We are now in Australia since three weeks. Three weeks of research and development for the car, three weeks of acclimatization, three weeks of HelpX in a great English family!
Let's start with the beginning. HelpX, what is it?
It's like Wwoofing, but different. Yeah. So let's make the prequel of the thing. The World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) is an international network created in 1971, bringing together organic farmers and short or long-haul travellers.
The farmers feed and host the travellers, who in turn give about 5 hours of their time each day by helping on the farm (there are variants: 2h of work, and only accommodation, 6h of work for more profits, 8h of work, and a day off afterwards...)
And the HelpX in all this? The concept is the same, but they are not necessarily organic farms. This can be families, nurseries, restaurants, youth hostels... in short anything and everything as long as we help, give our time, and that we receive food and housing in return.
The primary goal for many is the savings (and then yes, we will not spit on it!), for us the most important remains the exchange and encounters that emerge from those days spent in an unknown family. Most of the people we stayed with in New Zealand are still keeping in touch with us, and three of them have become true friends or family!
Here in Perth, once our 15h of sleep finished, our pasta with tomato sauce inhaled at 9am and our 10km on foot, in full sun and with our 18kg on the back accomplished, we landed in the Cliff family...
Richard, Tracey, Abigail, Georgia and Justin, Richard's uncle who came on holiday from England.
We arrived on Saturday night. On Sunday, Abigail celebrated her 4th birthday, and we spent the late afternoon at the park for a birthday party (with a rainbow cake, beware!). And on Monday, at 4am, Richard and Justin went on a motorcycle holiday in south-western Australia for 16 days.
And that was our job. We helped Tracey in everyday life. «Nétwayé, baléyé, astiké, Kaz la toujou penpan, Ba'w manjé, baw lanmou…. », even if we did not always do it in song, but often with music! (For the uneducated, you still recognized Zouk Machine there, right?)
Basically 1 to 2 hours of work a day, and in return, hearts as big as that! Matt fell in love with little Georgia, 16 months (Lucile's uterus just has to beware!); Lucile was tamed by Abbi (Matt took some notes), and we discovered in Tracey (and Richard when we were able to get to know him more after his return) golden people, open, welcoming, kind, with the heart in the hand.
An English family established in Perth for 9 years, the Cliffs have travelled, have family everywhere, a small house, a landlord who deserves a few slaps in the face, and 4 guinea pigs who run freely in the garden...
Twinkle Toes, Peppa, George and Isis... and these four, unless you pull a Geronimo to grab them, it is almost impossible to get them! But, apples, salad, carrots, nothing survives them!
The first three weeks in Perth passed very quickly. And we did not actually visit the surrounding area. The first week and a half was dedicated to the purchase and repairs of the car. The second week and a half was devoted to the development of Chocolatine. Between all this, we had a few days with an absolutely execrable weather, at the end of which the intestinal flu, that vicious b* * €h that Lucile had justly avoided in France despite the epidemic, struck on the corner of her face and knocked her out for a few days.
We strolled down to the beach, facing the Indian Ocean for the first time, and we went swimming with the Cliffs a second time... We visited and tried three climbing gyms, and we did one hike... Not a lot at all.
But it must be said for our defence that when it is in between 32 and 38 degrees Celsius in the shade, with a UV radiation of 8 (on a scale of 11), one cannot do much outside. We lived early in the morning and not too late in the evening, because the heat melted us (yes, we complain, but... a French and an American, what did you expect?)
If we were to summarize those three weeks? A lot of city (we who are not city dwellers... especially in a city not so beautiful...), a bit of nature, lots of shopping, lots of DIY, lots of money spent, good meals, frantic discussions about everything and nothing, chases, hide-and-seek in series, some colouring, a lot of cleaning (where Georgia goes, cleanliness dies...). A lot of love also, in this family, happiness and joy of life... True heart warmers when you read about the news in the world...
It will be hard to leave them, and we will not forget them soon...
This last week, on Monday, we finally started looking for a job. With some fears, given all we've heard about the difficulty of finding something, the fact that Australians never call back when you leave your number... But, but! On Tuesday, we were hired to harvest grapes on Friday morning. And on Wednesday, we were called back by another guy who wants to meet us before he employs us for his harvest...
And so, this Friday, we started harvesting the grapes... But the story does not end there... To know everything about our first adventure as "Australian" grape pickers, it's HERE!
So we are crossing our fingers very strongly (those of the feet count as well!), and we hope that the money will flow into our bank account this week before we hit the road. Otherwise, no problem, we’ll go south!
PS: Talking about hiking... We were in Swan Valley (where we are going to harvest), walking 5.5km along the Bells Rapids (really a very nice walk, very exotic after Perth and we have not yet seen anything from Australia!)...
AND...AND... We faced our first kangaroo!!! Oh! Well, it will not be the last, but like first things, it's exciting!
Matt was thrilled, filming with the GoPro (Lucile erroneously deleted the video afterwards...) and she was delighted as she raised her camera to do his portrait...
The creature then turned, and had its butt immortalized! Little hike that will stay in the memories!