Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Season's Greetings from Joanna (2002)

Hello everyone–your favourite nomad has finally returned home to Malaysia! After 7 years of roaming the earth, I’ve finally left antipodean shores and moved back to KL in November.

Before I begin my 2002 chronicles, let me say a big “Thank You” to everyone who responded to last year’s newsletter. The deluge of emails, letters and phone calls was extremely heartwarming and I’m grateful for your friendship.

It’s been a very eventful year. It began with an intense workload and monthly trips to South Korea, went slightly awry in September with a retrenchment from PwC Consulting but finished in a blaze of glory when I decided to return home to take up a managerial position with PwC Malaysia. Here’s to new beginnings.

Highlights of the year included:-
  • Losing 10 kgs…hip hip hooray!
  • Spending a dinky di Christmas and New Year with the Mawbey family in Dubbo, New South Wales. Their hospitality was outstanding – one of the clan threw a goat on the barbie and put on a special “bull riding” rodeo show just for me!
  • Driving through the Blue Mountains at the height of the Sydney Christmas bushfires accompanied by fire trucks and heli-tankers
  • Completing the “City to Surf” which is a 14km race from Sydney CBD to Bondi Beach and yes…I have a medal and certificate to prove it
  • Winning 50,000 won in a karaoke competition in South Korea, with an earth-shattering rendition of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen”
  • Enjoying Korean cuisine to the fullest – kimchi, bulgogi, bibimbap and boiled silkworms!
  • Stumbling into Tamworth to enjoy a good dose of country music in the form of John Williamson (the guy who sings Waltzing Matilda during Wallaby Games) and Troy Cassar-Daly
  • Watching the rugby union test match between France and Australia. Wallaby no.16 is a real cutie!
  • Buying my first apartment in KL which will be ready for visitors in 2005. Bookings are now open to all overseas visitors - who are invited to bring in their full quota of duty-free alcohol
  • Being invited to give the “best man’s speech” at a mate’s wedding in Malaysia.
  • Combining weekend drives with some glorious walks in Bundanoon (Morton National Park), Mudgee (wine), Jervis Bay(dolphin & whale watching), Berry (shopping), Canberra (Floriade & Italian masters exhibition) and Hunter Valley (more wine!)
  • Hauling mum & dad on a farewell tour of Oz. We drove from Sydney to Brisbane and back. Stopped by Coffs Harbour to see the “Big Banana” and fell in love with a beautiful little town called Armidale on the way back.
  • Saying goodbye to my old love Russell (the Nissan Pulsar) and falling in love with Boomps Elvis (the farting gnome)
  • Realising that I want to be in the People Investment Business. I have found my passion in Change Management and cross-cultural communication and these will form the basis of my career aspirations. This focus makes it so much easier to get out of bed in the mornings!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this year as much as I have. In many ways, the world has become a scarier place, but there are still so many beautiful people to love and wonderful places to see. I have missed my family and friends during my years abroad but I intend to fully savour this homecoming.

Peter Drucker, an eminent management guru, once said: “The only way to predict the future is to create it yourself”

So be brave, live your dreams and have a wonderful 2003!

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