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Written by Aaron Brigatti  
Sunday, 09 December 2007

Well it's coming to the end of 2007, so here's my annual Christmas Letter which I sent out to a fair number of friends and folks.  Enjoy.

"Greetings,

Well 2007 started as a year with mixed expectations, some unknowns, some goals / targets, and in the end – well mixed too, and by March – I got a huge surprise to really confuse matters.

Work:
I joined AXP in Sept 2003, so now have been here over 4 years, with 3 of them being in my current team, Global Network Services (GNS).

There have been a few plus points over the last 12 months, namely in March being offered a chance to take up a work secondment with Alpha Bank Greece – based in Athens for 3 months between March to late-June 2007.

I’ve always been attempting to position myself for the next level, after a period of time where I feel I have shown my abilities and skills required to be at that position, and I felt this secondment could give me a clear indication whether I was up for the task or not. After all, they wouldn’t offer it to someone not deemed to be ready, or would they?

Alas, I am not the ones in control regarding the direction in my team, even though I attempted to control my destiny for when I returned, nothing was guaranteed, so I still feel that if I really want to get to that position it would have to be in another team. There’s always the Tech option again, and maybe some other options outside of GNS.

I’ve had a few other non-AXP opportunities this year, unfortunately, nothing that really turned to anything, but I definitely have a feeling that something will happen quite soon!

Greek Secondment:
During the 3months I was based in Athens – noting that I stayed in the Hilton Athens for the duration of the trip – I definitely manage to make the most of the secondment – work-related, building a good working relationship with a fair number of the folks based in the Partner bank.

I was able to take advantage of being in Athens, by visiting a number of the several thousands of islands that litter the Greek seas. I managed to visit 7 of them in total – over the various weekends I remained in Greece. I visited Poros, Hydra and Aegina, Skiathos, Santorini, Syros, and Sifnos. My favourite, well I actually really enjoyed Stros and Sifnos, but I must say I thoroughly enjoyed Santorini. There were just the charms about the place that made it special, and I got to know one of the Tavena owner’s quite well.

Social-Life:
I am also finally joined facebook about 3 months ago, after not really realising the true benefits of the social site.

I’ve found it amazing, and manage to get in contact with a number of school, college, university and work colleagues who I thought I’d lost contact. If you haven’t joined, it’s really worthwhile!  It’s great getting back into the contact with so many of you, and I feel 2008 is going to be year full of catch-ups and reunions to really reap the benefits of our renewed contact! Amazing.

Whilst in Greece, I also took advantage of the fabulous experiences in and around Athens, and managed to acquaint myself with a great native lady-friend, whom I’ve kept in contact since returning back to the UK. Luckily, I’ve managed to experience some further trips outwards to Greece, of course catching up with her – expecting this to continue until at least April next year.

I always wanted to go back to Egypt, and managed to do in style this year. I took a 2-week holiday to Cairo and down (or is it up) the Nile along a River Cruise Ship. Amazing stuff – really fun and enjoyable and managed to take all of the sights and sounds in. Then again, with such a busy schedule, I came back wanting another break!

Family:
Well, my brother has finally moved in with his girl-friend in Crawley, so still very local to the rest of the family – he also changed jobs a few months ago, in the Sales and Marketing teams of Edwards Vacuums (formerly part of the BOC group).

My father is trying to enjoy his retirement – but still finding it tough going at times, he probably needs to get a dog or something (don’t ask!)?

My mother is looking forward to retirement, with the magic year coming up in 2008 – it’s now a question of March or October – dependent on what seems better. NHS is in such a complicated situation at the moment, with the threat of closure remaining over the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath – which consequently hits morale in all aspects! I’m an avid believer and follower in the Support the PRH campaign.

I didn’t managed to visit Hong Kong or Milan, Italy this year, but hopefully will do so in 2008, where I’ve been saving my holiday days for maybe a month-off somewhere nice!  Then again, my aunt and cousin did visit from Hong Kong about 3-4 weeks back - so it wasn't all bad!

I think the only aspect which I personally fell short in 2007, is finding my own place. It’s a bit of a daft rationale, but I was waiting for the market to “adjust” with more places coming onto the market, allowing me to choose a nice place at a price I could afford. But it’s a stupid waiting game with the classic paradox of the supply and demand model. With the HIPS coming in, and the dire ‘Credit-Crunch’ situation, I am also expecting Q1 2008 being the best-time for me to make a significant investment – if my prediction of the housing market works out to be true.

Then again, it leads me back to my employment position, if I stay in Brighton, it makes sense to find somewhere in the City, if I turn out to find something in London, then who knows?

In closure, it’s been a topsy-turvey year, there have been plenty of highs, a few areas of uncertainty, and annoyances, but I think I’m on the right track onwards and upwards into 2008 and beyond.

Keep visiting www.brigatti.co.uk to keep in touch and find out my latest adventures!

Many best wishes for the festive season and I hope you’ll all have a prosperous 2008! :o)"

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