MacBook Pro

Most of you already know that on my personal PC side, I have switched from PC to Mac. After using an iPhone for over a year by that time I was curious about exploring the “other side” and see what the development environment is like.

It started in Feburary 2010 when I dipped my toes in the water and bought a Macbook 13″. It quickly became my main computer and I grew very interested and keen on the mac way.

Now over a year later I have upgraded from the Macbook to a new Macbook Pro 15″. I am totally loving the the speed and power of this system and am looking forward to using it for a very long time.

I know a lot of PC people still point out the initial cost of a Mac as a major negative. Sure it’s expensive, but the quality of the hardware with the interface and “get out of your way” nature of OS X makes it well worth it.

Also since I still work with PCs at work, I switch between the two every day. Windows 7 is a very capable OS but the quality of the laptops is noticeably  inferior!

But as with all flamewars people have biases and prefer to have sides. Some prefer Windows and it works for them. fair enough. I just prefer the Mac :)

Xcode here I come!

 

Wow time does fly

Wow. it’s been over a year since I have touched this site.

Does this mean I am not active any more? This is not the case.

I guess I am more active on Facebook and Twitter than this blog. (for now anyway)

Femke and I are now engaged! This wedding is in September 2011.

Her parents are over visiting from Holland. We are all gearing up for the holidays!

Summer is not as hot as last year which is wonderful!

Chat soon!

House hunting

Femke now has her residency visa, so now we move on to setting up our own lives together.

First was getting joint bank accounts all sorted out. We reviewed all the major banks and decided to end up with Bankwest for our needs. So far we are impressed with the services and the internet banking side of things. Hopefully it will stay that away and we’ll be with them for a while!

Fem then got her Medicare, drivers license and health insurance sorted out reasonably quickly.

Fem is also looking for work. Given the GFC (Global Financial Crisis), jobs are hard to find. But she is working hard and I am sure she will get something soon.

Next was house hunting. We have decided to rent for a few years while we get a deposit ready for buying a house. Turns out a lot of people are also renting as well. The favourite houses from our first list of options were already taken. So we knew we had to be quicker! We are now currently mulling over two houses at the moment with a decision to be made tomorrow.

We also bought a king sized bed yesterday from Bedshed as well. Wahoo! A lot of bedding shops are having big sales on in September so we though it would be ideal to take advantage of them. The store will to hang on to the bed until we are ready to move into our new place.

Fingers crossed we get the housing sorted out soon… stay tuned…

Visa Dramas: Chapter 2: Part 5: The conclusion for now

After getting the official go ahead from Berlin a few weeks earlier than expected we were very happy she was able to go there and pick it up!

Femke was a little cautious and concerned that something else might go wrong. I did my best to re-assure her but I was a little concerned too. It all had suddenly become so easy…

It ended up being rather anti-climatic to be honest! (in a good way!)

Back to New Zealand

fems visa Femke flew out to Auckland on Sunday morning. She received an email from Berlin on Monday and was told to go to the Australian Embassy on Thursday.

She then just has to kill time until Thursday.

When Thursday came (yesterday), she was at the Embassy bright and early. They asked for proof that she had left Australia, and showed it. 2 minutes later she had the sticker/stamp in her passport which was the official 2 year temporary residency visa!

That was it. The hard part is now officially over!!

I will be picking her up from the airport tomorrow night and she will now be an Aussie temporary resident!

So what happens now?

Femke can now legally stay and work in Australia for 2 years. The only limitation is she can’t get access to government benefits (like we need them :P).

The next and final stage is in 2 years time when we have to show the government additional proof that we have been together for the previous time. This will involve showing joint bank accounts and joint names on leases or big purchases etc. But that should all be significantly easier than what we have been through since February of this year. When that is all approved and sighted and stamped, then her temporary residency visa will become permanent.

Starting next week we can now finally get on with our lives together in Australia!! We have been waiting for this for so long! This means getting joint bank accounts, Fem looking for work and both of us searching for a place to live closer to the city! All the things other people can sometimes take for granted. It’s gonna be a lot of fun!

Visa Dramas: Chapter 2: Part 4

Time for another update I think!

Back together again!
Femke successfully arrive in Australia after a very long flight on the morning of the 24th of July. We were happily reunited at the airport after me waiting very impatiently. We then set off for four days of relaxation at Lillypillys cottages which is located near Montville.  They have several isolated cottages with fireplaces and romantic settings plus stunning views (as shown below).

We spent the time relaxing and checking out the nearby sites such as the Eumundi markets and Underwater World at Mooloolaba. Lillypillys also catered our breakfasts each morning and one dinner during our stay. All the meals were great! We also went to a few local restaurants and enjoyed them all. We were both surprised how quickly we were able to pick up from where we left off in early February. It was as if we were only apart for a few days rather than six months!

View from the deck of our cottage one early morning

We had an incredible time and can highly recommend Lillypillies for couples who want a great weekend getaway with privacy and wonderful meals brought to your room.
Fem was able to be there for my birthday which I was very happy for!

The ongoing Visa saga…
We heard from Berlin who said that they were currently processing Visa applications from May and our submission was received on the 15th of June. So we knew we still had a bit of a long wait ahead of us. Fem was able to stay in Australia for 3 months and we thought the visa process might take 5 to 10 months from June (based on what they said on the website)
We looked into the possibility of extending the tourist visa for Fem up to 6 months in case our visa case got delayed. There was a lot of paperwork which we could do but we really didn’t want to. We decided to wait a bit longer and hopefully once the embassy assessed the case we would have a better idea on how long it would take…

Some good news at last!

On Tuesday the 11th of August we finally had the good news we were waiting for! Weeks earlier than what we were expecting, we got a response from Berlin saying that the visa was approved and for Femke to make arrangements to leave Australia to pick it up!?!? Wow what wow what!!
We continued to email the contact at Berlin back and forth a few times, and worked out that Femke needs to leave Australia for 5 working days and she can be in Auckland to pick up the Visa itself.
Still in a happy shock and daze, we booked a flight, confirmed the dates with the embassy and now from August 23rd til 29th, Femke will be in Auckland. When she returns on the night of the 29th of August she will have her visa and will be able stay here for 2 years!! (First part is a temporary residency visa which is 2 years long)
In the space of a single day, the hardest part of the entire visa process was finalised and before the end of this month (August) she will have the Visa!!  We were both ecstatic and very very grateful to the staff at the Berlin embassy for coming through for us!

The Land of the Great White Cloud
So now Femke is preparing to return to New Zealand again. We were wondering about accommodation, as Berlin said it would take about 48 hours to get the paperwork through to the Aussie embassy in Auckland. Luckily our friend Jason (also known as “Pepe”) and Amy have allowed Femke to stay with them for a few days and she will stay in a hostel in the city for the last few days when she needs to be close to the embassy.

Looking ahead…
Yes we have already started to look for some places to live and bank sites for joint accounts and everything :)
We both are so glad this long process (started in February of this year) is coming to an end and we can now properly start our lives together!