Day 13: Prep for the Oz visa: flight, savings and hukou

Now that we’re settled down in this temporary apartment, it’s time to speed up the process to apply for the Australia Visa.  Besides the official government immigration site, I’ve found this page to be quite helpful.  Since both of us are older than 30, there is no chance for us to apply the great Working Holiday visa, which allows one year travel and work in Oz. 

The only choice is to apply the visitor visa, which allows up to three months stay, no work allowed.  What makes it not so great is China citizen is one of the few that couldn’t apply the visa from online. I’m also suspecting that instead of up to 3 months, we might be able to stay only 30 days.  One possibility to stay a bit longer is to get to Oz first, then try to get a temporary working permit there. Once we have that in hand, we could work for a few of weeks to get enough money for a grand tour over Oz by campervans for one or two months. (Now that I start to understand how big Australia is. 🙂

Besides the discussion over travel plan, here are a couple of others things we’ve get done today:

  • Get the bank to print out our bank account activities in the last 12 months. 17 copies with their stamps on each page. 
  • Pay for CNY20 each for 6 copies of saving certification, which is required by some countries as a way to prove the financial status of applicant. 
  • Call up ctrip.com to find out the cheapest flight ticket to Sydney is Qantas QF130 on Feb. 5th. It costs 5368, tax included, for one person.  Set a reservation for both of us. Payment due at Jan. 15th. We’ll have to know for sure whether we’ll get the visa or not by that time. 
  • Zephyr spent tonight updating our content extraction engine code for a potential buyer. Hopefully that could instill some cash into our bank account. 
  • Called up our families to get our Hu Kou photo copied and sent to us.  Once we receive these, we should be able to kick off the application process.  For those of you who don’t know what Hu Kou is, here is a great article fyi. 

Day 7 – 12: Move the ‘Stuff’

Spent past 6 days moving from previous apartment to a friend’s. Six whole damn days!  Just to pack things up, move it to a new apartment and unpack them!  I was literally shocked to see how many ‘stuff’ we’ve collected all these years. Stuffs that we used only once.  Or stuffs we never touched in past four years.  We ended up throwing away tons of stuff we bought using real money.  What if we donate the money to poor kids?  Or, just use the money to travel around? Even some nice tea?

Paul Graham‘s essay stuff struck the cord: 

I first realized the worthlessness of stuff when I lived in Italy for a year. All I took with me was one large backpack of stuff. The rest of my stuff I left in my landlady’s attic back in the US. And you know what? All I missed were some of the books. By the end of the year I couldn’t even remember what else I had stored in that attic.

And yet when I got back I didn’t discard so much as a box of it. Throw away a perfectly good rotary telephone? I might need that one day.

The really painful thing to recall is not just that I accumulated all this useless stuff, but that I often spent money I desperately needed on stuff that I didn’t.

Now that I’m faced with the similar “one large backpack” challenge, it’ll be interesting to see what I’ll do after coming back from the world tour.  

Next step: get Australia and New Zealand’s visa.