An alien in Australia
Many of you, who read my blog, will know of the many times that I made a total arse of myself because I did not know how things work here in Australia. There was the time when I thought that a broken ironing board was supposed to be ‘gat-in-die-lug’ (blame it on the fact that I did not use one much back in the old RS of A) and then on the very first day when I suddenly had a brain fart and did not know how a microwave worked. Honestly, I stood in front of this rectangular prism and looked at it as if it was from an alien galaxy. My beloved commented months later, “My love, I know that you are a smart cookie, but you have been acting rather stupid of late.” Instead of punching the bloke, I had to agree. To say nothing of replying that I did not want flies, when asked whether I have Flybuys!
This story will not be about me making my name arse again. However, I will rather tell you how the houses in Western Australia look. Not all of them mind you, just most of them, so that you don’t arrive here looking for a typical South African house, because in the almost eight years that I have called this country my home, I have only seen one, and I lived in it.
A house is surely a house, you may ask, but no, not here, not to the South African immigrant. And my advice? Don’t get your knickers in a bunch. Accept it as it is, don’t change it. If you don’t and you build one like you are used to, you may have trouble selling it, because it is different.
The majority of homes in Western Australia have the main bedroom at the front of the house. Often so in front that you do not even walk three steps into the home, before encountering the main bedroom. No, you can not make it a guest bedroom, except if you are happy for the guests to have an en suite that you would prefer to use, and you will have to trek from where ever you decide to sleep, to have a shower first thing in the morning.
This was the same in Bunbury, Kalgoorlie, and now Perth. The main bedroom at the front of the house. It is sometimes accompanied with a parents’ retreat, a little room (or not so little) where mum and dad have their TV and couch and they can watch TV in peace when the kids have gone to bed.
The reason for this? I do not know. I have heard people say that it is because parents want to catch the teenagers sneaking in and out at night. From my experience, if a teenager wants to get out, he or she will get out. Some say it is for privacy and to get away from the kids after a long and hard day at work; how do you ever get away from the kids, I ask you? Then there are those who have a reasonable explanation of a possible house fire and everyone having access to a door, the kids in the back rooms can go through the laundry door, and the folks can go through the front door. Honestly? Which mum and dad will run out without getting their kids first, and if they live in the Venter house they are royally screwed, because my hubby has an obsession with locking the doors at night. They won’t get the key for the laundry door! And how will they get over the fence at the side of the house, which hubby keeps under lock and key as well. (Eight years, and he still locks everything!)
The beginning and end of this? I do not know why they build the homes like this. It is what it is, and that is the end.
The house we lived in that looked like a South African house? That was in Kalgoorlie, a mining community and may have been built by people who had roots down somewhere in South Africa for all I know because it was reminisce of a home that I was used to. The living areas to the front and the sleeping areas to the back, with the parent’s room at the very back. I always joked that we would be able to put a Trellis door into the opening leading to the sleeping areas if we wanted to, and we would be rather safe from home invasions.
The owners of that home tried selling it when we lived there and the only people who made an offer were us, and thankfully it was denied by the bank because I already sensed that people were not too interested in the place, and we may have difficulty getting rid of it as well. It may have been the five giant Eucalypts in the yard as well. It has been in the market recently and has gone back on the rental market I think. The lesson, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
Dear Migrant to the Great South Land,
Houses look different, but brick and mortar a home does not make. You and your loved ones do.
There are holes (I can not remember what they are called) in the floors of the bathrooms, toilets, and laundry. It may just happen that you flood the room, and the water has to go somewhere. Ask me, I know! It happens and it makes a whole lot of sense!
And fan-like things in the ceilings of the toilets – for obvious reasons, as there is seldom a window leading out from the ‘klein huisie.’ It stays a dark affair. 🙂
I have not seen a proper drain outside, like the ones I was used to.
There are not a lot of fences to be seen, and if you do see one, it is not wire-barbed nor six feet high palisades. The windows have fly screens in front. Though I have lived in two homes where the fly-screens were fixed and were doubling as security as well, so it happens that people want to come in through a window and not an open door.
May you find a place to call home soon after your arrival, and should the main bedroom be at the front of the house, there is no rule against you putting down the inflatable or borrowed mattresses you may be sleeping on during the first couple of days or weeks, in one of the other rooms, or all sleep together the main bedroom. You’ve made it this far, you’ll get through this as well.
Welcome, let me know when you want a cuppa, and I’ll put the kettle on.