Perth in a Nutshell!

Ahh.. Australia! Since we had been traveling for almost 9 months straight the timing was perfect! Chels and I (and our bank accounts) were both in need of a break; not to mention the added benefits of our pit stop being in Western Australia, home to some of the world’s most spectacular coastline and most importantly Chelsea’s family

All together again!

Our home for the next 8 months would be Scarborough, a small beach town in the northern suburbs of Perth situated along side the miles of white sandy coastline. The beachfront boardwalk is a modest size strip containing an amphitheater, some surf shops, hotel, restaurants and pubs and of course Denise and Bruce’s amazing condo. We could never get tired of waking up and seeing the ocean from their place, having the soft sand and turquoise waters literally at our doorstep. In the evening we’d sit out on the balcony watching the kite surfers carve up the waves as the sun set behind the endless horizon.

Scarborough Beach!

Since our stay in Perth was around 8 months, and we are almost a year behind on our blog, this is our attempt to catch up. So here are some highlights of our stay. Hope you enjoy!

The first couple months were pretty lax and full of days at beautiful Scarborough Beach and family get-togethers. I always love Christmas with my family, because its a huge get together on Christmas Eve, in honor of the way the Dutch celebrate the night before. This year was at Aunty Nets amazing abode…with tons of my favorite Aussie food and complete with a bouncy castle for the kids! Oh yeah….and all my lovely family was there too :) It was the first time all 5 of us were together since 2005, so my Mum was thrilled! After socializing and way too much food, we all take part in a “Dirty Santa” snatching game, and were surprised with a special poem “pass the parcel” from Scott and Jo!

All the cousins!

Christmas morning is spent with Dad’s family…a nice relaxing lunch with a great view from Mum and Dads! New Years was a relaxing night at home with the family! We had a Gormetta…my favorite!!! AND played Cranium, which most people know makes me extremely happy :) Unfortunately there were no fireworks this year at Scarborough, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because apparently Angel goes “Troppo” when they go off! Instead we watched the spectacular display in Sydney Harbour on the “Tele”. I think my New Years resolution yet again was to quit picking at my nails…fail!

New Years!

January 26th this year was Australia Day! Similar to the 4th of July celebrations in America, its a day of drinking and barbequing in the sun! Ours was spent at Cottesloe, one of the most famous beaches in Perth. BUT what really made the day awesome was the Havaianas Thong Challenge! Every Australia Day, the major cities around Australia compete to see who can put the most massive inflatable thongs in the water – all connected! Last year Perth won with 1,300 floats, so it was time to defend the title. Rachael, Gloria, Jan and their gang all joined in. Everyone brought drinks and food as we picnicked on the grass until the time came for the migration into the sea.


The whole thing took over an hour,which would have been fine, except towards the end the tide was coming in, and giant thongs were toppling over with screaming girls all over the place. We ended up with ___ which was significantly more than last year! Watching everyone leave the water at the same time was a sight to see…it truly was like a migration of white thongs! Turns out… Sydney beat us by a couple hundred.. but still proud of Perth since we’re such a little city that had a huge turn out! The Havaianas Thong Challenge was such a fun unique experience and so so glad we did it… Thanks Gloria and Jan for suggesting it! :)

Great Migration!

Shelling out the cash for my Australian Work Visa turned out to be well worth it. Within 24 hours of landing in Perth Chels and I both had jobs. Cafe Del Pescatore, one of the first places we called into offered us both work. It was a nice seafood restaurant that could have worked out nicely since it was on the Scarborough beach boardwalk. However, it wasn’t exactly what either of us wanted to do and it wasn’t long before we both moved on to something else.

Before leaving on our trip I had tried to get some work at REI and Eastern Mountain Sports, to stock up on travel gear at a discounted price. There is an Australian equivalent called Anaconda and by a stroke of luck (the manager Jamie is a Bruins fan!), I was working there by mid January. A casual gig at first grew to nearly a full time position in the technical soft goods department. It was a customer service/sales position job selling some technical hiking and travel gear.  Within two weeks of working there Jamie offered me a chance to fly to Sydney for a product knowledge conference put on by our suppliers. But by far the highlight of working at Anaconda was my workmates. I couldn’t have asked for a better crew to spend 6 months with. I’m proud to call a lot of those guys my friends. Cheers guys, until next time!

Goodbye Present from work.

I ended up finding the best job i could have asked for, nannying a family of 4 kids 4 days a week. The older 3 were in school, so although i was involved with school drop-off and pick-up, my main responsibility was to care for the 3 year old, Sophie, who soon became my best little bud! She was SO good, and so cute, and i had all the flexibility in the world to take her where i wanted! She LOVED going to Anaconda to visit Brad and give him a coffee!! It wasn’t long before my one day off Wednesday, was filled caring for their baby cousin, Christopher! He also turned out to be a dream, such a smart and good 1 year old! I was sad to leave, as not only was it good money, but i had grown to love these little kids! It was obviously a good gig….Mum ended up taking over :) …so I still have a little connection to them!



Baby Chris!

Now with jobs to help save money, we were on the lookout for some live music. During the summer in Perth there are several opportunities to check out some emerging and popular artists at one of the many music festivals. Generally they are a one day event ( with the exception being Southbound, a four day camping expedition). Normally we would have jumped at that but we were dangerously low on funds then and there was only a few bands that we wanted to see. Instead we opted for a few of the day long festivals.

Big Day out was our first one. John Butler was there playing for his hometown crowd and put on a bangin show. The night headliner was Tool and of course they put on a sick show as well.


Good Vibrations was the next one we went to and scored free tickets for volunteering the day before. The line up here was more hip hop and drum and bass focused with Faithless and Ludacris among the headliners. We had the chance to catch Fat Freddy’s Drop, a dub style band from New Zealand who had long jam sessions and fit the “good vibes” category for sure.

Jump rope!

Loved this!

There was also Sets on the Beach, which we saw with Julie. No big names that we recognized were playing, and it was mostly dj’s. It turned into a hell of a dance party after sunset but sad to say the hot Aussie sun mixed with Absolute played havoc with my recollection of this day out.

Sets on the Beach!

The last festival we checked out was Throwing of the Grape. It was in celebration of the grape harvest of a Vinyard in the Swan River Vally. It was a pretty good setup. A cover band was jamming some of our favorite beats and there were all sorts of things to do (besides drink wine). Water dunking, sumo wrestling and of course, grape stomping. The stomping AND the dance party was just starting to take off when a massive storm, or rather a mini cyclone hit. The branches were flying off the trees, the fences being blown over, the stage being completely wrecked, and everyone screaming and running for cover.  Once the storm had passed, we made our way back to find Mr. Whippie blasting trance music from his truck. He was such a cool guy, we ended up buying some creamy treats from him on our way out!

Storms a brewin!

Just as Summer was on its last days, my love Jasmine came to visit us in Perth!! Brad and I were both able to get the time off work so we could take them down to one of our favorite places in the world, Margaret River!

Margret River wine region is about a 4 hour drive south of Perth. With plenty of stops along the way, half the fun is getting there. Â Our first pit stop was made at stunning Meelup Beach where Adam and I flashed our paddle-ball skills as the girls soaked in the sun. Â Another place we had to take Adam and Jazz to was the Bushhack Brewery, not only because it was one of my favorite places from our last visit but because Jazz had been dreaming about tasting the neon colored fruit beers that they are so famous for. Â Their flavors range from blondes, a ginger; mango;Â passion-fruit; strawberry and oddly enough, chili beer – which has a surprising but welcomed finish.


Creamin Screamin!

Thanks to Aunty Net and Uncle Gary, we were able to rent out an amazing cottage right in the heart of Margaret River.  Our plan originally was to do a tour of the region then some of the surrounding areas, but only after a few hours of staying the rental house, we decided to just spend the whole time there, explore, taste, relax and soak it in.

Fun at Sunset

The wineries all close at 5pm the latest, so rushed around to visit a few before they shut. Â We made it with just enough time to spare, having a taste of what they were offering and purchasing a bottle for dinner that night (this became our habit). Â A quick walking tour of the city and a stop at the shops to stock up on groceries. Â That night we grilled out and were visited by Chelsea’s cousin Micheal and his wife Kasha and son Raven. Â It was great to catch up with them and get some insider info about the beaches and caves to explore the next day.

Winery in the middle of nowhere!

We got an early start the next morning, hitting up the olive farm Olio Bello, (which I later found out was owned by one of my mates from works family) for some olive oil tastings.. yum!  After that we were in search of my favorite stop in Margaret River.. Yahava, the coffee roasting place!  After the intense coffee tasting session, we all had the jitters and felt it was time to ease up and drink wine!  The rest of the day was spent pulling in the tastes from the agro-rich region.  On our way to catch sunset we happened to drive by some wild kangaroos hanging out in the shade and stopped for a photo shoot.  Jazz showed an incredible rout of bravery when she walked right up to a group of them to snap a photo.  We finished the day with a delicious seafood dinner whipped up by Jazz and Chels!

Baby Kangaroo!

The next day we decided to check out the other amazing things about the region, the beaches! Â Micheal had told us one of his favorite beach spots is Hamelin Bay. Â So we headed off early and on the way there drove through the beautiful Boranup Forrest blossoming with powerful Jarrah Trees. Â As we made our way to Hamelin Bay, we walked through the dunes out onto the deserted soft white sands and safe blue waters of the bay. Â I think we all were feeling euphoric, as that kind of scenery has a way of doing to you. Â The highlight of being there was seeing the wild sting rays that swim right along the shoreline. Â We followed a few up and down the coast, marveling at their size and grace.

Friendly Stingray!

The finally for that day was a stop at Jewel Cave.  Where you can view Helictites.  Unlike stalagmite/stalactites which form in a straight line, Helictites dart all over the place like lightening that baffles geologists , and according to our guide, Jewel Cave is one of the only places in the world that has so many!

I can say without hesitation one of the highlights of the trip. Â The wine, food and scenery were amazing, but the company was even better!

On our last day we got to take them to Rottnest Island, and bike around the cozy island, swim in the azul waters and chase after quokkas.  The bikes are a must-do, as well as trying a meat pie or sausage roll at the famous bakery in town!

Snorkeling at Rottnest!

It was great to have them come for a visit.  I’m always happy to see Jazzy F  and getting to know Adam was a bonus.  It was fun sharing travel stories and chatting about social issues while being in one of the most incredible areas in WA and probably the world. We were sad to say  goodbye as we had truly an amazing time.

Another visit we had during our stint in Perth was from the amazing traveling teachers.  Newly married and on their Global Honeymoon touring the world, Devon and Mike.  Since we crashed with them in Switzerland they took us up on our offer to come and stay in Perth with us.

Sandunes at Lancelin!

It was a bit sudden but it all came together beautifully in the end. Â We got to take them on a day trip up north to the sand dunes of Lancelin and the Pinnacles (random rock formations 1000’s of years old). The flies were OUTRAGEOUS, but we still had a fun time playing around in the rocky desert!


On the way home, we noticed some giant abandoned sand dunes, so pulled over to check them out. We ended up having a total blast, running around, jumping over each other, onto each other, playing with the shadows from the sun. Just as the sun was setting, we took some time to admire the view AND take advantage of some amazing photo ops. For me, the abandoned sand dunes were the highlight of the day. Although enjoying some red rooster on the way home was a close second :)

Hear me Roar!

We love being around them.  Their stories are incredible and energy is contagious, truly inspiring!  It was sad to see them go, and I found myself wishing we had more time to explore the wonders of Western Australia, but that’s how it goes when you are spontaneous world travelers like them.  Hope to see them soon in Ethiopia!


So for all the non-Aussies; footie or Australian Rules Football has become a national pastime. Aussie Rules has the toughness of rugby, soccer’s finesse and requires the fitness level of long distance swimmers (the oval is 175m long/ 122m wide and play is continuous). However, footie stands out as a sport that is uniquely Aussie-made. Western Australia has two teams, West Coast Eagles and Fremantle Dockers who both play at the Subiaco Oval. Thanks to the generosity of Chelsea’s family Scott and Joe, who are season ticket holders, we were able to see a Dockers game. We had a blast sipping Carlton Draught and being a part of the cheering when Fremantle kicked a goal.  It was great just to see some live sports again!

Yay Live Sports!

Reuniting with one of my longest friends, Gloria Poh, was another highlight of our Perth visit. She’s fun and spunky, SO easy to talk to, and has great friends and a great boyfriend! For her 25th birthday, she tried to bring back her youthful days :)… with a kiddie-themed birthday party. I was excited to show Brad the typical Aussie party food, like fairy bread (Sprinkles on white bread) and honey joys (Corn Flakes with Honey), AND the typical Aussie games, like “Pass the Parcel” and “Musical Statues”. We played a variation of the usual pin the tale on the donkey…”Pin the Junk Food on Fat Gloria” haha! It was a great night, complete with Lolly Bags at the end!

Pin the Junk Food on Gloria!

For those who know me, know I am in LOVE with board games..well any games really! I told Gloria we needed to organize a game night, and it turned out to be a huge success. All the girls brought their best dishes, loads of booze, and of of course an array of games. The last game night we had before Brad and I left turned into a pajama party American drinking games night! Beer pong, Chandelier, Flip Cup and upside down Margaritas!

Thats right...just won Beer pong!

Somehow in the middle of dinner and drinks with Gloria and Jan, Brad and I got suckered into participating in HBFs “Run for a Cause”. I’ve always wanted to run a 5k, so we jumped at the opportunity…only to find out no wasn’t a 5k, but a 14k!!! AHH. none of us really trained, but we all made it to the end..some with better times than others :) It was a cool experience though..and running through the city was a bonus! Nobody could walk for a week after haha! But YAY North of the River won woop woop!

The gang after the race!

Thanks to Gloria, Jan and the gang for being totally badass! :) Seriously you guys made us feel part of the group and like we were all old friends… and we had a great time handing with you! :) And THANK YOU Gloria for the delicious funpack you gave us on our last Sunday Sesh! WE’LL MISS YOU!!!

Over our 8 months in Perth, I attempted to assimilate into the Australian way of life. Along the way I learned how to surf, play didgeridoo, and speak the Aussie lingo. Thank you to Ryan for loaning us a couple surfboards and a boogie board. Thanks to all of Chelsea’s family for being so welcoming and hospitable. So amazingly grateful for the hospitality of Denise and Bruce, without them our stay would not have been possible, but not only that, it was really good spending time and getting to know them both. Farewell Perth!



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