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  1. Birds in Backyards

    This morning, my little tawny frogmouth was back in the tree by the house. He’s lost the baby fluff, but he is still gorgeous. How can you not love a face like this?

    Tawny Peeking at Me

    Posted in Creative, Photographing.

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  2. Movie Magic

    The past two nights, I’ve gone along with the guys from work who were doing vfx supervision on the set of a movie being filmed here at the moment. It was interesting while being incredibly boring at the same time. The amount of time it takes to set up the shortest of takes is unbelievable.

    The first night I went along to get photos of every angle of this car that they will have to recreate for an explosion scene. I left early and was home by 11, while the Hubby didn’t get home until after the chicken started making noise at 5 AM. I kind of wished I had stayed to see the stunt men being set on fire though. Last night we went back to get more photos of the walls in the alley for textures. It was kind of fun.

    bm-movieset

    ** Make your own movies with a Yellow Flip Ultra Camcorder from Amazon.

    Posted in Creative, Photographing.

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  3. Public Service: On Shore Partner Visa for Australia

    Firstly, I got a letter from immigration today to say that my permanent partner visa has been granted. WOO. HOO! It’s such a weight off the shoulders not having to think about that anymore.

    I get lots of hits from people searching for info on migrating to Australia, so I thought I’d post my time-line to help give an idea. Keep in mind that every situation is different, and this is just my personal experience. Dates are what was on the correspondence unless otherwise noted. I don’t know if I have all the dates either, but this will give the general idea.

    Wife: American in Australia
    Husband: New Zealand citizen, Australian resident
    Visa: Partner (Temporary Residence) Visa (Class UK) (Subclass 820) and Partner (Residence) (Class BS) (Subclass 801)

    06 JUL 06: Made appointments for full health check. (AU$296)

    14 JUL 06: Had blood test for health check.

    18 JUL 06: Had chest x-ray for health check.

    23 JUL 06: Had fingerprints done (FBI Form FD-258: PDF) at Roma Street Station to send with FBI Clearance form. (I was not charged by the super-nice policeman, but the website said it was AU$21.)

    24 JUL 06: Had medical exam done for front-loaded visa application.

    31 JUL 06: Mailed FBI check to America. (FBI Cover Letter PDF and instructions.) Saved copy of request to submit with front-loaded visa application. (Request: US $18 / Postage: AU$16.50)

    11 AUG 06: Hand-delivered front-loaded visa application to Brisbane Department of Immigration, which included the following:
    • Spouse Visa Application Document Checklist (PDF);
    • Big fat cheque for AU$1990;
    • Completed Form 47SP (PDF);
    • Completed Form 40SP (PDF);
    • Certified copies of our passports;
    • Copy of sponsor’s Australian tax assessments for two years;
    • Certified copy of my driver’s license;
    • Two passport photos for each of us (AU$24);
    • Certified copy of marriage certificate (AU$25);
    • Evidence of genuine relationship including phone records, instant message logs, emails, wedding cards, copy of wedding ceremony and announcement, photos;
    • Two statutory declarations Form 888 (PDF) from people who know us (we used a couple we used to live with and husband’s boss);
    • A statutory declaration from each of us describing the history of our relationship;
    • Results of my health check; and
    • Photocopy of my Character Clearance Check from the FBI.

    16 AUG 06: Received letter from DIMA noting that they were waiting on the requested FBI clearance. I was also advised that we needed full medicals (AU$296), Form 80 (PDF), Australian Federal Police clearance (Form 1101: PDF), and NZ Police Clearance (instructions) for my husband as the sponsor being a NZ citizen.

    13 SEP 06: Letter from Australian Federal Police clearing husband (AU$37).

    13 NOV 06: Email from immigration officer saying my Temporary Partner Visa has been granted. (Time passed: 3 months, 4 days)

    02 JUL 08: Letter from DIMA with checklist for Stage 2, Permanent Partner Visa.

    01 SEP 08: Hand-delivered Stage Two application, including:
    • Partner Visa Checklist;
    • Statement on Partner Relationship;
    • Two statutory declarations Form 888 (PDF) from people who know the ongoing nature of our relationship. (This time we used sister-in-law and our boss.);
    • Form 80 (PDF) for me;
    • Certified copies of our personal details pages in our passports;
    • Evidence of our relationship, such as mail in both names at same address, bills, text messages to each other, proof of name change to married name, boarding passes showing joint travel, evidence of events we attended together, photos, evidence of joint purchases and financial obligations; and
    • Photocopy of request for Federal Police clearance (Form 1101: PDF) (AU$43).

    03 SEP 08: Received Federal Police Clearance in the mail.

    05 SEP 08: Mailed police clearance to DIMA.

    08 SEP 08: Letter from Department of Immigration requesting Australian Federal Police Clearance (Form 1101: PDF) and Form 80 (PDF) for my husband as a sponsor who is a NZ Citizen.

    04 OCT 08: Sent off Police Clearance request for husband. (AU$43) (The reason for the delay in getting this done was due to my parents being here for two weeks, so I waited until after they had left to get back into all this.)

    06 OCT 08: Mailed Form 80 and copy of Police Clearance request to immigration officer.

    20 OCT 08: Letter dated from Australian Federal Police as clearance for husband.

    26 OCT 08: Sent AFP Clearance for husband to immigration officer.

    31 OCT 08: Permanent Partner Visa granted, unbeknownst to me until…

    04 NOV 08: Received letter from immigration officer informing me that my application had been approved! (Time passed: 2 months, 3 days)

    Yay!

    For anyone going through this process, if you have any questions, I’m happy to try answer them via the email address above. I can only speak from my experience and am no expert by any means.

    Some people, like we did, might wonder, “Do I need an immigration attorney or migration agent?” The answer for us was a big, fat NO. We got all our forms off the internet. DIMA will send a request for anything you miss. All an attorney can do is hound you to get things done, because you’re still going to have to fill out all the forms yourself. Save the $2000 and do it yourself.

    And finally, my biggest piece of advice is to SAVE EVERYTHING. I was blessed with a certain packrat gene, but if you don’t have it, start getting into the habit of sticking anything do to with your relationship into a file. Anything with both of your names on it. Anything that shows you live together, travel together, socialize together. SAVE IT!

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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  4. Nature Kids Strike Again

    I’ve been feeling more and more outdoorsy, which is pretty out of character for me. But after having my parents here, I’ve been feeling a bit more adventurous and curious about the world around me. Spring always helps too, with all the new life abounding.

    Saturday night we were sitting at the table, and we heard a kind of squalking noise coming from outside. Concerned that it might be Frida, we went out to check. It clearly wasn’t coming from the chicken coop, but it took us a while to locate the noise coming from a hollow in the macadamia tree outside our door.

    We got out the flashlight and brought out a chair to stand on. Eventually out popped the head of the cutest little green treefrog. He was covered with ants though, but he went back down in the hole before we could help him out. So we poured water down in hopes that he just needed a rinse.

    Then on Sunday morning, we went outside to find two fuzzy baby tawny frogmouths in a tree. They are so, SO cute. I really wanted to get a photo from the front, but he wouldn’t turn for me. When they are little, their entire faces are eyeballs. So adorable.

    Tawny Baby

    Oh! I just found someone else’s photos of a baby tawny too. This is a great one from the front. I just want to hug him and squish him and call him George. And this one reminds me of Fizgig.

    Posted in Creative, Photographing.

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  5. Lousy T-Shirt? I Think Not

    I went to New South Wales, and all I got were these cute new shoes.

    Posted in Nothing in Particular.

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