2 years in Perth

Old Oct 18th 2007, 3:47 am
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Default 2 years in Perth

On Saturday we will have been here two years. It is probably due to a mixture of good research, hard work, an open mind and an attitude that we need to change to fit in rather than Australia needs to change to suit us that we have always felt at home here and never regretted the move for a single moment. Neither of us even fancies a trip back to the UK in the foreseeable future. We love Australia and Perth in particular. We feel like we have “come home”.

The main thing people seem to miss more than anything is friends & family. We are both oldest children and left home at an early age to be independent. We get on with family but also need our space and so for 10 years before we came out here were used to seeing parents only occasionally. Hence it was not such a change to talk over the webcam weekly and see them in person once a year. Generally friends were dotted all over the country and we saw them only occasionally, again making it less of an upheaval. Through work and BE on my behalf and through the Hillarys meets on Sam’s behalf we have lots more friends than we ever did in the UK and see them far more often. You do have to work at making friends though. Overcome shyness and be brave. For the first year never refuse an invitation and call your own meet or barbie – you will usually make at least one friend / useful contact every time. I often read about people who complain they can’t make Aussie friends only poms; so what? Especially in the early days, take what you can get and those in the same boat as you will also be looking for friends. But at the same time try and adapt to Aussie life.

The other thing that people moan about is pubs, shops, things to do. It works very differently here. In the UK towns built up over hundreds of years and so you get houses, shops, pubs, and restaurants all mixed together. Everything is new here (in north Perth anyway) and has been designed in zones. So you can rarely walk to the shop or the pub. The shops are all in one shopping centre and pubs are scarce. For me, working in the city is a big help as I go out after work on Friday night with colleagues and visit several different pubs and clubs before catching the train home. If you live in the far north and only consider going to Clarkson or Joondalup you are going to get bored very easily. At weekends we would much rather have a barbie at someone’s house (and we do most weekends) than go to a noisy pub. Maybe we are getting older but I think we always felt that way. There is a lot to do in Perth, but you will usually need to go into the city to get to it. Nearly all the major bands come here (often at the very start or end of their tour), there are major sporting events, arts etc. We have seen The Foo Fighters, Snow Patrol, Oasis, Kaiser Chiefs so far and Jimmy Barnes is next.

I really don’t understand the obsession some people have with Next or Tesco. Maybe they are better but so what? As long as clothes stop my arse from showing I don’t care and it doesn’t bother me that I can only get 2 varieties of baked beans. Food is seasonal because it is fresh. It is not frozen and flown in from Cyprus nor takes a month to get to the shelves. We generally eat fresh foods rather than packaged and you can get all the ingredients you need in the supermarkets.

We were lucky when we arrived to have some $ in the bank and so neither of us worked for the first 2 ½ months. That was a huge bonus as we had time to get the chores done, feel our way into Perth and do a bit of exploring. When I started work I deliberately chose to step down a level so that I could learn a new culture & industry, build a reputation, make friends and generally be less stressed for 6 months. Even then, I was pleased that I could earn 25% more than I had prepared myself for. Over the next 12 months I changed jobs a couple of times and made more contacts, learnt more things and earned more money so that I am now earning what I was in the UK but still comfortable with a job well within my capabilities. I am sure I could earn lots more on contract, with longer hours or in a more stressful job and I sometimes get envious but I remind myself we can pay the bills, have lots of nice toys and still put money away so why bother? I had one job for 3 months that took me to Melbourne fortnightly – it wore me out but at least it confirmed to me that we made the right decision for us to come to Perth and not somewhere bigger. Sam did not work for the first 18 months which allowed her to build a circle of friends and meant we had the weekends free. She now has a part time job which she loves and that extra bit of money comes in handy.

We were lucky with house prices. It cost us $800 to break a lease early but bought our house for $100K less than it would have done at the end of the lease. It is a modest house in an average suburb but ample for the 3 of us. The money we have saved has meant we could buy all sorts of toys to make life fun. People often express a desire to be as close to the sea as possible but I think being as close to the freeway / railway as possible is more important. We would add $150K for each suburb closer to the sea we could move but we are only 10 minutes from the coast so why bother?

One thing that caught us out slightly was getting our daughter to settle (8 at the time). We assumed being young she would adapt easily, which was true in the medium term but not straightaway. She had two months out of school before we came out because of the school holidays and then only managed 3 weeks here before she broke up for the long holiday. We also moved house to another suburb and moved her school (she hadn’t settled that well) so there was quite a bit of upheaval and not that much contact with kids. She had a bit of eczema which was probably a mixture of reaction to sun creams but also a bit of stress. But now she loves school, has a lot of friends within a 100m or so of home who she plays with in the street or at the park, does Guides, state swim etc and is very happy. We feel she is being allowed to be a kid more and feel safe letting her go off alone. As you will probably have read on here, school is a bit of a concern. They start a year later and focus less on academia and more on building rounded individuals at an early age, which I agree with. But I do have to remind myself that she will catch up and having been the youngest in her year in the UK and struggling to keep up she is oldest here and the confidence that has given her more than makes up for it.

The biggest benefit of all for us is the outdoors lifestyle. It seems you are not allowed to say it on here but the sun and dry weather really does make a huge difference, not just to what you can do but also to your spirits. We used to hate being cooped up in the UK because it was cold and wet. We would end up shopping for things we didn’t really need just to get out of the house. Now, for 6 months of the year, the pool is warm enough to use and I swim most nights. We have bought bikes and a kayak and get out on them or just walk regularly. We bought a tent and lots of camping gear and find that a great way to see WA. We usually go with a bunch of friends which makes it even more enjoyable, sinking a few cold ones after dark and chatting away. We bought a boat at the end of last summer and that has opened up new opportunities too. So far we have mostly done river cruises, either to wineries up river or to cruise down to Freo; mooring up outside Ciccerellos and eating your fish and chips while everyone ogles your boat is a seriously cool thing to do. Now the weather is calmer we will get out to sea more. We will give fishing a go, but I am looking forward to getting off the back on a donut, cruising to Rottnest Island and getting drunk in the Quokka Arms and sleeping it off on the boat or just anchoring up at Little Island with a few beers and friends and swimming from boat to boat. Sam did a sailing course in the first year and we are talking about trying scuba diving next. As someone once put it, we almost have millionaires’ lifestyles, at the weekends at least, without having anything like that sort of money.

Perth polarises opinion. We are laid back people, love the outdoors lifestyle and can make our own entertainment so it suits us perfectly. But I can see why people who like to travel a lot, are younger, need pubs and clubs etc would not like it. Remoteness is a state of mind not a measure of distance.

Some things have changed now the novelty of being here has worn off. We don’t go to the beach very often just to sit; we have a pool and air con now. We used to go for days out to somewhere new every weekend but have probably been to most places within day trip range. I don’t really consider that a bad thing. Some are worth doing again but we can quite easily fill our weekends with boating, camping, swimming, barbies etc. We are now trying to get north, south or east a couple of times a year for long weekends (camping) to explore a bit further afield. We are also talking of going to either Broome or Bali in the winter next year to get a bit further but mostly for the better weather and to have a proper holiday. That thing we used to do in the UK of jetting off to other cities / countries or needing someone to entertain us we got out of our system in the two years before we came out.

As for the UK, we don’t hate it. We had a good lifestyle there. But people are generally friendlier here, the pace of life is slower and there is less congestion. Having fun is a good thing – I have described Perth as hedonistic. There is less competition which means some prices are higher / services poorer but nothing that bothers us to any real degree. We came here to try something new and get something even better and we definitely have achieved that. Will we stay in Perth forever? Who knows? Maybe we will try somewhere else one day for a new challenge and set of experiences but there is something about Perth that feels like we are in the best place on earth.
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Old Oct 18th 2007, 4:03 am
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Default Re: 2 years in Perth

great update, i'm still reading (there is a lot) and enjoying it
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Old Oct 18th 2007, 4:14 am
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Default Re: 2 years in Perth

Originally Posted by gedge View Post
great update, i'm still reading (there is a lot) and enjoying it
If you think that is long you should see my blog
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Old Oct 18th 2007, 4:14 am
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Congrats on the 2 years, great post. Hopefully the next 2 will be as eventful and enjoyable.
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Old Oct 18th 2007, 4:22 am
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Default Re: 2 years in Perth

Thats a great update! It's a real help for us to hear a positive attitude like that, especially when you hear some on here slating the perthites

Any advise for us? We are moving beginning of next year Feb/apr, THeres myself, OH and 2 kids one 3yr and other under 1!

We are looking for somewhere that has shops close by and a commutable distance from Froe/ Perth, close to beach (I know you're not too worried but my 3yr old loves the beach) with nice schools and a park.......now obviously we would have to be able to aford to live there, our buget, realistically is about $400,000, possibly a little more. We have been looking at Somerley, subs around Hillarys and south Mullaloo, secret harbour areas. Any suggestions would be really great.

Thanks Bex x
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Old Oct 18th 2007, 4:49 am
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Default Re: 2 years in Perth

Originally Posted by betsyboob View Post
Thats a great update! It's a real help for us to hear a positive attitude like that, especially when you hear some on here slating the perthites

Any advise for us? We are moving beginning of next year Feb/apr, THeres myself, OH and 2 kids one 3yr and other under 1!

We are looking for somewhere that has shops close by and a commutable distance from Froe/ Perth, close to beach (I know you're not too worried but my 3yr old loves the beach) with nice schools and a park.......now obviously we would have to be able to aford to live there, our buget, realistically is about $400,000, possibly a little more. We have been looking at Somerley, subs around Hillarys and south Mullaloo, secret harbour areas. Any suggestions would be really great.

Thanks Bex x

There is usually a small shopping centre (say 12 shops) in each burb with a major one for every 4-6 burbs so that should not be too restricting. Apart from the east (and there are some rougher areas east like around Midland, Armadale, Balga) everywhere is really pretty close to the beach (like 15 minutes). I don't know the south too well. But I think $400K is the most restrictive factor you gave me but at $450-500K you have a lot more options. Nearer to $400K try Somerley (quite far north but well connected), Ellenbrook (inland and not near a station), you may get a bargain in the Heathridge / Beldon / Greenwood type areas and close to the railway too. Look further out or inland for lower prices.
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Old Oct 18th 2007, 6:08 am
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Default Re: 2 years in Perth

Originally Posted by worzel View Post
The money we have saved has meant we could buy all sorts of toys to make life fun.
So Sam got the rabbit then, what else did you get

Happy 2nd Anniversary

Are you out on the water this weekend? We'll be going out Sunday.
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Old Oct 18th 2007, 6:38 am
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Default Re: 2 years in Perth

Originally Posted by nightnurse2 View Post
So Sam got the rabbit then, what else did you get

Happy 2nd Anniversary

Are you out on the water this weekend? We'll be going out Sunday.
After seeing the stuff you brought camping no one has more toys than you lot! I was thinking of going out at the weekend to see how the new Pajero pulls the boat. What time are you going out and from where? I am going out for a beer on Saturday so it won't be very early.
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Old Oct 18th 2007, 7:40 am
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Great post, Happy 2nd Birthday

Amanda
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Old Oct 18th 2007, 8:17 am
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Isnt it scary how quickly the two years has flown by?!
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Old Oct 18th 2007, 8:26 am
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Originally Posted by bridie View Post
Isnt it scary how quickly the two years has flown by?!
Yes and no. To both quick and scary! It is a good sign that we have been having such a ball that time flies. But looking at it another way the UK seems a lifetime away now.
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Old Oct 18th 2007, 8:50 am
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What an excellent post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and sums up really how we feel.
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Old Oct 18th 2007, 9:00 am
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[ .[/QUOTE]


A well written and interesting update Worzel.

You seem very sensible , hence your success there I think.

Hopefully meet you for beers one day ( when we eventually get there -lol)

Dave
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Old Oct 18th 2007, 11:21 am
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Thanks for your update, Worzel. (And for updating your blog regularly as well - I check it every week ) Great post.

You've done so much in two years! Congratulations.

All the best with the citizenship test .

Gina
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Old Oct 18th 2007, 11:43 am
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Default Re: 2 years in Perth

Worzel

Well done mate, you sound like you are just where I want to be

Mick
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