1 week/$100 (Day 1)

The Challenge?

Flight was awesome. Flew from Toronto to San Francisco to Sydney. The stopover in San Fran was only 45 minutes. The hop-off-hop-on connection made it feel like I flew 18 hours straight (approx.) from home to Oz. Quick and dirty.

While flying I was thinking of a way to get to my flat without paying for a cab. Cab fare from SYD would cost me around $35. Taking the Airport Link Train would cost me $15 but would only get me to Town Hall. I wouldn’t be able to carry my 2 packs the rest of the way by foot. Decided I’d figure it out when I got there.

Ready for take-off.
Ready for take-off.

Turned out United Airlines left my larger pack in San Fran. Baggage claim services assured me it’d be delivered (free of charge) to my flat the following day. Worked out PERFECT! I grabbed the Airport Link into the city for $15 and walked the rest of the way. I had another pair of pants and a tee in my small pack anyway. Plus I got $100 compensation from my Capitol One Aspire MasterCard under the included baggage delay insurance. All worked out. (TIP: A lot of private companies offer shuttle services to and from the airport for the same price. Give it a Google). 


Arrived back in Sydney on the bloody hottest day ever… over 43 degrees (C).  Hung out with my roomies, caught up with an old flame, took a couple of melatonin tablets and went off to bed. Snoozed.


Weather cooled since yesterday. For no apparent reason whatsoever this has to be my favourite day in Sydney to record. Over Xmas I decided I’d come back here, look for farm work somewhere in southern Australia to get my second year visa, then settle again and work… EFF THAT.

At THIS moment… I feel one year in Oz will satisfy me. Things could change (UPDATE: I want to stay longer). Right now I’m living at my old flat rent-free hoping my former landlord doesn’t hop in to catch me frying eggs in my PJs: “fancy seeing you here Canadia.” Might be a tad uncomfortable considering I have yet to hand back my key (forgot to before leaving in December). Opps!

My plans now? Possibly stay in Sydney for a bit… rent-free. How? Couch surf, work in a hostel or stay with O (my old boss). Before leaving for home she mentioned I could crash at her place if I needed a bed. Sweet. Plus my friend from the Philippines is looking for a flat so maybe I could crash there. Plenty of options.

Plans for the next week are to remain in tourist-mode until I’ve had my fill. Screw finding work, screw finding a new flat, screw pricey bonds. I love travelling and my closest friends know me to be a wanderer … might as well.


Today’s weather reminds me of springtime in Niagara Falls, ON. Cool and breezy… lovely. Tonight I’ll look up a few free things to do—or things that are going on in Sydney. Right now is Sydney’s festival time so there’s loads of things to look out for. Just winging it and keepin’ it simple.

Also going to keep up with my IWTK posts. I can feel it will lead to something great in the long run… looking forward to it. 🙂


Sitting in the Westfield food court. Grabbed some Guzman Y Gomez. Beef burrito bowl with guacamole… yummmmm. Grab a loyalty card if you’re a Mexican food fiend like myself.

A man and woman are sitting to my left. They’re colleagues. Actually… she’s his boss, and she’s politely bit*hing to him about his less than mediocre sales as of late.

To my right are a group of middle-aged Asian women who just ordered gelato from the Italian café behind us. They are looooving it. Just shared a few laughs with them and took a few pics of them with their waffle cones. They just called themselves ‘ice-cream addicts.’ Enjoying life.

Boss woman to my left just gave her employee some sage advice: ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING.

Time for a post-meal read. Today’s feature: Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek. Highly recommended.


Almost 9PM. Sitting at Darling Harbour on a beautiful night. Live music playing in the background and a giant rubber duck floating by the dock. No idea why… possibly part of what’s going on with the Sydney Festival. The kids are looooving it. Really makes me want to buy a bow and arrow, shoot the rubber ducky and watch it slowly deflate as the kids wail in the background. I’m evil. 

Darling Harbour, Sydney
Darling Harbour, Sydney

Time to head home, make some din, then off to bed.

Track of the Day:

DRAGONETTE-Live in This City


Lunch  – $12

Groceries (dozen eggs, baked beans) – $6.23


WEEK’S TOTAL: $18.23

Applying for a Tax File Number (TFN), Sydney’s party scene and beer

If you’re planning on working while staying in Australia you’ll need a TFN no. You won’t be able to apply for it from home but you can as soon as you land in Oz. If you’ve applied for it and want to start applying for jobs, let the employer know that you’ve applied and are waiting for it to be sent.

Applying for it is cake. You can apply for it here. Just type in ‘apply for TFN’ in the search bar on the top right and it will show you a link that leads straight to the application page. The application process shouldn’t take more than 15 mins. You’ll answer basic questions and need to provide them with your passport number and address for where it’ll be sent.

I entered the address to my hostel even though the Australian Taxation Office informed me that it would take anywhere from 7-28 days to arrive. If it doesn’t arrive before I leave the hostel I’ll need to make a trip back to pick it up.

I’m starting to realize how expensive everything is here. I’ll be applying for jobs starting tomorrow as well as looking into checking out a few apartments. This week Bounce is offering one week’s stay in a co-ed shared dorm for $210. Not a bad last resort if I may say so!

I’ve only been here a week but Sydney’s party scene seems riddled with more bars than anything. I love it… good opportunity to hang out with the locals, have a beer and a good chuckle. Me and a few hostel-mates have checked out a few bars in the King’s Cross area. It’s sort of a grungy neighbourhood… lots of strip joints and hagglers running around but otherwise, very friendly! Ha! There are a few Irish pubs along the strip and venues that host live bands. One bar/club called World Bar usually hosts a few bands every weekend. We went on a Friday. The crowd was a little young from what I could see (15 or 16 year olds running around) but the bands were great.

After a couple drinks we went down the street to the King’s Cross Hotel. A lot of the bars are called ‘hotels’ for some reason. I loved it there. The main floor was a sports bar and the fourth floor was a club… best of both worlds. The top floor also had a great balcony with a view of the neighbourhood.

Beer, beer, beer. I thought I’d try the Aussie favourite ‘Pure Blonde.’ Stay clear. I’m no beer connoisseur but damn… not a fan. If you hop into a bar that carries James Squire 150 Lashes however, give it a shot. It’s delish! This pale ale’s so clean and smooth it tastes like water. Could be a little dangerous for some! 🙂

Who the heck is Bettina?

I was inspired by a post over at Bog Of Debt and I figured, why not share a little more about myself? So here it is folks… some random facts about me:

Who names their kid Bettina anyway? Good childhood friends thought my name was Fettina for the longest time before I had noticed and corrected them. People who knew my name was Bettina would call me Fettina anyway… they thought it was funny having a name that sounded close to the Italian translation for veal cutlet. Good times.

I looked liked a boy for most of my childhood. Mushroom cut, hand-me-downs from big bro, a unibrow and outfits worn with running shoes and socks hiked up to my knees. Thanks mom.

I love turtles. Nemo got me hooked.

My favourite deodorant has a kangaroo giraffe on the label and it smells like a tropical-flavoured Push Pop. Delicious.

I miss eating Push Pops, Pop Rocks, Sodalicious, Warheads, Nerds and Fun Dip. The good ol’ days.

I love anything caramel, butterscotch, or maple flavoured. Toffee, taffy, donuts, ice cream, maple syrup, caramel chews etc.

Mmmmmm… baconnnn. I was a raw vegan for just under a year. At the time it felt right but b/c I wasn’t monitoring myself I fell into a crap load of nutritional deficiencies. After slowly turning back to meat, fish, eggs, butter and BACON I never looked back.

I love anchovies. They’re salty and briny… yum. Eat ‘em straight out of the jar.

I cured my severe eczema/psoriasis. Doctors gave me steroid/cortisone creams that thinned out my skin and left it more sensitive the following winter. So after 20 years I took it upon myself to look for other natural solutions. I cut out the pasta, bread and all packaged foods and voila… crystal clear.

Pasta. My parents think I won’t get married because I don’t eat/cook pasta.

My parents continue to guilt-trip me. My parents believe the sole purpose of my existence is to give them grandchildren to take care of and distract them (my mom and dad) from each other.

My favourite show growing up was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy and Angel together forever.

I grew up listening to Simon & Garfunkle, The Turtles, Elvis Presley, The Mamas & The Papas, John Denver, Johnny Cash, Katrina & The Waves, The Bee Gees and The Monkees. I remember being so excited to find that the hotel we were staying at in Jamaica (when we were kids) was playing old episodes of The Monkees. Made my nights!

I tend to wander. I get distracted very easily when I’m out and about in a large crowd. When I go with a group of friends to large exhibitions or clubs, I end up following something interesting and lose my entourage. I don’t mind… and they’re used to it.

I’ve acquired an obsession for sheep feta. I’m a farmer’s market junkie. After trying one vendor’s fresh sheep feta, it instantly became a daily must in my large hodge-podge of a salad.

Celebrity close encounter. It happened by fluke that someone approached us selling meet-and-greets for Maroon 5 while we were in line. We said yes, paid the extra $20 and got to see the boys before the show. Awesome show too. It was in a small venue in Toronto called Lee’s Palace.

I own an LG Gossip. Strictly used for calling and texting. No surfing, email checking, BBM’ing or App’ing. But it only costs me $20/mo tax in! 🙂

I love kids!  Possibly b/c they’re not my own.

I am obsessed with nut butters. Especially chunky peanut butter. Almond butter is second on the list. Others I’ve tried are macadamia nut, walnut and maple walnut. When I’m in a funk I grab a jar, a spoon, and head to town.

I have an extensive stamp collection. I don’t collect them anymore but as a kid I’d hop into the post office often to look for new stamps. I have stamps from all countries and of all varieties (my favourites are the ones with Franklin the turtle on them).

My grandmother is my soul mate. My grandmother passed away less than a year ago at the age of 100. She was the most inspirational, beautiful person I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Barbies were never my thing. I tried to like them as a kid, but having an older brother to play foot hockey, tackle football and soccer with totally distracted me from the norm.

Some of my favourite movies. I love too many of all different genres: 300, Love Actually, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, Zoolander, Fast Times at Ridgemont High…

Celine Dion. Defined my childhood. For all those times you stood by me. For all the truth that you made me see. For all the joy you brought to my life… 

Ellen DeGeneres makes my day. Period.

I love seeing live bands. And the music scene in Toronto is awesome!

I have a crush on Jonah Hill. Along with Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling.