Friday, February 15, 2013

I now pronounce you…

After living in Perth for more than four years, we finally reached one of the big milestones of migration.  We attended a citizenship ceremony at Wanneroo city and were formally pronounced to be Australian citizens.


A multicultural group of people started lining up at 5pm and slowly entered the room where the ceremony was going to be held.

People were divided into groups of about 14 or 15 at a time and then repeated the words

From this time forward, under God,
I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people,
whose democratic beliefs I share,
whose rights and liberties I respect, and
whose laws I will uphold and obey.

At the end of this pledge, the deputy mayor would say

“I now pronounce you Australian citizens.” 

We found this a little funny because you keep on expecting the words “…man and wife” to follow the first part of the phrase!

So, here we are.  Five years ago I started investigating the options of moving abroad and started applying for jobs in Australia.  I prepared heaps of paperwork and spent thousands of dollars during this whole process.  This included:

  • Applying for unabridged birth certificates, which meant I had to travel to different towns in Namibia and South Africa because the lines of applicants in Windhoek were already snaking out into the street at 7 in the morning.
  • Applying for Namibian Police clearance – a minimum processing time of four months and only valid for 6 months…
  • Applying for our South African unabridged marriage certificate
  • Getting my Engineering degree recognized by Engineers Australia.
  • Applying for Military release forms from the SA Defence force.
  • Going for expensive medical tests for the Permanent Residence application
  • Writing the IETLS language exams
  • Writing a citizenship test
  • Being forced to do a practical drivers licence assessment even though I come from a country where we also drive on the left hand side of the road – even though Americans (who drive on the wrong side) do not have to do an assessment!
  • Leaving Australia for ten days to get our permanent residence approved.

The list is not comprehensive but what I can say is that every action, every dollar, every major obstacle I had to overcome was worth it.

Advance Australia Fair.


Friday, June 1, 2012

RAAF Airshow

A few weekends ago we managed to squeeze all the kids into the car and head of the RAAF air show at Pearce Air base just North of Perth.

As we headed down Gnangara road, the traffic seemed a little slow, but not too bad.  Once we got onto West Swan, however, it was worse than the freeway during rainy weather.  Every man and his dog was heading to the air show.

As we got to the junction with the Great Northern Highway (which in all honesty is not that great…), it was amazing to see that an obese oversized truck was taking up both lanes and crawling in the direction of Bullsbrook – exactly where every man and his dog was also heading. 

How the authorities managed to approve an abnormal vehicle permit on a day like this, only they will know.  What arrogant mining company decided that their next big toy being slithered all the way to the Pilbara is soooo important that even the air show can wait?  For the first time I’m thinking that maybe the Labor government’s Mining Tax is not such a bad idea – surely then Muss Gillahd will pay for a freeway to Bullsbrook and these iron-ore crooks can pay the penalty for holding us back from a great day of entertainment.

After crawling behind an old man who was doing 60 in a 90 zone in Gnangara road, I suddenly realised that I had nothing to complain about back then.

Off course by now the kids were asking “are we there yet?”…

When we got to vicinity of the air show, we could already see planes flying around and helicopters thudding over us.  This was already way cool and I struggled to keep my eyes on the road.  My dad would have loved this – he always swerved around on the road whenever he saw or heard a plane – he loved looking at planes and for brief moments couldn’t care less about where the white line or the road shoulder was.

We were finally showed where to park, and immediately realised that we would have to lock the car’s position in a GPS, otherwise we would never find it in the “mother of all parking lots”.  There were thousands of vehicles parked in straight rows for kilometres long.

Arriving at the gate I was really glad that I had already purchased my tickets online, because the ticket line was almost as long as the toilet lines.  It was just around noon and there were still millions of cars waiting behind us somewhere on the Little Northern highway – but we were IN!


Needless to say the kids were already asking when they were getting fed, and looking at the feeding lines I thought it might be easier to kill a stranger and eat his food.  There were long lines (almost as long as the blue toilet cubicle lines), and I was seriously doubting the ability of those poor cooks to feed all these people.

In the meanwhile we started looking at some planes, and I forgot all about food and dead strangers.

Amazing, is all I can say.  I’m not one of those blokes who can ramble on and on about every plane’s name rank and serial number, but I do enjoy looking at these bad boys.

AnicaPilotDa boysIMG_2879

The highlight of course was the F18 Super Hornets.  Need I say more?  These things take off on a short bit of runway and then head straight up into the sky in a vertical position – freaky.


The guns on the Hawk trainers were displayed in one of the hangers, and I took quite an interest in these. This barrel is a 30mm monster, and you sure don’t want to be at the receiving end of it.  Not quite the hunting tool, as it would mess up too much good meat:



We finally managed to get food and drink at highly inflated prices, and settled on our little picnic blanket.


They also had a display of vintage cars nearby which my son and I enjoyed while the girls went looking for a blue cubicle.


By the time the kids had eaten, the Hornet flybys had finished and they wanted to go home.  Go figure.  There were still heaps of aeroplanes that I had not yet inspected on a closer level, but the missus and the kids had enough of a fun day in the sun, and we were soon heading back home. 

The parking lot was – well – a parking lot, and it took about half an hour just to reach the exit, while hoons with 4x4’s thought they owned the road and passed people in the most selfish and idiotic ways imaginable.  Probably South African expats from Joburg, if you ask me...

All in all, a great day except for the traffic. 



Friday, March 16, 2012

Speedqueen repair


Our trusty old Speedqueen hasn’t given us one day of worries for over 14 years.  This machine was designed in the USA, most of the parts were made in the USA, and I believe it was assembled in South Africa, but it may even have been assembled in the good ol’ US of A. 

Designed and built to last forever – nothing like the crap you get these days that is assembled in China or Bangladesh, quality checked by a person who can barely write his own name and is paid $2 a day by the communist regime who are stuffing themselves with caviar and turtle eggs. 

No sirree, this baby was made by western people in the old-fashioned proud way that westerners used to display not so long ago.  A pride that seems to have disappeared overnight.

My wife and I bought this machine in Namibia just after we got married.  It travelled to different houses and although it’s a massive machine, it’s worth dragging her big fat body to your new house.  Once she gets going, she’ll wash anything you can stuff into her.

We brought her over to Australia in a 40 foot container.  She spent 5 months inside that container before being able to drink her first serving of Australian water.  And she happily soldiered on - washing clothes, blankets, barbeque covers, car carpets, shoes and anything else that could fit in there.

Until two days ago, when she started screaming like a pig.

I gave her a few pushes and shoves and managed to wiggle her fat body around until the noise sort of went away.  But a few seconds later the noise would return, even though she seemed to do her job despite the screaming noise.  It sounded like someone threw a bag of coins inside a food processor.  (Not that I’d ever done that and would know what it sounded like…)

I guess the noise should have made me think about opening her carcass to see what was causing it, but I just somehow managed to convince myself that “she’ll be right.”  

So yesterday, of course, my worried wife told me that the machine wasn’t working any more.  What would we do without her?

Which led to today’s event.

Armed with my toolbox, socket sets, screwdrivers, and a multimeter which hasn’t been used for more than 3 years, I had my battle plan ready.

The first job was to get all the water out of the machine.  She was full of water but could not pump it out herself – which made me think that the pump might be where the problem was.

I opened her up, and at first I saw a lot of black fluff which I immediately though to be the kind of black stuff you see when a motor burns out.  This wasn’t a happy moment for me.

On closer inspection, though, I noted that this stuff was just fluff from 14 years of washing.  Somehow some of this stuff does end up on the inside of the machine, and no one ever thinks of opening up her guts and cleaning her out, so where else would the fluff go?


I tested the power to the pump, and measured that it was receiving power but was still not running. 

To remove the pump, I had to disconnect the water feed, which meant that the last bit of water that I couldn’t get out of the machine would drain all over me.  Being alone with no extra hands to help, this created quite an annoying situation where my bucket was filling up quicker than I could empty it, and I desperately had to fight to keep water from running into the electrical parts of the machine.  Fun times, indeed.

I finally dismounted the pump and saw something moving inside.

And there it is – a hairpin:


This stupid hairpin was causing all the havoc and was obviously the source of the noise.  When I wiggled and bounced the machine around, the hairpin dislodged a little, but would soon go back into it’s position and cause the screaming noise.  Eventually the pump just couldn’t turn anymore.

The good news was that once I returned everything back into position, I filled up the machine with water and she pumped that water out like Victoria Falls after a good raining season.

What a lucky escape – our baby is still running smoothly, and I saved hundreds of dollars on a repairman that would almost certainly have claimed that the pump was broken and needed replacement.

Of course, after closing the machine and tightening all the freaking screws, I found that the plastic cover that protects the pump inside the machine was still lying on the floor.  Luckily, this time I knew that I only needed to open the front cover and did not have to waste my time screwing off all the sides too.


The clean cover re-installed above the pump:


Mr Fix-it saved the day again. Not to mention the fact that those hard-to-get-to areas inside the machine have been cleaned for the first time in 14 years.

I have to say, I’m still impressed by the quality and durability of this machine.  This was money well spent – many years ago.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Boer met biltong

Ek het nou al 6 kg se biltong hierdie jaar verkoop, alles met een advertensie wat ek by die werk opgesit het.

Teen hierdie tempo gaan ek een van die dae aftree en boer met biltong.


IMG_1122 cropped

Ek het my biltong-hok so bietjie opgegradeer en die toutjies met kettinkies vervang. 

Die toutjies sak te veel af as jy te veel gewig daaraan hang, waar die kettings altyd dieselfde spanning het, en die biltong kan nie afskuif en teen mekaar raak in die kas nie.  Die biltong hakkies haak ook maklik in die kettingkies in.

Dis ook nou baie maklik as jy onder wil werk, die boonste kettings haal maklik af en jy kan al die kettings uithaal as jy die hok wil skoonmaak.  Ek sit tinfoil onder in die hok, ek vou dit op teen die rante onder, en dan is daar die minimum gemors binne-in die hok as jy klaar is.  Haal die tinfoil uit en gooi weg en siedaar – ‘n skoon blink hout boks.  As jy regtig wil kan jy die kettings ook skoonmaak na die tyd.

Dis ‘n baie goedkoop oplossing.  Ek dink my hok se ontwerp is nou redelik uitgesorteer.  Stuur baie geld en ek stuur vir jou die afmetings en instruksies!


Party mense bestel sommer 2 kilos op ‘n slag, ek sal nou ‘n groter hok moet bou wat ‘n hele bees kan hanteer!  Net soos ek dink my voorraad gaan nog ‘n week hou, dan kry ek nog ‘n bestelling.  Dis dalk tyd om my prys op te stoot, teen $40 per kilo is dit die goedkoopste biltong in Perth.

Mensig, met ‘n klein bietjie harde werk kan mens baie geld maak…

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Big Aussie BBQ

Yesterday it was time to greet the queen in a real West Australian way – we had a massive barbeque on the Perth foreshore.


There were 120 barbeques, 120,000 sausages (unfortunately no boerewors), 8000 liters of tamato juice, 130,000 drinks and more than 100,000 people who came to greet the queen.

Public transport was free and we took the train into the city early Saturday morning.

Because we were there early we got into the main stage area, and we got close to the action.  This whole area was later locked off and the rest of the common folk had to go somewhere else to look at the queen on the big screens.


This created it’s own problems of course, because my youngest little darling wanted to go to the toilet, and I had to go through what seemed like 7 heavily guarded gates to get out, and had to get stamped to ensure that I’m allowed back in again.  The same applied if you wanted to buy sausages or drinks.  Security was tight and there was no mercy for anyone without the red stamp.


But it was great fun.  I’ve never had the opportunity to see the  queen in real life before, and I was surprised at how human-like her Duck was.  (I don’t know why this duck is always accompanying her, it must be some mascot or something.)

The crowd was extremely well-behaved, and the WA Police tweeted later:

“about 100,000 ppl/no arrests/1 move-on notice/3 elderly ppl collapsed (fine now)/3 kids reunited with carers #CHOGM

It was an alcohol-free event after all, as the Premier correctly assumed that good decent Western Australians won’t start drinking at 9am on a Saturday morning…well, not the 200,00 that came to the foreshore anyway.

The national anthem was sung with pride and once again one couldn’t help but notice how much these people love their country and how proud they are to be Western Australians.  And that includes me.


We were close to the action, and when we asked my youngest what the queen looked like, her response was “she looks very old!”


Apparently Her Majesty also had a look at my daughter’s CHOGM photo earlier this week, and she was very impressed with this beautiful young girl from Africa.  She may even have smiled when she looked at it in admiration: 

Carissa Portrait Nomad


On the way back we got off at Sterling station to run in to IKEA for a cheap lunch and drank free refill cold drinks till we burst. 

So, in one week we met the Premier of WA in person, and saw the queen and her Duck from Edinburgh.  What a week it was, indeed!

I need a holiday.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Die Koningin, die premier en die jets

Hier in die Wille Weste is mos nou groot dinge aan die broei. Al die groot kokkenosters van die Commonwealth lande kom vergader hier in Perth. Dis nou al maande lank wat beplan word vir die fancy koek-en-tee besigheid met die Queen en al die ander groot terroriste wat hier gaan tea-parties hou. Al Gaddafi se pelle kom ook – ou Zuma, Pohamba – net ou Bob (van Zim) is nie genooi nie, want hy het te veel geraas met ou Tony Blaar en die Queen se mense.

Hier is nou groot makietie hier Doer Onner. Ons fancy rooikop proim ministah het die queen gegroet sonder om haar se kniege te buig, want sy is mos darem ‘n moderne feminis wat nie tyd het vir fancy maniere nie.

Dis mos een van daai rare dinge hier in Australia – die Proim ministah ry met ‘n wit Holden – dis seker die enigste Commonwealth-land wie se groot kokkedoor nie in ‘n duur duitse voertuig rond-gekarwy word nie – die Holden is mos kamstig ‘n eg Australiese simbool. Hulle besef net nie dat die Holden eintlik ‘n simpel Opel is met ‘n ander badge op nie, en Opel is so Duits soos Hitler en sauerkraut.


Hier is hordes goeters gereël vir die affêre. Ons het selfs Saterdag ewe ‘n Big Barbeque with the Queen herself – en natuurlik gaan hierdie biltongboer nie die grootste moerse barbeque in wêreld-geskiedenis kan mis nie! Miskien kry ons nog ‘n ou kiekie van my en die ou antie – hou maar die nuus dop. Ek sal my mooi khaki safaripak aantrek net vir in geval. Met vellies, natuurlik.

Hier vlieg vreeslike goed rond – F18 hornets nogal. Hulle loer en kyk of die Sjinese of die Arabiere ons nie dalk wil binneval nie. Elke nou en dan vlieg hier ‘n hele spul Hornets hier reg oor ons koppe. Elke keer hol ek buitentoe om te gaan kyk, maar dis bewolk en die flippen pilots vlieg daar bo iewerste. Ek het twee van hulle nou die dag gesien daar in Leederville – man dis ‘n mooi ou stukkie vliegtuig daai. Wens net hulle wil my ‘n draai gee op die goed man.


Anyway, met al die duisende programme en planne was een van die planne om fotos te neem van verteenwoordigers van al die commonwealth lande wat nou in WA woon. Hulle kon mense kry van 50 van hierdie lande – almal woonagtig hier in die Wille Weste. Raai raai wie word toe die fancy family from Namibia? Dis net hy daai – julle eie ou biltongboer homselwers.

Hulle het ons een Vrydag middag daar in Kings Park afgeneem soos wafferse onderbroek-modelle. Na hulle elkeen van ons uit elke hoek en draai afgeneem het, het hulle besluit om my oudste dogter se foto te gebruik. Sy staan nou ewe en pronk daar in die Hay street Mall, en die oorspronklike kunswerk-foto staan in die staats-teater.


Ek en my twee meisiekinders het toe nou die aand gaan kyk toe hulle die teater se opening doen – en toe gesels ek bietjie met ons eie ou Premier van Wes Australia. Hy is ‘n vreeslike vrinnelike ou omie, en ek het gesê hy kan kom biltong proe by my huis as hy ‘n tydjie kry. Ek het net vergeet van my safaripak, maar ek dink ek was darem nie te onsmaakvol geklee vir ‘n suidwes biltongboer nie, of hoe?


As ek geweet het hy gaan daar wees, kon ek dalk vir hom ‘n ou biltongtjie saamgevat het – dit sou seker beter afgegaan het as die fancy vinger-etes wat hulle by die plek gehad het. Ons moes maar doen met die smoked salmon en allerhande fancy mushrooms met kaas en WA se beste wyne.

Ek wonder of die ou queen my biltong sal eet daar by die groot barbeque?