MY FIRST visit to Gladstone was in April 2009. I had met my future husband to be and I would fly in and out from Brisbane until January 2010.
I was asked to relocate to Gladstone permanently in March 2011.
Now, coming from Brisbane, you tend to be a little spoilt, maybe a lot.
I wondered how I was going to cope not having my special shops for trendy clothes, shoes, belts, accessories and more.
I was used to having my own hairdressers that I could book into once a week or every fortnight depending on what I was doing.
And I wondered how I would cope not having my "girlie" Friday nights and Saturdays when we'd book into a spa to be pampered and have the full treatment.
Then there was the short walk down the road in New Farm to the little eateries or just calling in for a drink in one of many little bars.
The markets were a hop, skip and a jump from my apartment to the Powerhouse. I'd say most weekends I was out doing something or going somewhere.
Then reality set in.
I'm now in Gladstone and I had a lot to adjust to. I was lucky I arrived on a Saturday and had to start work at HOTFM and SEAFM on the Monday and the staff were absolutely fantastic.
I felt very lucky in that respect.
To be absolutely honest, I didn't like Gladstone at all.
I found every excuse to put this little town down and now, when I look back at this, I know for sure it wasn't Gladstone.
It was my own personal issues that clouded my judgement about this place.
Once that issue stopped, I realised just how lucky I was to be living in this wonderful town.
I've worked at both radio stations and now at The Gladstone Observer and, in the media sector, I've had a lot of laughs, fun and good times during the years.
I've had enormous pleasure participating in a lot of our fair city's community events and I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting many different people from different nationalities, from the young to the elderly.
I have to say, I am privileged to have some really good friends here.
I'm enjoying the many different and beautiful places that are close to Gladstone in all directions that we get to see and visit.
And then there is the weather. How good is it?!
I've learned two lessons: don't let emotions cloud your judgement and don't judge a book by its cover.
Not only is Gladstone a great place to visit, its home. And it is a home I am proud of.