I didn’t know what to expect when I landed in Perth. How would I feel? Would I be nervous? Would i hate it? Would I ever want to leave? It’s scary entering a brand new place and having to start your life up almost from scratch. Excited? Of course I would be, I’ve been waiting for this day for a looong time. Neutral? After travelling for a few months, you are very quick to adjust to your new surroundings and everything just feels ‘normal’.
We ended up getting through airport customs easier than a hot knife through butter. Almost everything is done by computer nowadays- so we scanned our own passports and took our own photos and our visas were automatically activated. Nobody even checked to see we had the needed money in our accounts- after all that faff .. The only form of human interaction we had was when we declared our ‘goods’; shoes covered in dried mud, a wooden spoon and my Daruma doll. They washed our shoes for us, had a quick chat and that was it! We walked straight through the automatic doors and step foot onto Australian land.. unfortunately, instead of being met with a dry heat and a kangaroo, it was just rain.
Everything feels very surreal at the moment, in positive way, of course. After spending three and a half months in constant sweats and sunshine, the breezy, chilly weather in Perth has come a bit of a shock. To be fair, everyone keeps going on about how cold it is (it’s their winter), but I’d say it’s the equivalent of an English autumn. Although saying that, the bitter wind has dried my lips out and made them slightly cracked.
It feels like Christmas. That lush time of year when the evenings are dark and particularly nippy and there’s a whole new, fresh feel to the air. Coffee shops smell of cinnamon and people resemble presents, wrapped up in their scarves and wolly hats. When you just want to get on your favourite PJs and fluffy socks and snuggle up in a blanket with a book and hot drink. Finally having a large glass of Shiraz, sitting outside a pub with Jenny and Mia gave me of having a lunch break during Christmas shopping.
In a way it feels like we’re not actually in Australia. When you envision Australia, you instantly go for that stereotypical image of beaches filled with surfers and sunbathers, kangaroos jumping though scorching deserts and shrimps cooking on the Barbie. So because we’ve arrived at the colder time of year, it just feels like somewhere else. But I love it. It’s cosy and homely and chilled out and I’ve settled in very quickly.
But having that Westernised environment again is really nice. It’s like we’ve constantly been on the go and we can finally sit back and breath. Perth looks very Americanised, and I’ve never been so grateful for pavements and road signs that are actually followed, proper supermarkets, HUMMUS and not having to duck away from sales people 24/7.
The cheapest hostel we found in the area, was the Shiralee backpackers hostel. I cannot complain about a single thing so far. The bathrooms range from male, female and unisex and they are spotless. The showers are hot and it’s weird getting used to the fact we can flush tissue down the toilet again! The kitchen is HUGE, with a proper industrial fitting and two ginormous fridges, two ovens and 4×4 hobs.
The marshmallow mattresses and poofy duvet are just what you need during this colder season. The chill out area has sofas and a TV and the general atmosphere here is sociable but chilled; no one wants to be in a hectic party hostel when you’re trying to get a job and settle in. You are provided with free washing powder and wifi, there’s books to read and leaflets with information for tours and day trips. The owner is LOVELY as well. He works so hard all day (especially because he owns a second hostel as well), and he really makes an effort with every single one of his guests. He’s so friendly and has helped me out with so much already.
We’re staying in Northbridge, which is the north side of the river. It’s a nice place, and even the city centre seems relatively quiet, unless it’s lunch time and everyone’s out getting their overpriced coffees and bagels. The street art around here is really cool. So many bold colours and funky patterns. I do like it here, but can’t see myself staying for too long. Fremantle or Leederville.
Our first couple of days have been spent organising, doing all the boring admin bits and bobs. Our bank accounts are now open, with bank cards coming in the post. We have Australian SIM cards with free calls to the UK. I have completed my RSA and our tax numbers will be with us in a couple of weeks’ time. Ticking things off my to do list has been a good satisfying.
I LOVE being in a busy routine again so much. Cooking and cleaning and doing yoga and meditation every morning. I’ve been waking up between seven- eight AM, doing yoga and eating a healthy breakfast, printing CVs and making whatever phone calls I need to. It’s so weird, but I’ve missed doing things like that. I didn’t realise how much I missed having organisation and work in my life (how long will that last realistically though Becca).
Oh, and I’ve come up with a sneaky plan until I get paid. I’ve got about four gyms which offer free passes (some for one day some for a lot more), so I’m going to use all my free passes for each gym, and then when I’ve used them all and I get my first pay cheque I’ll join the cheapest one with the best package. I’ve been using Snap Fitness first- I have two days left there then I’ll make up some excuse as to why I can’t join then make my way onto Fitness first. Muahaha.
Today, I applied for over fifty jobs, both in person and online. I’ve already heard back from one place, so I’m feeling pretty accomplished! Ideally I want to get a barista job- they way exceptionally well and it’s day time work. I like bar work, but I don’t feel like working nights anymore. All you end up doing is waiting around all day until your shift starts, then finishing at about midnight and not being able to sleep until about two AM because you’re still buzzing from your shift.
Either way, whatever job I get, as long as they give me enough hours, I will be earning waaayyy more than I ever would be in England. That’s the thing with Australia- it may be expensive (well about the same price of things in the UK, give or take a few things), but the amount they pay completely makes up for it. Finally, I’ll be able to pay cheap weekly rent, two phone bills, transport, healthy more pricey food, and I’ll still have more than enough money left over each week so that I can save or teat myself to a night out or new outfit.
We’re going to get a house share as soon as possible. I spent the day with Mia today going to a couple of viewings with her, and she’s talked me through how it all works. Long story short, it’ll work out a lot cheaper for us to do a short term house share. That way we get to unpack too! Mia showed me round Leedeville and it’s such a nice area! A lot quirkier than Northbridge, with its old fashioned cinema, ‘hipster’-like coffee shops and live music bar. It’s much more of our kind of place. The only dangerous thing about living there is that they have this cheap dount place that sell donut burgers and Mars donuts, Oreo donuts and every kind of donut you could ever imagine. Me and Mia both got a double Bueno Nutella one today and there was so much chocolate in it that it oozed out and went all over our fingers and lips. I sucked it off my fingers after, feeling so much guilt but feeling like it was so worth it at the same time.
Tomorrow me, Jenny, Bilal, Mia and Harry are heading into Fremantle. Another opportunity to hand out CVs and explore a seaside town!
Despite only being here for two days already, I’m feeling so happy and positive about life and about myself. I’m still not smoking, I’m doing exercise every day, eating really healthy, and proper making the effort to go out and get a job. The best bit is I’m doing it all fully motivated, nothing is forced.