The job’s done. In order to be eligible for a second ‘working holiday visa’, I had to work for 3 months (or 88 days) in farming, plantation, mining or construction, somewhere in the Australian Outback. As you know, I started 88 days of farm work at ‘Gidleigh Station’ in Bungendore on March 12th. Last Friday was my last day working there, while last Sunday was my last day working at the restaurant of the ‘Lake George Hotel’ where I worked some extra hours on weekends and occasional weekdays.
So that’s over now.. I’ve fulfilled my duties and shouldn’t have any trouble applying for a second visa for this beautiful country. Since last night, I’m back in Canberra then. I will stay here for around a week, just to get some rest, to visit some things (if the weather is good enough) and to get some more information on sponsorships, skilled migration and possible other ways to be able to take an Aussie step in my professional career.
My last blog dates back to about a month ago and everything that happened since can be put in the category ‘appreciation’. Heaps of it. Al’s compliments about the fact that I was doing damn wel on the motorbikes for someone who had never ridden one before and about the fact that I was getting really good at wood splitting. Gigo saying everybody in the restaurant would miss me after I left. Jemma saying that out of all the Tuesday evening soccer players I was the one with the best skills. Tassie saying that my English was very good. Brad and Darren saying I could put them up as references on my CV. Thank you’s, hugs, compliments. So many of them that they made me feel uncomfortable so many times. The Harry’s (the family that owns both the farm and the hotel) showed a lot of appreciation as well, called me a beautiful person, gave me a gift and plan on taking some days off at the end of July in order to be able to come back to the farm while I’ll be back there as well for a couple of days before heading back to Belgium.
Such great people I’ve met here in Bungendore, all of them, every single one. It was a pleasure to be working with and for them. Good memories have been created once again.
In the meantime, I also interviewed Richard Harry so hopefully that interview will be online as soon as possible. Furthermore, I helped shearing some sheep (and gave it a try as well), helped fixing some fences, mustered some more cattle and sheep, helped with the butchering of two lambs, splitted some more wood and so on. The last couple of weeks sometimes felt like an exam, but that made it fun. I wanted to prove that I had learnt something and was getting better at it, while also getting a bit more responsibilities. I guess you already get it: it was weird to leave Gidleigh..
Something else I’ve also done is booking my East Coast trip. On July 11th, I will start a fourteen day journey from Cairns in Australia’s North East downward to Sydney. Stopping at the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, et cetera. I am even considering putting my fear of heights to the test once again, but that’s no certainty yet so I won’t tell you more about this just yet. Between now and July 11th, I was planning on travelling the West Coast, but I ended up cancelling those planse.. For two reasons: (1) I would barely have the time to visit Perth and (2) I would have no time to visit The Kimberley. So I’ve postponed it (to my second year here?) so that when I do get to go to Western Australia, I would at least get to visit all I want to discover.
It’s all a bit weird. The three months with the Gidleigh family went by so fast. My Aussie adventure is in its eighth month already as well. In just about five weeks, this Australian trip will be over as well and that bloody sucks. Time is going by way too fast, which means the end will be there a lot sooner than I want it to.
Anyway, so far for this short update. I have left Gidleigh with some pride, some more self-confidence, a lot more knowledge and (I think) some new friends as well. Still with a lot of questions on my future of course. Who and where will I be six months from now? No idea and that worries me. In any case: these wonderful experiences can’t be taken away from me anymore and realising that I have done and still do all these things is a great feeling.
PS/ @ Dara, Tassie and Gigo: keep rooting for Lucy!