Out and About is a column where we talk to people currently living abroad, or people who have previously lived and worked abroad. This week we chat to Reeva Cutting who lives in Perth, Australia.
Tell us more about yourself and where you live?
I’m Reeva. I am originally from South Africa, and after ten years in cold and damp England I moved to sunny Perth, Australia.
What do you do there?
I do a few things! I’m a freelance digital marketer at Cutting Edge Digital, specialising in search engine optimisation (SEO), Google Ads and blogging.
I also write a blog for people looking to move to Australia, called Proudly South African in Perth. The blog has lots of practical information about making the move, what life in Australia is really like and it showcases some beautiful places to visit around the country.
Because two things aren’t enough, I also work for Rand Rescue, helping South Africans get their retirement annuities and cash out of South Africa and into Australia.
Was it difficult to adapt in a foreign country?
It was harder to adapt to life in the UK than in Australia. Australia felt like home as soon as I arrived, even though I’d never been here before.
The houses, weather and lifestyle are all remarkably similar to South Africa.
Once you get your head around where to go and what to buy at the shops, you will feel a lot more settled.
What are the best and worst adventures you have had there?
The worst was probably our first three months before we found work and a house to rent.
We came over with limited funds and no jobs and had a holiday let for three months. We both found jobs and a house to rent in the last week before we had to leave the holiday house! It was pretty stressful and now I look back and think we were crazy to do it, but I just knew it would all work out in the end.
The best adventure has got to be travelling around our new home country. It’s pretty expensive to travel anywhere here, especially western Australia, so I haven’t done as much as I would have liked. But when we do, I’m always blown away by the natural beauty here.
What do you miss most about South Africa?
Besides family and friends? Probably Ocean Basket!
What was the strangest thing to get used to in your new country?
The cost of eating out – it’s extortionate here in Perth!
What do you enjoy most about Australia?
The freedom of not having to experience fear and daily stress.
The gorgeous summers and sandy white beaches.
The fact that everything works, even though the locals will always find something to whinge about. There’s even a Facebook group in Perth for people who just want to have a whinge!
Are you going to return to South Africa?
Only for holidays, to see family. I couldn’t return to live, not unless something changed drastically in terms of quality of life, government and crime.
Holidays in South Africa are always spectacular though!
Was it easy to find your feet there?
It’s not easy to start with, especially if you don’t know anyone when you arrive.
My advice to anyone new is to reach out and connect with people online. These online friendships can often turn into real-life ones and they can mean the difference between having a bad day and a good day.
Never turn an invitation down either – you never know who you will meet there!
Is the cost of living quite expensive or pretty much the same as in South Africa?
I lived in the UK for ten years before we moved here, so when we relocated I compared those two. I found it pretty much on a par, although some things were much cheaper like fuel and gas bills.
When we went back to South Africa this year (2018) I was shocked at some of the costs of living there – some groceries are through the roof compared to salaries. I don’t know how average families are coping.
Do you get the chance to travel often? If so, where do you like to go?
Not as much as we’d like.
For quick getaways, you can’t beat the Margaret River region and Western Australia’s south-west region.
We discovered Bali last year and loved our time there so much we’re heading back again. It seems like you aren’t considered a proper West Australian until you’ve been to Bali!
With a busy schedule like yours, do you ever get some time to relax?
Sometimes. It is tricky though; running three businesses and having a family. I love horse-riding so that’s my downtime and I try to go as often as I can.
What does your typical day look like?
After the school drop off, I usually head to the gym and then spend the next few hours doing as much work as possible before the school bell rings again! I split my time across my digital marketing business, migration blogging and Rand Rescue.
Afternoons are sometimes spent doing more work or heading to after-school activities with my son.
Weekends are much more fun, especially in the summer months where there seems to be something to do every weekend. I love the fact that there are so many free events in Perth, and families are spoilt for choice when it comes to things to do with kids.
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This post is also available in: Afrikaans