RSA to Australia - a new chapter

Since we received our Permanent Resident visa (175) on the 31st March 2008, we have begun preperations for the start of a new chapter in our lives: Australia.

We thought it would be great for everyone to follow our journey to Australia, so keep watching this space as we will update it as we get a chance.

Conrad, Tammy & Savannah

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Closing of a chapter

Some pics:

London Court in Perth City

Enjoying a BBQ at home

Our first roo sighting!

Our rental in Rockingham

Perth City taken from Kings Park

It's been a while since our last update! We have settled in to our new life & are just busy with the usual daily routine: work, school & home. We are slowly exploring Perth & will eventually know our way around without heavily relying on the Navman as we do at the moment. :)

Conrad's colleges are great & he get's along with most of them. Savannah is now settled into her school: Settlers Hill Primary, and making new friends daily. I'm getting used to being a stay home mom & house wife. There is always something that needs to be done!

We also have a new addition to our family: Zeava. She is my compaion when no one is home, & Savannah's playmate when she is home.

So that's it from us, hope to see you down under one of these days!

We won't be updating this blog from now on, if you wish to contact us please e-mail: burger(dot)tamara(at)gmail(dot)com


Sunday, July 27, 2008

17th to the 27th July 2008 – one month & counting!

Wow time is really starting to fly! Conrad has settled into work & has made a few friends. He has also met another expat who owns an engineering firm that Hyster use regularly. Looks like we’ll be visiting them soon, they’ve been in Aus. 4yrs now.

I’ve been getting the house cleaned up as we’ve been expecting the delivery of our container. Also we now needed to get Savannah into a school, so I’ve been asking people we’ve met what they think about the schools closest to us. We determined that we’d rather put her in Rockingham Beach school if possible, but as the schools were closed for holidays till the 21st, it had to wait a while.

With doing shopping & getting set up we’ve been interacting with the locals more this last week or two, we’ve come to realise that Rockingham is not the most wonderful suburb, although where we are in Shoalwater it’s OK. We would prefer a slightly better class, more in line with what we were used to in Cape town – Parklands.

We decided on Sunday the 20th to head over to the north of Perth and look around at the suburbs. En route we saw the crane lifting the large tree that was a gift from the Aboriginal tribe elders, into place to plant in Kings Park. We were armed with a list of suburbs we wanted to drive through to get a feel before having our picnic lunch on the beach.

We started with Greenwood, & liked the area a lot, nice houses, schools looked great. Then went onto Kingsley, which we absolutely loved! Now these areas are more in a class to which we were accustomed! We drove over to Duncraig, but weren’t very impressed with it, considering there is so much discussion on the forum on this suburb. Over to Hillarys & Kallaroo (a bit out our price range, but wanted to take a look anyway), wow really nice. Then on to Padbury, not our cup of tea as was Beldon & Heathridge. Craige was OK, then onto Woodvale, & Edgewater which we love both suburbs. Now time for lunch, so we headed off to Mullaloo beach front, as suggested by a mom we met while Savannah played at the park the day before. We preferred the northern suburbs to where we are at the moment, so if we decide to stay in Perth we may be moving north.

With Conrad working in Canning Vale, it’s made more sense for us to be south of the river, bearing in mind travel & traffic. We have a six month lease, so we can look around a bit more before making the decision. We also want to take a good look at Bunbury, as Perth is still quite big, and we really wanted to slow down a bit & settle in a smaller coastal town. Also after chatting with the guys at work, we want to take a look at Baldivis, as this is the most south we will move while Conrad is working for Hyster West.

After lunch we set off to find the Pinnaroo Memorial park, which we had heard about from the same mom that suggested Mullaroo beachfront, when she heard we hadn’t seen any roo’s yet. We found it, and saw our first roo’s! Even saw a Joey in a mom’s pouch, cute man!!

Time to head home. We had told Savannah we’d see how the day went & we may stop in to see “the tree” on the way home. So with great weather we decided to give it a try. Lots of traffic with everyone coming to see the ceremony. We were lucky & found a parking fairly easily. Had a bit of a walk around, what breathtaking views of the river & city!!

Monday, off to work for Conrad. Savannah & I went to Rockingham Beach Primary to apply for a spot. Filled in the forms, but would only know for sure on Tuesday if they had space as the principal would only be back then. I asked the secretary what she thought our chances were, she indicated they were very good. She suggested I get Savannah a uniform: Bottle green tracksuit with gold golf/long sleeve shirts. All items are available at the school & Best for Less shops (much cheaper) so madam would fit in.

Off to the shops, got Savannah sorted for school, including shoes etc. Then back at home, I checked with Chess movers (the company handling this side of our move) if customs had completed the inspection & all the paperwork. They finally had!! So made a booking for them to deliver tomorrow between 9 & 9h30!!

Tuesday, lots of excitement! The movers arrived on time! Unloaded the truck & unwrapped all the larger items. Placed the furniture as directed, & the boxes into one of the spare rooms. I had decided to rather unpack myself, one box at a time, also we wanted to keep the boxes for future use (we have always done so in the past).

After lunch, I checked in with the school as Savannah couldn’t wait to hear if she could go on Wednesday, yes she was accepted! I then agreed to unpack the boxes marked “toys” first. As soon as they were all open, madam was not seen except to eat, hee hee, Christmas in July!

Wednesday & back to school for Savannah! She is now in year 3 & her class is taught by a husband & wife team, Mrs teaches Mondays & Tuesday s, Mr teaches Wednesday to Friday. Very different! I completed more paperwork & left Savannah in their capable hands, armed with a list of stationary requirements, back to the shop!

At home the real unpacking began. I had to stop at 14h45 to fetch madam by 15h00. Her day went well & she made a few friends! The teacher was great & really helped her settle in.

Now we are getting back into a nice routine. Conrad is up at 5h40, has breakfast & leaves for work at 6h10, I get up & check e-mail, and read a little on the forum only till 7h00. Then I shower & get Savannah up, dressed & we have breakfast. We leave home at 8h25 so she can be at school in enough time before the bell at 8h50. Sjoe much better than waking up at 5h20 for me to start the ball rolling & Savannah was always up at 6h00 in RSA.

By Friday when Conrad arrived home, I was unpacking the last box (only of the house stuff, the garage is Conrad’s baby). YAY!!! So nice to have our things again. Only had one broken pot planter, a light bulb & one dinner plate, which we expected as the plate has been cracked for a while.

We are VERY impressed with the service we’ve had from Britannia. Our container arrived in 7.5 weeks & all is good!.

Saturday morning we wake up to a beautiful day, & head off to Bunnings so Conrad can get some supplies to fit plugs, plumb the dishwasher (permission granted by our landlord) etc. We always seem to spend more than planned in that place, it’s very bad..... !

Back at home, we assembled Savannah’s trampoline, so she can stop nagging us to do it! Then Conrad started to look for some necessary tools to fit the dishwasher. So he began unpacking as he looked for the hole saw box. Funny how it’s always in the last box!!! So now the garage is chaotic with stuff everywhere! At least that’s another thing done. I think though we will need to buy some steel cupboards to get the garage organised.
Sunday & needing to take some time off from doing the bits & pieces around the house, we decided to head over to Baldivis. So I packed in lunch & off we went. There is a lot of development going on in the area. We stopped in at a show village, had a look around & like one particular style of building. Then we drove deeper into the suburb. Came across a new section called Settlers Hill. We LOVE the feel of the place, a lot like the northern suburbs which we took a liking to. Checked out the local school, very nice. Then stopped in at the land office & got an idea of what was available & prices.

We like the area so much; we think we will look at buying a spot as soon as possible! So no move north, just a little inland for now.

I must admit we are starting to feel more settled now with our furniture here. We have all had some down days, but only an odd one here or there. We are also starting to relax a bit, not on alert all the time. Also more relaxed on the roads, very different to RSA.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

8th to 16th July 2008 - Perth WA

As mentioned before, we were in need of some tallboy’s, a TV etc., so after looking around we stopped in at a Cash Converters & ended up buying a 74cm flat screen TV. We failed to find tallboy’s locally at reasonable prices & decided to head back to IKEA.

Bought 3X tallboys, a solid pine mini 3 drawer unit for Savannah to use as a bedside cabinet & a few small items. Everything is in a DIY kit so Conrad’s got some assembling to do.

The next day we were on the look out for some chairs of some sort, now sick of sitting on the cold floor to watch TV. We remembered seeing some fold up chairs on sale in Bunnings, so off we went. We ended up buying a BBQ & some marked down patio chairs. Now how were we supposed to get the stuff home? One of the ladies overheard us talking & informed us we could just make use of their trailers. She told us we just needed to check they had one available, pay a deposit of $50 & on return of the trailer we’d be refunded the $50. What a fabulous service. It’s just fortunate that the Toyota has a tow-hitch fitted.

Back home Conrad started assembling all the furniture, & I started tackling the house, it really needed a good clean. I’m going to say it again, man this is a big house!

Of course we needed to test the BBQ out so we did some lamb chops on it for supper. Very nice! It’s so quick & easy. Here 2 weeks & doing it the Aussie way already!!

As we had managed to sort out internet & landline etc., we enjoyed our first Skype call from RSA, & bought a calling card so Conrad could also phone family. It was great to hear everyone & catch up a bit.

Tired of cleaning & working we headed out to Mandurah on Sunday. Wow it’s a lot bigger than we expected. Very pretty. We loved the whole feel of the place, we’ll definitely be back to enjoy the beach in summer, the water is warm & the view is amazing, even along the river. It was one of the small coastal spots we had considered moving to initially. It’s too far for Conrad to travel to work from though, so we are still happy were we ended up.

So Monday & back to work for Conrad. As we it would take a day or 2 to sort out a vehicle etc. He took the car. Savannah & I did the usual (I cleaned & she played).

Conrad’s day went well, about half of the tech’s are migrants & most are pretty friendly. The vehicle will only be ready for him on Wednesday, not too bad. We wanted to sort out insurance on the car & also take out Medical insurance. After a few quotes we decided on QBE for the car ($35 per month full cover incl. a hire car). We used iselect to get some quotes on medical cover. Decided on RTHealth fund & accepted their on-line quote. So now that’s all sorted only thing left to finalise is the family assistance from Centrelink. So I registered on-line & applied for it. I just needed to take in some documents for them to process my claim further.

As I’ve been back on-line I’ve been trying to catch up a bit on reading the forum. Came across a post for a coffee get together south of the river. I replied & supplied my details, I received a call that afternoon & heard the next one was the next day, Wednesday. As I would have the car, I decided to go. Conrad was getting a lift into work with one of the guys, & said he wouldn’t need the Navman, so I could use it, great at least I wouldn’t get lost.

What a lovely venue, Deepwater point, right on the Swan river. It was nice to chat & share thoughts etc. We had to cut our stay short though as Savannah slipped & fell into the water! Shame she was soaked from her toes to her chest! Freezing cold, I gave her my sweater & she stripped out of her wet things. We put on the car’s heater & headed home. After a nice hot bath, & some lunch, time to do some chores.

Off to Rockingham city shopping centre. First stop was Medicare/Centrelink office to hand in the docs. Then to Woolies as our cupboards are a little empty again.

Back home & Conrad arrived with his vehicle. For the moment he’ll use a Ford ute. & he’ll get his Hilux van later. His working hours seem odd to us as he works from 7h30 to 15h36. He’s been asked to work overtime from 6h30 to 16h00 as they are very busy at the moment. Of course this is more like the hours he’s used to, so no worries & the extra income is always welcome.

That’s it for now, see ya later!

Friday, July 11, 2008

1 Week & settling in.

End of 1st week: 5 July 2008
As we will need to buy beds, because we sold all but one (only because it was the same size as a std Aus queen size) we thought it best to shop in Rockingham. We’ve started watching TV in the evenings & keep a look out for specials. So, off to Bedshed, as they are having a massive sale at the moment. We ended up buying two beds, one was a mismatched demo base & mattress (who ever looks at the base/mattress anyway, it’s always covered with linen) & as promised to Savannah, we bought her a headboard slated base & a good mattress.

Then explored Rockingham a bit, before heading back to the cabin for a quiet afternoon.

Things are slowing down now as we start to settle in. All the main things are in place & we will do a little exploring as we go. Conrad starts work on the 14th & Savannah will start school on the 22nd. Hopefully our furniture will arrive the same week she starts school, as it’ll help make everything feel more normal as we get back into routine.

7 July 2008
Booked out of our temp. accommodation early today. We had promised Savannah to stop in at the Big W in the Belmont Forum as they are having a huge toy sale (just to look!). We also ended up buying a toaster & kettle from there as they were cheaper than everywhere else we’d looked. Had to squish them into the heavily loaded Camry (roughly 150kg’s luggage & some food items, EEK!) the car scrapped over every speed bump we crossed.

We headed down to Rrockingham, as we were moving in today. Met with the Agent at 11:00, signed the lease and chatted a lot to Paul & Karen, the owners of the branch we are dealing with. Tammy was even offered a job, but we’ll stick to our game plan for the time being.

Off to the house!! WOW it’s much bigger then we remembered! It’s actually HUGE. It’s a 4x2 (4 Bedrooms & 2 bathrooms for those in RSA), there is a large family/games room (11m x 10.5 m) open plan to the kitchen, & a separated laundry. The stove top is gas, water is heated by gas (Conrad battled a bit to get the gas geyser lit having never seen one like it before, maar a boer maak a plan, in between a bit of swearing), the remainder is all electric.

The company we are hiring our fridge, washing machine & microwave from, Mr Rental, delivered just after 12H00 even though we only called them at 8H00 this morning to make the arrangement. Then we popped out to the shops & got a few necessary items. Back to the house to unpack & take delivery of the beds.

Tammy made a call & had the gas at the house switched on, the water & electricity are left on. The water bill will come via the rental agent & the electricity is just a matter of transferring the account to our name.

It is so great to be almost totally unpacked (for now), we do however need tallboy’s (we know them as a chest of drawers). All the bedrooms have built in robes (hanging space only), the main room has a walk in robe (also hanging space, no shelves).
For those wondering about bringing beds & electric blankets with, do so as they are very pricey here, just make sure the beds are extra length & a queen size at least (this makes them equivalent to the normal length of beds here). We are considering asking someone to bring us some electric blankets over when they come, as we saw some on special at Big W for$180 today.

Now we can settle back into a daily routine & Conrad’s back to work next week.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Our Journey RSA to Perth Western Australia. (WARNING: VERY LONG POST)

Cape Town to Johannesburg (JHB)
Isn’t it funny how just before you are due to embark on a long journey, you hear about or see programs on crashes etc., this is exactly what happened on Friday night! Much to Tammy’s horror, there was an airplane crash programme on one channel & a plane hijacking movie on another!! So the TV was turned off & we needed an early night anyway, a long day awaited us.
We woke up at 5 am on the 28th June 2008. Packed in the last few things & loaded up the rental car (a Polo 1.4) & made our way to Cape Town airport (arrived at 7am). Left the car as instructed & went & had our 8 suitcases wrapped in plastic (11 in total but 3 bags were for hand luggage). Went & stood in the check in que, a very long que at the SAA counter.
After standing there for about 10 minutes they asked for anyone still checking in for our flight, SA314, to move across to 3 other express counters. We checked our bags in right through to Perth; we also had our boarding passes printed for the JHB to Perth flight. As they had called our flight to board, we went straight through to the gates & got on the plane. Decide to hand in our one bag to be kept in the hold as we were boarding, thinking we would received it on disembarking, the flight was extremely full. We had a bit of a bumpy ride due to high winds causing a lot of turbulence, our take off was also delayed by a few minutes, but as we had a strong tail wind we arrived on time in JHB. On disembarking we discovered they had unloaded all the hold items with the other baggage & we needed to go & collect it at the baggage claim. This horrified us as we had not locked or wrapped the bag, but then discovered they had put on a cable tie & all was OK.
JHB to Perth
As they are also busy upgrading JHB airport, we decided to meet everyone at the Spur at the domestic terminal (a good suggestion made by my uncle Colin). The service was almost non-existant, but the benefit of that was, we got to sit there & visit for our entire stop over. My granny, Cathy, & Colin were our first visitors! Next to arrive was Mem, Conrad’s sister, & her children, Simeon & Anneke. Then Karen & Jan arrived, shortly after which Colin & gran departed, they were on their way to visit Connie.
We then ordered some lunch for everyone, after which it was time for us to head over to the International departures building. Said good bye to everyone & went through to customs & duty free. WOW the stuff is SO expensive! (or so we thought). We still had some ZAR on us to spend, & decided on a set of 6 shot glasses with the big five printed on them. Our flight SA280 was then called for boarding & we went through to the gate.
It was a pretty full flight so the que was long, but as Savannah was with us they gave us priority to be seated and we went through quickly. We left O R Thambo Airport (JHB) delayed by 30 mins. The flight started out pretty bumpy, but then smoothed out. Drinks, & then an early dinner was served (Chicken or beef HEEHEE), then came the duty free shopping trolley. As all currencies are accepted we chose two items to finish our ZAR: a model of an SAA Airbus & perfume. Nice! Now armed with just AU$ we settled in for the long flight.
Savannah was able to sleep for about 5 Hrs as we let her lie across both of us to stretch out. We however only managed a broken 3hrs if that, too much noise thanks to an inconsiderate fellow passenger! Anyway, woke up & had breakfast, then hastily filled in our passenger card as we started descending, I don’t know why they didn’t give it to us sooner. They then sprayed the interior of the plane to fumigate everything before landing.
The weather in Perth was a wet &cold 10°C reminding us of Cape Town! We disembarked & headed into the terminal. Very small in comparison to what we were used to in RSA (& rather blue, Conrad said that maybe they had been given the blue paint for free...). Everyone was very friendly & we went to collect our bags. With our two full trolleys we made our way to customs, where we declared all our medicines etc. They sent us to another que where all they did was x-ray our bags & waved us through! Never even opened one of them! My contact sheet, (where I listed: names, DOB, passport no’s, temp address & tele no, new employers details, both old employers, next of kin details & a friends contact details); made filling in the passenger card (and all other forms so far) easy!
Our Perth contact collected us as promised, so wonderful to walk out & have someone waiting for us! She drove us to our accommodation at Perth Central Caravan Park. Our Cabin was ready for us, so we unloaded our bags. We are booked into a 1 Bedroom unit, with a sofa bed for Savannah ($105 per night incl linen).
We unwrapped & open our luggage, just checked it through. First port of call was a much needed shower! AAHHHH! Wanting to avoid jet lag we decided we would try to stay wake till the evening. Now we were hungry, took a short walk to a convenience shop at the gas station, WOW the prices were shocking!! Bought us each a pie for lunch & some milk, sugar, cornflakes, Tim tams (just had to!)& coke $45 for those few things. We went back to the cabin to eat. We were getting sleepy hanging out at the cabin, so went to the office & got some tips on how to use the busses to get to town. Walked up to the bus stop& hopped on a bus into town.
Town was busy, lots of shops open, so we went & bought a sim card, then seeing how we were battling on orientating ourselves, looked at a few GPS options. Decided on a Navman S80 from a Hi-Fi Corp type shop, it has the text to speak option we wanted & nice display. It was $464, a bit more than we budgeted for, but worth every cent! While walking around we came across the Westpac branch where we need to activate our bank account, as well as Centrelink offices, so knew we would be back on Monday. Also came across a Woolworths, MUCH cheaper, bough some goodies to see us for two or three days spent $54. So now we were truly exhausted, back to the cabin for dinner. While trying to figure out which bus stop we were supposed to be at (we don’t really understand how it works yet), the same driver who took us into town saw us & hooted to find out if we were ready to head back, lucky for us, we just hopped on as we had a day pass ticket ($8.10 for the three of us).
Back at the cabin, we heated up the lasagne, activated our sim & sent out the "arrived safely" SMS to all & fell into bed. Savannah woke us up at around 2am, & we thought we’d battle to go back to sleep, not the case, thank goodness! Just wish people in RSA would bear in mind when sending us a SMS that we are 6 hrs ahead of them!!! It was very cold, temp went down to 3°C, brrrrr! Couldn’t figure out the aircon, will have to ask at the office. (Blame it on being blonde!!)

2nd Day in Perth
Set our alarm to wake us up at 7am as we needed to find our way to collect the rental car. After checking the GPS we decided we’d walk as it was only about 3km’s away. It actually turned out to be closer to 5km’s away, shame Savannah walked most of the way too, very far for her! At least it burnt some of her energy as we knew we’d be driving around or sitting filling in forms. Just before Bayswater car hire, we stopped in at a car dealership & looked at 2 cars. A bit more than what we’d budgeted for, so we decided we’d rather look around a bit.
Drove into town (no getting lost, thanks to GPS). Found parking (what a mission) Learning experience $5 on parking meters!! It’s definitely a better idea to use the bus to go into town, not too much parking available & quite expensive. (must seem like really dumb tourists with the questions we ask!)
Went to Westpac bank, only to discover that we needed an appointment with a consultant to activate our account & arrange other bank cards etc. The lady who assisted us directed us to the Medicare office in St Georges Terrace.
At the Medicare office it was very busy, but we walked in & found we needed to get a ticket for a place in the que. The que was divided into different types of services so some of the ques moved very fast. We waited 15 mins & then were assisted by, you guessed it, an ex-South African. We mentioned we needed to find an internet cafe or Wi-Fi spot to sort out our Tax File numbers. She said that the Australian Tax Office (ATO) wasn’t far, they are situated at 45 Francis street Northbridge, we should just go there.
Then we walked up to the Centre link offices, only to discover that Family assistance has been moved to Medicare. Decided we’d grab some lunch (some ham & rolls from Woolworths) & head over to the ATO.
We went in & put our names down to register, we were called shortly & shown to a PC. The Guy gave us some instructions & left us to register on-line & print out reference numbers. We should have our numbers within the next three weeks (they’re busy upgrading their system therefore the delay).
Savannah was now bugging us to see the beach, looked at some names on the GPS & chose City beach. It was about 12 km’s from us so off we headed. Very nice & clean, even the public toilets were clean. Water’s much warmer than Blouberg beach.
As it was only 15:45, we decided to head back to Ascot & stop in at Shepperton Ave / Albany highway (like Voortrekker Rd in Cape Town) to look at cars as there were quite a few dealerships (we noticed this while riding into town on the bus). Looked at a Mitsubishi wagon, not too bad, decided to think on it as we had discovered we would battle to get a good reliable car for $3000 & decided we’d up our budget a bit. Walked down a bit & chatted to a salesman working on a commercial lot. He was just chatting to us as he didn’t really have anything suitable. As we turned & walked away, he called us back & asked us to hang on a bit as he wanted to just check on something. He came back to us & asked if we’d be interested in a 1996 white Toyota Camry. It was his company car, & his boss had given the go ahead to offer it to us at $4500. Took the car for a drive & decided this was to be our car. We paid a deposit, as we weren’t carrying enough cash on us, & made arrangements to go back tomorrow.
Back to our base! A quick dinner & off to bed!

3rd Day in Perth: 01 July 2008
We were up at 7am again, as we needed to be at Westpac by 9:30. Walked up to the bus stop & waited for our bus. A young guy saw us trying to decipher the bus timetable & started chatting to us. He gave us some pointers on how to use the busses. On boarding the bus we discovered it would’ve been better to make our appt for later as after 9am the day rider ticket applies. Anyway we learn as we go!
We arrived in town by 9 so stopped in at the Medicare offices to enquire about family assistance. It was much quieter so early in the morning. We were informed we needed to phone in or do an on-line interview first, then we’d be told what to bring in to register. So, on to Westpac.
At Westpac we were given excellent service! Cards will be ready for collection next week. It just took a while, we were there for about 2 hrs!
Now needing a restroom, we found one nearby. So clean & still can’t get over the fact that they put out double ply loo paper for use.
Tammy’s sister then phoned as we were walking towards the underground station to check it out. En route we stopped at a bookshop & bought a UBD 2007 edition for $10 (2008 edition was $20, how much could’ve really changed?).
Back to the bus stop, as we needed to go & collect our car. Picked up the rental car, had top up the fuel before returning it. It wasn’t as difficult as we expected, just lift the nozzel, check the pump zeros, and insert nozzel into tank. Pull trigger until desired amount or till full (can clip lever if wanting to fill the tank, it will then click off once full) There is a lot of trust on the gas stations part,as it would be really easy to just drive off. Then back to the car dealership we went. Paid the remainder of the cost & signed all forms. Strange how no road worthy is required, just a change of ownership form & stamp duty to be paid. The car is licensed till Dec 2008 so will only need to renew in Nov, bonus! Then we took the rental car back & received a refund.
As our basic food supply was almost depleted, we decided to find the IGA Supermarket near our base. Programmed the address into the GPS & got there without a hitch. Took a trolley (now I see what everyone is on about, all 4 wheels steer!)& started shopping. We were pleasantly surprised as we filled the trolley half way, the total was under $200. Now armed with a full week’s worth of groceries (if not more) back to base!
Needed to do laundry (glad there’s a laundry at our disposal), & made a great dinner: Lamb chops, green salad & corn (Savannah’s request). So good after eating on the move/take out for so long. End of another day!
We are very happy with what we have achieved so far! Meeting Conrad’s new boss tomorrow, so now it’s time for bed!

4th Day in Perth: 2 July 2008
Up early, need to fill our car up as it was pretty empty when we collected it yesterday! Used a fuel voucher received when shopping to get 4c per litre discount, cost us $91.75 for 57.7L. as we were only due at Hyster West at 10:30, we decided to check out one of the surrounding suburbs. Stopped in at an Estate agency & picked up their rental listing, only 2 available. Gave in our contact details & went on to another agent. This time they had more available & the lady was very helpful. Drove around & checked out the houses, not too bad, we liked the area: Canning Vale.
Met with Mike, it went well, sorted out starting date etc. Conrad had a tour of the workshop & was shown the vehicles allocated to technicians, very impressive!
Right back to looking at suburbs. Drove through Wellitton, Leeming, Bull Creek, Beelair (said beelia), Yangebup, South Lake, Atwell & Success. Of the lot we preferred Canning Vale, Atwell & Success. Not 100% happy to leave it at that, we decided to go further south & see Rockingham.
We really liked the area, especially the fact that it’s on the coast! Popped in to real estate agents (x6) funny enough all next to each other. There were two we liked open for viewing one at 16h00 & the other at 16h40, so headed off to take a look. The one was in a new area, not even on the GPS, got a bit lost (& were pretty stressed after a long day) arrived just in time. We loved it!! Then off to look at the second one, & hated it, really awful! While in the car in between houses, Tammy filled in the application to be able to apply for the first house. Then after the second viewing, went back to the agents office & completed the forms, gave an option fee & our rental pack (all details typed on a contact sheet, copies of passports, visas, letter of employment, reference from previous landlord in RSA, letter from bank showing bank account details). Now we wait & see.
As it was after 18h00, we went back to base, 54 km’s away. Will head back tomorrow to look at some more places & see more of the area.
On arriving at our cabin, we found mail on our doorstep, it was a letter advising us of the expected arrival of our container on the 10th July, so needed to fill in forms & get them back to Chess (the company handling things this side on behalf of Britannia).

Day 5: 3 July 2008
As Chess was just down the road from the caravan park, we decided to just deliver the forms & check that all is completed OK.
We needed to go back to Hyster West to collect Conrad’s letter of employment. So that was our second stop of the day.
We then headed back to Rockingham. We needed to drive past some of the available rentals so we could make appointments to see those we liked. Still waiting to hear about the one property we applied for, hopefully we’ll hear tomorrow.
Lunch! To save $ we’ve been packing in home-made lunches, like hotdogs, sarmies etc. We took our lunch to the beachfront & ate it while watching a cold front blow in over Rottnest Island.
Then we went to investigate the large shopping centre in Rockingham, we’ll be back there to buy a few things soon. We also drove past Mr Rental, & stopped in to see what it would cost us to rent a few items. It works out to $210 for hiring a 300L fridge, a 5kg washing machine & a microwave for a month (min time) not bad.
Then we went into Bunnings! Conrad was in Heaven!!! Builders warehouse could learn a thing or two. We bought a clothes horse as it’ll save some $ as to wash in the caravan park is $4 & to tumble dry is $4.8 for a large load.
With the rain we discovered the wipers on the car needed to be replaced, so stopped in at Repco to get a pair. Time to head back to the cabin.

Day 6: 4th July 2008
As we are in a self catering cabin we are expected to clean it ourselves for the duration of our stay, so todaywas selected to zoom around it quickly & do the necessary. As we were still waiting to hear from the agent regarding the outcome of our application, & we had no viewing for today, we decided to head west to Fremantle.
The weather was wet & overcast so we stuck to the market & browsed in the shops. The buildings are beautiful, many old churches in the area. From what we could see, the docks seem a lot smaller than Cape Town. Conrad has been told that he’ll mainly be working in the docks, so he’ll know soon enough.
After a Hungry Jacks lunch (decided to splash out a bit) we had had enough of the area & as we were wanting to check out IKEA, punched in the request to the GPS & headed north to Innaloo.
We stopped in at The Good Guys to see what they had to offer, not bad prices, will be back when we have some $$$$. Tammy was looking at the vacuum cleaners as ours had to stay in RSA. The sales lady couldn’t assist but told us to pop in at Godfreys.
We saw Godfreys en route to IKEA, so stopped in. While looking at what they had to offer, & Conrad was chatting to the saleman, THE call came in from the agent, WE GOT THE HOUSE yay!! We’ll sign the lease on Monday & move in same day.
Now with a permanent address, we would really need the vacuum, so we bought one of the ones on special a Wetheim 4808 2000 watts. Then on to IKEA. WOW!!! Lots to see at reasonable prices. We were now looking out for beds & chests of drawers as our house only has hanging space in the bedroom cupboards. After browsing & deciding to leave the furniture for now, we went down to the 1st level to get some linen & kitchen basics (our container will only be delivered at the end of July). Signed Savannah into the play area & grabbed a trolley. Stocked up on a set of pots, some cutlery, duvets, duvet covers, sheets & pillows, etc.
End of another day in the friendly city of Perth, so back to base.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

5 Days to go!

Well, here we are, at long last in the final stretch. It is still pretty surreal, last three days of work & sorting out the few small items still left. We have said most of our goodbyes & Conrad has already had his farewell.

The hire car will be collected on Tuesday, after Tammy’s farewell lunch. The company van will then be dropped at the workshop.

We have stocked up on vitamins, toiletries & a few items so we’ll be organised for the first month before we will need to look at new brands.

Savannah’s school report is excellent & we rewarded her with a few small items (need to keep our luggage limitations in mind). Even during this very stressful move, she has improved & excelled at some tasks, we are SO proud of her.

This may be our last post for a while, till we sort out our connection on the other side.......

Farewell RSA.

Perth, watch out, here we come!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

2 Weeks left in RSA.....

So now as we are nearing the end of our time in RSA, not too much is really going on. We are basically dealing with the mundane day to day life: work/school, laundry, shopping, etc.

It’s with heavy hearts we say many farewells, mixed in with a few: See ya down under! It’s not fun knowing we leave behind so many to face the uncertain future of RSA.

Tammy has begun training a replacement, so things are going to be busy at work till the last day now. At least it helps to be busy as time just flies. Conrad has become a mechanical consultant since his tools were packed, quite frustrating to have the ability to work but unable to due to lack of necessary tools.

Conrad takes great delight going into the office and updating the board above his boss’s desk with the days left at Toyota, much to his boss’s disgust! To add insult to injury, the other senior technician resigned on short notice, and has left to work offshore on the rigs.

On Monday we decided to go with some very good friends to the Van Ryn Brandy Distillery in Stellenbosch. We went on the tour & did the brandy & Belgian chocolate tasting, WOW! It was fabulous & we had a ball! Will have to earn some $ to order a case of 20yr old because at R990 a bottle it’s a bit out of our league at the moment. I would recommend the experience to anyone.