Here we are nearly at the end of 2012, nearly 4 years since that big step to join PK in his dream to build the best IT consultancy company for the mining industry. How time has flown!

I had an interesting conversation with an American lady at the MIoD networking function on Friday, who is looking at moving to Mauritius (well part-time) with her business. When she asked me about if I “just looved it” living & working here, I took a little while to answer while I thought about it. On Saturday, I bumped into a young Aussie couple from Qld, who asked me the same thing.

Things have changed so much since 2008…When I arrived, Super U was a quarter of the size it is now, you had to buy things as soon as you saw them because you wouldn’t know when you would have them available next; there was no good butchers & meat was expensive, so you lived on cheap chicken; very few opportunities to see a movie in English, except on those illegal pirated DVDs sold on every street (to police as well); our house didn’t have an oven, the walls (yes the walls) & windows leaked when there was rain & it was so frustrating trying to achieve anything with any official department. I felt isolated, frustrated, irritated by the country’s general lack of customer service, manners & inefficiency.

Since then there has been a flurry of development – Super U & the complex has grown in size & variety of shops; Famous Butchers arrived with reasonably priced meat AND Aussie LAMB; Bagatelle sprung up with a few different shops & many of the same – it was worthwhile to drive the 30 mins there for our weekly bread shop @ Pick N Pay (a South African chain) and to go to the 6pm English session at the movies; contacts were made at government departments & other official businesses, which makes life so much easier. Customer service hasn’t really improved but I have found a way of dealing with it, apart from complaining…amazing how much a smile and a pleasant manner can influence the attentiveness of an otherwise bored & uninterested shop assistant. We now have another shopping centre, La Crosiette, just opened in Grand Bay; a commercial hub, Circle Square opened next to Espace; another Pick N Pay will be opening at the Mont Choisy shopping complex this month…so there is not really anything we need that we can’t buy now (except Vegemite – an excuse to go home once a year).

But aside from the buying aspect, things have not really changed…they still dump their rubbish anywhere – out the windows of cars & buses, boot loads onto the side of the road…they still drive like maniacs…they are still ignorant of the real world outside Mauritius & the country’s progress in respect to other countries (they think that they can make Mauritius a new Singapore & attract tourists here as a duty free destination)…they still treat animals badly…they still try to con and rip people off…there is still corruption no matter how much they talk about eliminating it…

So in answer to those questions – actually yes, I do love being here. But it’s not about the place itself but the people I have connections with & of course, Paul & my girls. It has been a hard year and I am looking forward to a new start in 2013. But it has also been a year where we have made new friends, been more sociable in a more grown up sense (dinner parties, lunches and intelligent conversation & debates over interesting world topics), expanded our network of connections, consolidated our focus for the business, and our involvement in achieving those goals, as well as continuing to learn and grow as a couple.

So here’s to the end of 2012 & a new bright beginning in 2013.