Perth was great. When I checked into my hotel I was told that I'd been upgraded to an executive suite - I guess it pays to write nice things about the place in the feedback forms ;) The room wasn't any bigger than when I stayed there last time but I was on the top floor and had a king-size bed. It was exactly as wide as I am tall! It was also super comfy.
Work went well - I did my presentation and, apart from stuffing up the timing, it all worked out okay. I received a lovely, and completely unexpected, farewell from the WA team. It was nice to know that while I have stressed out about every little thing and don't think I've achieved all that much even though I've been working my butt off since I opened the branch in November, my bosses are very impressed with what I've done and had some very nice things to say about my efforts. I haven't been working with the organisation for very long so was pretty much expecting a 'see you later' and nothing more so was quite chuffed with the farewell speech and bottle of wine at our meeting.
The socialising was good. Four of my friends came and met me for dinner on Monday. Finding a restaurant that's open in the city on a Monday night was difficult so I'd made a booking at one place mostly because it was right near my hotel and across the road from parking for the others. I've eaten there before and the food's fine, in fact it's one of my fave's for coffee and cake when we're out shopping, but dinner is a different story. I arrived before them and knew it was a mistake right away. I was at least 30 years younger than anyone else in the place and there was a man singing and playing keyboard who should have been locked up, or maybe used as some sort of 'what not to do' for potential singing stars. The music he was murdering was right from the era of most of the diners but way before my time and, frankly just really annoying. Anyway, I politely told the waitress on the front counter that we had changed our minds (she didn't seen real surprised and was very nice about it) and we went across the road to an Italian cafe. The food wasn't flash but I think it was a better choice than the first restaurant LOL. I had a nice night and it was so nice to see 'the girls', even better knowing that I'll see them again in just a few weeks.
I did a bit of shopping - a couple of winter-type things for me, quick (and small) presents for the kids and hubby - but didn't really have much time to spare during shopping hours. Normally this would have been a bit disappointing but... it wasn't so bad seeing lovely things and knowing I'll be back to buy them next month!
On Wednesday night I met up with some Perth bloggers. I found Karen's blog through Iris and check in on a semi-regular basis. When I last dropped by she had posted about a blogger's meet that was happening while I was in Perth and was really easy to get to from my hotel. I ummed and ahhed before sending her a quick email to ask whether I could join in. She very kindly welcomed me along and was as lovely in real life as she is in her blog. All up there were about 20 bloggers, mostly from Perth, and it was an interesting and entertaining night. I met a couple of bloggers who, like me, blog for themselves and don't necessarily have huge amounts of technical knowledge but learn as they go or as they need to. I met bloggers who speak a whole different language but recognised that I don't and were kind enough to speak s-l-o-w-l-y and give me some good tips for things I have been trying to do or want to have a go at doing. And of course there were the obligatory couple who were too cool and couldn't be bothered talking to the newcomers. That said, the vast majority were friendly, warm and very welcoming and I am looking forward to checking out their blogs and saying hi.
That was my last work trip and I can't, at this stage, imagine I'll have another job that requires plane travel, hotel stays and much drinking of wine (no, wait that last bit was just an added bonus!) so it was a bit sad to have it come to an end. On the upside, as the plane was landing, I thought, "Well, that's the last time I'll ever fly into Red Dirt Central!" I do still have one more trip to Port Red Dirt but that will be a day trip and it's not for a couple of weeks.
Oh, and I found another reason to love blogging. As I said at the beginning of this post, I had to do a presentation about my branch at the WA team meeting and had written a few notes but was taking it fairly casually - not too much to report and I'm leaving anyway, so why get all uptight about it? - until the team leader's meeting the day before when I heard what the others were doing and had a not so silent panic! Cut to that night in my hotel room attempting to put together a speccy, technologically fabulous presentation with little or no material. Lightbulb moment! Lots of my 'red dirt' pics are on my blog. Lots of photos of my kids are on my blog. My presentation is about kids/education and what we're doing in the Red Dirt branch! And because I'm up here no-one in Perth has ever seen my kids to know that's them in the photos. Insert feverish efforts and much evil laughing and... I had a presentation I was pretty darn proud of. Yay for me. And a really big YAY for blogging!