Living in a small community has its advantages and disadvantages. I grew up in a small town, went to the school where my mum taught and lived next to the friends I went to school with, so for me a small community is very nostalgic and comfortable. A small Military community 11,000km away from home is about the tightest knit group of people you could find!
With family so far away, new friends very quickly become good friends and soon very good friends! When in a pickle you have to turn to the people around you for support. This makes for the most wonderful atmosphere. Everyone knows or recognizes the people who live near them, children drop round on their friends to play, wander in and out of each others houses and happily play on their bikes on the quiet roads. My friends walk into our house just shouting hello as they come in, sometimes wandering straight to the kitchen to put the kettle on! Thinking back to London where we only knew our immediate next-door neighbours, this sense of community and friendliness is wonderful.
It has also made networking for the business particularly enjoyable. Outside the day-to-day military bubble that we’re living in, Brunei is still a small country and the expat community is very strong wherever you go.
I was invited to attend the Britain Brunei Business Forum AGM, which was held in Bandar, the capital, at the British High Commissioner's Residence. I wasn’t sure what the evening would hold or if it would be applicable to a craft business but as you never know until you try, I attended.
It was the day after the Sultans presentation, so this was turning into a pretty exciting week for me! It was very interesting to sit in on the AGM and discover what BBBF does and how it runs, I was also very interested to be in the High Commissioner's Residence and see the diversity of business people attending the event. New guests were introduced and when it was my turn they seemed intrigued to have a stone carver present! I was surprised to be asked if the rumors were true and if it was me who had carved the plaque for the Sultan. In small communities news travels fast!
After the AGM we were invited to network and a lovely buffet was also provided. I had a really interesting evening talking to all sorts of business people, numerous people approached me to exchange business cards and see if we could work together. Fingers crossed that something will come from the excellent connections that were made.