Long before our arrival in Australia, we were planning for our adventure by wrapping up the sale of our home, sorting out what needed to go on the container and what needed to stay behind, settling open accounts and dealing with all the other minutiae of our lives in South Africa.
Part of that process included, hunting for houses to rent. We waded through literally hundreds of properties using a handful of property apps and did virtual tours and street views and comparisons aplenty. We ‘placed’ our furniture in rooms some eleven thousand kilometers away and looked at gardens and parks for our children (and dog) to play in.
Of course, before we arrived here, we couldn’t actually commit to any of those houses and there were a few properties we would have loved to have seen in person that sort of slipped by us online. Then suddenly, we were here and the flag fell on our temporary accommodation. The clock was ticking.
What followed was a couple of frantic weeks of serious house hunting. By serious of course I mean looking at around fifteen houses, only half of which we could reasonably expect to afford the rental for. We even opportunistically darted into a mansion of a house that was for sale for an eye watering amount in any currency. At the door I handed over my contact details to the agent and proceeded to stroll around the palatial home with all the confidence of a Prince wandering around his grounds, master of all he surveys.
Now for a small confession.
For almost all of these house inspections, we took our halflings with us. I feel I must apologize to all of the agents that showed these homes by saying that my eldest has a habit of needing to make use of the water closet whenever we are out and about. I won’t reveal which house this happened in but, in one particular home my boy announced the imminent arrival of a ‘number two’ and then he proceeded to ruin the quality of the air in the top half of that particular home for at least the balance of the day. It was a horror story.
Fortunately, there were three key factors that allowed us to ‘drop and go’ without having to own up to the agent in person. First, the home was empty. Second, the agent was giving us time on our own upstairs to browse and third, there were no other prospective tenants viewing the home alongside us. So…plop, plop, flush!
In the end, we actually did manage to find a home we liked that didn’t require one of us to donate a kidney on the black market to rent it. Truth be told, it fell into our laps and through a twist of fate in the universe, we were the only people that saw the home that day that had decided to put an application in – which was accepted.
As is often the case when making big decisions, we started to second-guess our decision the moment the deposit was paid. First, the online listing was taken down after we paid the deposit so we couldn’t go back and revisit the home one last time. Then I discovered that despite walking through the home in the middle of the afternoon, I had no memory at all of anything in the house upstairs. It literally could have been pink carpet made from feather boa’s with suits of armor on the walls. It seemed that all the homes I had visited that day had begun to merge into a single, blurry, four bedroom house with doors and windows and garages and bathrooms.
Fortunately, my wife had a very clear image in her head and she convinced me that this was actually the home for us. There was some disagreement initially about how big the living area in the new house was. One of us (won’t say who) was spatially challenged in this area. That said, in the end, there was an agreement to disagree and simply bypass the space issue entirely by buying a brand new lounge suite.
I hope that when the time comes to fit our old 55 inch TV in the lounge that we are both equally as eager to replace it with something in the 65 inch ballpark. Fingers are firmly crossed on this hot potato.
So, four short weeks later and we are in the house with a few sticks of furniture around us while we wait for all our worldly goods to arrive. We have it on good authority that delivery of our things will be made in the next few days and this being a pretty organized society, I’m actually inclined to believe them. I mean, so far, the only thing Australia has gotten wrong is putting four (not two) swivel wheels on their shopping trolleys.
I can tell you now without hesitation that of all the things in the container, we as a family are all very excited to see the arrival of the LEGO and the PlayStation (our babysitter) which we have sorely missed these past two months.