I wasn’t really sure what to expect at the Advance Global Australians, Global Networks Word of Mouth event, but any opportunity to meet new people is welcome.
I checked out the venue’s website and found that it looked pretty swanky, so I thought I’d best dress accordingly for my first poolside event in LA, in Beverly Hills, no less. I’m so glad I didn’t skimp on the frocks and shoes I brought with me as I definitely have something for all occasions in my wardrobe.
When I arrived, I was glad I’d deliberated over my outfit as I first met one of the organisers, and then the Consul-General. It was a really interesting and diverse crowd ranging from executive types to artist types, to those who are firmly rooted in LA to newbies like me and with quite a number of Americans trying to recreate time they spent in Australia thrown in for good measure.
My first real conversation was with an older woman all glammed up and with her silicon enhancements on display. At first I felt completely gauche beside her and her posh accent, but then I just rolled with it as she told me about her new grandson in Byron Bay, her two ex-husbands from Adelaide, the nightclub she’d once owned with Sean Penn, her career in interior design, real estate and News Corp and her 32 years in LA. While I was a bit intimidated at first, I warmed to the task and let myself be in awe of these people with super interesting tales to tell.
I met Broken Hill’s version of Billy Elliot. Whilst he first introduced himself as a carpenter and builder to me, later in the evening he divulged how he left school to do his apprenticeship as soon as he could. He rode motorcross for Suzuki and took boxing for strength and then a girlfriend introduced him to ballet for balance. He ended up in Adelaide where they said he had the talent to pursue ballet further, and then ended up dancing in the US for 12 years. He also recorded a song with Tania Kernaghan which kicked off his country music career. Wow.
I met a guy with three passports who shared how he met his wife on Contiki and then detailed their courtship. I met an American lawyer who said he left his heart in Australia in 2009, specifically at a restaurant called Crocodile Thai in Kings Cross while on a 2 week holiday. I met a British photographer with a love interest in Melbourne.
And then I met Peter, a meditation teacher. He too, had an interesting story. I guess I’ve always been kind of wary of ‘new age’ stuff, most likely a product of my upbringing, but as I get older I start to open myself more to new concepts outside the structure in which I live. I have a feeling that I met Peter for a reason and that meditation is going to have a role to play in my personal journey.
One thing I discovered this evening was that every Australian in LA has a super interesting story; one that they are not afraid to share in a significant amount of detail with strangers. Which makes me wonder about what my story will be in ten years time. Whatever it is, I’m pretty confident that it’s going to be fascinating.