I have the unique opportunity of inhabiting two worlds.
One is the one I have grown up in; the familiar one full of people and places I love.
The other is a new world; one that has only been opened up in the last 12 months.
In one world I do coffee with friends; spend time with my grandchildren, amazed at how fast they are growing.
In the other a good coffee is impossible; my time is spent with new colleagues and in an environment that’s quite foreign to me.
The world I grew up in was, and still is, one of the most homogenous in terms of culture, race and faith in Australia. Nearly everyone was white, with a smattering of Greek, Italian and Chinese families. Everyone spoke English, except perhaps the mammas at home.
The world in which I work now is anything but homogenous. My work colleagues have New Zealand, British, Swiss, American, Iranian, Iraqi, Nauruan, Sri Lankan, Arabic, Indian, Vietnamese, Sudanese, Somalian and Australian backgrounds. Everyone speaks English, some better than others. Over half speak more than one language, a number can speak up to 9 different languages.
In my “home” world I love shopping at the malls, going to the movies, good coffee and spending time with people I love dearly.
In my “work” world I get to appreciate the life experiences of some amazing people. I hear stories of lives far beyond my own experience. Here I connect with people who if I’d met them under different circumstances could well be my friends but with whom I must have a purely professional relationship.
Until recently I have found it difficult to meld the two worlds, to live well in both. When I am at “home” this world is so real but when I go off-shore so is my “work” world. I realise now that rather than this being a difficulty to overcome, this separateness of my two worlds is really a wonderful opportunity.
In one I have the relationships that are so precious to me; people I love dearly and who love me. In the other world I get to be part of something unique, challenging and very significant. Such an opportunity to inhabit two worlds doesn’t come along very often so I feel privileged to be able to live and work this way at this point in my life.
Inhabiting two worlds is challenging; it is easy to favour one over the other, to see one as more important than the other. But each world impacts the other. The love that I share in the one fills me up so that I can give fully of myself in the other. The people I work with in the other expand my outlook and deepen my capacity to love.
Each world is real; each world is distinctly different. Each world has different demands and different opportunities.
But I see now that I am in the privileged position of truly having the best of both worlds.