06 Feb 2007 2:29 PM
We have arrived (09/01/2007) and settled in Woodvale. So far everything planned fell into place without any hiccups. However we have mixed feelings in our family. Initially everyone thought it was a great place to be, and in my opinion it is. We stayed temporarily at the Mount Bay Waters Apartments. This was booked in the UK after a desperate attempt to get somewhere near a beach failed. They are in Perth center and advertised as four star. In our opinion they are not. The carpets were dirty as was the sofa bed in the lounge. We thought we had booked three beds (two doubles and a twin, but when we arrived tired etc we discovered we had a two bed and sofa bed. The invoice stated bedding configuration. So read the small print. However all said and done the apartment was on a par with a travel lodge, so as I said basic, but not four star. Please note book accomodation well in advance if arriving in the Australian summer.
As said by everyone the scenery and beaches are second to none. We are always surprised at the lack of people on the beach and in the city. It is definately a family state. Lots of parks for the children. However, we brought our 18 year old at the last minute. Here is were it has been difficult. Had we realised she was coming we would of had a uni course organised for her, but as I said she changed her mind at the last minute. Having met a few people her own age, she has not settled at all. As soon as we can organise a flight back to the UK she will be going home. It is a difficult age to leave friends and unless they can be occupied straight away it is hard.
The food here is more expensive than we anticipated when earning Aussie Dollars. The choice is limited compared to the UK and Woolworths and Coles seem to have the monopoly. Everything tastes stronger and we are led to believe it is because it needs to be able to survive the heat. The chocolate has something added to it to stop it from melting on the shelves. The meat is in a rawer (is there such a word?) state and therefore stonger in taste. These are just a few example. If you use the Woolworths in the center of Perth make sure you use a basket. We filled up a trolly and qued for ten minutes only to be told we had to remove all our shopping from the trolly and put it into baskets. We had five over flowing. Then we had to walk past two malls to the car in the rain. This was our first day in Perth LOL!! We had obviously brought the weather with us.
When we arrived we were advised to buy an Optus sim card. You pay $30 and get $120 credit. This has helped us when calling home. You can also get Daylight Savings cards from the newsagents to call from a land line. I bought one for $20 and this seems to be lasting forever. My friend tells me her $20 has lasted her a month.
Our rental is great. We found two cockroaches on the first day in the bathroom. I went straight out and bought some spray and soaked the outside! That night my daughter could hear a tapping in her room. It was in a rhythm. She discovered a cockroach in her bin. It had fallen from the aircon and could not get back out. Tap tap fall, tap tap fall. In the dark this really scared her. LOL. As yet we have not seen any spiders. Our friends who are staying in Butler have seen Huntsman and Redbacks.
Now for our visa. We came over on a 457 temp four year visa. So we are tied to this employer until our PR comes through. Be very careful if you go down this route. The employer said they would give us the expense money they agreed to, in the first week. The main guy who needs to give authorisation keeps avoiding the issue. Also Dave is supposed to be paid fortnightly, but they did not give him the forms to fill in straight away and on the forms it said they needed three weeks to put him on the payroll. So it will be four weeks before he recieves his pay and we still do not know when we will recieve the expenses. As we rented our house out in the UK we came over on a shoe string and this is not a good situation to be. They have us over a barrel. The salary is supposed to be reviewed in three months and the guys are telling Dave that it will not be anything like stated in the advert. So tread very carefully if you are coming over via this route.
Also our TRA was granted the Monday after we arrived in Australia. So in order to put our main application in we have to be off shore. Having looked into this, the cheapest place is Bali, but this is going to cost approx $700/pp flight only, and I dont know how much the accomodation is yet. We then have to do the same again when it is granted. So it works out an expensive way of getting the visa. The other option is to be sponsored by our empoyer, but this means that we would be tied to them for two years. So far the relationship appears to be one sided, so we do not want to go down this route. I hope our story helps someone avoid this situation.
Schools. Our daughters have been enrolled in the state school. We were ready to embrace the relaxed form of teaching thorugh play and learning respect etc. However, we have found the teachers are so laid back they are horizontal LOL. They are not interested in what our girls have done before. I suppose you could argue that they will assess them. However our youngest who can write and read(almost fluently) was being taught the CH sound. Then she was allowed to colour in primary colours. Having spoken to a UK teacher that is on supply she says that some of the primary school pupils spat at her in one school and when she complained to the head, he told her it was part of her job. In her opinion the private schools have more structure. In the state school they loosely follow a curriculum, but it is down to the individual teacher how they approach this. Where as in the private school they all follow the same structure. Now I am not a teacher and my daughters have only been at the school a few days, so I will let you know how they get on. Having checked into the private schools, which are so reasonably priced, we could not find any with spaces available. So try and organise your schooling before you come out. I am sure our girls will be fine after a couple of weeks.
We have been to Cavesham Wildlife Park and I can thoroughly reccomend a visit. We went for my daughters birthday. She had a camel ride, fed the Kangaroos and stroked the Koala and wombat. There is no way she would of had such a sunny and fun birthday in the UK. We finished the day off at the beach. What more could you ask for.
We also went to Pinneroo Memorial Park. Not on the same day. Yes it is a cemetry, but the kangeroos run wild. It was also amusing to see a cafe in the middle!? The roo's do not come out in the heat, it is best to go early evening.
Our friends went to the tip to get rid of some rubbish. There is also a cafe in the middle. The salvigable rubbish is laid out and you can barter for it. What a cheap day out to the tip LOL.
What every you buy make sure you shop around. There are plenty of malls to choose from. Always barter even in the electrical shop we managed to get a reduced price.
Another hint is fill your ice box, sorry 'eski' with ice and not ice blocks. Even when its melted, it keeps the stubbies much cooler.
Having done the winging pom routine we are thoroughly enjoying the life style. As said before the area is lovely and family orientated. I feel at home already. Everyone we have met has gone out of their way to help us. Even the lady in the bank gave us her personal number and we have since met up for coffee. I do not want to return to the UK. My only worry is that my husband manages to stay at his job long enough for us to get our PR. Feel free to PM me if you want a chat or to meet up anytime.