It’s cliche, but it’s true. Home is where the heart is. Ours is on Towton Street, in Redcliffe. It was a bit of a race but it was well worth it. October 8th, 2016, we got our residency status upgraded to “permanent”. It’s a huge deal for all migrants to Australia, and it’s pretty much the Holy Grail for most of us.
Permanent residency means a lot of advantages (you’re pretty much Australian, as far as rights, obligations and benefits go), but for us it meant one thing in particular : buy a house is possible ! That had been our goal for a good two years, more or less. So we were pretty chuffed.
A week later, October 16th, more good news : tadaa, meet Brieuc. 3.6 Kg, 52cm. Born on a Friday, home on Sunday.
On Monday, three days after birth, the three of us went to check out this house I picked on Gumtree (local advertising website) and we just fell in love. More with the backyard than the house itself to be honest, but still. It met all our criterias, and the garden was a huge bonus. In every sense of the word. Not only was it big, by Perth standards, but it was cheap in comparison to other properties we had visited.
I had taken the next two weeks off to look after Claire and Brieuc, so that time was well spent visiting the banks, the insurance, the different insitutions and by the end of the month, we had made our offer and it was accepted the next day. The owner wanted a quick sale, as her husband had died early that year, and she had to move in with her daughter while her dementia got worse every day.
November went as quickly as it came. Four weeks to get the property up to standards with the electricity, plumbing, etc, plus packing everything from Planet Street, and on December 2nd. We moved in.
It’s a “semi-detached” house, meaning we have one small adjacent wall to the other half of the buidling. An odd arrangement as we sort of share the block. Nothing is really ours, or theirs, or both, but it is. Kinda. So we share the driveway, but our garden is fenced and twice as big as the neighbours. It’s a bid weird but it works for us.
Entry through the front door into the living room, separated from the kitchen by a wall and an ugly archway. At the back of the room, a door leads to the patio, then the garden. Half the patio is covered, so we can use it when it rains, or when the sun is beating too hard on us. There’s also a big front yard with a rose garden. In the backyard, two sheds. Not so pretty but very useful.
Back inside, a corridor leads away from the living room, to the laundry, the bathroom, and the three bedrooms.
It took one WE to move in (thank you Sandrine immensely for your help), and a few more to unpack. By Christmas we had everything in place, and already big plans ahead !
The kitchen is tiny, and the walls between the kitchen and the living space not only make the whole room crowded, but are also stupid. Who ever decided an archway in a house was a great idea ? Hop, that needs to come down.
January 2017: half a dozen visits and quotes and we opted for this Swiss guy who designs kitchen cabinets. He used the small space available and turned it into a full size kitchen. Unfortunately, the work will have to wait for we have decided to visit the family in Europe, now that we FINALLY have the god damn passport for Brieuc. That in itself is a story worth talking about (maybe in another post), but let just say the administrative effort to get a passport for a child born in Australia but of parents of two different descents, requires patience, and inner-strength to maintain calm, suppress the will to murder someone or abandon the whole project.
Anyways. Back from Europe, we’re in the last week of February already.
It took five weeks to knock the walls down, put a new beam in to support the roof, remove the old kitchen (which incidentally will live anothe life at some friends of ours, also renovating their newly acquired house, while they wait another year to build a new kitchen), design the cabinets, buy the appliances (including an unexpected fridge, as ours decided to die in the middle of the week), install it all and get the things connected. All the while we were cooking outside, under the patio, with Troopy’s gas burner. Not the most practical indeed but all in all, we managed quite well without an oven.
And then, finally, we moved back in. I can’t remember what we cooked that night, on our brand new stove, with the brand new everything, and, bonus of all bonusses, a dishwasher !
June will be here in three days, officially the start of Winter. The chooks have started laying eggs last week, the vegetable garden is lush and we enjoy its fresh produces, it’s cold at night but still warm enough during the day to go riding (yeah I bought a motorbike for my birthday present to myself, more on that later), Brieuc is growing fast, and we’re all very happy to be home. Our home.