We arrived late September and spent our first month sorting out CVs, driving licenses, registrations and finding cars. We were able to stay with Dan's family in Mandurah for the whole time which was great as we payed hardly any rent and had constant company (both human and furry). I spent most of the first month struggling away from my friends, family and the job I loved. We also got our first taste of Perth royal show, which is a yearly event held at Claremont show grounds (check out the linked blog post, it's hard to explain).
By month two we both had cars and jobs, but were still living in Mandurah. Dan started working towards changing his UK electricians license to an Australian one, and I got a job in retail whilst waiting for my checks and registration for a job in healthcare. I spent a lot of my evenings escaping to the gym because it was the only place I felt at home, I'd whatsapp my old coach almost every day with proud little messages about everything I'd achieved. We spent most of our spare time looking for rentals and deciding where to live, pretty much everyone we knew advised that we stay in Mandurah so we based our search between there and Rockingham. We struggled to meet new people as we both worked with people in their 50s+, so spent our weekends with each other and with Dan's family.
After almost two months of searching we found our first aussie house in a brand new estate around 20 minutes from Mandurah. I got my first job in healthcare working with young adults with disabilities, something I hadn't really done before but it was a damn sight closer to my previous job than retail. I handed in my resignation the same day and was for some reason banned from the retail chain for life by the top boss for leaving (she was a total arse). Around the same time I suffered a horrible injury whilst at crossfit, I tore a muscle so badly that I could barely walk for two weeks.
We slowly started to settle a little more by the end of month 3, we had jobs similar enough to keep us happy, a large modern house and enough money to pay the bills. We were out walking through Serptentine falls one day when Dan's brother rung us and told us they'd just been for a 12 week scan and were expecting another baby boy. It was the first moment when we realised just how far from home we were. We managed to make a few friends through a Facebook page I'd joined, some couples similar ages to ourselves. We all went out on a pub crawl and had lots of fun.
By our second christmas in Australia we both felt a lot more settled, we decided to stick to our pact of a bottle of champagne on the beach on christmas morning, but it was christmas afternoon because I had to work. We had christmas with Dan's family and stayed the night. We spent hours and hours at the beach, staring at the waves remembering that all the hard work would pay off one day. We both knew it wouldn't be easy but didn't realise it'd be that hard either. We made a decision that we both needed a little break from reality so started planning a holiday. Dan's birthday is just between christmas and new years, so celebrations tend to be kept to a minimum (not for lack of trying) we went out for burgers and then on a mini bar crawl with his family in Mandurah.
After christmas and New years we packed our camping gear and set off to explore Margaret River , we'd done a super quick tour on holiday the year before but knew there was a lot left to see. We totally fell in love with everything, camping, long white sandy beaches, surfing all day, BBQs for every meal, incredible wine and beer. I felt so much happier, and this happiness doubled every time I remembered we can escape to Margaret river any weekend we want. We vowed to explore more and make the most of Australia, we spent as much time as possible with our new friends and bit by bit everything started to feel better.
In February I started a new job working away from home for a few days at a time, we struggled initially especially as the lady I worked with needed so much care around the clock. Luckily I got 2 weeks off at the end of each shift cycle and a significant pay rise. A girl I spoke to on instagram told me about Seal Island which we absolutely loved. I also started chatting more with other Perth bloggers and met a few at a paddleboarding lesson.
Not long after we discovered Seal island we bought a go pro, so spent as much time as possible taking it out snorkelling with us. The more time we spent at the beach and on the sea the more I felt at home. We decided to paddle board across to Seal island again but on the way got distracted by some dolphins who we paddled and swam with for a few hours (seriously, if you read one of my blog posts make it dolphins). I felt more settled in my job and slowly it got easier being away from home. I made the most of every day off, having beers with friends at the beach, surfing and watching the sunsets.
My mum came out to visit and during my time off work she took me to bali, mum had spent a long time in Bali a few years ago so I was really excited to go back with her. Dan stayed at home and enjoyed the peace and quiet, heading to the driving range and out for surfs. We got back and took mum to Margaret river for a few days and she understood why we loved Perth so much. The last few days were so incredibly hard knowing she was going, and that we couldn't just pop out for a coffee anymore. During the same time that my mum was here Catherine from Luxlife was too, we managed to grab a quick brunch together and Catherine took me to her favourite beach, she also introduced me to two of her friends who I've adopted as my own. Everyone left just before my birthday, my friend Hannah helped organise a night out with some friends but it just didn't feel the same without the friends I'd had for years. I started putting more effort into my instagram and spent almost all my breaks at work commenting and liking other peoples pictures, I was so excited to watch it grow day by day.
I started feeling a bit more settled around May, I was in a good job, with great pay, we loved our little house and to make things even better Dan got a new job with a much better company. I had a few friends who I could message whenever I wanted to and we felt comfortable knowing our way around. We started exploring Perth city itself a lot more and my love for the city grew ten fold. I started talking to more and more bloggers and went for a bloggers brunch hosted by Demelza Buckley and Em from The Illusive Femme, I got to meet a whole array of Perth bloggers and it was great to finally meet Em who I'd been chatting to on instagram for ages. Shortly after Kiara from Lion in the Wild invited me to another bloggers brunch, and I met yet more lovely Perth bloggers. Around this time we also found out that Dan's mum, her partner and his youngest brother had booked tickets to come to Perth in December - January.
In July we head back down to Margaret River and stayed at the gorgeous Pullman Resort Bunker Bay, a much needed get away. Whilst away we discovered Hot Chocolatte an incredible coffee / sweet shop in Dunsborough. I finally had my registration come through after 10 months of waiting so I was able to start applying for nursing jobs and before I knew it was sat across a table from my now manager, I was shaking beyond belief but as soon as I made a stupid joke and she laughed I knew I was going to be alright. I was offered a job at the end of the interview and almost cried, I knew I had to tell my old manager and was worried how she'd react but she was incredibly understanding. Just before the interview I was unfortunately seriously assaulted at work resulting in time off, lots of X-Rays and regular doctors visits, as much as I knew it wasn't the persons fault I knew it was my time to go.
By the start of August I'd finished all my training and was able to start my new job, working at a beyond busy Perth hospital. By the end of my first week on the ward I felt really at home. By now we were both commuting a minimum of 3 hours a day, and we knew we couldn't keep it up; I'd work a double shift and leave home at 4:30am and not be home until way past midnight. We were both sat at home one evening and had an out of the blue phone call from home, we had the worst news ever that they thought out pup Sadie needed to be put to sleep. We cried and cried and cried but then Sadie pulled through and as I write this now, is her normal self. We started house hunting and fell in love with a character home north of the river, there were a few harsh words said by family about how awkward it will be now when the family come to stay, but we decided to do what's best for us and made the move. We both took the weekend off work for the move, hired a truck and Dan's cousin helped with some of the heavy lifting. By the end of the first weekend we knew we'd done the right thing and regretted not moving sooner. We spent a chilled out afternoon at Core cider house in Pickering Brook and I spent a day at Bloggers United AU Perth hanging out with a tonne of Perth bloggers I'd never found before. By the end of August it felt like most of the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle had fallen in to place.
September has been taken up by Perth fashion festival which I rounded off with a gorgeous brunch with Target. Apart from that we've been enjoying our new house which has a beautiful garden complete with swimming pool, I've gone a bit design crazy and am constantly thinking about how we can decorate it to feel more us. This weekend we enjoyed a gorgeous stay at Crown Metropol to celebrate our first year in Australia and went to Mandurah to see family and go to a friends house warming party.
We are now at the end of September and we both feel like Perth is the place for us, I'm not quite sure it's home yet, but if I was on holiday and had to get a plane home I guess I'd jump on the one to Perth and not one to England, so maybe it is? We both feel like everything's really starting to pay off, all the tears, sleepless nights and the incredibly hard work. The only piece of the puzzle thats missing is a dog to welcome us home each day, but watch this space!