from singapore and sth africa to australia

Let me tell you a story that spans across many continents and nationalities. It's about how two complete strangers living in opposite sides of the globe became friends. Some year and a half ago, Singaporean Asian Chick (SAC) working in Sydney, Australia got a random phone call from a South African with British origins Lady (SAwBoL) who happened to be holidaying in Brisbane, Australia with her family. It was her first trip to Australia and was also the first time she realised just how stressful her family's life was living in crime rampant South Africa. Having experienced near death incidents involving her loved ones, SAwBoL made up her mind to get her family out of that once-beautiful-but-have-since-turned-scary place they have always called home.

SAwBoL found out that Australia's largest independent regional airline was experiencing a pilot shortage crisis and was aggressively recruiting pilots, including overseas pilots who met the stringent requirements. SAwBoL called up this airline on behalf of her husband to enquire about a pilot position. And that phone call was directed to SAC who happened to be tasked with heading the overseas pilot recruitment project for this same airline at that time. Unfortunately, SAwBoL's hubby was not destined to attend the interview which was to take place in Melbourne.

Months later, SAC was coordinating another round of pilot interviews and chanced upon SAwBoL's husband's details. Thus, an interview was set and he flew from round the other side of the globe to Australia. Things happened very quickly from then and SAC managed to get the whole of SAwBoL's family the necessary visa for employment in Australia (not before fighting some very ridiculous and totally unnecessary battles with those immigration fools).

SAC being SAwBoL's caretaker in her first days in Australia and their sharing of similar experiences of being thousands of miles away from home in a foreign land sparked the formation of a friendship and saw the two females bonding together. Eventually SAwBoL also secured a job within the organisation and became colleagues with SAC in the same department.

And so it was that the girls in my ex-department organised a pre-birthday celebration at work for Steph aka SAwBoL on Friday. Here's my little gift and card for Steph.

Which I hid behind a huge intercompany mail as suggested by clever Izzy hoping to surprise Steph. She was pleasantly surprised although we had to prompt her quite a bit to check out her very urgent company mail before going for the birthday lunch with the others.

Here's her second surprise for the day - flowers and a huge balloon awaited her at a pre-booked table for lunch at Waterworks Hotel in Botany.

I couldn't resist taking a pic with the flowers - sunflowers are my favourite!

Here's Steph's third surprise where the whole of level 3 gathered for a cake-cutting session. There were a couple of small boo-boos in the day (we have not planned such sessions for a few months now and are getting rusty) that kinda spoilt the surprises a bit but all-in-all, it was a happy day for Steph.

And here's a pic of SAC and SAwBoL wearing the same tops (in different colours) they bought for $9.95 each just the day before.

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