How a Work Visa Keeps You from Working

Hard-won quince dessert - so good!!

Hard-won quince dessert – so good!!

The smell of quinces welcomed me back to the farm. Ironically, I was technically going from one housesitting job to the next, as Margaret and Ron left the day previous for a long weekend on the other side of the country.

I spent several afternoons and evenings drinking tea, chatting, and eating with Elspeth — Margaret’s 89 year old mother who lives next door. I also finished a fair chunk of writing, caught up with loved ones, and won 2nd place in a poker tournament! Oh — and fed the pony, watered the plants, kept tabs on the chickens, pruned the plum tree, and gave the old dog his kibble on schedule.

pre poker tournament!

pre poker tournament!

All the housesitting gave me lots of time to apply for jobs and accept that “beggars can’t be choosers.” My status as a foreigner with a temporary work visa makes it tough to land the kind of employment I’d like. I’m only legally able to work the same position for six months — not ideal from a business perspective in most cases. After that, it’s either change visas or move on. The perfect situations (i.e. a business only temporarily needs a skilled person), will be few and far between. So, I’m lowering my standards and moving up to “the big smoke” for awhile!

Honestly, Perth is a great city. I love the vibe and greenery, but it’s insanely spread out. Urban sprawl. Ew. But, we’ll see how I go. I’m sad to be leaving the farm, though! I missed everything before I even left.

Goodbye monarch butterflies.
Goodbye tarragon butter.
Goodbye fresh milk, yogurt and eggs.
Goodbye satisfying outdoor work.
Goodbye favorite china pattern, warm plates at meal times, coi bowls, placemats on the table, and assigned napkin holder.

Goodbye sprinting in the paddock and pull ups on the pergola.
Goodbye aluminum trains on my morning run through the Roelands park.
Goodbye Elspeth’s  languorous  story-telling.
Goodbye laughing and joking with Margaret all day.
Goodbye puffy chooks (austrolops!*) and ponies and Jack.
Goodbye cocktail hour.

Goodbye unfinished blue garden gates.
Goodbye amazing birds outside my window every morning.
Goodbye grass that grows an inch every day.
Goodbye drinking, showering, washing-up, and bathing with rainwater.
Goodbye beautiful jarra furnitre and endless supply of fantastic literature.
Goodbye dumbells.

Goodbye sunset-colored bricks.
Goodbye perfect tool or implemet for every job.
And most and saddest of all…

Goodbye daily inspiration from the epic and amazing Margaret and Ron!  â™£

*LOVE the austrolops! Rarely have I felt any measurable degree of affection for a chicken, much less wanted to cuddle one. But these ladies (& one gent) just look so soft and puffy and are so calm and friendly, I’m always just on the verge of scooping one up and creating a henhouse panic.

Among these eight photos you can see my plum pruning handiwork and some of the awesome birds that hung out outside my bedroom window.


  • May 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    Jema–Miss you darling. Your writing is so inspiring! Fabulous how you are so adventuresome and filling up with awesome experiences to write about. Look forward to reading your autobiography some day for book club?! You inspire

    • May 27, 2013 at 1:13 am

      Irma! You are so sweet. And nice to hear from you on a ‘grass is greener’ day. 🙂 Been loving seeing Claire’s transition to uni!

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