Epic adventures in international relocation #4

next time i do one of these updates, probably it will say “days to go”, not “weeks to go”.

*flails, implodes due to inevitable but still shocking passage of time*

in terms of our australian arrangements, things are being tied up, crossed off, boxed away and shipped out right on schedule.  in hong kong, however, it’s all falling apart, breaking down, screwing up, and coming undone.  AIYAAAAAH!

1. tomorrow is my last shift at work.  it was meant to be today but the deaf *random corporation* employee i was transcribing a meeting for didn’t turn up, and rescheduled it for tomorrow, and i graciously agreed to still cover it because…you know when you’re about to finish a job, you get all romantic and whimsical about it?  it was like “OF COURSE i’ll cover one last job, yes…i’m going to miss *random corporation*meetings…yes, i’m going to miss helen too, even though she hardly ever turns up, or if she does, it’s only to abuse me for lack of knowledge of *random corporation* components…yes, it is quite endearing…”  when the meeting’s done, i’m going to pack up my computer and steno machine for the last time and head into work to return them, and eat cake.  which is a fitting way to end my association with (My Old Work) Media:  Providing Many Captions But Mostly Eating Cake Since 1980-something.  like, twice a week.  at least.  it was better for my arse when i was allowed to work from home, and i’m not just talking about the supremely comfortable leather chair i use here.

2. we’ve packed up all our bedrooms.  the loungeroom is once again filled with boxes stacked nearly roof-high.  we achieved this last weekend, when we managed to also each fit in an all-nighter for our respective work christmas parties, and a reasonably respectable appearance (in light of said parties) at joel’s nana’s 90th birthday.  relevant conversation with cousins whose names i couldn’t remember ahoy!

anyway, it was quite difficult estimating what size storage unit to hire.  i’m like “um…18 boxes that go up to my hip, so like a metre by half a metre, plus a fridge and a bookshelf and…just some other stuff, plus irregular items like bikes…um…the size of a 3-tonne truck?  oh and is there a hook to hang my wedding dress on.”

luckily my husband is very thorough at planning and good at maths.  this is the little diagram he knocked up in five minutes to ascertain the exact cubic metreage we require.  i laugh, but you watch:  all our stuff will fit neatly right up to the door, with just enough room to walk between the boxes, and everything stacked in the order we’re most likely to need to access it in, while giving us maximum time with essential items still in the house like washing machine and fridge.  *sigh*  CUTE AND GENIUS!

3. my list analry (that’s the best word i’ve coined in a few months, what!) has reached a new…tightness?  it morphed recently from just a general list with items to be crossed off, to a weekly list, and now finally to a daily list stuck on the fridge and consulted frantically every time i reach for a refrigerated item.

4. we’ve now completely given up on supermarket shopping.  just ain’t no time.  we live on daily procurements from rocco’s, the deli that’s been servicing this area for the past THIRTY YEARS, and is located, with supreme convenience, literally 20m from our front door.  it’s a very expensive way to subsist, and means our diet consists largely of ciabatta, various cured meats, rocco’s wife’s oily pasta sauces, cheese, and biscotti.  but this will be how it goes down for our last few days in oz, after we store our fridge, so it’s good practise.

5. i’ve decided to make a self-hosted blog to mirror my hong kong posts onto, for sharing with my wider networks.  they say wordpress is easy but i can confirm it’s not.  have devoted about 17 hours i don’t have trying to perform the most basic of SQL database manipulation (using a custom header image).  when i finally got one to upload properly (not even one i wanted, just anything,ANYTHING!), i fell to the floor of the study, spent, as crackles of electrical victory reverberated around the room.  joel was like “so, was it really worth it, now your eyes are hanging out of your head and you’re slumped against the wall in unprecedented fatigue?”  i’m like “yes.  YES IT WAS.”  but it wasn’t.  and i’m not going to get this thing to go live until we’re already home from hong kong at this rate.

6. the housing situation in hong kong remains disastrously unconfirmed.  we have a serviced apartment provided by my work for the first two weeks, inconveniently located in Wan Chai and containing only three beds (there’s four of us).  they will provide one of those tiny portable cots though, which zadie is about as likely to fall asleep in as a cement mixer.  beyond that, we have theoretically organised a short-term apartment which we will have to live in for six weeks, until our permanent house becomes available (the one i posted photos of earlier).  however, the agent and the landlord of thie short-term place are caught up in negotiations and general non-agreement.  i cannot make them understand the urgency.  if they don’t confirm our tenancy by this friday, so i can provide the information to the shipping company, our goods will be turned around at HK customs for having no delivery address.  i guess it will be like a massive-scale return-to-sender, a big transportation comedy of errors, except not funny because we won’t live here any more so our stuff will get turned away here too, and it will just float around the indian ocean forever, and meanwhile we’ll be stuck in hong kong sleeping on shitty chinese beds and with no clothes to wear.  EPIC.RELOCATION.FAIL.


next week is our final week here.

the skip returns on monday to take yet another lifedump.
the cats leave on tuesday.
joel takes our stuff to the storage unit on wednesday.
we clean the house, and pack our bags, on thursday.
it’s christmas on friday.
we go to various relatives on saturday to get a free dinnersay goodbye.

(also in these days i need to fit in, most importantly, TAKING RECEIPT OF MY HONG KONG VISA…or the whole plan is fucked!!, cancelling all our services, redirecting our mail, buying christmas presents, opening a HK bank account, ferrying household items all over melbourne to various borrowers, thinking what to do with joel’s ShitTruck, attending all sorts of christmas occasions, going to lorne for carols by candlelight and a last sleep-over at mum’s, and hosting a going-away BBQ here for potentially 100+ people.  with no chairs, cutlery or probably toilet paper, if my non-patronage of supermarkets continues.  and i’m pretty sure it’s going to.)

and on sunday, at 8am, we leave.

today has been a banner day in the whole process.  i sure am glad i posted my panicked update yesterday.  perhaps one of you is friends with a certain hong kong real estate agent, or landlord, or immigration department official.  or you’re god.  because…

1. our short-term accommodation is now confirmed.  and it includes linen, and free internet.  we all know which one was cause for greatest rejoicing.

2. my visa is approved!  not only approved, but on its way!  and will be here by friday at 5pm!  and i’ve been tracking it via the fedex site for most of the afternoon.  which hasn’t been the best use of time since it’s been “in transit” for the past six hours.


3. i’ve returned all my stuff to work, and eaten the cake.  and i cleaned out my cubby hole thing of its contents, both expected (75,000 sheets of steno shortforms) and unexpected (a steak knife, a two-year-old can of aldi minestrone, and an old pair of runners still containing sweaty socks from the last time i took a brisk lunchtime constitutional).

and since it seems all i have to do to expedite things is post about them…

4. i still haven’t lost the 5kg i hoped to lose before we leave.

5. HSBC continues to insist i actually go into their city branch to open my HK bank account so they can view my identification documentation, instead of just letting me vouchsafe myself over the phone.

6. i can’t believe there’s still no icecream in the freezer.

come on, blogosphere.  COME ON!


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