Joe loves his new home with his heart and Seoul
FIRST impressions are the most lasting, or so the adage goes. Fortunately for Seong-Wook Cho, he didn't evaluate Rockhampton in the blink of an eye.
Originally from Korea, "Joe'' as he is affectionately known (his surname is pronounced that way in his homeland), came to the beef capital to study at Central Queensland University five years ago.
"When I first came here I thought it was such a boring place,'' Joe explained to me as his 21-month-old daughter tripped over my foot.
But more on family matters later.
"I came from Seoul which has 11 million people and everything's open 24 hours,'' Joe continued.
"It was such a big culture shock.''
These days Joe gladly calls Rocky home.
"Now when I go back to Korea I can't stand it at all ? the traffic, the people.
"I love the Rocky lifestyle, it's a positive lifestyle.''
Joe came to Australia to complete his degree, Master of Business Administration, and learn about the Queensland beef industry.
He had intentions of finding work in the industry, promoting Aussie beef in Korea.
Before too long he struck up a friendship with a CQ girl who was also studying at the university.
"It was easier (to feel comfortable here) because I had friends like Jayne,'' Joe said.
However Jayne, a country girl, would later secure a job as a bank manager at Springsure.
When she phoned Joe to give him the news, he suggested they catch up for a few drinks.
"He came over and confessed that he felt more,'' Jayne, who is now Joe's wife, told me.
The pair had announced their engagement on their graduation day, she added.
That was after Joe, working a part-time job as a pizza delivery boy, commuted between Rockhampton and Springsure as often as possible.
"I'd finish work at 10.30pm, get there at 1.30am/2am, sometimes I didn't tell her I was coming,'' he recalled.
Today Joe and Jayne operate a take-away cafe ? Express Subs and Sushi (Yaamba Road) ? which specialises in Japanese and Korean cuisine.
The other major part of their lives is their 21-month-old daughter Claire and son Will, six months.
As I watched Claire happily running around the kitchen, continuously tripping over my feet, I couldn't tell who was happier ? her or Dad.