Interviews & house hunting

We finally had some good news though as Topshop had called both both me and Sean in for an interview…hooray. We were advised to come dressed to show our own style which wasn’t too hard if we kept very simple. The interview process was long 4 hours in fact, we had to split up in to groups and in to teams of 3 and describe a perfect Topshop employee, next you were given a garment and you had to pick it’s best selling points and last you were all interviewed individually for a minute and you had to sell yourself. It wasn’t a tough interview but we were in need of work so badly we felt like we had not done great at all but fingers crossed.

Next interview was with Merlin Entertainment , I was actually really excited about this interview and was keen to be placed in the Sea Life Aquarium if I got to choose. My interview day had approached and had arrived at the hotel nice and early seeing quite a few people waiting for the same interview, scary. We were all seated in a room together and had previously been told to bring something in that best describes you, I brought my Polaroid camera as I love it and I love have unique moments captured in an instant.

We individually had to stand, introduce ourselves, why we want to work for merlin and what our product was, it was so nerve racking and my heart was pumping so hard I thought it might burst and I could see everyone else was the same too, it was not good. When it came to me I was ok but had noticed how so many others had brought cameras too, I hoped my Polaroid would stand out from the crowd.

Next we were sent out of the rooms for a break and I had luckily made a few friends while having lunch and by the time we settled again in the room we could sit with our friends and had to promote a certain attraction, we had the wildlife zoo and did a talk show to promote it.

Finally it was just a one to one interview and I was able to relax, I had a good interviewer and he made it very easy to answer questions and I was sure it went ok at the end too. This would be a very interesting job to have instead of retail. My other interview was with Luna Park but that was too embarrassing to talk about as they make you perform like a performing seal and I mean literally, I would not recommend going for it unless you enjoy that type of thing but it was an experience none the less.

In the end we both managed to secure jobs and we even had to make a choice too, we both got Topshop but realised it was only a 6 week contract and no longer so I went for Madame Tussauds (Merlin Entertainment) and Sean went with retail giant Zara which paid better and had a longer contract.

Next task was to find a home, not an easy task I assure you. We had looked online for houses, flatshares and even student accommodation during holidays but we weren’t getting anywhere. We checked all websites flatmates, gumtree, real estate and furnished property but everything was above our price range or not suitable for less than 6 months contract and we had a budget of $250-300 with a 3 month contract….We had many laugh in our faces.

We had hit a low and I thought this has got to end so on flatmates I just took the plunge and paid $20 to get access to all property’s, I could actually message New property’s and get access to their numbers and this cut through so much crap and waiting. I got quite a few responses within minutes, some saying no but the majority saying yes and come view property.

We now had a good selection to check out and went out for a day’s hunt. We had 3 houses to view quite close together too so it made it easier. First two were in kingsford, a decent enough area shops very close and coffee beach about 20minutes away. The first was an apartment that looked decent on the outside and don’t get me wrong had a lot of potential inside but it was covered in rubbish and had a bed in the living area and a bed in what looked like a study and we saw about 50 odd pars of shoes in the hall so how many people were living there exactly I don’t know. I need my privacy and cleanliness and this place had none.

Next property was about 10 minutes away and looked really nice and light in the pictures so we were quite eager to see this home. On first approach the gate was covered in weeds and the house looked quite dirty, Sean squeezes my hand in displeasure. We had to enter at the back and found the kitchen area from the photos was no longer white, bright and airy but dirty, dark and dingy even the beautiful garden was now overgrown and dried out looking worse for ware.

We tried not to let this affect our decision as long as the house was liveable and cheap we could live here. The room was decent and the previous tenant, a German guy seemed to really look after the place but we were gonna see the next place and decide.

South coogee was the next location and was a 20minute walk, we got near and the place looked like a shop front (I remembered jess from Melbourne’s apartment and was worried), we entered and a young lady opened, she seemed ok and I remember she was quite sweet in her texts. We went up some stairs and wow a big difference, open space, clean/tidy and light!! The photos online were the same, unlike the previous two. We were shown around and were taken out on to the balcony which had such a beautiful view and we were happy with this place and it was even within our price range. We left her with our interest and had a walk to the beach 2 minutes from the house and what a beautiful beach Coogee is.

We were so keen on this property and being back in the hostel that night made us want it even more, so within a couple of days waiting we were accepted and could move out of hostels what a relief.

If anyone has any questions regarding work and house hunting feel free to drop us a comment.

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Our big decision

Melbourne weather is very erratic and some say it has four season in one day but today was not the case, we found ourselves walking along the Yarra river in the intense heat. The day was beautiful and the sun was highlighting all of Melbourne’s amazing architecture, there is a real European vibe with the buildings and the vegetation as well as the people walking around and I think that’s why a lot of travellers love it as its a bit of home far away.

Along the river were some great views and as we reached south bank there was a tall ship and historical notes about what the area used to be. We succumbed to the heat and took a seat at a place called ‘Padlocks Ships’, we grabbed a couple of drinks and enjoyed the scenery of people gasping walking past us, wanting our tasty beverages. We sat talking for a while and it was here that we decided however much we love Melbourne we need to leave for Sydney as job opportunities here were not great and we needed work if we were going to stay in Australia till May.

We had decided that the weekend would be the best time, which may sound like a fast decision but if we were going to job hunt in Sydney we needed to be there now. So with that decision made we headed away from the cool shade and back in the heat.

We stopped off later for lunch and wisecracking our brains over what we fancied, every where we looked it was too factor too expensive but then it hit me….I want PANCAKES!!!!!! Sean agreed. We went to Pancake Parlour and the menu made my mouth water. They had basic buttermilk pancakes to double chocolate pancakes with cheer us and ice cream (drool). Once we had ordered we sat back and stuffed ourselves full until we couldn’t move again, this would be our last supper in Melbourne.

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[Travellers tip: if you haven’t found work move on elsewhere, time is a big factor with working holiday visas so contact the company find out if they received your resume and if you have a chance…be honest about your visa situation too]

Settling into Melbourne life

So now we were in Melbourne it was time to try getting a job until we were ready to move on to Sydney. We were finding lots of jobs were going and lots were looking for casual Christmas staff so it was just a case of printing a tonne of resumes out and scattering them throughout the city like mad men.

Printing isn’t really that cheap but we found the library in Melbourne to be an easy place to do it and 15¢ wasn’t too bad but later we found a cheaper alternative was office works at 8¢ a page. We planned out where we were going to hand our resumes, like a strategic plan of attack. We tried the obvious shopping centers due to amount of stores they have inside. Westfield is a good one and Melbourne central, a glass dome building built in the 90s which has encased an old shot tower from the 1800s we got a few great pictures of this unique contrast in construction (to be added). Check out Melbourne central

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With our resumes we stuck to retail areas but I did try a few cafes and bars due to my experience in hospitality but a lot of the time they want minimum experience of 2-3 years and if the company sells alcohol or has any gambling machines then you need an RSA/RCG (responsible service of alcohol/responsible conduct of gambling) license and for this you have to have it within the state you work so if you had an RSA in WA you would need to get a new license in NSW and they vary in price but aren’t cheap being around the $80-100+ mark.

A lot of employer’s seemed ok with working holiday visa travellers but you should ways check before handing your CV in as it’s just a waste, we did bend the truth slightly to help us get more of a chance by saying we were staying for the 6 months but we really needed work for 2 months and then it’s Sydney for Christmas and New Year. This isn’t great and it probably does effect travellers reputations when looking for work as they are more likely to not hire but we were in need of work.

Enough of the job stress we took a break and headed over to Carlton Park where we went to Melbourne museum, they had outdoor rain forest area which was cool but very humid and a Skeleton of a blue whale – standing next to that made me realise just how small we are and especially me. I got in free for concession which was great as it wasn’t really worth the money Sean paid ($10) however they do have exhibitions on regular and I think they are (or have done by the time I write this) having a James Bond exhibition. Check out Melbourne museum.

After a long depressing day of job hunting we packed it in and snapped back in to holiday mode, we booked another 3 nights at space hotel since it was so good and we didn’t want to be moving just yet. We checked out the blue moon bar connected and they had a good vibe, cheap drinks and good food so we chilled out watching surfing on the big screen to further our taste for Australian life before heading back upstairs to our dorm to enjoy a great nights sleep..zzzzzzz

Goodbye Perth, it’s been awesome!

So here we are, an end to our adventures in WA. This post was one we were sad to make. We had enjoyed our time spent here in WA and have some treasured memories that we will not forget. Here’s how it ended.

Our last weekend in Perth and we had planned to have a goodbye meal with Sean’s relatives. Marie and Drew had put on a nice spread for us. It was good to catch up and see everyone but sad to leave not knowing when we would see each other again. We want to thank them for all their help, advise, visits and will stay in touch. Same goes for our housemates Kylee and Ian, good friends couldn’t have expected any better. We had leaving drinks in town, going from a chilled out bar and ending up in a few clubs. It was nice to let our hair down after a jam packed week. We must have danced all night cause I was aching all over the next morning.
Early start too at 7am we had a trip planned to York, about an hour away from Perth. There wasn’t much to see and do especially since it was a Sunday but we made our own fun. Stopping off at a cafe to soak up the alcohol and regain human life, I opted for spaghetti on toast, which tickled kylee and Ian.

Soon after we left and checked out a few shops, found a sweet shop as Ian wanted some ice cream. We all had a selection including bubble gums with a tattoo just for old times sake. The shop keeper kinda freaked us out a bit with her hairy top lip and boggled eyes, I think it was time to get out of there. We then found a cool vantage point up in the hills where we sat over looking the town, a graveyard and vast amounts of nothing but it was a sight none the less.
Later we paid a visit to Ian’s family home where he showed us around, checked out his family photos, his figurine Dragon and even saw our first wild snake out in the garden – not sure what snake it was, Brown with yellow stripe along its side but it was a fast one.

Perth has been a great city to start our trip, we have adjusted to the weather easily, it was not over run with backpackers during our stay in winter, beaches are beautiful and there are plenty of them to choose from, lots of events going on but at the same time if you just want to relax, surf or enjoy the scenery it’s a nice laid back city. Employment was an issue and only I managed to find work and that was a telemarketing job but I can see summer being a better time for work as the tourism industry will probably pick up.
We have bumped into a lot of people that seem to have chosen not to go to WA and many just stay in one state for the majority of their stay in Australia, we can’t understand why you wouldn’t want to explore and see what the rest of the country has to offer. From our 4.5 months in WA we have truly lived as Australians, staying with family, getting a paid job, living with a couple of down to earth Aussies that have become friends and exploring both sides of the state – from the dry lands of the out back up north, city life and the beautiful wine region down south.

Sadly we didn’t get to do everything during our stay. We missed out on visiting Rottsnest Island due to winter weather we were told its much better to visit in summer, it’s a must see place to spend the whole day or even a weekend in the accommodation provided on the island and I’m sure it’s amazing this time of year now since Perth has temperatures of 30°+.

Penguin island in Rockingham was another we didn’t get to visit although we got close, viewing it from the beach.
Exmouth and the Ningaloo Reef was one place we were gutted not to see as it has some of Australia’s beautiful coral reefs attracting a lot of sea life. The cost was a bit too much and we want to see the great barrier reef in Queensland most of all.

With our flight booked to Melbourne (pre paid through STA) we had a 3.5 hour journey, flying with quantas. The flight was long enough for us to watch a film but Sean did have technical issues with his headphones so after speaking to 2 flight attendants who frankly didn’t seem to know what to do, we had to make the lady in front of us switch seats which was very embarrassing but we finally could watch something. I watched the hilarious animation The Croods, a great family film about a family of Neanderthals in the stone age and Sean watched a film starring Sam Rockwell. After a few mediocre bites to eat and refreshments we had finally landed in Melbourne and on to our next adventure…

If there are any questions you would like to ask us, maybe about Perth or maybe just about travelling in general then leave us a comment : ) We are sorry for lack of photos, Sean will be uploading a load so if you haven’t subscribed to our blog already then do so now to receive our updates.

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Employment and mobile phones

Been looking for work now for around 3 months and starting to think what is wrong with me. Me and Ash had a new job working together briefly. It was a telemarketing job with Solar Harness where we had to call a list of people who had previously entered a competition. The pay was $20 an hour, it wasn’t very exciting but at least it was paid work. We found the vacancy listed on GumTree and they called us up straight away with no need for an interview to work a 2 day trial. We completed the two day trial and worked an extra day before they decided to call us up and inform us not to come back. The reason was due to the fact we weren’t making any sales from our calls. Annoying thing was it was near impossible to make any sales as most the people we were calling had previously had a quote over 6 months ago. We are still waiting to be paid!

Since then I managed to get an interview with T2 after they were impressed with my CV that I dropped into the store. T2 is a cool Australian based company that make and sell many blends of tea. The interview went well although unfortunately I didn’t get the job due to other candidates having better knowledge of tea. Bit gutted as seemed like it would have been a nice place to work.

Managed to sell my old Sony Ericcsson Xperia Ray mobile phone for $71 with topdollarmobile. Which allowed me to buy a HTC desire C for $80 on Telstra with free $10 credit. At least now I’m on a better pre-paid plan and have a mobile which I can use for calls and has WiFi which has already come in handy. Ash managed to unlock her old HTC for $30 so everyone is a winner.

Ash’s little burp of nothingness

I started to get back in to my reading since I came here, mainly when I am commuting to work mainly, I have to admit my commute to work is much more picturesque then in Stoke-on-Trent. I get a great view of Swan River whilst crossing the bridge via train and seeing the sun just peeking over the silhouette of Perth’s cityscape, stunning.

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I have recently finished reading a travel book called Twitchiker, by Paul Smith, which my sister brought me to inspire me with the blog (has it helped? you tell me). It’s about the travels of a radio presenter from Newcastle who’s fed up of the mundane and decides to travel the world using social networking site Twitter to help him do it. He gets his Twitter followers to either buy him travel and/or accommodation until he reaches his destination, two of the main rules being; he can only accept help through Twitter and he has to get an offer within 3 days of arrivals or face failure. It’s a good read and made me want to try it out for myself for fun, a negative though was he does spend most of his time drinking and then complaining about said drinking, however the fact he was helping raise money for safe drinking water in Africa did cancel this out. Worth a read.

My next read is currently On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Set in the 1950s in America, about a guy called Sal, who travels the open road and meets upon his long-time beatnik friends, falling in and out of love with them. I’m enjoying it so far, although at first it was hard to get in to due to the way the writer “talks” in the book but I think that’s where the charm lies with this novel.

Work is going well, earned my first bonus this week. Woop. Working as a telemarketer isn’t the most thrilling jobs and you do end up leaving on a bit of a low, I do have to remind myself ‘you’re on holiday Ash!!’.

A typical phone conversation at work me me is:
Mrs Ling: “hello?”
Me: “hello there, is this Mrs Ling?”
Mrs Ling: “yes, who is calling?”
Me: “it’s Ash calling from pest control, how are you today?”
Mrs Ling: Silence
Me: “hello, Mrs Ling?”
Mrs Ling: “Im sorry I don’t speak English” (said perfectly)
Me: “you don’t speak English?” (Interesting)
Mrs Ling: “no….I go now. Bye” hangs up brilliant

If it’s not that then it’s “p**s off! Which is always my favourite. But there funding my diving and shark cage activities so :-p!

So whilst I’m annoying people on the phone I like to doodle, 1: for the entertainment it offers me and 2: because you never know when your going to get that ‘lightbulb’ moment. I have kept all my little doodle papers with me so I can look back at them and cringe over what terrible drawing skills I had & how silly I was to ever think that idea would work in real life haha.

Check out these artists from WA! http://www.artistswa.com/
www.outregallery.com/

A day in the life of Sean 12/07/13

“Brrrrr, brrrrr! Brrrrr, brrrrr!” It was 8:30am and someone had kindly decided to call my mobile to wake me from my slumber. It was the recruitment agency telling me they have sorted an interview for me at 11am today. I was still in bed, with the pillow stuck to my face and they expected me to make a 2 hour and 40 minute journey to Pinjarra. After some debate we decided on 13:30. Time for a shower and a shave.
This is the first actual interview I’ve had since being in Australia. The company was looking for a CNC setter and operator to help with the running of their machines. I was fairly hopeful due to my previous experience in working with such machines.
To get there I had to board two different trains and catch a bus. I got there with 10 minutes to spare in which time I had a chat with the receptionist who was a fellow Pom. The interview was very laid back after a brief chat about past experience I was shown around the factory. Whereas I’m used to operating machines the size of a Fiat 500 these things were big enough to park a Jeep in with enough room left to swing a cat. It was bigger than my bedroom!
As a whole the interview was positive and he hinted towards a possible trial day. The only negatives were the fact that it was night shifts working 4 days on, 4 days off 6pm-6am is something I’d have to think about.
Leaving the interview I had just missed a bus and was sure the bus was full of people waving at me laughing as if they knew something I didn’t. I had no idea when the next bus was so I called Marie, a relative who informed me that I’d have to wait an hour for the next bus.
So there I was, waiting on the side of a dual carriageway with no sign of anything in either direction apart from the cars passing by, with their passengers looking smug. iPod equipped, I waited.
Eventually the bus arrived and boy was I in for a ride. The dude at the wheel was driving like Mad Max on heat, it didn’t help the fact that Iron Maiden “Run to the hills” began to blast its way out of my earphones. Every traffic light we stopped at I really thought he was about to run a red, but he’d firmly hit the brakes with the might of Thor. Every time the bus came to a halt I could feel my insides trying to squeeze between the gaps of my rib-cage. He nearly missed picking up one passenger, travelling 100m after the stop leaving flat spots on the tyres. It was as if he thought the poor kid needed some exercise in the form of a short jog.
Finally I arrived at the train station and Marie kindly offered to pick me up from one of the stops.