In January 2006, I transferred from Park Hyatt, Sydney to Park Hyatt, Washington DC, and then in 2008 I transferred to Grand Hyatt, Shanghai. Two years later, in 2010, I joined Galaxy Macau and the following year, 2011, saw me join the Sands China team. I had initially thought I would work overseas for just a couple of years, but it ended up being 15. Fast forward to October 2020, when I decided to repatriate back home, and the beginning of an epic journey back to Australia. It started with a mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine in Hong Kong following by 3 days of a “mental recalibration break”. Finally on 7 November 2020, I departed Hong Kong to Sydney via Auckland. This was followed by another mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine in Sydney, and on 23 November I finally made it home to Melbourne — some 32 days after departing Macau. It was almost as long as it took my parents when they immigrated from Italy to Australia in 1951, travelling by sea.
Over the last 15 years of working overseas I made multiple trips back to Australia to visit family. The visits would usually be for five to seven days and always felt a bit surreal because of a packed schedule ending in getting on a plane to rush back to Macau. I never fully realised how much I had changed, how life in Australia has changed and how much my family had changed. I now face the daunting task of re-establishing my life in Australia — no longer a “non-resident”.
In the first few months since returning I found myself constantly comparing day-to-day life in Australia to that which I experienced in Macau. Some tasks are easy to accomplish, but others are challenging. I really felt that I was experiencing a kind of “reverse culture shock”. What really surprised me the most about Australia is how diverse the population has become over the last 15 years.
Now, five months on, I feel that I have started to reintegrate into Australia and the only item left on my to do list is to get back on the electoral roll.
What do I miss about Macau? Three things come to mind. Firstly, the fact that everything is just 10 minutes away. Next, a great sense of community. And finally, the diverse group of people living and working in Macau.
What I don’t miss about Macau … all the scooters on the road!
Looking back over my time, what would I have done differently? Absolutely nothing!