IT IS COMING CLOSER TO CHRISTMAS, AND IN AUSTRALIA CHRISTMAS OFFERS A WHOLE NEW CLIMATE AND ATMOSPHERE!
We waved good bye to our good friends Ken and Annette in Geneva after two days of inspiring fellowship and planning sessions for future challenges in the World Alliance of YMCAs.
FLYING OVER TASMANIA
Early morning at the airport in Geneva where we caught our flight towards Australia. First jump to Amsterdam. Then we boarded a generously spacy aircraft taking us to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. I had recently been to Dubai a few miles up the coast, in August on my way to Colombo, Sri Lanka. That time it was with the Emirates, this time we were boarding the Etihad Airlines from Abu Dhabi to Melbourne. Splendid service and friendly smiles all over in a plane packed full with Greek travellers. Greek? Yeah, don’t ask me why. So, we hit Melbourne and jetlag hit us and we fought it out in the airport hotel, waiting for our flight to Tasmania next morning.
VIEW OF THE HARBOR IN HOBART, TASMANIA
Our Australian friends embraced us with the most generous and warm hospitality from the first step on Australian soil. Ron Mell, the CEO of YMCA Australia, and Alan Morton, the President, lined up at the airport in Hobart, Tasmania, to welcome us.
RON MELL, CEO, YMCA AUSTRALIA
Before that we had joined forces with Kohei and Marlene and Yau Chung Wan, President APAY and Babu Gomes and other friends from the APAY Board, also on their way to the Australian YMCA convention. What a happy and friendly atmosphere as we were heading for downtown Hobart.
MEMBERS OF THE APAY BOARD
Both Ingunn and I have carried a dream about Australia since our young(er) years, and now we feel fascinated and enthusiastic actually being here!
Kohei and I do not waste much time, so within few minutes of arrival, we were both together with our colleagues at the meeting of Australian CEOs, led by my good friend Peter Burns from Victoria YMCA, the biggest Y in Australia. I am invited to present the Youth Empowerment Change Model, and my Australian colleagues respond very positively. I am thrilled.
KOHEI AND I ALL DRESSED UP FOR THE SATURDAY NIGHT PARTY, PARTICIPATING IN THE MAD HAT COMPETITION
Robert Fitzgerald is the inspiring leader of the newly appointed advisory commission for Charities and NGOs in Australia, and he is invited to speak to the convention. I share a few minutes with Robert before he enters the podium, and I recognize that we are on the same line, and as he develops his speech, I find myself tweeting enthusiastically one message after the other. Inspiring and encouraging.
Internet is not great in any hotel late night, when all guests are coming home to read e-mails, so this post has taken me hours to prepare, so more when I find fast internet combined with an hour of time off. Australia is fascinating and exciting, and I look forward to share more with you. Onwards we travel!