I have found a real love of being in the open, particularly that moment when you look out at or from a mountain. The beauty, be it countryside, trees or even a cityscape just blows me away and I can’t believe I get to look at it.
For that reason we always take our visitors to Mount Coot Tha to show them Brisbane and me and the Aussie have even climbed that mountain!
When we were in Sydney it was my dads 70th birthday. We weren’t really sure what to do for the day and he didn’t really have anything in mind. My brother and Mum had both been recommended that’s trip to the Blue Mountains was well worth the travel.
We thought we might fancy the trip so set about trying to find the best way there and so we could see what was on offer. There are a number of organised trips but they were either very expensive or not practical mobility wise for us.
In the end I worked out the train timetable from Central Station and that if we bought Opal Cards the travel was relatively inexpensive. Once there we could use the hopper bus service and travel around the circuit including a trip to Scenic World.
So before 8am on the 10th July we set off for the train station, loaded up our brand new Opal cards and hopped on the train to Katoomba. The journey took about two hours as we zipped through Sydney and out into the countryside.
Upon arrival we popped into the conveniently located, just outside the train station, Blue Mountain Explorer Bus to buy tickets. I had previously messaged the company to ask about a wheelchair access bus and they assured me they would make sure the bus was running.
Whilst buying tickets I asked about disabled access and was told a bus had been put on to make sure we could travel easily. The lady in the office was fantastic and couldn’t help us more. I think we would all highly recommend the service.
Armbands for Scenic World safely secured and guide books for tickets in hand we hopped on the bus. The driver took time to ask which country we were each from and proceeded to welcome everyone in their own language.
As we took off from the stop he explained the best places to stop depending on what you wanted to see and explained how the bus system worked.
We stopped at Scenic World and with our armbands on walked straight past the queues. We initially stopped for breakfast and to enjoy the stunning views from the cafe area. It truly was magnificent.
Refuelled and ready for action we hopped on the cablecar and zipped across the gorge looking out at the 3 Sisters. From the other side there are two small walks, one down to a waterfall and one out to look at the gorge which we enjoyed.
Next up we caught the cable car back and got chatting to the lovely guys operating the cable car. They really took the time to listen and identified it was dads birthday. On our return journey he was treated to a rendition of happy birthday by the whole car!
It was then time to make a move and we hopped on the next bus, this time with a different driver. He stopped off on the way at a beautiful spot to tell us about the location and mountains. I commented he had the best job in the world and he agreed!
Our final destination was the train station and Sydney. When we got back we went out for dinner at a really nice pub/restaurant next to our hotel. The night was topped off with birthday cake and bed!
I think we all fell asleep easily that night!
Well after submitting document after document and help from all of our family and friends, we have finally heard that my Visa has been granted. It took almost 4 years in total which wasn’t helped because the Visa is granted in stages.
Firstly immediately upon applying I was granted a Bridging Visa which lasted about a year and meant I had to apply for a different Bridging Visa so I could leave the Country. I was able to work during this time because I was staying in Australia under a Working Holiday Visa which entitled me to work when I applied for permanent residency. I understand that not everyone can work when they first apply for this Visa so you have to check your circumstances.
Next after my application was considered and after providing further information (bank statements) I was granted Temporary Residency which removed the travel restriction. I had to wait until two years had passed from the date I first applied for the Visa to submit the final application and then my Permanent Residency was granted which took about 20 months to be processed.
Again we had to submit further information for the final stage of the Visa last October and I’m not sure if that delayed the final decision but the timeframe on the immigration website was 15 to 20 months for the final decision so I was just within that time.
At each stage we had to submit Statutory Declarations from me and the Aussie explaining how we are in a De Facto relationship, evidence from friends and family as well as Police checks and other documents. I also had to have a medical done before my temporary residence was granted which involved blood tests and an chest x-ray.
I now have a Partner Subclass 801 Visa sponsored by the Aussie which lasts for 5 years. I understand that in 5 years time I would have to apply to extend the Visa by a further 5 years or I could apply to be an Australian Citizen a year after obtaining permanent residence.
The process was lengthy and not straightforward and I feel like my experience as a Lawyer helped us a lot.
It is lovely to have the reassurance that a decision has been made, I can live in Australia now and finally have the stability that I won’t be asked to leave the Country at any moment. which was a risk if they decided not to accept my application.
We’d now like to also thank all of our family and friends who provided Statutory Declarations for us over the last few years!
I haven’t done a currently post since about 2015 so I thought it might be about time with currently five!
I have set myself the target of reading 10 books on the Goodreads Reading Challenge this year at the moment. I have read one book so far and usually get through a book in just under a month on Audible by listening to it at the gym so I am hopeful I hit and can increase my target this year.
What I am LISTENING to: We went to see The Greatest Showman last week and I downloaded the soundtrack as we were leaving the cinema. The film was beautiful and the soundtrack is so easy to listen to so I am listening to it a lot! I love This is Me which is sung by Keala Settle.
What I am WATCHING: I have finally managed to start catching up on the BBC series Call the Midwife on Netflix. I think I have two series to watch on Netflix and I’m not sure if I will then be up to date or if I’ll have to wait for new series to come onto Netflix. Its such a sweet series to watch.
I am also looking forward to Grace and Frankie’s new series which is released on 19 January.
What I am PLANNING: I am hoping we can make some plans to get out of the heat today as the forecast says the high is going to be 38 degrees and we don’t have any air conditioning at home.
What my FITNESS goals are: I have started my PT sessions again this week and my body is really feeling it. My Trainer has moved me on to barbell training now and I love that I am strong enough to lift the weights he sets for me and also that I am starting to see some signs of definition coming in my arms. I have a long way to go but I am excited.
I have also just signed up for the Mater International Women’s Day Fun Run on 4 March 2018 with Naomi. We have signed up for the 5km walk and I’m now just hoping that this intense heat starts wearing off by then.
I am due to participate in the Triathlon Pink event on 18 February 2018. I have been giving it some thought and have decided that I won’t participate in that event now because I am concerned about my current fitness level and having enough time to train. However as soon as it opens I will enrol for the Brisbane event which appears to be scheduled in October 2018 instead and then I should be in a better place for next years Triathlon on the Gold Coat.
What I am enjoying EATING: I have a pretty standard diet every day which included porridge made with almond milk and berries but have found that with the temperature increase that porridge is just not appealing. I am currently experimenting with a recipe for my breakfast smoothies.
I think I have the recipe about right now and have found that it keeps me full until lunch time which is perfect, especially after a work out. I will try and share the recipe when I love it.