Monday, 9 January 2012

The Visa Deal

It was easy for me to get a one year working visa for Australia and I knew before I got here that I would want to stay for two years therefore before I went to work in the mountains for the ski season I did one month WWOOFing at the lovely farm in Bundaberg. I was left with 2 months or 57 days of farm work that needed completing before I leave the country on the 21st of March next year. I had a great couple of months of travelling the country from the red centre to Adelaide and across the Nullarbor to Perth. I had a lovely relaxing time staying with the family in Perth but all good things must come to an end and by the end of November I found myself staying at a working hostel in Manjimup in the south of WA.

The Manji hostel is an ok place to stay and I was lucky that I had work arranged before I arrived so I was able to start the next day. The work isn’t exciting or difficult though it does require some common sense which can be a bit of a stretch for me at times. Some days I pack avocados and others I thin the apples trees in the orchard; removing the excess apples so that the remaining ones can grow big and tasty. I understand why the government requires the backpackers to do this work in exchange for the second visa and I fully support it. Fortunately for me I found work on a good farm with a decent boss who pays a good hourly wages allowing me not only to pay rent and eat properly but also to save a little bit as well. I know that not all the hostel guests are as fortunate. I am very glad not to be cutting cauliflowers or broccoli as it sounds like horrible work and the days on these farms are long. Life is pretty easy considering I’m doing my backpacker ‘time’. I don’t work long days and though I work hard when I am at the farm the work isn’t difficult and my boss is fair. If you work hard and he knows you are tying your best he’ll give you as many days as he can, if you don’t want to work hard then you find work elsewhere. Thank you mother for instilling a good work ethic in me!

When I first arrived at the hostel there were about thirty people staying here and it was a friendly quiet place. I did a lot of sleeping in my first few days as I wasn’t used to working proper hours anymore. I arrived on a Wednesday but by the following Monday I had kicked my need for the afternoon Nana nap on my return from work though all I am capable of after cooking dinner is watching TV or a film before getting an early night. Originally I kept to myself a lot, chatting with a few folk but not making any big effort to join in. I am glad I did make some effort though as by the following Monday the hostel population had swelled to over 70. All of a suddenly there were people everywhere and the next weekend the hostel was definitely a place to party as everyone let off steam form a hard weeks work. Sadly for me I was working on the Saturday so I restricted myself to a few ciders before falling asleep in front of the TV whilst watching a film. It was worth it the next day though as though I felt a little woolly headed when I first woke up I didn’t have anything like a proper hangover so was able to work at a decent pace for the whole shift.

My second full week in Manjimup was pretty much like the first. I packed avocado’s thinned the trees at work and in the evenings watched a lot of films. I did decide to let go a bit at the weekend and joined my new friends drinking on the Saturday evening, from what I remember it was a fun night even if I did pay for it dearly the next day by feeling extremely delicate. It was a good weekend to party though as it was the weekend before Christmas and I was leaving the hostel the following Thursday to head back up to Perth for the holiday. The week flew by and though I was anxious about Christmas and the hostel had decorations up the Christmas songs were limited and the lack of pre-Christmas hype did make it easier. Before knew it my first stint on the farm was done and one of the family in Perth kindly came to collect me and take me back to their home, it was time for Christmas!

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