C is for Choices

So my first anniversary in Perth have come and gone (15/08).  A lot has happened.

We first decided to come to Australia back in 2008 when we were still living in London, in a council flat in Pimlico.  It was an incredibly long process, my beloved had to gain UK NVQ skills and then had to get it converted to Australian skills and standards.  I was a little hurt when I realised that we wouldn’t be able to come to Australia on the back of my “skills”.  It really doesn’t matter how you get here at the end of the day.

After several years of proving ourselves and doing all kinds of crazy shit, like working in terrible jobs, English tests, health checks and all other kinds of “are you are a complete psycho/terrorist” kind of tests, we were given the OK in Feb 2012.  We did get to do an awesome roadtrip through RSA for about 6 weeks and spend 2 years with our friends and family, so all was not lost.

I’d like to remind everyone out there that, most of the Saffas have been speaking English since before the age of 6 and were blissfully AIDS, TB, mad-cow and Teste-fly disease free for the first 21 years of our lives.  I was fortunate enough to play the piano by the age of 3, I was only 2 exams away from gaining my license to teach….and then I lost interest at the tender age of 16…we are obviously not uncivilised idiots.  We also drive surprisingly well, seeing that we’ve had to compete with taxis and buses all our lives.  Sadly, this is not a skill highly regarded in Asstralia, as I experienced recently.  Imagine my surprise when I failed my Practical Driving Assessment…the dude was like, well, I can tell you’ve been driving for a very long time…..and that was it, really.  45minutes of training isn’t enough to unlearn 15 years of bad habits.  My goal for the day was usually to cut off/piss off a taxi driver, at least…guess that’s a bit tame for Asstralian standards.

Anyway, I guess the point of this blog for today is making a decision.  It’s not always the easiest or most obvious thing to do.  It is really hard to say goodbye, to leave your comfort zone and restart, especially if you’ve already been there, done that.  But I can guarantee you, it will probably be the best decision you’ve ever made.  Whatever they  put you through, no matter the uncomfortable urine samples you need to give (I tend to get stage fright), believe me, it’s better than eating unflavored tofu or lizard.

I just recently (2 days ago) made the crazy decision to leave my very comfortable finance role for a job at Flight Centre, I can only pray that my passion will see me through!  You will only ever grow at the edge of your comfort zone, or so I have been told by my wise training buddy at my new job.  Very clever, and very true.

That is the great thing about Australia, everyone gets a fair go, unless you’re a lizard in the Northern Territory.  Then you will probably just end up on the baaaarby.

It's going to die

It’s going to die

B is also for Beaches

I miss going to the beach.

As I’m sitting here, enjoying my cold beer on an equally chilly day, I’m reminded of the fact that I really hate winter.  Winter in the Southern Hemisphere is truly lame and pointless, how are you supposed to enjoy all the beautiful nature and stuff.

There really isn’t anything better than waking up before dawn and going down to the sea to watch the sunrise.  The sand is still cold and twilight still lingers…and then, the sun bursts over the horison, blinding you, flooding the ocean with oranges and pinks and you stop to think, WOW, I’m lucky.  I like to pretend I’m a plus-size mermaid (working on that…) and really enjoy a swim in the vastness of the ocean, it just makes you feel so small and incredibly skinny.  The workout you get from walking on sand for an hour, damn, I woke long sleeping muscles from their laziness!

Busselton

Busselton

See, when you walk on the beautiful beaches of Western Australia, you are highly unlikely to come across the following:  broken glass, needles, heavy nappies, dead birds.  Now I’m not saying that the beaches I’m used to, suck (in fact, the beaches on the West and East Coast of South Africa is still beautifully unspoilt and wild), it was just that more than occasionally, you’d come across something at your local beach that would completely spoil the mood.   A friend of friend once went for a swim and as he came up for air, came face to face with a floater (if you don’t know what this is, keep it that way).  Mood destroyed.

Beaches are supposed to instill a sense of utter tranquility and space.  Below you will see some excellent examples of what a beach should look like.

4x4's allowed here!

4×4′s allowed here!

I really like that beaches are also used for the purpose of exhibiting art, what a wonderful idea, you couldn’t ask for a better, more flattering, slightly distracting, back drop.  These pics were taken at Cottesloe Beach a while ago.  There was this really great ‘Eye of the Needle’ exhibit which counted and documented the country of the event for each person to climb through the eye, how cool is that!

Cottesloe beach exhibition

Cottesloe beach exhibition

A mere 3 hours drive from Perth, you get to see the longest freakin jetty in the Southern Hemisphere (Busselton, WA), almost a full 2km into the ocean!  Back home we used to go for a walk down the jetty with an ice cream on a Sunday (or a sneaky bottle of champagne for a friend’s birthday), but this is something else.  Better get your walking shoes on!  Oh and 5 bucks to keep it the great shape that it is in.  I was surprised and happy to see that many people had little plaques up on the jetty, reminding you that, yes, it looks cool, but many people also deemed it of such importance to their personal memories that they requested their ashes to be scattered here.

Busselton Jetty

Busselton Jetty

Yes, beaches are versatile and many people use it for many different things.  What I like about the general attitude to beaches in this country, is the respect.  You can even have a BBQ on one of the many free gas bbq’s on the beautiful green grass, right next to the beach.  How amazing is that!

Sausage sizzle!

Sausage sizzle!

So, if you’re currently caught up in the chaos and mayhem of immigration, or anything really, take a deep breath, picture the salty air and unrelenting rhythm of the waves and remember why you’re doing it.

PS:  can someone please add some mountains to the WA landscape?  Great, thanks.

Cottesloe beach exhibition

Cottesloe beach exhibition

B is for … growing a pair.

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything.  I have many reasons for this.  As you will see, I’ve been kinda busy.

1.  Immigration isn’t for softies, you might get sad, you might get depressed, that’s ok, you will get over it.

2.  You might get lonely, that’s ok, you will get to know yourself better.

3.  You might end up in a job you hate, that’s ok, it’s only temporary.

4.  You stop caring about what other people think of you.

5.  You start to realise what is important to you.

6.  You will experience gratitude every day.

7.  You begin to live your new life.

I am here to create an amazing future for myself, my beloved and to leave my “children” behind when I’m gone.  When I say “children”, I really mean a positive legacy, thoughts, ideas and a greater love of my fellow men, whether they be Australian, South African or whatever else the world can present to me.  Actual children will be a blessing.

I will be back soon, 8 months of writers’ block successfully broken.

A is for Animals, Part 2

Koalas must be the most Asian looking animals in the world.  You keep your tigers and your pandas, Asia.  I don’t know exactly what it is, but koalas are one chopstick away from speaking Mandarin.  Just tell me that this koala doesn’t look like Mr Miyagi.

 

They are incredibly cute, with their soft grey fur and fluffy ears.  These particular koalas had a “petting schedule”.  Nothing erotic, just some regular stroking of some furry animals.  See, the koalas get really irritated if you touch them all the time, so they take it in turns to endure our sweaty palms.

Since these little guys need about 18 hours of sleep a day, it’s also just plain good manners to not wake them up constantly.  They’ve also got very sharp claws, a fair reminder that they are still wild animals and could very well pee on you if you get too close.

The koala we were staring at on this particular day, was hanging spread eagle across some branches, sleeping deeply, with his head slowly drooping down, very much like an old man who’s had too much to eat, and was dozing in front of the telly.

So like us.

My favourite Australia animal by far, is the hairy nosed wombat.

The Amazing Hairy Nosed Wombat

I could go on and try to explain their awesomeness to you, but in this case, pictures speak much louder than words.

Wombat balls, very impressive

A is for Animals, Part 1

Last week Sunday my beloved and I visited Caversham Wildlife Park.  I’d have preferred them to call it an “animal sanctuary” as the word “wildlife park” immediately brings to mind something like the Kruger national park, which is of course waaaaay off.  Firstly I have to congratulate Australia on their amazing birds.  I can’t remember when last I saw so many beautifully ruffled feathers, shimmering colours and heard so many different, irritating, high pitched squawks and squeals.

I think my favourite has to be the kookabara.  If I didn’t have  an actual photo, I would probably describe it as the love child of a kingfisher and a duck.

There is in fact a startling number of parrots just flying around everywhere, they love sitting next to the freeways, pecking away at I don’t know what.  The most common ones are grey, white and pink.  I’ve also seen green ones, pretty awesome.  And I’ve seen a magpie attack a man on a bike, repeatedly.  It was one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life, the man on the bike didn’t seem to share my mirth.  Magpies are viciously territorial birds and should be avoided at all times.

Anyhoo, back to the animals.  It was imperative that I touch a kangaroo, koala and a wombat.  So far I haven’t really felt that I’m in Australia, I was hoping that our animal encounters would fix this.  It did.  Sort of.

Kangaroos are really not as exciting as

the movies and bloody Kangaroo Jack would make them

appear, for one thing,kangaroos cannot rap or talk.  Yes, they are very cute with their doe eyes, long lashes and soft fur.  But they can be rather gross too.  I saw many kangaroos have a wee and just lie down in it.  Maybe it was too warm and they wanted to cool down a bit, I’m not sure.  The inside of a kangaroo’s pouch is also not quite the way I imagined it.

Inside, it’s all loose flaps of pink, wet skin, nipples, arteries and who knows what else they keep in there.  Maybe they should keep some sunblock in there, I saw some badly burnt kangaroo ears, all crispy skin and peeling.  Hurl.

I picked the prettiest kangaroo and scratched him/her behind his/her ears.  It seemed to enjoy it, I know I did, I was in ASS-FREAKIN-STRALIA MATE!!  I only saw one kangaroo hop, he was followed by a very excited little girl, running on her short little legs, shouting, “Hop, hop, HOP!!”.  The rest of the roos were just lying around, scratching their asses and looking very dopey.  Disney got it wrong.  I hope to see a roo in the wild one day, skittish and dangerous when approached.

In the beginning…

My beloved and I have been in Australia for 7 weeks now, we immigrated permanently.  I thought I’d better write about it to stay sane.  Living in Australia, watching British TV (lived there for 8 years) surrounded by all our stuff shipped over from South Africa.  Mind sufficiently screwed.  Loving every second of it so far.

I don’t believe this blog will be particularly informative in any way for people who want to immigrate.  I’m not going to rehash the 4 year long process and all the paperwork involved, but I endeavour to show you Australia in all its glory, from the flora and fauna to the freeways and everything in between.