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  • Writer's pictureshielasesbreno

Building A Home

Updated: Apr 6, 2019

24 September 2017. It was springtime when I moved to Sydney. As it was an 8-hour flight from the Philippines, I had to book an accommodation before I flew so I can have proper rest after landing. I searched from,, and for a house that I can stay for one week. Since this was my 2nd time to move abroad, I knew already that I prefer to have my own place. It needs to be a sanctuary after a long day at work but it shouldn't be pricey. I had to pay rent for my 1-week stay plus the 1-week rental bond which they returned to me on my last day there. My 1st place was a studio unit in Warringah Road, Forestville. It was surprisingly right within my tight budget, being 40-min. bus ride to the city. I do my grocery shopping then in Chatswood, which was not far at all considering the 19-min. commute. As the whole area was new to me, I looked forward every time to the bus rides going home as it distracts me from homesickness.

I remembered living in my 2nd place to be a unique experience. In Marrickville, I rented a private room via The house has a big living room, small but decent kitchen, backyard table as a brekky spot and a furry resident named Baron. Only then that I realise how hard it is to maintain a house when you own a dog. Fur-friends have their own routines that have to be followed which is worth considering if you are thinking of living in a flat who has one.

It was a pleasant experience living with that young Aussie couple and Baron. After 1 week with them, however, I thought it was time to look for a permanent place. I was betting on my good luck in past shared house arrangements so I decided to go for a 6-month rental contract for a private room in Wolli Creek. The room had very good view of the Cooks River and the planes flying in and out of Sydney International Airport.

Luckily, I checked before moving if the windows in my room were double-glazed as it is normal in Sydney for your home to be exposed to noise either from cars in the streets, nearby trains or from the planes that only stop flying when 11pm curfew is up.

My stay in Wolli Creek was shortened because of living arrangements that I had issues with the landlord. I had to break my contract early, needed to get exposed to tenancy laws in Australia and pay loads of money to get my privacy and peace of mind back. (This is worth another post as well in the future perhaps if I choose to remember it). Only 2 months after living in Sydney, I established my 1st home out of necessity. This is for sure the hardest task that every migrant has to overcome. Each will have a long story to share about this. But for me, I will choose to cite tips that can make it less harder for 1st timers out there. Firstly, you will need to embrace your independence in its fullest from shopping to assembling your furnitures. It pays to have muscle-y guy friends or know someone who has a car to give you a lift. I didn't have both. Then, if you are into interior designs and indoor plants, it will help a lot to create a homey vibe in your place.

My plants are named Chewy and Chippy and they are still alive as of writing. I "invested" on two things: a good bed for sound sleep and a space-saving washer-drier. Thirdly, and will be your mate for few months to help you spot affordable appliances, carpets on sale and kitchen accessories that can last for years. No task can be completed overnight when it comes to "building a home". It actually took me 3 months to put things together before it became the version of the home that I like. To end this post, I would like to share a picture of my kitchen 3 days after I moved in.

Picture of my then 3-day old kitchen in my 1st home in Sydney.
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