March: NSW Woman of the Year Awards!

March: my 48-hour trip back Australia.

Only two weeks after attending my first UN Conference, I was home! Well, nearly home. I was required to be in Sydney for the 2018 NSW Woman of the Year Awards Ceremony, held on International Women’s Day. I flew into Sydney at 6:30am on 7 March for a reception at Government House at 7pm, the NSW Woman of the Year Awards Ceremony on 8 March, and departed Sydney 10am on 9 March. In hindsight, arranging a 48-hour trip back to Australia and fitting in several events plus family time is absolute madness but very fun.

I caught the 8pm flight out of Bangkok, which arrived in Sydney at 6:30am on 7 March. I lost 4 hours going to Australia, which resulted in 3 hours of sleep. My boyfriend and family picked me up from the airport. We went to my grandfather’s house, then straight to breakfast. I had a hair appointment at 11am, which went for a few hours. Having my hair done and being able to communicate in English was a treat! Whilst the hairdresser was washing my hair, I had a 20-minute power nap. For the majority of time of my hair appointment, my boyfriend and brother waited for me outside of the salon, just where I could see them.

Once my hair was done, my mum picked me up and we went grocery shopping. I absolutely loved the familiar food and smells. I finally got to eat proper Kalamata Olives, the one thing that I had been craving since living in Bangkok. Coupled with tarrama and pita bread, it was simply heaven! That evening was the reception at Government House for International Women’s Day, and to celebrate the Women of the Year Awards. My boyfriend accompanied me, and we had a really great evening meeting amazing women across the state.

The following morning was the NSW Women of the Year Awards Ceremony at the International Convention Centre, I had to be at the ceremony by 7am. I was very jet-lagged and had a total of about 6 hours sleep in 2 nights – I was far too excited being in Australia to sleep! The Awards Ceremony was beautifully done, the organising team did such a wonderful job. The colour scheme was gorgeous and the morning went very smoothly. Even though I didn’t win, it was a huge honour to be on stage with the other Finalists and to be representing Lake Macquarie! My nominator, Greg Piper MP for Lake Macquarie was there, and so was Tim Crackanthorp, MP for Newcastle. It was great to see a few familiar faces at the Awards Ceremony. After the ceremony I went out for lunch on Darling Harbour with my family, I had the best time! I then caught up for coffee with the Mayor of Lake Macquarie City Council, Cnr Kay Fraser and CEO Morven Cameron. It was fitting that on International Women’s Day I caught up with these two women, who are definitely some of my role models. After coffee I spent more time with my family at my grandfather’s house, and we all had dinner together. I loved sitting in a familiar place with my family. I have realised that my connection to home is my family, so it was very nice to feel at home again.

The following morning, on 9 March I flew back to Bangkok, but this time with my boyfriend! We spent the whole flight talking, non-stop! Our schedule for the past 2 days was intense, so it was nice to sit back and relax. We spent the next 2 weeks together exploring every temple and eating so much food. Food is definitely the way to my heart. Among our adventures, the stand outs were an evening at Il Bolognese, private tour of Wat Pho, day trip to Ayutthaya and visiting the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT). At WFFT we walked, bathed and fed an elephant. It is a sanctuary for animals that have been mistreated. We had the most amazing two weeks, it will definitely be a memory for the years to come!

Until next time,

Andy

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