Author Archive: brettparry

A chance follow up that brought a wave of pride in my country.

I recently found myself killing time with yet another breakfast on the road. I was heading to meet another wonderful family that were preparing for their next expat adventure across the waves. I settled into my seat and 10342455_10202609192003329_7856524579435066544_ncast my eyes around this now familiar Starbucks location. It was then I noticed a couple sitting on the other side of the store, and I recognized them straight away. I had also been a part of their preparation to take up a short term assignment in Australia a few years earlier. I debated a while as to whether I should disturb them, but that decision was made for me as they got up to walk out and he took a second glance at me, with that knowing look of recognition.

It didn’t take long to reconnect. They seemed very excited to sit and share their experience, which I was extremely eager to hear. They started out by very generously thanking me for how much better prepared they felt after going through the cultural training day with me. I remembered them to be very confident ahead of the assignment, but also having the usual concerns and reservation that creep into the mind ahead of such a move. More importantly, I got to hear how much they enjoyed living and working in Australia. They enthusiastically spoke of the land, the people, the culture. They reported many instances where they had used some of the tips and tools I had provided for them to engage and open themselves up to the Aussie way of life.  They had gotten to travel to other surrounding countries and shared how much of an effect connecting with so many different cultures had on their children. They expressed an understanding in now seeing their own culture through a different lens.

In this wonderful work I get to do, I often catch myself deep in thought in how the people I train and prepare move through their experiences. Sometimes we are lucky to keep in touch directly, or indeed get to follow up through online journals and blogs. This time however, I got to connect in person and see the results right in front of me. It was very humbling. Right here I would also like to take the time to mention my fantastic colleagues at Aperian Global who’s passion and commitment to excellence has been unmatched in any business I have previously been involved in. The support that comes from this wonderful team of people goes a long way in allowing me to undertake this vocation with the utmost pride.

Have you ever been involved in training or coaching and seen the results first hand? I love to hear about it. Please leave a comment. Remember to check out my Down Under and Beyond podcast on Stitcher or iTunes

For more on the great work of Aperian Global, visit http://www.aperianglobal.com

 

 

 

It’s been a while….

I have been bust with many things over the past few months, not the least with the launch of the Down Under and Beyond podcast. I am very happy with the results of the first 9 episodes. Over these first installments I have felt my way through, just trying to find my groove and set a firm direction. I actually think that it will continue to be a work in progress as find new and better ways to present the content. The content itself is evolving as I find new people and stories that inspire.

I continue to contemplate more focus on learning and applying my cross cultural skills. With every client I come away with a new perspective, however small it may be. I know that I am always the one that is facilitating each session, but I try to communicate to the participants that they also provide me with additional learning as I listen to their stories, their fears and hopes for the new adventures they are undertaking in their new life as an expat.

 

Podcast production announcement and update

I am extremely happy to announce that I have begun the official learning curve that will allow me to launch my very first podcast. It is the final step in the preparation, and one that will ensure it is a quality sounding production, even if the mug on the end of the microphone stuffs it up every now and again.

I guess it is also a great time to let the cat out of the bag as to just exactly what the the whole concept will be for the podcast. I am very pleased to share with you that the focus will be on Australian travel, although it will also include features and information on other country destinations in the region. In consideration of taking on this challenge, I was encouraged by others with whom I sought counsel to really explore my motivations. After much deliberation, I discovered that it had the potential to match three of my passions in life:

  1. The love of travel and all that it can provide. From simply “seeing the sights” right through to the rich experiences that can be derived in experiencing another culture and discovering new ways of living.qantas_2
  2. The pride I have in the country of my birth. I simply want to share the great what I love about the people, places and culture that Australia has. It provides vast opportunities to experience a wide array of contrasts through its landscapes, not to mention the wildlife.
  3. The desire to encourage and inspire people to expand their travel horizons. hardly a day goes by that when I engage in conversation with strangers that they tell me that to visit Australia would be a dream come true. However many of them immediately launch into a myriad of reasons why they can’t see themselves actually doing it, one of which is the sheer distance. Well, yes its far off, but there are plenty of other things in life that we pursue that seem so distant when we head out toward them, we can hardly know what it would feel like to arrive. But wow, when we get there, how great does it feel.

Eventually this site will redirect over to a new domain that will host not only this blog, but also the podcast episodes, show notes and other resources related to the community that I hope to build around a common message. There will be multiple opportunities for you to provide your feedback and even travel experiences of your own. If you feel so inclined, I would even love to interview you on the show to share those experiences and what they have meant to you.podcast-interviews

In the meantime, stay tuned for more updates as we get closer to the show launch, which should take place very close to the middle of December.

There is no excuse for being ordinary

I have always a pretty positive person. I can say with conviction that it really doesn’t take long for me to see the bright side of things even in the midst of what some people might consider despair. I recognize that this is the result of a mixture of things that might be a little more than I have tome to list here.

I loved the Hardy Boys series as a kid

I loved the Hardy Boys series as a kid

I know that one benefit of this mindset is that I am always open to encouraging content. I read a lot of crime and mystery books when I was a kid, and I remember that pretty much in every case the protagonists would find themselves in difficult and seemingly impossible situations. However, through tenacity and clear minded thinking they were always able to overcome such obstacles. I see a definite parallel in the kinds of resources I draw on these days. There is a vast array of content that is chock full of real life stories of bravery and triumph over difficult odds.

In a time where everything can be found online, I fully stand by the title of this post. How can one possibly pass through life without taking time to feed their minds with the any one or more of the encouraging content that is at your fingertips? You can even search for it according to your particular passion. Name any walk of life, and I bet you can find someone that has faced similar obstacles to you and in that you will be inspired to lift yourself up and have the life you were meant to live, or at least consider the possibility.

Another important aspect is to always be aware of the attitude of those around you. I know this has been done to death, but I have not been immune to forgetting how important this is. Even more critical is being astute in selecting those you may consider entering into business partnerships with. I personally had a friend once who was also a business partner. It came to pass that at some stage he needed help in a business that I already knew a lot about, and at the time I was looking for a new project. We kind of fell in together. I should have known very early from his words and actions that it may not have been a good investment of my time or money. My idea was that I saw an opportunity to build on the success that had come along in the line of business. I threw myself into it, trying to develop new ideas and use encouragement and mentoring to hire, develop, and manage staff. He went about his day in a fog of mistrust of those we worked with, even his own wife. Conversations where filled with gossip and derision of pretty much everyone he knew, including friends.

great-mind-quotes-discusion-quotes-Thought-For-The-Day

It was a constant battle to try and instill a sense of direction in anyway, shape or form. In an attempt to transition into larger, more sustainable opportunities, I introduced him to others in my network. It wasn’t long before they were one by one refusing to continue doing business with him. This was another sign I should have heeded. In the end, we parted as business partners, but sadly, also as friends. I found it was unsustainable for me to feed his neediness at the expense of shining a light down my own personal path. In the scheme of things I am grateful for this experience. It allowed me to firmly plant a stake in the ground and be firm but fair in considering those I do life with.

Now it may not be for everyone, but I myself have found in my consumption of encouraging content that I want to share the same encouragement with others. I am in the early stages of developing my platform in this regard, and the online world provides a great vehicle for this. A large part of this will be the podcast project I am working on. Based around a travel theme related to Australia and it’s neighbors, I will also be filling it with a good amount of inspiration for the very idea and reason for travel itself. In this I get to engage two of my passions in the one format.

travel-inspiration-wordsAlong the way I will be looking for more and more opportunities to also engage in communities that I know will enhance all my efforts, but more importantly perhaps allow me the chance to reciprocate and be an active participant. Through it all I want anyone reading this to share your thoughts and provide your stories. Never doubt that you have the chance to touch someone in a significant way yourself. We all have different ways of relating to things we see.

It’s my birthday and I’ll be powerful if I want to…

That’s right folks, Father Time marches on and as I celebrate another wonderful year on this great earth I have so much to be thankful for. I also really enjoy the Autumn/Fall season and the crisp coolness that comes with it. We have achieved so much this year in terms of our home and family life, much attributed to the fact that we have been able to clear a bunch of old stuff that was haunting our existence and holding us back from really moving forward. Taking control is really a freeing experience.

We had a fantastic day together yesterday as a family. Emily really is wanting all the leaves to hurry up and fall, but she is making the most of what is there already. We redid our front garden to make way for some new light through the windows and it really has opened things up. All topped off with good old fashioned roast chicken dinner.Image

I am also committing myself to a healthier lifestyle as well. I greeted the day at around 5:15 and have managed to get so much done. Sat and shared a cuppa and a chat with Marta before she headed out at about 6:30.  At around 8 I headed up and roused our little Emily out of a snuggly slumber and get her ready for day care. She is such a morning kid!

Anyway, bless you all and I hope you have a wonderful day too. I am off to research some podcast gear ahead of that whole project. Have I mentioned I am looking forward to it all?

Cheers

A little more about the podcast thing….

I just need to get this done. I have spent this week on a fairly extended road trip which provided me with endless hours of time to search for and listen to some new podcasts. Wow… it might not have been the best idea. My head is so full of possibilities for what I can passionately share and engage with the big world out there. I feel I have to get going now, because if I don’t who knows what might happen. I feel an urgency that I cannot explain, but in a good way. I can’t help thinking if I can get this build up out there, then it will produce more and more possibilities. I am not even going to wait until I gather all the right gear. In fact the progression into a better quality audio production could be a point of interest for the listeners in and of itself. 

Just time to get going…

 

Podcast in the works

Yes it has been a while since I have posted here, but it is about to be a far more regular thing for me. Mainly because it will be tied to the learning, and development of, a series of of Podcasts that I am in the throws of producing. I say series because there are in fact a number of topics that I am passionate about and would like to create great valuable content around. They will become evident as I begin to roll them out. First things first of course. Gathering the equipment is of course a must, as well as the general application of how to get the episodes out to my audience. For this I have discovered a goldmine of information, as well as a great avenue to learn. Cliff Ravenscraft of is fast becoming my “Swami”. In addition to the nuts and bolts I am looking for, he provides great inspiration and delivers his message with the a passion I can identify with. You will hear me refer to him a lot in the future I am sure.Image

Partying like it’s already 2013, because it is

It’s always great to watch my home town put on a show. I am very proud of being able to claim this beautiful city as my birthplace. I love it’s life and it’s people.

eats shoots 'n leaves

Scenes from euronews of the pyrotechnics greeting the new year in  Aukland and Sydney.

UPDATE: From RT, an extended clip of the Sydney spectacular. Those Aussies really know how to do fireworks [pop up to full screen for maximum gonzo].

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Home Cooking

As I gradually rose from my state of slumber this morning, I became immediately aware of the tantalizing aromas emanating from our kitchen. That unmistakable scent of home cooking.

I think that everyone will agree, there is nothing quite like it. My own mother back in Australia is a wonderful cook, and has honed that craft from years of experimentation and adaptation, the result of which is always something that I sadly have probably not taken enough time to appreciate. This realization now has me stop when I can as a meal is laid in front of me to take in the sights and smells of the plate. Try it sometime. Those extra seconds of anticipation really heighten the enjoyment, and the space is often made a little more special if you can have someone fill it with a short message of thankfulness.

This morning’s tickling of the old olfactory nerves was courtesy of Pani Maria (or Babcia to our three year old) She is my Polish mother-in-law, who is now visiting for the holidays. It is fair to say, from a combination of tradition and opportunity of exposure to a wider food culture, that her menu offerings may be rather narrow. No shortage of meat and potatoes here. However, in this simplicity, we may find a deeper knowledge and understanding of the merry dance that we as humans perform in honor of our food, but there is probably a whole other blog that can be written about that.Image

For now though, it is safe to say that It took me a while to swing my legs out to the cold floor. I found myself swimming in the smells, trying to pick up on ingredients and game myself a little on what was being prepared. I could even envision Maria moving about the kitchen, a space somewhat uncomfortable for her in unfamiliarity, but as is the skill of the Polish in general, constantly adapting and slowly making it work. For keep in mind that even the use of the gas stove is something new to her. She has spent her whole life cooking on a wood fire stove, in a kitchen that was adapted from the chicken coop that was once attached to their two room house. Over the years, upgrades have been made of course, including the installation of an actual floor instead of the original linoleum covered bare ground. It is in this heritage that the true message lies, for in such a kitchen, the very food she prepares for us today has been produced with love and care for her family. Through the hottest of summers, to the depths of the cruelest of cold winters. And through all this, this wonderful woman has left her house every morning to walk to her church and give thanks for all the blessings she has.Image

Capturing tradition in a child

Emily & DilonIntroducing Emily Grace. My second born. Just turned three. Strong and determined, spirited and joyful. Already an accomplished goal setter, and the physical and emotional image of her beautiful Mama.

From the moment we found out Emily was coming along, I have been determined that she will always know her heritage (all be they multiple). On the Polish side, this comes with the inevitable rite of passage of involvement in some form of traditional dancing group.

Just a quick aside here to describe the group itself. A long existing “club” I guess you might say. It has had pass through it a multitude of Chicago children born to parents with mostly recent Polish ancestry, if not born there themselves. It is governed by an iron handed “den mother”, that possesses a complete lack of awareness that these parents may have anything at all to do outside of offering their beloved spawn up for sacrifice to the alter of her world. She controls it all. And must be obeyed. It is here I struggle to do what I advise in my cultural work, that is to suspend my expectations of how I would like to see things run. This past weeks photo session is a classic example of this. We summarily decked our little mites out in the traditional costumes, complete with full facial makeup… lippy and the whole nine yards. Ever tried that on a three year old? The Polish have a wonderful ability to operate in a setting of complete chaos, with no respect for time frames, including punctuality. Just when you think the everyone is on the same page, it just as quickly falls apart.

Emily & Ciocia at dancingYou can see some of this taking root in our little Emily’s urgency in having her skirt tied. There just can not be a delay, until you’re all ready of course! Happliy though, I must report a great swell of pride in seeing our beautiful little girl come to life in her dancing. Being a full year younger than most others in her class has forced her to “grow up” quick. The coordination required of this precious little brain to process dance moves along with singing in Polish is a source of amazement to me. Oh yes, and also have time for more than a little mischief!

Fun times ahead.