us for 5 weeks – it’s good to have Mami here with me. At least, I can bond with her for a month. I can’t believe that she talks a lot lately – as in non-stop talking. Maybe she has lots of story tell, that’s all. Back in the Philippines, she’s always alone and there’s no one to talk to. At least now, she’s with mami and she have someone looking after her. I don’t plan to tour her around like the last time she was here. I think she’s contented of the fact that she’s here with me and she can spend some time with me.

On the other hand, CJ, our housemate is leaving today to go back to Manila.  He will be missed and it was great to have him as a housemate for the past 9 months. We don’t plan to have a housemate in the near future and would rather wait until next year for a new one. It’s a bit hard to find a housemate and we would rather wait than rush just to help us with the bills in the house. Oh well, that’s life.

The fact is – people come and go in our lives. We shall not count how many hellos or goodbyes we have said – but rather cherish the each memories.

Quick Update

Not sure why I am not having time to update my blog – I must be busy? Anyhow, what’s happening in my life lately?

  • Our first ever house visitors (Tim’s mum and nephew) left last Monday after a week of staying with us. It was a pleasure having them in the house – the house felt like a house. In two weeks time, my Mami Elsie is arriving and I am pretty sure that the house will be filled with fun memories again. Not to mention the fact that I won’t need to worry in cleaning the house! Hoooray!
  • On Saturday, we’re off to Phuket! After 5 months of not going anywhere (albeit travel embargo) finally! Although I am not that fuss about it, it is still a holiday – a week away from work and daily routine of life. Amazeballs. I really wanted to go to Europe, South America and Central America – but that has to wait I guess. We’ll do the cheap ones first and save up for the big one – target is to travel as much as I can before 35
  • Am a bit busy at work – more responsibilities coming my way. Now that I have a new role as a Project Manager, I need to be on top of everything which involves constant follow-ups and talking on the phone. Now I know why they say that most PM just talk and talk and talk – it is actually part of the job. I never had a day now without a phone call or an e-mail I need to reply on. Do I enjoy it? Definitely yes. I can actually see myself doing this for the rest of my career.

What else is happening? Nothing much really, three more months left before the end of the year. 2014, overall is a great year. I can’t wait for 2015 though!

First World Problem: Tax

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Last Friday, I was so happy when my manager handed over to me my performance bonus letter – I was delighted because I thought we won’t have one this year, given the fact that the company is not winning new contracts and the main revenue generator – the DTV project rollout – has come to an end already. But, voila I got a decent amount from my salary bonus :)

The sad part was the fact that it’s going to be subject to income tax! And guess what – almost half of the bonus money just went to Tax!!! Bloody hell!

On the hindsight, I just told myself that I am now living in Australia – the land where the prices of everything skyrockets. I would probably more shitty if the money I am paying to the government just goes to the pockets of the corrupt elected politicians. This is probably one of the reason that I don’t have plans of going back to the Philippines anymore :( At least in Australia the corruption is not that rampant – and some of the money you pay in tax is being used for the benefit of Australia and it’s people. But still, I feel bad that the money I earned is just taxed heavily. Why can’t they just exempt bonuses from taxes?!?!!!

Final Stretch

Last week (or should I say 10 days ago) marked the start of the ‘ber’ months and just like any calendar year, the ‘ber’ months are the busiest season in the lives of many – and I should say I am no exception. Busy not only work wise, but also from the day to day activities and commitments involving family and friends leading up to the Holiday season of Christmas and New year. September 1 also marks the official change of season – it’s now Spring time! Spring more often than not suggests that new things are bound to begin and a change is about to commence.

To kick off the busy ‘ber’ months, we went Glamping at Turon Gates. This camping trip has been pushed back several times because of the timing of the turnover of our Granville house. We spent the weekend in a tent big enough to house a queen size bed and proper toilet and bath facilities, without electricity nor mobile coverage. Wheeew! Then the weekend after next, Tim’s mum and nephew is coming over in Sydney and staying us for a week. How exciting! They’re going to be the first ever “visitor” (definition of which is guests actually slept over) in our new house. After Tim’s family visit, we’re off to Phuket for 7 days over the October long weekend. (Finally!) My last out-of-Sydney trip was on May when we went to Tasmania and I have been on a travel embargo for 5 months now. A holiday, no matter where it is, is still a holiday. It will give me a breather from work and from my daily Sydney life. 

A week after our Phuket trip, my Mami Elsie is going to visit us and will be staying with us for 5 weeks from October 18 to November 22. Although it is Mami’s second visit already in Sydney, I know I will still be busy showing her around – not to mention the fact that she’s going with us in the Gold Coast mid-November! A week after my Mami leave will be our annual Christmas party – not sure what the theme is this year, but I know it will be an epic night again. 

Then comes the dreaded December – where the schedule really becomes hectic. We’re off to the Philippines for 5 days to attend Naz and Diana’s wedding (#teamchanico) and then back to Sydney and then Bali for Christmas and Tim’s birthday and then back to Sydney again for the New Year!

Wow! That was a hell of schedule. I’m not complaining though because as the saying goes – a busy life is a good life – so come on let’s do this! Cheers to good life and see you all in the home stretch!

How to Apply for a Subclass 600 Family Sponsored Visa for Australia

In one and a half month’s time, my Mami Elsie will visit me again here in Sydney. The last time she was here, she stayed with me for two and a half month under another tourist visa (circa 2012). Now that I am a Permanent Resident (soon to be an Australian Citizen, yey! pending my oath taking ceremony) I was able to process her tourist visa onshore through Visitor Visa (Subclass 600) scheme

All she has to do is send to me the following (via a courier):

  1. Completed (and signed) Form 1418 – Application for a Visitor Visa
  2. Copy of Birth Certificate
  3. Copy of Passport Bio-page
  4. 2 x Passport Picture
  5. Letter of Invitation from me (the sponsor)

I, on the other hand has to prepare the following:

  1. Completed (and signed) – Form 1419 Application for sponsorship for Sponsored Family Visitors
  2. Copy of Birth Certificate
  3. Copy of Passport Bio-page
  4. Copy of Driver’s Licence
  5. Statutory Declaration – signed by a Justice of the Peace
  6. Certificate of Employment / Payslips
  7. Bank Statements

Since my Mami is ineligible to apply online (because of her passport) I have to mail all the documents to one of the Immigration offices in Australia. In my case, I mailed it in the Sydney Office at 26 Lee St, Sydney. List of offices in Australia can be found here – Office Locations – Australia

I mailed mine using an Express Post which has a guaranteed  next day delivery. It only took two days to process the visa of my mom – which is faster than I expected! The visa costs me only $130 and I paid using a credit card. For more information about this visa, visit – Visitor Subclass 600 Visa

Smile

The last two weeks was a bit emotional. A lot of things happened at work which caused my stress level to reach it’s maximum tolerance limit that eventually led to me exploding and making a mess. Well, in my defense, it is not all my fault, but I must admit that I was stubborn enough to get my point across and be understood.

At one point, I feel immortal. I just want to go on a word war with the people involve – my nemesis. I was actually ready to tackle and fought my way – but eventually, after some sleepless nights, I decided to rest my armour down and let it go…

It was not an easy task and it takes a lot of courage to not retaliate when you feel like you’re being attacked. At the end of the day, I felt that I won the battle anyways as I became a better person both in the eyes of other human warriors and Him. I know I am not completely healed nor I am completely OK – but hey, at least I can smile now better than before :)

Project House: The Lounge Room

I know I haven’t posted lately – I’ve been so busy with so many things and there are so much going on… both at work and at home. It’s almost a month since we moved to our new place in Granville and I must say, it has consumed most of my weekends and even week nights. Settling in to the new house was not easy at all and so is selecting the furnishing for the new place. All considerations shall be weighed out and each item selection shall be carefully planned. It would be probably easier if we just throw or sell our old furnitures and then just bought new ones. Unfortunately, we don’t have much budget so we have no choice but make the most out of what we currently have and just add items to complement.

Probably the most challenging area of the house to furnish is the lounge area. The problem is that we already have a sofabed and a TV bench which we used in our old units. When we moved in to our new place it looked so small compared to the actual floor area we have. We have to think of ways on how to fill the space and the challenge was to match to the current colour scheme that we have which is black/brown. After numerous attempts of finding items that can fill up the space in the lounge area, we end up still end up buying from IKEA. Well, it proved to be the most logical choice anyways as both the TV bench and the sofabed were bought from IKEA. The end result – the lounge room looks like an IKEA showroom minus the rug (which I think we will have in the next couple of days and again courtesy of IKEA)

The Lounge Room

To get the look above for your lounge space you will need the following items from IKEA:

  • HEKTAR floor lamp
  • Assorted pots and plants from IKEA
  • LACK TV bench
  • RAMVIK coffee table
  • VEJMON side table
  • KVART floor lamp with 3-spot
  • TIDAFORS 3-seater sofa bed

A GASER high pile rug in dark grey will definitely complete the look of the lounge :)

Maturity

“Maturity is the ability to think, speak and act your feelings within the bounds of dignity. The measure of your maturity is how spiritual you become during the midst of your frustrations.”

I did not go to work yesterday not because I am not feeling well but because I just wanted to take a break. Well, let’s just say that I don’t want to be in the office yesterday because I know that I will just hate myself for showing up and not giving my 100%. Today, I arrived in the office with a renewed energy – thinking that I can get through the day and be strong to survive until the weekend. I was wrong, very wrong.

This morning, I just blew my top. I don’t know what triggered it but all I can say is that it is like a waterfall of emotions. To be honest, I have never done anything like this before. I always keep my cool and just let my frustrations pass through… but this time I just blurt it all out.

I don’t know if what happened is a good thing or a bad thing. All I know is that I reached a certain level of maturity in life to say what I need to say and to agree to disagree. Was I happy with what happened? I don’t know.  At the end of the day, you can focus on what’s tearing you apart or what’s holding you together – I probably want to focus on the latter

What do you do when you feel down?

I am not feeling well today. I am not sick but I just feel flat. The cold weather is not helping either. Maybe I just feel tired or I just need a break. My last holiday was in May when we went to Tasmania. I know it was only three months ago, but I reckon I should go on a holiday every month to rejuvenate myself. And for the past few months I haven’t been away. I hate winter.

So what do you do when you feel down? I normally pray. I am serious – I pray and talk to Him to at least let me survive the whole day. It usually goes like this:

GOD grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

COURAGE to change the things I can;

and WISDOM to know the difference.

Living one day at a time, enjoying every moment and accepting hardships as the pathway to peace.

 It seems ironic that someone like me tends to be religious sometimes. Perhaps it is my escape mechanism to acknowledge my weakness – that He is more powerful than me and that I can do all things through Him who strengthens me

Update

So hello there #nootherblog, how are you going? I know I haven’t talked to you for a while. I am a kind of busy with life. LOL. No kidding aside, I have been pre-occupied the past few days with work and the new house. Well, workwise, I have been assigned more projects to look after so majority of the time I am on the phone or replying to e-mail trying to coordinate the works to be done. If I am not busy with e-mail, I am busy updating my own and sometimes the team’s action items and on top of that I am still doing some administrative works. Being busy is good I must say as it makes my working day worthwhile. I like to see results and if I see something has been updated, I get excited. I have always said to myself that change is good – at least you’re life doesn’t get monotonous.

As for the new house, everything is doing fine. Moving from Rhodes to Granville requires a bit of adjustment. I need to wake up 15 minutes earlier than usual (I now wake up at 6am) and be out of the house no later than 6:40am. I have to walk to the station and catch the 6:51am train to be in Chatswood by 7:44am. I usually leave the office now at 5:03pm to catch the 5:13pm Schofields train which will arrive in Granville by 6:04pm. Okay, my point here is that I travel 50mins on the train (one way every day) to go to work as compared to 30-40 minutes when I was leaving in Rhodes. The benefit of this new “schedule” is that I get to tap-on using my Opal card before 7am which I am charged the off-peak rate. This means that my weekly ticket using the Opal system is only $31.96 per week (I’m charged $4.70 from Chatswood to Granville) and I can save $0.84 per week on train fares, that’s $43.68 a year, which is enough to buy me a new shirt! (Yeah, I am a stingy Filo, every dollar counts). Since I can catch a direct train from Chatswood to Granville and I don’t need to catch a connecting train, I get to watch an episode of Breaking Bad or Suits on the way home in my iPad! Hooray for that!

Other than that, I am busy looking for additional appliances, furniture, art work, floor lamp and storage system for the house! This involves multiple trips to IKEA, Bunnings, Officeworks, Auburn Home Centre, etc. To be honest, there’s not much progress after a week’s worth of effort. My target is to furnish the house before the end of August – so we still have two weeks to pull this off.

So yeah, it’s a bit crazy lately – but all good :) I’ll rather be busy than be bored with life.

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