July 30, 2008

these will be the days

"Your visa has been granted. .... We hope you enjoy your stay in Australia. Welcome!"

These have been the long awaited words! Yesterday I finally sat down and clicked through the almost endless Australian website for my holiday maker visa online application. As already mentioned earlier, this seems like the black hole2.0 and seriously IT IS. Even after I finally found out that apparently all I would need for my application is my passport, I went online and searched for the application form. They don´t make it easy for you, these mates down under! Seriously! So, after entering all important details of my life, health, character and so on, I paid the AUS$ 195 and exited. Fingers crossed that I will be under the 110.000 applicants who are granted a visa, I waited for an answer from down under! Three days max. they say on one of their microsites!

Nothing yet! Knowing me and my luck, I already imagined myself waiting on it for those three days! But after checking my mail... the second time today, I have to admit.... there it was... in the junk folder! But at least my account let it through! :-)

After dancing around my flat and screaming at my friends via skype ... I realised that this was REALLY it, I am one step closer to temporalily moving and working in Australia. This is what I have wanted for years now. I AM THRILLED! And as if they´d had known it, our HR Dept. already sent me the first draft of my sabbatical contract today. :-)

Now they just have to decided on the exact month I will be able to start my sabbatical and then I am ready to book my flights. Where will I start? Melbourne or Sydney? Somewhere totally new or somewhere I already know my way around? mmmhhhhh... let´s wait and see!

July 24, 2008

"Japan is still whaling"- Campaign

This impressive billboard struck me while waiting for the tube this morning! Great motiv! Good cause! 

July 21, 2008

which mate invented online applications?

Today would have been the day to get my stuff ready to apply for my holiday maker visa for Australia... thought I and was pretty optimistic about. It´s a lot easier and faster processed through online application! That was BEFORE I checked out the official site of the Australian Government.

Could a website be any more complicated than this one?! Seriously... it opens up indefinitely. Is that the virtual Australian black hole?! It made me even more confused than I have been before. And there I was thinking I kinda knew it all. :-( Initially, I just wanted to quickly check what I would need on hand for my visa application, not that I have to run around my flat searching for documents whilst applying. Did I find a helpfull checklist? Not really.

Entering the site you first you have to know which visa is suitable for you... oh pardon me, for which visa YOU are eligible for. Check working holiday. This visa is for people aged 18 to 30 years of age, who are interested in a working holiday of up to 12 months in Australia. Check box. Subclass 417 or Subclass 462? Mmmhh, check linked list... ah! Fortunately Germany is involved in the Australian Working Holiday Programm, therefore I am eligible for a visa in the first instance. Yeahh! That´s good in a way that I have a chance to be amongst the 300.000 international visa applicants that are granted each year for selected countries.

But where is the link to the documents that have to be turned in? mmmhhh. Let´s see... there is some info on "what to read before applying".. but then a new list opens up to a new linked list. All applicants are required to meet health criteria, therefore health examinations must be completed. But which ones? Do I need to attach a certified statment form my doctor? No hint found.

Also, everyone who wishes to enter Australia must be assessed against the character requirements. The only info I found is that I must provided police certificates for each country I lived in longer than 12 months in the last 10 years. That would be easy, but what else? The black hole is expanding...

One thing I honestly found out is, that I must declare that I "will respect Australian values and obey the laws of Australia. For this visa, the values statement is included in the general declaration section of the application form. When you sign the application form it means you will also be signing the values statement. You will not be required to have read the Life in Australia book, but may do so if you wish." Good to know!! ;-)

Oh, I found out that I would have to be financially secure, to have sufficient funds to support myself for the initial stage of the my holiday. Generally, AUD$5,000 may be regarded sufficient... ah ok... but I also may be asked to provide evidence as in a certified copy of my bank statment or an air ticket out of Australia. Aha .. may or may not it is then! ;-)

After 45 minutesI have to say that I quit.... at least I found some new interesting things concerning the holiday maker visa that I wasn´t aware of before. If I am granted a visa I am allowed to:
  • enter Australia within 12 months of grant
  • stay up to 12 months
  • leave and re-enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid
  • work in Australia for up to 6 months with each employer

That something to begin with, I´d say.

But I am positive to struggle succeessfully through the application form. So, let´s search the web firts to find some helpful hints what, where and how to apply.

There is more to come, the adventure to Oz just begun. :-)

July 13, 2008

take the plunge down under

YEEEEAAHHHHH!!! It´s finally approved ....I am ready to apply to the holiday maker visa for Australia 2009. I am officially taking next year off!! WOW! Starting as early as January 2009. I am soo THRILLED .... after going back and forth...or rather not moving not one inch at all for over weeks, desperately waiting for an answer or just a simple nod from someone ... finally the approval went through. Hurray! So, now I am ready to seriously start planning step by step. I am sooo excited, but also scared to death. I am not really taking the plunge and move down under, am I? How crazy is that? :-)

I´m already luving it!

Goodbye Germany - Good day Australia!

soul meets body

Yesterdays concert of Death Cab for Cutie in the Hamburg was awesome. They really rocked! We had a great time. I have never listened to their new album, but luckily they played mostly "old" and popular stuff. It was really great. The venue was sold out but we had a really good spot on the balcony and really close as well. They played at the venue where years before The Beatles performed for the first time as well.

I am real big fan of those small venues where you are actually pretty close to the band. Big venues like football stadiums are not really my thing. Although two years ago going to the concert of Robbie Williams really was a treat. He performed at the horse racing traacks during the summer and besides the iieek-smell of horses and the likes, this venue is made for 78.000 people. And there am I - panicking in huge crowds - hurray! My friend who went with me had the brilliant idea to be there really early to get good spots, so we waited outside eight hours (!!!) before the concert started, along with the hardcore fans! Fortunately the waether was brilliant that day and it was like sunbathing in a parking lot!!! And lucky us - we got hold of the highly popular green-wristbands which gave access to the area right in front of the stage! Yyaahh! So, eight hours later when the concert finally started we were there right in front and... 78.000 crazy people behind us! This made the whole concert even more enjoyable. Got great pictures as well! Other friends who have been there as well, but were seated on the sides or way back, just got a glimpse of a tiny man rocking the stage or enjoyed the video boards. :-)

July 03, 2008

on hold

It´s been 3 weeks now since I semi-officially announced that I want to take a leave of absence next year .... but nothing really important happened. It just stopped there. How frustuating is that. The mills of our comapny grind slowly, that´s for sure, but why does it have to take extra long. It´s said that they can´t get a hold of the manager responsible for the final approval. How long am I still to wait for? I need a definite approval or rejection to move on!

It´s not that I wouldn´t have anything to prepare for. I might have to begin putting together my sabbatical-contract, which of course my employer doesn´t have in their drawers. So am I alone to decide how I want this to be solved? uurrgghh, life is not easy. ;-)

People are asking me what I will do with all this time on my hands. Where will I go? Australia - that is for sure. But for how long? Where to start? This is what could keep me busy all day long. Seriously. What beats planning your dream trip? I haven´t figured out where I am gonna start at all. Will I return to New Zealand first and visit all the place we didn´t get the change to a three months ago, like Cape Reigna, Coromandel? Or do I fly to Sydney, a place I know a little, and go from there? What about Asia? Thailand sounds good as well, but do I want to backpack alone there as well? Maybe. I could do that in the end. I know for sure, that I want to spend the New Year´s Eve 2009 in Sydney.... no matter what. Well, that´s a tiny plan to start with, isn´t it? ;-)

Another thing that is occupies me right now is, that my last day is scheduled to be end of February. As you all know, time just flies by, so I started giving notice to my close friends, who unforuntately live not around the corner, to check their calendars for a girls weekend in Hamburg during the coming fall. The thought of that is really scary though.

Let´s wait and see what happens next.

July 01, 2008

the game is over

So we truly lost the game against Spain yesterday. What a shame! And we were all so enthusiastic about it. Obviously Spain was really too good for the DE team. Unbeatable since 22 games - so no surprises. After the game there wasn´t much happiness around, sad faces almost everywhere. We were wondering where in Hamburg do all the Spanish people live... no honking horns, no fireworks.... was almost too quite, except the occasional hurray. We found out later, that there are just about 3000 Spanish living in Hamburg and they sure did party after the game... maybe just took them a while to get there! :-)

So, the question now is... what are we going to do with our free nights now? No game to watch. No going out for viewing the game. No more drinking and no more ... Ole Ole Ole... well, not until the Wolrd Cup in two years from now.

Oh, some Spanish definitely must be living in my neighborhood... who else did the fireworks at midnight... hhmm, I wonder... :-)