My company was nice enough to recognise me amongst their “top 5%” of high achieving employees in the business last year, and as a reward around 30 odd of my colleagues and I were invited on a trip to Uluru with our partners at the end of October. It was my first time to the Australian Outback, seeing red dirt, and visiting the iconic Uluru or Ayers Rock and The Olgas or Kata Tjuta.
Of course it was pretty damn hot out in the desert, and I was actually surprised by the amount of vegetation in the outback. I had just assumed that the desert was just a vast expanse of nothing but red dirt!
We did a sunset tour of Kata Tjuta, and went for a short hike to see the formation up close.
During our visit, we also did a sunset visit of Uluru or Ayers Rock with glasses of champagne, a sunrise view of the rock again from a different angle (early start but well worth it!), the Sounds of Silence dinner where we had a buffet dinner under the stars and the full moon. A wonderful way to see the outback.
After a stressful 3 months of waiting, my Tier 1 highly skill migrant visa for the UK was finally approved! As soon as the approval email appeared in my inbox, I ran around the house squealing with excitement, although when I told my mum her face fell with disappointment at the realisation that I would soon be back on the other side of the world.
Not trusting that the British High Commission would send my passport back in time for me to make the Chamonix ski trip that I had planned, I flew down to Canberra for all of 2 hours just to personally pick up my passport, and within 6 days of receiving my approval email, I was back in London!
It was great to be back in the social atmosphere of the Expedia office, where everyone had apparently deeply missed my boisterous laughter. For three days I had people coming up and telling me how much they missed my smile and laugh!! It was so nice to have people interaction after three months of working from home.
However, my stay in London was very brief, as I jetted off to France for a week of skiing. There had just been a dump of fresh powder before I arrived, so the skiing was just fantastic. I have also finally been converted to the joys of listening to music whilst carving up the slopes, and there was just nothing more amazing than hitting powdery black runs on the side of Mont Blanc to the beats of Lady Gaga, Basement Jaxx, Pendulum and Crystal Castles!
I am spending the Easter long weekend being a tourist in London, with trips planned to Kensington Palace, Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Palace. This is all an attempt to save some money before I head out to Malaysia for three weeks on Tuesday, which includes spending an indulgent 9 days diving and relaxing at the very awesome Kapalai island resort!
Sheer laziness has prevented me from updating this blog on a more frequent basis, so I shall attempt to summarise the last two months into a list of achievements and non-achievements:
Successes in the last two months
- Negotiated my first ever payrise after only 4 weeks into a new job
- Picked up an 8-month old baby of my own volition without heart palpitations
- Played in my touch football team’s (the Touchy Feelys) only win of the competition so far
- Reunited with my long lost mate, Al, who I met on exchange in Sacramento
- Attended Reading Festival for the first time and managed to survive without suffocating in the pit toilets
Failings in the last two months
- Having my Highly Skilled Migrant visa application and subsequent appeal rejected on the basis of failing the English-speaking requirement
- Dated several guys, none of whom particularly floated my boat
- Was completely unable to get into any semblance of routine for taekwondo or salsa dancing.
Well, it seems as though the successes outweigh the failures so that’s something to celebrate.
Sadly, work trips always entail too much work and not enough play, but I shouldn’t gripe! I only started contracting at a small-medium pharmaceuticals company just over two weeks ago, and I was lucky enough to spend most of this week at their head office in Malta. On Tuesday we arrived at about 3:30pm, so instead of going to the office we had the rest of the afternoon free to have a look around the area of St Julians and Sliema, where I was staying.
The view when you come into Malta is just superb. All the buildings are constructed from light coloured stone, which makes a spectacular aerial view. Apparently the scuba diving here is excellent, so hopefully I will be back here again soon over a weekend.