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Lovin’ it in Perth!

Lovin’ it in Perth!

"The 6th Jan 2007 was the first anniversary of our arrival in Perth. When we arrived in Australia, after getting so much help from the members of this web site, I promised I’d do a “˜6 weeks in’ update and then a “˜6 months on’ etc, but I never got around to it, so here are a few thoughts about our first year in Oz."

When we arrived in Australia, after getting so much help from this web site, I promised I’d do a “˜6 weeks in’ update and then a “˜6 months on’ etc, but I never got around to it, so here’s a few thoughts about our first year in Oz.

The 6th Jan 2007 was the first anniversary of our arrival in Perth.

A quick background”¦”¦ I had previously backpacked all over Australia and for the past 20 years it has always been my favourite country and one that I always wanted to move to one day. 5 years ago I married Michelle, (whose English), in Sydney after 10 years of being together. It was the first trip to Australia for Michelle and our then 3-year-old son. We had a wonderful wedding and travelled along the East coast and drove up to Port Douglas. 2 years later we all returned to Oz, this time visiting WA (Perth, Margaret River), Victoria (Melbourne, Great Ocean Road) and again to Sydney where we had friends. We kept saying, “If we get the opportunity, we should go and live there!”

Then in 2006, just the opportunity came along and I was sponsored by a major company on a 457 visa for a 2-year contract. The initial worries about the job and working in a different country turned out to be unnecessary worrying as everything has turned out fantastic, and I’ve been promoted with excellent prospects ahead for 2007. We are now being sponsored for permanent residency, which we hope to get in the next moth or two, so everything is going great, so far. Whatever happens we’re determined to get citizenship, as we believe this will be an excellent “˜present’ to give to our son so he can make choices when he’s older.

We kept our house in the UK and rented it out. We took out landlords insurance to cover the rent should our tenant loose their job or become ill and not able to work etc etc. For £286 per year, it gives us piece of mind. (

We opened a HSBC bank account in Perth, simply for the reason that we bank with HSBC/First Direct in the UK and international transfers are just £10 per transaction. It would not be our first choice if we had to visit the bank often as there is only one branch in the city and parking is expensive near to the bank, that’s if you can find any! With Internet banking, the only times we have needed to visit the bank is to get a bank cheque when we bought our cars.

When we first arrived in Perth, our very dear friend met us off the aircraft and we stayed with her in the Swan Valley for the first few weeks while we found our feet. The Swan Valley is nice, but very hot in the summer as the sea breeze gets the entire heat from the land by the time it gets to the valley, PHEW! She had a couple of horses and dogs and a great property surrounded by paddocks.

We were very lucky to be house sitting for a professional couple who were taking a year off to circumnavigate Australia in a camper van. This had all been arranged before we left the UK and so we knew where we were going to live and which school our son would be going to etc. Once they set off on their journey, we moved into their house (fully furnished) in the suburb of Marmion, which is North of the River (NOR) and right on the beach! We had a lovely time and met some great local mum’s and dads who had their kids at the local primary school. The school is wonderful and our son settled in very quick and made friends fast and the fact that he settled and was happy, made the whole move down under so much easier. On the first day of school other Mum’s realised my wife was a “˜new mum’ and they all headed off to the beach to get to know each other. She’s ended up great friends with them and started surfing and I bought her a surfboard for her birthday. Now if someone had told me that my wife would be surfing with weeks of arriving, I’d never had believed them!

We have been back to the UK twice for short holidays during the school holidays, just to see the family and friends. Great to see them, but it made us quickly realise that we preferred Perth to the UK. I know 2 trips in less than a year is extravagant, but we figured for the first few years we’d keep making the trips home to help ease the pain of our parents. When we left Birmingham to come back to Oz the 2nd time, I had absolutely NO DOUBT in my mind”¦ not even a little one, that we were heading the right way and that Australia is for us the right choice.

So it can’t all be great can it???
Well for us, yes it has been an amazing experience and a year that we’ll never forget for as long as we live. We found it hard to buy a 2nd hand car, despite having done loads of research before we left the UK etc, they did appear expensive over here and you get the feeling that you are paying more then you would in the UK and of course it’s in an unfamiliar currency which makes things even harder.

We have found it quite expensive to shop for everyday basics. Food costs more, so does beer and definitely wine (this was a complete shock) especially as there’s so much produced here! All this on a much lower wage than we were on in the UK, which makes it easy to see why you hear of people going back, after a very short period.

The cost of housing is completely ridiculous at the moment and prices have risen out of all proportions in the past couple of years. We’re now renting a lovely house in the suburb of Hillarys and absolutely love the property and the location. We’re paying more than we’d ever pay for a rental in the UK, but we have never been so happy in our lives and so for us, the extra expense is worth it. With permanent residency on the horizon, we keep thinking about selling our UK property and buying here, but the house next door has just gone on the market at £1.25 million and we know this is way more than we can afford, so we may just carry on renting and enjoying life for now. If houses continue to rise, we’ll kick ourselves for not buying, but if we buy now with the market so high and the prices drop like they did in the UK a few years back, we’ll also kick ourselves”¦. so who know what we’ll do.

{mosbanner right}I could go on and on about what’s good and what’s bad, but for everyone it’s going to be different and will affect them in different ways. The one bit of advice I would offer to anyone is, be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster ride. NEVER under estimate the strain it may put on your relationship and understand that you will need to work as a team and the whole family has to work together to make it happen. You just have to be strong and be there for each other. I would never have come here if I didn’t have a strong relationship with my partner. Other people who have made the move have said it takes a minimum of two years to finally feel settled.

So the first year has passed and we just laugh with each other daily how good we feel our life is now. Sure work is hard, but it was in the UK. Sure we never have enough money, we didn’t in the UK etc. Life is just more fun here, with great weather and a great out door lifestyle. We have just got back from the beach and
the water was just fantastic and to see our son playing in the surf for hours certainly beats watching him sitting in a house with the central heating on full playing on the Play Station for hours!

If anyone is having second thoughts about giving it a try just say to yourself, “Life is too short, there are no rehearsals, this is the real thing”. Just go and give it a try, give it 2 years minimum and then make a decision about the future. If it doesn’t work out, you can always go back, but at least you gave it a try.

BritishExpats Member 'h2oskineil'