Archiv für die Kategorie 'Well, you know'

Dez 14 2014

Meeting like diplomats in the Board Room

Autor: . Abgelegt unter English,Well, you know

Sometimes we get the chance to get a glimpse of what the world is like in those areas where the big decisions are made. During this Rotarian year 2014/15, I have the great honor to serve on the Rotaract/Interact-Committee of Rotary International. It comprises 11 people from around the world and in order to discuss our different points more effectively, we had one meeting in person where we all came to the Rotary International headquarters in Evanston, USA.

The meeting took place on the highest floor of the building (floor 18) in the „Board Room“. It’s a large room where you find in the middle a table in the shape of an elliptical ring. In the middle of the ring, there are huge screens where the presentation slides are shown. In front of your seat, you find a small microphone. It may be helpful for people who speak very low, but it is crucial for the interpreters. On one side of the room, there are several booths for the interpreter. They can see into the room without being seen themselves and they will only hear what you say when the microphone is switched on.
It is fascinating how well the discussion worked being effectively held in 3 languages: English, Japanese and Spanish.

As participants, we came from 5 different continents, all different walks of life and with different backgrounds. It was fascinating to see how well we could work on all the topics and discuss our different viewpoints – always in an atmosphere trying to find a consensus.
In the future, I will certainly look differently at pictures from diplomatic meetings – having experienced what it feels like to work in such a setting.

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Dez 10 2014

Go West!

Autor: . Abgelegt unter Allgemein,English,Well, you know

Wintermarkt at Munich airport
Once again, I’m off to the US. It’s my first meeting with the Rotaract-Interact Committee and we have plenty of very interesting topics. So my first destination is Chicago and more precisely Evanston, the headquarters of Rotary International.
Afterwards, I have the chance to go back to Detroit and see my families. Great times ahead!

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Jun 15 2014

Learning about Lady Elliot Island

Autor: . Abgelegt unter English,Well, you know

This little island just off the Australian coast is so beautiful. It’s circle shaped and lying without any close neighbors at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef forming the endpoint of the Reef.

DSC_1787 DSC_1784

It has been mined for guano, which is basically bird poo, in the late 19th century. Back then, all but 10 trees have been cut down and 1 meter of dirt has been taken from the entire island. It was sold as fertilizer and as an ingredient for gun powder. The whole island was stripped from most of its vegetation.

The only people who lived constantly on the island where the lighthouse keeper and his family. Eventually an Australian convinced the government to take tourists on the island and he regrew plants and trees. We learned about the Pisonia trees who are original to the island and the Casuarina trees who refertilize the soil and stabilize its surroundings. Besides, we saw the impressive Pandarum tree that just grows new roots every now and then. It sometimes looks as if a didgeridoo has been put underneath a horizontal branch to support it.

Then you find interesting birds on the island. Some of them (the White-Capped Noddy) have the nice habit of pooping all over making it just a question of time until you’d be hit. We learned that it apparently brings good luck…we still wait for what great things will have to happen now. Since there are no usual land-bound animals, the birds have no real predator. So they can sit, walk and nest on the ground.

The coral around the island has grown over thousands of years and there are beautiful fish around. We’ve seen whales breach and flap their tales, we swam with sharks, we floated alongside turtles and had a school of big eye travelleys beneath us. The wildlife is beautiful! It’s amazing! It’s breathtaking!

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Jun 11 2014

Getting to Lady Elliot Island

Autor: . Abgelegt unter English,Well, you know

Not knowing where you’d want to go, can take you to the most beautiful places. On the recommendation of an Aussie in the Gympie area, we decided to go to the southernmost island of the Great Barrier Reef: Lady Elliot Island!

The coral cay is lying completely isolated in the ocean. We came in on a little 15 person propeller plane. Since it was full to the last seat, the pilot asked me if I wanted to sit next to him…Awesome!

So after we had left the mainland and headed in northeastern direction out over the Pacific, it was blue sky and blue ocean all around us. Eventually, we got through some clouds and then the pilot pointed forward: “There’s your island.” The airstrip to land on is stretching 600m over the entire island and it’s a grass strip. So, landing there is apparently more difficult than on concrete lanes.

We circled twice around the island and could enjoy the great view over this circle shaped coral cay with turquoise water around it. Then we started to descend towards the runway and landed safely on the airstrip. We had lots of speed so we used the runaway all the way to its end so that we could just turn at the end in order to park the plane on the side of it.

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Jun 05 2014

From the metropolis to dirt roads

Autor: . Abgelegt unter English,Well, you know

Abendessen unterwegs

After having spent 9 wonderful days in Sydney, we have boarded a plain today to fly out of the now rainy weather. From the at times strong rainfall we came to Brisbane into a warm climate. After we had our private pickup at the airport, we got our car for the next 12 days: a Toyota Corolla.

Two rounds of Tetris and all of our luggage was packed and we were off further northbound. We had reserved a place to stay not far from the highway so that we could keep going even further north the next day. We found ourselves getting in the area of Gymsie when it was pitch-black outside with beautiful stars up…now find the place we wanted to spend the night!

We got off the highway, onto a smaller road, which led to an even smaller road. This one had impressive climbs and drops on it with steepnesses beyond the 10%. Finally, we turned on a dirt road and only at the „No through road“-sign did we believe, that this was not the good one. So we made a U-turn, went back and finally arrived at a beautifully remote house at the end of the other dirt road. The moon is up, the stars are out.

Welcome to Queensland!

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Mai 29 2014

Welcome Party

Autor: . Abgelegt unter Aha,Allgemein,English,Well, you know

Janek, Laura, Flo, Mel

Janek, Laura, Flo, Mel

We had the Welcome-Party to kick off the Pre-Convention. After having met with all other facilitators of the workshops, we have then gathered at the Star Bar to celebrate the Convention spirit. It was great meeting so many happy and enthused Rotaractors, literally from around the world.

Rotaract is connecting people across countries and continents. We can experience this here in Sydney. Besides, it’s so easy and it’s fun.

I’ve been asked in an interview today, if every young person should join Rotaract. I just answered „yes!“. I also explained it, even though you can’t really explain it. You have to experience it!

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Mai 29 2014

Planting activity at Wanda Beach

Autor: . Abgelegt unter Aha,Allgemein,English,Well, you know

Planting at Wanda Beach

In order to do a social project, we were about 15 Rotaractors to go to Wanda Beach south of Sydney to help a planting project. Local volunteers are working to replant a huge stretch of the coast in a project which is estimated to take until 2020. The goal is to stabilize the beach and to help preserve the landscape.

We then took gloves, shovels, spades and the plants and set about on the dunes. It was much easier opening the ground for the plants and putting in the little plants than it had been planting trees in Germany. Isn’t it great that we got to do a social activity which is in line with our Bundessozialaktion (buso.rotaract.de)?

Rotary has made a short film about the planting acivity and I’m happy to see that my words fit to the occasion: http://vimeo.com/96971768

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Mai 29 2014

The other side of the world…?!

Autor: . Abgelegt unter Aha,Allgemein,English,Well, you know

I have to admit that I was a little disappointed of not feeling totally amazed by being on the other side of the world. People speak english…I have seen that. The houses look like those I had seen in the US and in the UK…so no jaw-dropping either. Life seems so comparable to all I knew…and I had hoped to feel something special being that far away.

Today, this changed. We were walking across the Harbour Bridge and I tried to get my directions straight, thinking that we probably are heading northbound and the opera is in our east. Always double-check your assumptions when risking to walk for quite a way in the wrong direction, I was glad I did. Since it was around 11 and bright sunshine, the sun would have to be somewhere behind me if I was heading north. I looked back. No sun. Strange! I looked right and left. No sun. (Can you imagine how strange it feels to have a blue sky and looking for the sun? 😉 ) And then, suddenly, I realized that on this side of the equator, the sun is in the north at lunchtime. I looked up and there it was, bright and shining. It’s probably hard to imagine, but I got goose-bumps from realizing that a fact that had been one of the most absolute in my life so far, had just changed.

The sun, we learned, can never be north of you. Yes, it can. It doesn’t matter if life is very comparable to ours back home. Now, I’m so amazed of being on the other side of the world!!!

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Mai 28 2014

Harbour Bridge, Olympic Stadium and Manly Beach

Autor: . Abgelegt unter Aha,Allgemein,English,Well, you know

One of the public ferry going in front of the Sydney Opera House

One of the public ferries going in front of the Sydney Opera House

 

Today we did get some mileage down and I got a good first impression of this great city of Sydney.

Crossing the very large Harbour Bridge and having a look from high up over Sydney Cove and the majestic Opera House, I could understand why it is so well-known across the world. It’s such a sight!

We took the ferries to move along the Harbour and went into the hinterland to the Olympic Stadium on this fast catamaran. Standing in the breeze, looking at the changing neighborhoods of Sydney and enjoying the sun and 20° weather is great. At the Olympic Stadium, everything is ready for the Convention. It looks exciting!

To finish the day, we went out eastbound to the Tasman Sea at Manly Beach. The water is still warm enough for us to walk in there for more than 1 hour. Knowing that I cannot be considered being a Penguin in this respect, this does mean something. Besides, it’s winter in Australia. This was also the case, that we had a sunset very early. When we arrived at the beach at 16:30, the sun had already set and at 17:30 it was pitch-black. Since we still had 20° out, it felt like around 11 at night at the French riviera.

Coming back on the boat, we had a splendid view on the light installations and projections on the Opera House. In Sydney, they have a light festival going on these days and since it was so dark, the lit up Opera House contrasted impressively against the black sky. On our way home from the Quay, we go to see, feel and interact with even more and very interesting and inspiring light installations.

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Mai 27 2014

First evening in Sydney

Autor: . Abgelegt unter Aha,Allgemein,English,Well, you know,Wow

Lightshow at the harbor

After arriving at our splendid apartment, we took a walk across downtown and saw this fabulous light show with nice classical music at the Darling Harbour.

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