Sofico's blog, thursday : The Great Adventure
Coming back to Australia felt like coming home. After a few weeks back in Sydney, I had the feeling that I didn't just want to stay for three months, but to experience living abroad for a longer period. That is not an easy decision. Australia is not exactly around the corner, having to give up familiar surroundings and habits and miss friends and family, having to go through a lot of administrative hassle, etc. But adventure beckons and the chance to experience living in a country that is always at the top of the "happiest countries in the world lists" does not come up every day. So after three years working for Sofico in Belgium, I decided to make the switch to Sofico Services Australia.
The search for an apartment in Sydney was not that easy: if you want to visit an apartment, you have to fit in with the agent’s timetable. Inspections last fifteen minutes and may be scheduled at any time of day. If you can't go, then you're out of luck! I spent the first Saturday after my arrival in Sydney visiting several apartments in the city. When you show up for this kind of 'inspection', you find out that you're not the only interested party. Up to 20 other would-be tenants are jostling for position! This 20 other candidates all appear to have mapped out the same itinerary from one apartment to the next. Eventually, my eye falls on an apartment near Circular Quay, a stone's throw from the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. After completing all the paperwork and supplying all kinds of proof of good character, I seem to be a candidate worthy of renting this apartment!
Queuing or shuffling along is a national pastime, probably a remnant of their British roots. If you go out to eat in the trendy entertainment districts such as Surry Hills or Newtown it is quite common that you can't get a seat when you arrive at a restaurant. You have to leave your name and mobile number to the receptionist and then you are on the waiting list. After half an hour to an hour, they call you with the message that a table is free, so you're welcome to spend some money. The delicious food that you get served usually makes the wait worthwhile.
Working in Australia is not that different from working in Belgium. However, the office in Sydney is a lot smaller compared to the fast growing office in Zwijnaarde. You get to know all your colleagues pretty quickly. Friday lunches and Friday afternoon coffees down on the terrace of the coffee shop contribute to the laid-back Aussie atmosphere. Like this year's team event, which was a tremendous success as usual. Success is guaranteed in advance if you fly to Mission Beach with your colleagues, and charter a sailing boat there to sail to the Great Barrier Reef, and go snorkelling and behold all the splendours that nature has to offer. Back at the resort we have a dinner overlooking the sea and a pleasant evening that will be remembered for a long time. Working for Sofico has its advantages!