The Adventure Begins...

Old Nov 15th 2012, 11:28 am
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Default The Adventure Begins...

Hi all, well we're finally on our way.

It's been a very tough week saying farewell to family and friends but we got on the plane and we're currently in Malaysia for the night before flying to Perth tomorrow. It's been nearly 5 years since we finished our travels in Aus and although we knew at the time, and for every day until a week ago, that we wanted to return to Aus for longer, saying farewell to family has really made us question why we're going and if it's right for us. I've read many times on here that it's normal to feel doubts and apprehension just before going but I don't think we really grasped just how unsettling it would feel. A lot has happened in 5 years and family ties have got stronger but we need to find out if Aus is for us long term or not.

One of our cats, Paddy, was due to fly out on Monday night, the 12th, but last thursday we received a call from the couriers to say Qantas had cancelled the connecting flight from Singapore and had rearranged it for Sunday the 11th instead. Well there was no way we could get Paddy to London on Sunday so we took him down to London on Monday as planned and had to book him into a cattery for 5 nights, at our expense, until the next available flight this saturday. Fingers crossed nothing else changes and Paddy will arrive in Perth on Monday morning. We can't wait to go visit him at the quarantine station!!

We're meeting my uncle at the airport tomorrow and staying with him for a few weeks until we find our own place. Rach is meeting her new manager on Monday for a coffee, even though her manager is on holiday. That would never have happened in the UK. I'm gonna start looking for joinery work on Monday, although i've been told the building trades go quiet during December and January. I'm not too fussed what work I do at first, working with animals would be perfect but I doubt the wage would be ideal to get us up and running.

At the moment we have no idea if we'll settle. If we had to place bets right now we'd say we won't settle simply because of family. But we aren't going to Aus to dwell on what we're missing so we'll get on with it, try get to the 2 year mark and see what happens.
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Old Nov 15th 2012, 11:57 am
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Default Re: The Adventure Begins...

Lovely post. you find some work quick but don't get down if you don't, use the time to just drive around, get your bearings etc. It helps to settle in (well it did me, I knew where I was going long before the husband).
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Old Nov 15th 2012, 12:03 pm
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Nice post. All the best and may Aus turn out to be the place for you.
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Old Nov 18th 2012, 2:15 pm
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Best of luck.
We will be over in a few months and I'm expecting to feel the same way. Let us know how you get on
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Old Dec 17th 2012, 9:09 am
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Well we've been here a month and we've been pretty busy, some smooth and some not so smooth.

We got an urgent email from the animal courier to say they were missing some paperwork and wanted to know if we had it. When we took Paddy to the cattery I showed them all the paperwork I had and he took what he said he needed and gave us the rest back. He claimed they dealt with the paperwork all the time and he had a 'full deck' and we were good to go. It seems his full deck wasn't full at all. He had given us the export certificate back, despite me asking him twice if he needed it, and without it Paddy wouldn't be able to fly. He said he had a copy himself so didn't need ours. We checked at KL airport to see if they could get it back to the UK in time but it was impossible. So the courier had to get a new export certificate issued, book Paddy onto another flight and re-book quarantine. Eventually Paddy arrived 2 weeks late and we have been visiting twice every week. We finally get to bring him home next wednesday and it can't come quick enough. My personal opinion about bringing pets to Australia...I know they're family and it's difficult to imagine life without them but flying and quarantine is stressful to them and I would consider rehoming them. I've worked in dog rescue for 3 years and I have never seen a dog stressed in a new home like I have seen some of the dogs in quarantine. A dog will settle into a new home within a couple of weeks. It's just my opinion but I would leave them at home. The cats appear to cope better but if it was possible to leave them back home with someone else I would.

The flights over were good, especially flying on the A380, very smooth and quiet. When we got to Kuala Lumpur International airport our bags had disappeared. They'd been booked directly onto the Perth flight, without telling us, but we needed them that night. We waited there for 2 hours while they tried to find them. Eventually they found Rach's bag so we left mine and agreed to pick it up in Perth. When we got to Perth we went to the reclaim belt and waited....and waited...all the bags got collected and mine wasn't there. It had been left in KL. Brilliant! So we reported it missing and headed off to my uncles, and to the shops to get some clothes for me. My bag turned up a couple of days later and was delivered to my uncles where we awaited with excitment and relief.

Rach has been working for just over 3 weeks now and it's not what they said it would be, it's easier and often boring but the money is double what she got in the UK. They said she would get a work phone, she hasn't. They said she could get a car as part of the package, she can't. But the drive to work is a lot nicer and she's home earlier every day. We currently live in Rockingham and she works in Armadale so a bit of a drive but no longer than back home and no traffic jams. The only bad part is having to come back to Rockingham, it's not the best area we've seen so far. If anything it's the worst.

We looked at getting a car on finance but nobody would entertain us without at least 2 wage slip. A permanent contract from the Australian Government with proof of income isn't enough apparently! So we've been hiring a car for Rach to get to work. We won't need it over christmas and Rach will have 3 wage slips by the time she goes back so hopefully we'll be able to get our own car. Cars are expensive out here. We haven't seen anything in a decent condition without a million miles on the clock for less than $5000 and that's for a small car.

I've been applying for jobs every day but as yet i've found nothing. I've got a coupe of days work for a friend and maybe a couple of weeks in January but nothing more. Every day I apply for work and then either do some house work or go hiking or go visit the cat in quarantine. I applied for night filling at woolworths, stacking shelves, and they replied saying they had received an extremely high standard of applications and i'd been unsuccessful. I've been a tradesmen for 10 years working to an accuracy of 1mm so god knows what they wanted.

We move into our own rental on Friday but what a battle!! Every house we went to look at had another 10-20 other people viewing and applying there and then. We viewed one house we really liked, a small 2 bed in Safety Bay 2 minutes walk from the beach so we were over the moon to get accepted. We've been living with my uncle since we arrived and they've been really helpful but we'll be glad to get our own space again. I have to say though, when ya look at photos of houses online they look really nice and homely. And then ya get inside them and see how much of a s**t hole they are. There's no way anyone would rent a house in the uk in the state that some of them are over here. There's broken glass, broken fences, overgrown gardens, damaged walls, and those are around $400 a week. I know our budget isn't high but we didn't expect to see so much damage. The photos hide a lot.

We've been into the city, been to Kings Park, been to Mandurah (beautiful!!), been to Peel Zoo (brilliant but got eaten alive by mozzies!!), been hiking around Armadale and Byford (nothing like hiking in the UK and getting boring fast), seen lots of bobtail skinks, seen 2 snakes, got our photo in the local newspaper, been geocaching, sat with kangaroos and kookies at the local golf course, planned trips all over and are generally settling into day to day life.

But we still can't see ourselves staying here. The pull of family and friends is too strong, especially as we want to start a family of our own, so we're making sure we have a lot of fun and make this a good experience and then if we do go back to the UK we won't regret anything and we'll have a lot of good memories to keep forever. We know we'd miss the weather and the easier lifestyle but nothing comes for free and missing out on family time, at the moment, is too high a price. We'll see what happens once we're in our own place and have Paddy home.

Last edited by shackybracky; Dec 17th 2012 at 9:14 am.
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Old Dec 26th 2012, 3:56 am
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Default Re: The Adventure Begins...

Today was the day we've been looking forward to for over 6 weeks...we went to the quarantine station this morning and picked up Paddy and brought him home woo woo!! It's great to finally have him with us. He's had a good look around the house and is currently enjoying the air con. It's a chilly 38 degrees today...on boxing day!! After all of the chaos with the paperwork and flights it's great to finally have him here and be done with quarantine.

Yesterday we met some relatives down the beach for an hour and had a swim in the clear water under 34 degrees of heat at 11am. It feels like we're in a time warp and really it's July. It's just not right seeing santa hats at the beach! After the beach we went back to my uncles to exchange gifts and then ate christmas dinner and played some games and music. We spoke to Rach's family on skype as they were preparing christmas dinner, which was nice but sad too. Christmas really is a time for family for us and it was hard seeing them all together and not being there too.

We've spoken to a few people on skype and been able to walk to the beach with the pocket wifi and show everyone where we're living and how close the sea is. It's a beautiful area and watching the sun set over the sea is an amazing view that we have access to every night via a 2 minute walk. We're very lucky to have this opportunity.

We moved into our little rental a few days ago and we've had some fantastic people lend us and give us furniture, a tv and digibox, kitchen equipment, a bed and garden furniture. The generosity of people here is brilliant and we wouldn't be anywhere near as comfy as we are without their help. We've been searching the charity shops and garage sales for bargains to get us going and we've managed to get a 3 peice suite for $25, granted the floral pattern is hideous but it's comfy so it'll do for now. We got a microwave for $5, works perfect. The recycling at the local landfill has some useful bargains too until we can afford to buy new.

It's definitely been an adventure so far and we're enjoying the challenge and the opportunities available thanks to the weather. We've got news years eve planned in Mandurah and many more plans for the new year. Maybe we'll be here next christmas, maybe we won't. Who knows. We're not sad to be here despite missing family, we know how lucky we are to be able to come here and have this adventure, but we feel like it's just one chapter in our lives before moving onto the next if that makes sense. I hope it's a good chapter.
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Old Dec 26th 2012, 7:13 am
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Default Re: The Adventure Begins...

Great updates and welcome home to Paddy. Picking up your pets really is one of the best days you will have in the early stages.

I saw your earlier post about rehoming pets and I really do know where you are coming from, we had two cats and they were very stressed by the whole quarantine thing. At the time I thought it was easier for dogs as they can go outside for a walk, the poor cats are cooped up the whole time. It is tough on animals, I wish they would change the system, rabies is easy enough to test for.
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Old Dec 26th 2012, 12:25 pm
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Default Re: The Adventure Begins...

The whole rabies process seems ridiculous. If an animal has the vaccination in the uk and a blood test to prove they're covered and can't catch rabies, what is the point of quarantine? We asked the vet in the uk and they couldn't figure it out either. It just seems like overkill that causes unnecessary stress on the animals.

We saw some dogs who their owners claimed were calm dogs back home and then they entered quarantine and the stress made them behave in aggressive ways towards other dogs. It's awful and I hope the quarantine process gets looked at soon.

Paddy has been extremely vocal today. We really don't have any idea what he's saying but it's almost like he's calling out for our other 2 cats who are still in the uk. He wasn't like best friends with them, if anything there were more clashes than play fights, but maybe he expects them to be here because we're here? Who knows. I wish I could speak cat. He's sprawled out on the couch next to me. It's kinda weird having him here because we've been without him for 6 weeks. He must be exhausted from his own adventure so far. It's good to finally have him home.
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Old Dec 28th 2012, 2:24 am
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Default Re: The Adventure Begins...

Originally Posted by shackybracky View Post
The whole rabies process seems ridiculous. If an animal has the vaccination in the uk and a blood test to prove they're covered and can't catch rabies, what is the point of quarantine? We asked the vet in the uk and they couldn't figure it out either. It just seems like overkill that causes unnecessary stress on the animals.

We saw some dogs who their owners claimed were calm dogs back home and then they entered quarantine and the stress made them behave in aggressive ways towards other dogs. It's awful and I hope the quarantine process gets looked at soon.

Paddy has been extremely vocal today. We really don't have any idea what he's saying but it's almost like he's calling out for our other 2 cats who are still in the uk. He wasn't like best friends with them, if anything there were more clashes than play fights, but maybe he expects them to be here because we're here? Who knows. I wish I could speak cat. He's sprawled out on the couch next to me. It's kinda weird having him here because we've been without him for 6 weeks. He must be exhausted from his own adventure so far. It's good to finally have him home.
Many people do not realise it but it takes time for your pet to settle from quarantine, my cat was vocalising and showing signs of distress for about 2 months - although each day was better than the one before.

But dont underestimate the settling process for your pets - Paddy will be just fine, it will take him time to find his feet.

My cat loves it here and is more active than he ever was in the UK, he is still an indoor cat but he has more windows to look through and fly screens and the house is bigger, he has a dog to play with and parrots to watch from the window - he is much happier.

It makes such a difference having the family pet with you.
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Old Jan 5th 2013, 12:47 pm
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Default Re: The Adventure Begins...

Thanks Cheetah. Paddy is doing reallly well. We'd planned to keep him in for the first month but it didn't happen for one reason or another and so he's been exploring the garden and our neighbours' gardens. He knows where the house is and isn't gone long when he does go out. His vocalising has stopped and he's behaving pretty much like he did back home. The heat is still an issue for him at times so we've got a freezer gel pack that we use under clothing and sheets so he can lay on it and cool down.

It's been a pretty good week. We went to Mandurah for new years eve, we love Mandurah. We had a curry at Punjabi Virsa overlooking the marina. Maybe a curry wasn't the best choice in a heat wave but it was nice food. Then we walked through all the stalls and listened to the live music alongside the water. What really stood out was the absence of any trouble. If that kind of event had been in the UK there would have been arrests without a doubt. It was so nice to see familes and groups out just having a great time and enjoying the atmosphere. Watching the fireworks over the water was fantastic and then after midnight we headed off home for a few hours sleep.

At 4.30am our alarms went off and we took the 5 minute drive to Point Peron to watch the first sunrise of the year. After 3 hours sleep we were pretty tired but it was well worth getting up to watch the sun appear over our house by the sea before going back to bed and all while it was still 2012 back home.

On Wednesday we decided to go find one particular geocache in Safety Bay so we could watch the sunset out towards Penguin Island. Little did we know we would be joined by two young dolphins just cruising around where we'd been swimming the day before. It was a brilliant sight and one I hope we get to see regularly.

Today we've bought a snorkel and mask each because we've got a few places where we want to snorkel, like point peron and rottnest, and we figured it would be better to buy our own and make sure they fit than rent some and find they leak, like they have in the past. If the wind calms down tomorrow we're gonna go over to Penguin island and do some snorkelling and maybe walk over the sand bar. We've heard about people drowning in higher tides but we've also been told that good swimmers in swimming clothing should have no problems so if it's open tomorrow we'll give it a go. If it gets rougher in the afternoon we can always come back on the boat.

We've bought a little car to get us around. We'd been looking online at what we could expect to get for a cheap little run around and we'd been to a few garages and taken some advice. Cars here are definitely expensive and it was quite shocking to see how much some were selling for. We didn't come with money to buy a ten grand or even five grand car so we had to do a lot of searching. We managed to find a 1998 Hyundai Excel, 5 doors, 107,000kms, full service history, 5 good tyres, timing belt changed, air con, cd player, central locking, minor bodywork paint issues on the rear but nothing really, for $2500. Comparing it to everything else we'd seen it was by far the lowest mileage, had the best history and is cheap to run. We've been driving it for a week and it drives great.

Last edited by shackybracky; Jan 5th 2013 at 1:01 pm.
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Old Feb 3rd 2013, 9:52 am
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Default Re: The Adventure Begins...

Nice story and nice to see you've started to settle in quickly! Haven't been to Mandurah, but it sounds fantastic!
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Old Feb 6th 2013, 10:30 am
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I'm really enjoying your posts, reliving parts of my childhood :-)

Keep them coming!
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