Saturday, January 26, 2019

Toastmasters in Brisbane

One of the reasons we put Brisbane on our itinerary is the fact that our friend, Graham, lives there. We call him a friend, and we've known him for about 3 years, but we've never met. You see, we are members of an online toastmasters club called Online Presenters. Toastmasters is not just about learning public speaking, it's about getting to know your fellow members thru their speeches, and Graham's speeches are wonderful. So when we realized we would have the opportunity to meet in person, we made it happen.
What an online Toastmasters meeting looks like. That's Graham in the top left square, Jim is 2 squares to the right of him, and Chris is 2 squares below him.

Graham also invited us to attend his local Toastmasters meeting and participate.
It was a lunchtime meeting. Graham came by our hotel a few hours before the meeting and took us on a walking tour of his hometown.
We didn't even realize that there were beautiful gardens just across the street from our hotel.

Graham has been a journalist and radio presenter for over 20 years so he was a wealth of information. Did you know that the song, Waltzing Matilda, is not about dancing? It's not about anything remotely romantic. It's about a sheep thief who commits suicide rather than be captured by police!
How about the fact that General Douglas MacArthur was based in Brisbane during WWII and American troops outnumbered the Aussies in town during those years, causing significant stresses on the local resources and social scene. Tensions boiled over into a riot which became known as the Battle of  Brisbane. 
We also learned that much of the art in Brisbane was a result of hosting a world expo in 1988. Lots of these bronze statues are scattered all over. I like that this picture makes it look like the three of them are in conversation.

Visiting toastmasters

Toastmasters is an international organization with thousands of club around the world. Visiting Toastmasters are always welcome. It's a great way to meet some local people and, since you get to hear speeches, you learn some personal tidbits. I love to travel, but I prefer not being just a tourist. Someday we're going to live in a foreign country, not just visit. Meanwhile, visiting a toastmasters meeting is an easy way to get some flavor of daily life. We even got to participate. I evaluated a speech and Jim presented a table topic.

I was struck by the international feeling of the group. Although everyone spoke English, it was not the first language of several members. The speech was by Ricardo, a native of Peru, he now lives in Australia. His speech was about helping to start two other toastmasters clubs, one in Vietnam and the other in China. Wow, just wow. 
After the meeting we had lunch of fish and chips and walked back to the hotel. On the way back we asked Graham if he could find a place with a sign that said Brisbane. We wanted to take a picture holding a toastmasters magazine (it's a thing) and be recognizable as being in Brisbane. We asked, he delivered!

Thanks for a great day Graham!

No comments: