AHRI, Career, Human Resources, SHRM

Finding My Tribe & The Power of Multipliers

This morning I sat down for breakfast with Greg Hawks ahead of presenting at the Illinois SHRM 2018 Conference – #ILSHRM18. A completely random occurrence: both Greg and I were speaking at the equivalent Ohio conference (a fabulously run event), and upon seeing we were both going to be in Chicago, Greg suggested we have breakfast.

Greg, myself and 110 mousetraps sat down, main-lining coffee, chatting about how we’d both ended up at the Hilton Suites ahead the conference kicking off. We just didn’t shut up! We discussed conferences (how well run was #OHSHRM18?!), kids, HR, business, speaking, American hospitality (it’s disconcerting how polite everyone is here), and the amazing people we’ve met along the way.

If you asked me a few years ago whether I’d be here, bouncing around ideas with a phenomenal speaker (do make sure you check him out) in the restaurant of a hotel in Chicago where I’d been invited to speak at a conference the answer would have been a resounding hell-no!

But here I am. And the unreal nature of the situation has not been lost on me – I’m incredibly fortunate. Yes, it’s taken hard work to get here, but much of how this has all come about has been because I’m surrounded with a tribe of smart, successful, kind people, like Greg, who have been generous with their knowledge, friendship and time and paid it forward.

I worked with a wonderful human, also called Greg (Jennings), in Melbourne at the YMCA – it was this Greg (perhaps there’s a consistency with the name?) who introduced me to the concept of ‘Multipliers’ (from Liz Wiseman & ANOTHER GREG (McKeown)). Multipliers are people who believe in the concept of plenty and are all about helping others, encouraging growth and creativity in the workplace. I took to this concept quickly as it immediately resonated, providing a reference point for all those people I most admire & the way they work.

As I sit here in my hotel room I reflect that the tribe I’ve got gathered around me are all multipliers. Colleagues, past and present, friends, random acquaintances-turned-good-friends, mentors and of course the incredible #HRTribe, many whom I first met via social media, have all helped me grow, learn and be more confident in my work. There are far too many to name, but I am particularly excited that over the next 3 days at #ILSHRM18 I get to spend some time with a few of these multipliers – who probably don’t really understand the impact they’ve had on me, and others, with their approach to life.

Who are your tribe? Are they multipliers? How do you prioritise learning from, and spending time with them?

So without any further ado, a bit of well-deserved gratitude:

Thank you so much to Dave Ryan, Steve Browne & John Jorgensen who I get to hang out with this week! Thanks to Julie Doyle & the whole Ohio SHRM team for my past few days. Thanks to Andrew Morten & Mary Kaylor, the SHRM crew & SHRM Bloggers for everything (there’s a lot). Thanks to Mardi Versteegen, Andrea Martinez, Brylee Neyland & the Widex group for being a fabulous, supportive & scary smart team to work with. Thanks to every single person I worked with at YMCA Victoria – there are far too many to name here – but you’ve impacted me more than you’ll ever know. Thanks to the AHRI team for all the the education, support & leadership you show in the HR space. Thanks to the incredible network of Melbourne-based business & HR leaders that are so generous with their time and gifts.

Disclaimer: This list is by no means exhaustive, as there are many, many other people who have had a huge impact on my professionally. I’m just quite jet-lagged, forgetful and am happy to trot out the excuse of being a mother to a 1-year old to explain my forgetfulness.

I’m really looking forward to the next couple of days at #ILSHRM18, I hope that I am able to do half as much for others as they’ve done for me. I want to thank the committee, volunteers, speakers and attendees ahead of time – as it’s the hard work that you all are doing that allows me to learn from each one of you.

Thank you to my #HRTribe!

Australian HR, Human Resources, SHRM

MORE SHRM CONFERENCES! (Tips & tricks from a conference pro)

With a matter of days until heading to #ILSHRM18 & #OHSHRM18 I figured it was high time to share some tips & tricks of how to get the most out of attending a conference. From 19-21 September I’ll be at the Ohio SHRM Conference and then 23rd – 25th I’ll be at the Illinois SHRM Conference – I’m at both to speak about HR in Australia. So much conferencing and so much to learn! I now consider myself a seasoned conference pro and, having learned a few lessons along the way, (never, ever wear heels to a conference unless you’re a serial-wearer and can stomach the foot pain,) thought I’d share some of my favourite tips.

 

seasoning

Seasoning for seasoned-professionals

 

Conferences are what you make them. Yes, amazing headline speakers (of which #ILSHRM18 & #OHSHRM18 deliver in spades) are often the major draw-card, but the real value I believe they deliver is having an opportunity to get yourself out of your day-to-day headspace, creating opportunities to think about problems and solutions differently, and sharing the awesomeness of your profession with other attendees. It’s incredible what you can learn waiting in the line for the bathroom!

 

What are some basic do’s and don’t’s for a HR Conference?

Do: bring a phone charger, find out where to get the best coffee and talk to as many people as you can. Have a look at the agenda ahead of time and mark your ‘must sees’. I like to have an element of flexibility but if there’s a have-to-attend you don’t want to miss out because you decided that was the best time to line up at Starbucks!

Don’t: wear new shoes (very important) or get hung up on planning out every second of your experience. The gold always comes from something you didn’t expect.

 

I get the most out of conferences when I talk to as many people as possible, although I find it daunting to rock up to new people and strike up a conversation I know that when I do I meet the most interesting people.

An easy way to start that conversation? Asking people about what brought them to the conference – often there’s a particular challenge/area of interest where you can find common experience. If that fails, find out whether they’re a cat or a dog person. You can then dismiss them entirely based on their response (you know there’s a correct one).

I’m also excited about the opportunity to visit Ohio (I’ve never been) and head back to Chicago (favourite city ever).

Suddenly realised you didn’t book? Head to Ohio SHRM Conference or Illinois SHRM Conference and get on it!

Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

Australian HR, Human Resources, SHRM, Social Media & Learning

HR in Australia (Unlike everything else here, it probably won’t kill you)

Everything is more likely to kill you in Australia right? The snakes, the spiders, the great whites…

When I moved to Australia (from New Zealand, a rainforest-filled paradise with amazing beaches… but a small economy) I had a rude awakening – luckily this wasn’t in the form of meeting the wildlife face to face. Despite having heavily preparing for the changes in employment law I would encounter on my transition ‘across the ditch’ I realised there was a lot I didn’t know. There are a lot of facets of HR that are location-agnostic. Sure, there are legislative differences, and cultural/business practice differences. But the core of what we do is understanding both people and organisations and help them work better together – and that doesn’t change across borders. I relied on this in my move, although I think I underestimated how much there would be that I didn’t know.

Now, 5.5 years later, I’m travelling to the USA to speak about lessons learned over my time working in HR in Australia; the good, the bad & the ugly (just kidding, there’s not too much that’s ugly). I’ve learned from some amazing HR practitioners, both in Australia and internationally, I’ve benefited from some (forced) networking and getting my head around social media and I’m excited to share the lessons learned over the past few years.

In a matter of weeks I’m catching up with my SHRM friends, speaking at both the Illinois and Ohio State Conferences. Even though it was just a couple of months ago that I had the pleasure of seeing many of these superstars at the SHRM18 National Conference, I’m even more excited about this trip, reasons being;

– smaller conferences are less overwhelming (There were 22,000 people at SHRM18 – TWENTY-TWO THOUSAND!) and I find it easier to join more conversations, learn from people and you get a better chance of speaking with keynote speakers at a smaller conference

– the speaker line ups for both conferences are incredible – seriously, check them out

– even though I’ll miss my son I’ll get a good week of uninterrupted sleep – win!

I can’t wait to share my learnings and meet more SHRMers at these conferences. If you’re heading along and would like to find out about something in particular message me – I’d love to chat. I hope to see you there!

 

#SoMe, Career, Human Resources, Leadership, SHRM, Social Media & Learning, Working in People & Culture

The #HRTribe – they open doors like you wouldn’t believe!

Next month I’m on my way to the Illinois SHRM and Ohio SHRM Conferences to speak about HR in Australia & the lessons I’ve learned along the way. How this opportunity to speak outside Australia has come about is an excellent example of the collaborative nature of the international HR community (for which I am forever thankful).

A few years ago I had a brilliant conversation with a guy called Steve Browne. You might know him, he’s one of the Board Members at SHRM, he’s an all-round nice guy and he’s an active promoter of everything that’s good in HR. I’d been blogging a bit and was thinking about my professional development and what might be a good investment in my career and had decided that I’d like to apply to be a part of the SHRM Blogging team for 2016.

Well it all happened. And it changed my career and the way I think about HR exponentially.

While I’ve worked across different countries, was a member of SHRM and an avid reader of international HR & business blogs I was not at all prepared for the shift in my thinking that resulted from becoming a part of the SHRM community.

Since attending that first conference, not only have I been lucky enough to attend some phenomenal conferences and see some true thought leaders in the HR/management space (not lame, self-proclaimed ‘thought leaders’ that I think we’re ALL sick of), but I found my tribe (#HRTribeTM) AND became a part of an incredibly community that seeks to progress our profession and help us adapt to the new world of work as people-people aka HR professionals.

Two years after that first SHRM Conference I’ve now been a part of the Official SHRM Blogging team twice and this September I’m heading to the Illinois SHRM and Ohio SHRM Conferences to speak – what a roller-coaster!

The way HR is evolving internationally is so exciting because I believe it makes us confront what is unique and special about our profession, rather than resting on our laurals as the rule-makers and police. It’s forcing us to consider what those assumptions that may have been holding us back. Gone are the days (well… hopefully) where we are a primarily an administrative function. Having the opportunity to speak to people about what works well in different countries – and what doesn’t – is an incredible gift and one I’m looking forward to sharing an Australian perspective on this September. I’ve loved practising HR in Australia over the past 5 years and think that the quirks of employment law and common practice here definitely have some (interesting) lessons for those operating in different environments!

I owe a huge debt to Steve Brown, Dave Ryan, Andrew Morton, Mary Kaylor & the whole SHRM community (especially the bloggers!) for their generosity in time, guidance & mentoring over the past few years. I sincerely believe that as we further collaborate and learn more from each other we will only serve to further cement HR as a function that is seen as indispensable and valuable to organisations as we all believe it is.

 

#SHRM #SHRMBlogger #Speaker #HRTribe #Gday

Human Resources, SHRM, SHRM18

1 Week Until #SHRM18!

With less than 1 week until #SHRM18 I realised there was an amazing #NextChat on Twitter that I missed that would make a great share in anticipation of the conference.

(A ‘tweetchat’ for the uninitiated, is basically an hour or so of open, collaborative discussion over Twitter, using a specific hashtag.)

Something you may not be aware of is that alongside the SHRM18 Conference & Expo, SHRM are hosting the WFPMA (World Federation of People Management) World Congress. I’m particularly interested in this, as the current President is the Australian HR Institute’s very own Peter Wilson. 🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺

So, as well as getting incredibly excited for the #SHRM18 lineup, I’m also keen to hear more from the global track of the conference, which has particular interest for those of us attending internationally.

Right! Let’s get to it. Eight questions to prepare you for #SHRM18:

What are some basic do’s and don’t’s for a SHRM Annual Conference?

Do: bring a charger and talk to as many people as you can.

Don’t: wear new shoes or get hung up on planning out every second of your experience. The best stuff is always spur of the moment.

What is your No. 1 goal for attending #SHRM18, and how are you planning to accomplish it when there?

Talk to as many people as possible about global HR trends. I’m noticing more and more the ‘hot topics’ are international in nature rather than country specific.

Thousands of HR pros will attend #SHRM18. What advice can you share for successful networking in such a large crowd?

Ask people about what brought them to #SHRM18 – often there’s a particular challenge/area of interest where you can find common experience.

What are your picks and recommendations for #SHRM18 “must-see” sessions and speakers, and why?

Oh my gosh so many! But definitely Steve Browne & Charles Jennings. I’m also booked in for much of the global HR track (which Charles, Brad Boyson & Eric Owski are all a part of – all of whom I’ve completed Q&As with recently).

Also I want to see all the official SHRM Bloggers who are speaking but realistically I think my ‘must see’ list in the conference app (which is amazing BTW) is getting very, very full… I’ve got so many sessions I want to see I’ll never know where to go!

What are some important etiquette guidelines when visiting the SHRM Annual Conference exposition hall?

Be thoughtful – as good as the swag can be, be considered in where you spend your time. What are your biggest challenges? What vendors may be able to help you look at those challenges in a different way?

What SHRM18 Expo Hall vendors and solutions are you most excited about visiting and learning more about?

Finding the gems I’ve never heard of before. Expo’s are a great opportunity to see new products/services that you may not get to see/hear about/question otherwise.

What are the top three things attendees might forget to take to — or bring back from — a SHRM Annual Conference?

Phone charger. Reusable coffee cup. Phone charger. 📱 ☕️ 📱

What are the best ways to demonstrate the value and return on investment of your #SHRM18 attendance to your organization’s senior leaders?

Come back armed with new ideas and new ways of looking at old problems. Vendors, speakers and the random person you chat to in the lunch line are all your allies here

See you there!

Human Resources, SHRM, SHRM18, Working in People & Culture

Is Global HR Still Relevant? A Q&A With Brad Boyson

Brad Boyson is the Executive Director of SHRM’s Dubai office and has an impressive career history including the Mitsubishi Corporation, Royal Caribbean International and Hamptons/Emaar. In short? Brad is global HR.

Brad Boyson.jpg

Brad is a self-confessed deep diver… 8 months after being introduced to triathlons and hearing that the gold standard for the sport is the Ironman, he completed his first one in Hawaii. This “jump-and-backfill” approach to learning has stretched him careerwise as well, during the 1990s, he was fascinated by the Japanese way of doing business, so Brad studied Japanese (history, language and culture), moved to Japan and eventually ended up working for the Mitsubishi Corporation. While working in his next job for a ‘dotcom’, he concurrently completed 60% of a bachelor degree in computer science.

So it’s fair to say when Brad gets interested in something, he fully commits. This is why I’m looking forward to hearing Brad speak about whether global HR is still relevant. I’m one of the many international attendees that the SHRM Conference & Exposition attracts each year and it seems more and more that with migration and technology, HR expertise is becoming a more mobile profession.

Where does your passion for HR come from?

My passion for HR comes from my very first job as a teenager when I worked in a unionized supermarket back in Canada. When you are that age you are devoid of workplace politics and other more ‘adult’ issues. Nevertheless, the younger version of me was asking myself:  why was the union and management so fixated on each other while the key stakeholder, in my humble opinion, was the customer who was paying my salary?  I was a strange kid who subscribed to and would read the Harvard Business Review cover to cover even though, at the time, I was just a high school graduate.

What made you decide to join SHRM?

I think like a lot of people, SHRM becomes a part of your bloodstream once you take the red pill and decide that HR is your career not just a job.  I first ‘discovered’ SHRM in 1998 when, as a Canadian living and working in Canada, I decided to look outside the national HR box for career and professional development.  I quickly realized that SHRM was doing the most of any HR association in the world to advance and promote the HR profession. I proceeded to earn my SPHR in 1999.

A few years later I started to actively volunteer with SHRM in 2007 after participating in the SHRM delegation to China. In 2012 there was an opportunity to set up a SHRM office in Dubai and, as you might expect, I jumped at that opportunity.

What do you think of the current commentary in the global HR space?

I don’t want to give too much away about my session at this year’s conference, but the eureka moment seed was planted in my head when I was traveling through Heathrow airport last year and there was a book on display in the bookstore with a title that immediately grabbed my attention: From Global to Local – the making of things and the end of Globalization.  It reminded me of the book by Francis Fukuyama entitled, The End of History and the Last Man.  And I asked myself, are we really at the end of globalization? If so, what’s next, what’s next for HR?

Again, I’m hesitant to give away too much, but let me say I think we’ve made a big mistake by all too often framing HR as having two-worlds: one is an inward looking ‘domestic’ HR, and the other is an outward looking ‘global’ HR. At the highest-strategic level other professions don’t do this. You don’t have US-medicine or Canadian-law or Australian-finance, those are technical or lower order differences which do not define the ‘profession’, they define the local practices. In contrast, the profession is defined as the profession: medicine is medicine, law is law, finance is finance and … HR is HR. If ‘We’ choose to emphasize the technical aspects of HR at the expense of the higher level strategic aspects of HR, then we deserve the outcome we have always gotten: HR perceived as a secondary profession or worse yet, merely a management function.

How has your experience been working in Dubai? Has it shifted your thoughts on global HR?

I live and work in one of the most unique cities in the world – Dubai in the country United Arab Emirates (UAE). And as someone who has travelled most of the world, I’m confident of my assertation that Dubai is a real-world case study in what’s next. Imagine a place where 90% of the workforce is on a temporary work visa (akin to an H1B), imagine how that fact would change the work environment?  It might work a lot like an economy where the vast majority of workers are gig-economy, project to project, dependent-contractors. I think that’s the workplace of the future – a new category of work that fits in between the more traditional notions of employee and self-employed; a bit both.

What are you hoping to get out of the SHRM18 conference?

At the risk of oversimplifying, I always learn something at SHRM’s annual conference I and hope that trend continues.  As an employee of SHRM, most of our hours are allocated to supporting the event and hosting our coveted attendees, but if I can find time to sneak away and catch one or two concurrent sessions, I will be better for having had that experience.  And I really look forward to the international reception and encourage anyone attending from outside the US to mark that event on your daily planner. My experience has been that event is one of the best single opportunities to connect and network with all our international delegates.

Brad is speaking at #SHRM18 in Chicago this June, make sure you get along to see him:

SHRM18 Conference & Exposition

June 17-20

Brad’s session on ‘Is Global HR Still Relevant?’ 4-5.15pm Tuesday 19 June (concurrent)

#SHRM17, Career, Human Resources, Working in People & Culture

Heading to #SHRM17 as an International Attendee?

Last year I attended SHRM for the first time – it was spectacular!

Attending as an international delegate, the scale of the conference was mind-blowing – much bigger than anything I’ve attended in Australia or New Zealand. I was surprised with the number of international participants, but to be honest the biggest takeaway for me was the calibre of attendees and speakers alike.

This year the conference is in New Orleans – somewhere that would be amazing to get to!

SHRM17StreetSignLOGO

It wasn’t just the keynotes either (although they were pretty spectacular all round) – the value I got from the other attendees – in particular, the organisers, volunteers, bloggers and the people I met in the lunch lines was the absolute highlight. Being able to share in their enthusiasm for rethinking how we engage with people in our organisations and witness the evolution of HR was career changing.

As a first time attendee I relied a huge amount on the SHRM Blogger articles and the guides published on the conference website. The scale being much bigger than anything I’d interacted with before was a little (edit: a lot) daunting: multiple streams, concurrent sessions, a large venue, all meant that relying on advice from the experts in planning my time was invaluable.

Things to consider for international attendees?

  1. Check out the international lounge – you will meet a huge variety of people and it’s nice to have a ‘base’ to work from.
  2. Read up on the SHRM Blogger articles. These are the people to take advice from, veteran SHRM attendees and new additions alike, they’ve scoped some of the hottest speakers and expo attendees and will point you towards all the hidden treasures of the conference.
  3. The Smart Stage is absolutely the place to be when you’ve found yourself with a bit of time (and there’s undoubtedly a number of speakers that you want to schedule into your conference time too) – but the ‘aha!’ moments I had when just sitting down for half an hour were some of the highlights of my SHRM16 time.
  4. Plan plan plan! No you don’t have to plan down to every minute (unless that’s your thing – then go nuts!) but make sure you’ve had a good look through the schedule and find your top picks – the venue is big and if you have a must-see you don’t want to miss out because that session was at the other end of the venue or you got lost (see step 5 for getting lost).
  5. Make use of the friendly volunteers. Unless you’re a conference location savant you will be thanking your lucky stars for the hundreds of volunteers who will point you towards the bathrooms with the smallest lines, direct you to your next session and let you know where the lost property stash is for that bag you left behind!
  6. Get on to the message boards – there are the official SHRM ones you get access to with your ticket, but there will also be numerous Facebook groups spring up where people will organise dinners and you’ll hear about events happening over the time of the conference. If you’re not one to normally get out of your shell make this the exception – I’ve never met such a welcoming group of people as at these events, some who have become wonderful friends.

The most important thing to do though? Have fun! Open your mind and listen to a few speakers that have different points of view than you. Make it a mission to speak to as many different people as you can and make the most of what will be one of the best professional learning experiences you can hope for.

 

This blog post was first published at the SHRM blog for the #SHRM17 conference.

#SHRM16, Career, Reflective practice

My 2016: The oh-darn-it’s-already-December Edition

2016-blog-december

Well well well….

It’s December tomorrow, I’m about to get the Christmas tree up and I’ve only just stopped to take a breath and I’ve realised that the year has gone so fast™ (I used to think that only old people said this and I’m now one of them).

2016 was a huge year for me – I bit the bullet and completed my Masters in Management while working full time, travelled to #SHRM16 in Washington D.C. (career highlight!) and had my first full year in my role as Learning and Organisational Development Manager at YMCA Victoria. In all the insanity my blogging dropped off considerably, I have an enormous pile of books next to my bed half read and many incomplete book reviews and articles waiting their turn to be completed. In short, my own personal learning journey has been usurped by the busyness of life.

A few months ago I was asked to participate in a gratitude study, which measured gratitude practices and their impact on self-esteem. That week I added to my morning ritual a journal entry of what I’m grateful for and it was an eye-opening exercise. In the spirit of sharing a few of the highlights for me were:

  • My family and friends – who are spread very much across the world but thanks to technology I’m able to be connected with constantly.
  • My dog. This might seem a bit trite but he makes me incredibly happy and forces me to do more exercise (good for the brain, body and soul) and his positive world view is pretty infectious!
  • My career, colleagues and workplace. I am very aware how fortunate I am to work for an organisation (shoutout to YMCA Victoria!) that I truly believe in that has given me huge opportunity. Add to that working with some of the loveliest people on the planet who all care deeply about their work and getting to focus my career on developing people and organisations to increase their potential I’m stoked!
  • I’m incredibly thankful for the many people who I’ve learned and grow with locally and the globe over – the fantastic #PeoplePeopleCU crew in Melbourne, the incredible bloggers and SHRM community, and my online & IRL networks who provide support and learning opportunities constantly.
  • Living in Australia – my husband and I (and our dog Vito) moved to Australia in 2013 from New Zealand. While we love our country and going back for time with family and friends the lifestyle and opportunities offered to us in Australia remind us how fortunate we are.

2016 has been an interesting year in some respects #JohnOliver….

2016-john-oliver

… But for me it has been incredible – so now I’m going to take my last month and try and correct the neglect some of my own personal learning habits suffered earlier in the year.

Career, PKM, Reflective practice

I’m a hypocritical so-and-so…

Because I’m always going on to others about the importance of self-reflection and have seen huge benefit in using the practice myself.

Usually my morning ritual looks like:

  1. Wake up earlier than my alarm (99% due to my child-like bedtime on weeknights).
  2. Reflect on my learning in a journal. Possibly translate some of these into a blog post – some for sharing, some not.
  3. Catch up on business news. Schedule my Buffer account to share my top finds on Twitter.
  4. Wake my evening-owl partner up so we take take the dog for his morning walk. This is both good for our health and helps ensure there are no tantrums during the day resulting in suspiciously wet ripped up cardboard on our return from work.
  5. Get ready for said work.

Lately though I’ve been slack. Oh I’m full of excuses (“It’s cold this winter!” “We’ve just moved” “It’s hard acclimatising on return from holidays”… whine whine whine) but I don’t have any excuses that stick.

Along with the demise of my morning routine I’ve noticed:

  • It takes me longer for my brain to ‘switch on’ once I’m at work, and a lot more caffeine.
  • My lack of exercise is meaning I’m more sluggish  and far more inclined to pig out on junk food during the day.
  • I’m finding excuses to get out of other good habits – mainly exercise related although my study schedule is also suffering.

What to do? Well I could continue to whine about it and be a hypocrite when stressing to others the importance of self-led learning. Or I could reflect on a conversation I had with a skateboard-riding pirate last week and not ignore the importance of my own learning journey.

Challenge accepted.

#SHRM16, Career, Working in People & Culture

A Kiwi Who Lives in Oz Takes on America!

I’ve had an amazing time in the USA (just like last time) – but there are some things that I just can’t get used to. Nothing negative, but there certainly are some differences between the USA and Australia/New Zealand!

I’m here for the #SHRM16 conference, some work and also holidaying with family – so I’m getting to see a bit of this awesome country.

 

Things that have made me, or those around me, face palm:

  • Where is the coffee I’m used to? I’m now detoxing.
  • Why is everyone so nice? It makes me feel uncomfortable when everyone you meet is so darned helpful!
  • Californians texting/facebooking/on the phone while they drive! (Definitely is a negative for me).
  • Drying everything in a clothes dryer – don’t your clothes shrink? And you miss out on the feeling of air-dried clothes which is the best!
  • Alcohol is so cheap in the USA (scratch that: everything is cheaper).
  • Tipping – it’s a constant struggle for me to math it up.
  • Australian/NZ humour is much drier, I’m constantly tripping myself up saying things I think are clearly jokes but are not translating so well.
  • Kiwi’s earn 42% less (but also spend 63% less on healthcare, 72% less likely to be in prison and experience 19% less of a class divide (CIA World Fact Book).

 

And the things that remind me of home:

  • The beaches in California – mmmm the smell of the sea!
  • Hotel rooms look the same everywhere #corporateart
  • Sometimes in Australia I can’t understand what people say if they’ve got a thick accent, it’s still true in the USA!

 

I have to admit… I was dubious about how I would find the USA – but I love it. The people are lovely, the place is beautiful, and the ultimate seal of approval? I love how many dogs I got to pat, because everyone seems to have one, in California.