Moving to Australia

Moving to Australia

Moving to Australia had been my dream since I was 20, the reason why I also got my passport. However, destiny wanted I first move to Edinburgh, live in a hostel for 10 months with more Aussies than planned, meet my other half and finally drag him down south with me. And all this his would have not happened without first failing at moving back to Barcelona in August 2012.

So what happened and why moving to Australia?

I always wanted to move because of what people said about the good weather, long beaches, chilled life-style and to make money. This last one could have not be more wrong in my case, but you can read more about why in this post. One thing I was sure of is that I would make money and bring mum to Bali LOL.

Tired of the rain in Edinburgh, and having achieved my goal of working in the loveliest of the cities for a minimum of six months (add one year to that), we packed our suitcase and left for Barcelona. Spain was hard-hit by the financial crisis and after two weeks of protests and queuing to get a NIE (residence and work permit) with no success (to get a job you need a NIE, to get a NIE you need a job – you see where I am going with this), we applied for a Work & Holiday visa and booked a one way flight to Melbourne.

Melbourne was not what I was expecting from my Australian stereotype. Windy and cold at six degrees temperature in September, it was not the weather I had packed for. Failure number one. We were lucky enough to crash at our friends house in Pascoe Vale, a 30 mins train ride from Melbourne Central Train station, for a couple of weeks, but life proved to be more expensive than what we expected. Our love for coffee and avocado toast plus huge sushi rolls, not common in Europe, made our savings quickly go down, and we quickly decided to move to Griffith.

However things did not go as planned and after two weeks we decided to move to the countryside to work in a farm in order to gain the second year visa, for which you needed specifically eighty-eight days work there. One of my friends from home, Luca, who writes @ Flachitotravels, was living in Griffith and told me there was a lot of work so we booked our bus and were on our way there in no time.

Working in Griffith, Australia

We stayed at a working hostel, which was set in the middle of the countryside and provided little bungalows and shared dorms. We were staying in one of the bungalows with other two people and paying around hundredfifty dollars each per week. Every morning we would go to the kitchen to find out if we had work or not; there was a huge blackboard where the hostel’s boss would write the name of the farm and the name of the person that would work there; then, we were driven to the right place and picked up each day.

Of course the longer you stayed the best opportunities you had; some people had been there for a few months and had a permanent job at some of the farms. I personally did a cleaning job to a massive ten bedrooms house, where I also had to cut the grass around the mansion (I wish I had a video of that, it was hilarious how the owner was telling me how to do it, I think he even felt tenderness for me in a way!), which lasted five days, then I sorted and packed oranges and I also pruned vines.

We did not enjoy our time there very much, we worked too hard and it was very unpredictable. As explained in my other post, it is best to get your own car and your own place and meet locals rather than living that way. I am sure we would have had a much much better experience, like in fact my friend Luca did 🙂

You can read more about working in a farm in Australia, here 😉

Melbourne

Sorry again, I got a bit sidetracked, but again as you can tell, it is these experiences, the harder ones, that mean the most, because they teach you, they make you grow. And what can I say, Melbourne was also a great lesson, because next time I would do it differently, maybe I would not stay with friends, because it was too comfortable, and didn’t make us productive.

Our friends were living in a beautiful house thirty minutes away by train from Melbourne city centre, they picked us up from the airport, cooked for us, we shared food and gave us a bed to sleep in. You will say what is wrong with that? Well, every morning we would set out to Melbourne with our CVs, looking for a job, and by the time it was two we were so tired we would come back home to rest and after that we were never going back to town because it was expensive to go back and forth.

When I got a job in a modern and beautiful restaurant, which seemed like a very good opportunity, I didn’t take it because I didn’t want to get the train after midnight to come back home. All these little decisions we made were not good.

I keep thinking that we should have gotten a room in a hostel, or even beds in mixed dorms to start with, and interact with people who were in our same situation, just arrived in the city, sharing information about work and all the other stuff expats do.

The lesson here is do not compromise on things because you have friends there, or because it is cheaper to stay with friends, but do what you want to do and stay where you like to stay, even if it means spending more money.

However, if we had not stayed with our lovely friends from Melbourne, who I consider sisters (as remember we shared the same dorm for ten months in the hostel in Edinburgh), we would have never experienced some amazing stuff that locals do. One of the best day out was in fact at the Royal Melbourne Show, a huge fair showing animals, art and craft, cookery, attractions and so much more!

Australia: first stop - Melbourne
Royal Melbourne Show

Or getting to St Kilda, Melbourne’s beach side, where surfers, more coffee shops, the Esplanade artisan market with arts and crafts and the many flying kites all create that bubbly atmosphere for which Melbourne attracts tourists and workers from all over the world.

Australia: first stop - Melbourne
St Kilda, Melbourne

And Queen Victoria Market where you can taste fresh food from all over the world.

Coffee

I thought ‘coffee’ should have its own heading here, because it’s such an important social and cultural aspect of life in Australia. Aussies are the pioneers of latte art, flat whites, cold brews, you name it! Becoming a barista is a dream of many, and there’s a tough competition, many schools, professional maestros, and infinite training sessions and trials involving warming up milk! LOL

A former Melbourne-based barista has put together a perfect list for you coffee lovers: http://www.meldmagazine.com.au/2013/01/melbournes-top-10-cafes

For more stories about my time in Australia, read below.

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