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Trip Start Aug 05, 2011
Trip End Oct 14, 2012

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Where I stayed
Wickham Retreat

Flag of Australia  , Western Australia,
Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ok we owe all of you, our avid readers an apology for the tardiness of our latest blog entry. I wish we could say it is because we have been super busy with lots of exciting things but the truth is we have (kind of) got ourselves settled and got our lives (slightly) on track – reality has set in and we are both now employed. Yay!

Since we last left you we have returned to the sunnier climes of Perth (highs of 42 degrees), this time taking the cop-out, slightly shorter option of a 5 hour flight. In the true tradition that has come to be our spate of airport related bad luck, our 7am flight was cancelled. Luckily for us Jet Star had the problem under control and not only were we given vouchers for a swanky airport breakfast but we were also moved onto the Qantas flight only an hour later, complete with complimentary meal – result!

It was so good to see Matt and Em (and of course Phillip) and being back in Perth sort of felt like coming home. We arrived back just before Australia Day so were treated to a behind the scenes tour of Matt's Building (that's the tallest building in Perth incase you were unsure) for spectacular views of the fireworks over Swan River. We were relegated to the sofa as 'our' room was occupied by Em’s friend from home…the less said the better, so our mornings were filled with Phillip launching himself from half way across the living room and aiming straight for our faces, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way. To add to the feeling of home we were able to hang out with Katie, aka Chaytee as she was visiting her boyfriend in Perth (who actually works in Texas). We somehow managed to keep our return from Sydney a secret and surprise her; it was definitely worth it, surreal but nice.

And so the job hunt began. We were really lucky in that the Ultimate Oz office back in Sydney had become our home from home and all the days spent tirelessly applying for jobs paid off. We both had interviews lined up for almost as soon as we were back in WA and before we knew it initial interviews turned into second interviews, and then suddenly became jobs. For those who don’t know Dave is working as a Personal Trainer and Laura got a job in the Hilton Hotel – not a bad start and definitely something to enhance our CVs. We both managed to get our jobs by applying directly to the companies, Laura via the Hilton careers website and Dave by emailing the gym on the off chance and getting a pretty lucky break, sometimes it is worth venturing away from the job sites and finding your own way in.

Job hunting here is a lot more laid back from home, people are less formal and you practically have to have a photo on your CV to be considered. Once you have a job you are taxed a shocking 29% but thankfully this is almost a good thing. As non-residents this tax can be claimed back once you leave the country, along with an additional 9% of your wage that the companies pay into a superannuation fund (basically a pension) so in reality it is just a good way to save some money. People claim back thousands of dollars, so unlike the UK it is kind of nice to see the amount of tax you have paid start to add up. Cherr-ching!

In case you didn’t know Dave also turned a whole year older. This marked his first birthday abroad and quite nicely not in the throes of a hardcore British winter. The day started with a 6am job interview (perfect) but soon improved with a day in the sun and finally a kids party/BBQ  late into the evening complete with pass the parcel, a paddling pool and the less traditional pin the dart on the elephant . To add to the authentic Aussie-ness there was also an ice-cream birthday cake!

After saying goodbye to Chaytee, and (temporarily) moving out of Matt and Em’s (thank you again guys) the slight homesickness set in but was quickly forgotten when Clark/Clive came to Perth. He had left Sydney before us to spend some time in Melbourne and it was great to have a friend back in town. We’ve spent many an evening chilling out comparing England to America, talking Frat houses (surprisingly like the movies), having cooking lessons and attempting to not listen to a Welshman! We all moved into a brand new hostel in East Perth which has been amazing. Heidi and Charlie who run Wickham Retreat (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wickham-Retreat-Backpackers/179437428822987) are great and it only has 5 bedrooms so has more of a shared house feel than a hostel. They proved cereals, breads, fruit and veg plus free internet. It really is perfect. We were lucky to have moved in when we did, just a day after it opened, as it has been practically full ever since. This has meant that during the period we stayed there we managed to sleep in all the rooms and can confirm that they are all habitable and if you’re bored, the posters on the wall provide adequate entertainment. Other than that the free pool table, Foxtel (Aussie cable TV) and weekly free BBQs are awesome add-ons, we would live there if we could as it was so convenient for work, especially for the 6am starts, but at $35 each per night it really adds up.

We have been trying to make the most of the sunshine and not get too complacent with being in 30+ degree heat in Australia; hearing about the snow at home certainly helped that.  We have ventured to the beaches (Scarborough is good for waves and Cottesloe is beautiful for calmer waters), for picnics by Claisebrook Cove (a place that Laura is besotted with), to an NRL (rugby league) game (thanks Em – again!) and have seen some of the fantastic free music and events happening during the summer. Our favourite new band was born from the free concerts – Ruby Boots they are a little country for some people but great to listen to just chilling out in the park.  We have even managed to squeeze in a trip to the zoo at only $22 it is a great place to spend the day. The elephants there paint to keep them stimulated so seeing trunks covered with bright green and pink paint was a little unusual. The best animal tough was the 10 month old orang-utan who kept us amused with his balancing act on a builder’s hat and by sticking leaves up his nose to see how long they would stay – just a typical little boy!

One of the highlights has definitely been a little trip down to Freemantle (Freo – if you use the local name, formed in the traditional method of shortening, and adding an ‘o’ to pretty much everything) only 40 minutes outside of Perth by train, and having some lovely pizza, and even better beers at the Little Creatures Brewery. It was the perfect place to celebrate the newest arrival into the Krasij clan – congratulations again Mark and Vic and welcome to the world Ava Grace Krasij!

Our next big adventure is a property related game of hide and seek, or so it currently seems. There appear to be lots of reasonably priced properties in the areas we want to be but when we get in touch they seem to disappear. There are also a lot of scams out there and horror stories of people getting really ripped off. So, for the time being at least, we are back ‘home’  with the ever patient and so hospitable Matt & Emily at Chateau Nemwise…sorry guys!
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