Australia

Mahi Mahi BBQ in Double Bay, Sydney
Having the chance to visit Australia, I made sure to meet up with a couple of friends there: Paul (first met him in Bukit Lawang’s jungle, watched wild Orang-utans together, and made our way out to paved grounds), Charlotta (a colleague from uni, been studying and partying together in Linköping) and Emelie (met her once at Pablo’s place, and listened to her fascinating year driving, literally, around Australia).

My cousin André (who’s been living in Australia the last year) happened to be more than a thousand kilometres north of my destinations, thus we will catch up back in Sweden instead. And last but not least, my friend and colleague Olov (see last post for picture), who is also part of the graduate progamme that brought us ten time zones from Sweden.

Really nice to meet up with all of you guys!

Picture of Emelie and Byron preparing for a lovely BBQ dinner in their garden, in Double Bay, Sydney.

Remote friends

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Olov driving in Adelaide - Erik WInther 2014
I got really challenged in March; a continent to grasp in just a week. Adding to that, four domestic flights and the fact that I worked overtime all five weekdays.

Yet, I do my best! And as usually when there are lots to do on the agenda, I reduce the number of hours in bed and strive to experience as much as possible. Love it.

Picture showing my trainee-colleague Olov, temporarily based in Australia, as he took us to a after work swim on Adelaide’s white beach.

10 days and 4 cities

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Sydney Opera House - Erik Winther 2014
Compared to most of my friends, I have been travelling Asia a lot. But unlike me, several have been in the odd country named Australia; either as exchange students or enjoying Australia’s favourable one-year work-and-vacate-visa.

Not that I haven’t been inclined to go there, but it has always seemed like a place one need more than a month to visit in order to have a fair chance of getting a grip of what it is all about. And I haven’t had such timeslot available yet.

But then work gave me the opportunity to go there for a week, starting yesterday, and guess what: I didn’t hesitate!

Probably not worth mentioning, picture shows Sydney Opera House.

New Continent

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Koh Samet Ao Phrao - Erik Winther
Adjacent to the last post, I want to bring up something that bothers me a lot these days. Because who or what is it that gave me all opportunities I experience in life? Why?

I am both grateful and humble to all of it, but keep reflecting as I walk past several prostitutes on my way to work every day. Passing people who are just as good as me in all aspects, but who were less lucky in life’s lottery of opportunities. Where are the drawbacks and the unacceptable fine print?

And what more is, who am I to decide whether I rightfully can and should continue this awesome journey through life in the fast track? Would the world become a better place if I said ‘no, thank you’ instead? How can I make others share the joy?

Picture of the Gulf of Thailand shot from Koh Samet’s beach Ao Phrao last weekend.

…then again

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KHU main gate at full moon
So, the time has come. After waiving off all the exchange students, one at the time, am I now waiving bye to Korea myself.

This has been a truly amazing year and I am filled with gratefulness to all of you who have shared those experiences with me. The biggest and most important gift of being here is obviously the wealth of perspectives, and the friendships themselves, by spending time with amazing people from allover the world.

A deep, humble and happy thank you to my new friends from
Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Ghana, Guatemala, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Iraq, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Rwanda, Sweden, Tunisia, UK, USA, Vietnam…and of course everyone from Korea.

You will always have a place in my heart.

Goodbye

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