Friday, December 22, 2017

Australian Working Holiday Visa 417

This morning I woke up in a dorm room in Canggu, Bali, believing I was about to spend Christmas alone for the first time in my life. To be honest, if you have to spend the holidays alone, Indonesia is not a bad place to be! Even with it being the rainy season here and the last week it has rained continuously, it has been the most soul reviving trip. I needed it. There's plenty you can do here while it's raining.

Attend the Canggu Jewelry Class




I have fallen head over heels for Silversmithing over the past few days in Bali. I think I've found something I'd really like to pursue in between writing novels!!
For one lesson (3 hours) it's 600,000 IDR including the materials and 5 grams of silver. You pay extra for stones and any more silver you use. The trainers are amazing, so helpful and talented.
I did two classes and wish I could have done more but I ran out of time.
The two rings you see above I made!! Had a lot of help of course and it's going to take years to become good at it but wow... it's so fascinating and fun!! It's really tough too!!! Requires a fair bit of muscle, a good eye for detail and a lot of creativity!

Attend an Authentic Balinese Cooking Class




Periuk Bali Balinese Cooking Class was a fantastic day out in Ubud!!! I made 11 Balinese dishes which I got to eat afterwards with the other travelers attending the class. The teachers are again absolutely wonderful people, really helpful and informative. They give you heaps of information not only on cooking but also teach you loads about the Balinese culture. We visited a local market, sampled divine foods and got to look out at the rice fields and learn more about how they work! 

Enjoy a Bintang or a juice overlooking the incredible Tegallalang Rice Terraces



This is something I literally HAD to do before leaving Bali... and you can see why with that view. I mean.... WOW.
This was taken at the Lumbung Sari Warung restaurant. I had hoped to get there and enjoy a nice glass of wine or a cocktail while looking out at the view but unfortunately the only alcoholic beverage served is Bintang (the pricing of which is extortionate!!! Expect to pay almost 40,000 IDR for a small beer...). I sipped on an avocado juice which was more like a chocolate milkshake to be honest.

You can walk through the fields if you want to but I didn't due to the rain. There's heaps of markets around so bring some spare cash if you want to do any shopping... and don't forget to barter!!!!

Taste traditional Luwak Coffee (the most expensive coffee in the world and made with poo!)


Guess what guys.... it tastes like normal coffee!! Haha. It is said to have a lower amount of caffeine in it though which means it is healthier. You also sample a massive amount of tea here which is really interesting and get a full tour of the making of Luwak coffee. You even get to see the animals it comes from.

Swing way up high above the rice paddies



This picture is priceless... but the swing itself, situated right by the Luwak coffee tasting, is pretty pricey!! It's 200,000 IDR for the super swing as seen in the photograph above. You get 15 swings.... but there's no denying it... it's beautiful. Was it worth it??? Yes. Every penny.

*

I've been waiting out my Working Holiday Visa in Bali for the past week. I applied for it 30 days ago in Tim Horton's, Canada. It said the application process can take between 16 - 32 days so I figured I got unlucky due to the festive season. There's been a big backlog over December. There was nothing I could do but wait it out and just as I'd finally accepted that I was going to be spending Christmas alone in Bali, I woke up this morning with a lovely email notifying me that I've been granted the visa!!!

Although I'm British and hold a British passport, I have lived in South Africa for most of my life and hold a South African passport too. I also lived in Spain for a year within the last five years and this information all had to be in my application form. I think that extra information made my visa application take longer. 

Being in South Africa, a medical examination had to be done to ensure I was free of tuberculosis. That in itself was an experience and a half!!! South Africa, I am sorry to say, is useless. 
One week after applying for my visa, I was asked to provide health clearance and they only accept certain doctors / hospitals to provide this evidence. I was in Cape Town at the time and the doctors there only had availability for me in over a week... that would have slowed down my visa even more so I called every other acceptable hospital I could and eventually found a slot in Durban. As I'd never been to Durban and had always wanted to, I jumped at the chance. Flights were craaaaazy expensive though so my boyfriend and I embarked on a roadtrip to Durban. From Knysna in the Garden Route it should have taken us just over 13 hours....... but...... I'll admit it..... I'm terrible at directions. I got us HORRIBLY lost in an African township and we had to sleep there on a dirt-road in our car overnight. We eventually found our way out of the township though and made it to Durban safely where I had my medical done, then enjoyed Durban!!! We cycled along the promenade, skinny dipped in the ocean and gorged on curry.

On the way back to Knysna we had a pit stop in one of my favorite parts of South Africa, Jeffrey's Bay. We squeezed in a surf in lovely warm water and then headed back home.


I applied for my visa online and had no help from anyone which made things slightly more stressful. The hospital never let me know that they had cleared me of TB and sent off my medicals to the Australian government and there's this button on the Australian Immi website when you've logged in that says, Information Provided. You're supposed to click it when all the info you've been asked for is in. I didn't click mine for days and was really upset with the hospital for not letting me know that my forms were already submitted. BUT.... when I called the Australian high commission to find out if this would slow down the process they said no. They told me you don't really have to click the information provided button... but like I said, South Africa is a bit useless at times so I'd click it anyway. Just a heads up! 

Anyway... thereafter I heard NOTHING from the Aussie government for weeks. I was really stressing out, wondering if I'd done the application correctly, started stressing that I'd missed something or hadn't provided evidence of something they needed. I started googling other peoples horror stories about their visa taking up to two months which petrified me!!
The only time I heard from them again was when my visa was granted, this morning!!! It was exactly a month after my application, so it was a long wait... but it's going to be worth it! 

So, my dear readers, tomorrow I am heading off to beautiful Australia for the first time ever to meet my incredible, sexy boyfriend's family and friends... and start my new life in Brisbane!!!! 

I am insanely excited for this new start. 

In the past when I left home to move to Spain to be with Simon and work on the yachts and even when I moved to Cape Town to be with Lyndon, I'd cried. Leaving had been hard. It's not easy leaving behind everything you know. Your family, friends and pets. But when I hopped on a plane to start this move to Australia, there wasn't one tear shed. I was overcome with this sense of calm... it just felt like I was doing the right thing. I feel like I am on the right path... like I am right where I am supposed to be.

There's this Irish proverb that goes, 'Your feet will take you where your heart is.' 
I am pretty sure I'm on my way there....

post signature