Bleary-eyed and disheveled, we waited with nervous excitement for the shuttle from Perth International Airport to Fremantle, our friends and our new home. Fresh from predominantly Islamic Malaysia, I was still dressed rather more modestly than the weather called for and, dare I say, in desperate need of a serious shower. Being back in Australia was so surreal. Surreal, clean and homely. It was a strange feeling going somewhere for the first time, knowing that it would be my home for the next six months or more. I ducked inside to grab a snack and a drink for the journey and was quickly jolted back to reality when the clerk asked me, in English, for $9.60. The fact that I was, once again, able to easily verbally communicate with people around me was exciting but the fact that I had just paid NINE DOLLARS SIXTY for a small bottle of water and an apple muffin was about as welcome as a stab in the eye.
The shuttle dropped us off outside our hostel at 7am, bid us good luck and pulled away. Having been awake since 7am the previous morning, I was less then pleased when I discovered the hostel didn’t open until 9am. So, like two perfectly decent travellers, we went for a little explore then sulked off to the nearest park bench for a two hour nap. When we were finally admitted, there was just two more major blows waiting for me inside. The first, that our room (and therefore shower) would not be ready until 12:30am. The second was that the bill for two people to stay in two bunk-beds, in a room with eight other people, for one week was $460! At first I thought the poor girl was joking, then I almost followed my jaw to the ground. There went the very last of our emergency funds. Then some good news flew in through the door – Our friends of four years, international rendezvous companions and ex-housemates, Aaron and Frankie! Like a breath of fresh air they swept us up, gave us a place to sleep, fed us, provided the beers and shared their everything, from towels to clothes to cash and a large helping of laughter.
The days that followed were a race against the clock to find jobs and somewhere to live before the week was up and we could no longer afford the rent. Somehow, out of sheer luck, I managed to walk into a job as a waitress in a fine dining, beachside restaurant on the very first day! Rich found full-time work as a brick layer and F&A came up trumps, once again, with a house they’d found on gumtree. So, while Frank and I were at work, the boys went to scope it out. With nothing but good things to say about the place, we signed the lease and moved in two days later.
Even more amazing than they made it out to be, our new townhouse is open plan, fully furnished, beautiful, slightly out of our budget and totally worth it!
Walking distance form town, the spectacular shores of the Indian Ocean, work and quirky cafes, this really is where I want to be right now. Slowly but surely, to put it bluntly, we are getting our shit together. We don’t have much food in the fridge and I still don’t own a phone or a single pair of jeans but things are definitely coming along. Rich even bought me a bike so that I don’t have to brave the 35 minute walk home form work in the dark every day!
I haven’t had much time (or money) to explore the area yet but I can already tell it’s awesome. 😀 It’s such a nice feeling to be back in a home environment again. To have privacy, to be able to cook and wash my own clothes, to have a steady income, to have ‘me’ time and time for my hobbies. To stay in one place for more than three days and most of all, to be back in the company of good friends.