Suddenly seven months have gone by, and I have a strange feeling that I've done this all before.
I arrived in Beijing in late January to begin my new job as the District Security Manager, China for Caterpillar (who we all know is the big US-owned company that makes bulldozers, excavators and other big machines among other things like huge power generators, train locomotives etc). It was the middle of winter and the weather was freezing cold. Fortunately I had Frances with me to help find an apartment and get settled. That was achieved successfully within a fortnight, and Frances was able to return to Sydney in mid-February knowing that I had somewhere nice to live within five minutes walk of my office.
Right from the start, my job has been interesting and rewarding, and even though Caterpillar is a modern, international company with well developed processes and security programs, there is just enough that needs to be improved and developed for me to be able to make a positive difference. It's a satisfying position to be in as I enter the twilight of my professional life. I also get to do lots of domestic travel, visiting the dozens of Caterpillar factories, offices, research and development facilities etc throughout China that come under my umbrella of responsibility.
And it's great to be living in Beijing once again. Chinese economic may have slowed, and the challenges sustaining the remarkarble social development and growth becoming greater, but it's still an exciting time to be involved in the big "Chinese adventure". I also have plenty of flexibility in my new role to travel between Beijing and Sydney (and even to Capestrano), such is the modern phenomenon of the "mobile office" and "global work community".
As I may have mentioned in the past, the weather in Beijing is defined by long, cold winters (with occasional snow falls), and long, hot summers. The intervening seasons of spring and autumn are pleasant but relatively short. So, at this point in time, it's very hot in Beijing.
Life goes on in Sydney
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Frances finds that she is finally a genuine "empty nester", with most of our tribe spread around Sydney, and Oliver settled into his new life in Brisbane. Frances James and Monique, Rhiannan and Emma regularly but she also has the freedom to pursue her various interests without the responsibilities and chores she so diligently (and without complaint) performed for the past 35 years or so.