1. Get my permanent residency. My current temporary visa expires in May. In the letter they sent me approving that visa, the immigration department said I'd get a packet of forms in the mail about two months before that for the second stage. I have heard of people getting them as early as six months before, but I'm not holding my breath. This is the government we're talking about, after all, and this year the immigration department ended up with a lot of egg on their face. For those overseas, the revelation that a mentally ill Australian citizen was sent to immigration detention for several months unleashed many more news stories about immigration mess-ups. The immigration minister is not a popular person right now.

2. We're going to buy a house. It may not be in Mount Pleasant after all. Probably closer to the Salisbury area since we both work there. Minimum three bedrooms, separate bathroom & laundry, ducted air conditioning with one room reverse cycle for the really nasty days, a shed or space for one, and a kitchen. Doesn't matter what the kitchen looks like, anything's better than the one we have now.

Since I'm not yet a permanent resident, if we decide to apply for a home loan together now, we'd need a 20% deposit/down payment. If we wait till I get PR, it's 5%. So once that comes through, we'll be looking at loans and houses very very seriously.

3. Get back to the US for Christmas. There are many ways of doing this: fly Qantas & American through Sydney/Melbourne, LA, and Chicago to Minneapolis; fly Air New Zealand & United through Auckland, LA, and Chicago to Minneapolis; or fly either of the two just to LA and get a car from there, taking a week or so to drive from the west coast to Wisconsin. We kinda like the idea of a road trip, seeing all those national landmarks up close rather than from five miles overhead.

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