Trusting Myself Again

I am standing at the top, looking over the side. Pouring rain and strong winds made the water and snow pellets hit my face so hard I thought this was Mother Nature’s cruel way of giving me a free facial. Visibility had dropped to the point where I could barely make out what the terrain was like at my feet.

I remember what it was like last time.
I can’t do this. Continue reading

Learning From Restaurants

West Restaurant Salad

Happy 2014! Hope you all had a wonderful holiday with friends and family. Myself, I’m still scratching my head and wondering where 2013 went.

As I was trying to fall asleep the other night, my mind started to wander towards the upcoming Dine Out Vancouver Festival and my experiences during the same event in the prior year. During that period (I went to roughly ten restaurants in two weeks) some of the restaurant service experiences still stick out in my mind:

I still remember attending WEST with my mother, and never having an empty water glass, nor an empty bread basket because the waiters/waitresses were that attentive to ALL their tables.

I remember dining at BLACK & BLUE where the waiter took me on a guided tour and proudly informed me the third floor patio would be open by the summer of 2012. (I am tempted to think he mistakenly thought I was a journalist on assignment, instead of some poor soul that was dining alone on a weeknight). I also remembered the waiter offering to provide me with more light to read my menu (as the interior was quite dark) but I politely declined; he was essentially offering to use his lighter next to the paper menu.

Last but not least, I fondly remember ORU (Fairmont Pacific Rim) where the waiter wished me a good evening and addressed me by my name. In my opinion I thought that was a very nice touch by the staff: it made me feel like I a restaurant regular, instead of someone dining there for the very first time.

How do restaurant experiences relate to public speaking? Continue reading

Holiday Hero

It is early Saturday afternoon and I find myself at the mall to do some Christmas shopping, just like the thousands of people that are already there. I make my way to my favourite coffee spot (because I have a coupon in hand, and in dire need of coffee). There are only two people in front of me in the lineup: the person ordering, plus one gentleman behind them. While I am waiting, another person lines up behind me. There are now four people in the lineup. A few seconds later, another lady makes her way over to the lineup, grumbling the entire time:

What a long lineup, this is ridiculous! They should really open up some more cashiers, now I’m going to have to wait to get my coffee. I’d better get a discount for this.

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Thankful For…

Big Ben and the Underground sign.

Big Ben and the Underground sign.

The other week I came back from a two week trip to the United Kingdom. More specifically, I went to England to visit family and visit the country for the very first time. I do plan to go into a more detailed post about my trip at a later date, but during this (Canadian) Thanksgiving long weekend, I feel a deeper feeling of thanks.

I feel blessed for my extended family across the Atlantic Ocean:

  • Whom calmly understood my travel sickness as I tried (unsuccessfully) to deal with the winding roads, and driving on the “wrong” side.
  • To my Aunt and Uncle whom let me stay with them without a moment’s hesitation, and welcomed me with open arms even when we have not seen each other in over ten years.
  • To my cousin and his girlfriend-now-fiance, whom did the same when I visited them in London.
  • To my cousin’s fiance, whom spent an evening adding to her (already impressive) knowledge of our family tree; I am thrilled to hear she will soon become a member of the family!
  • To my Aunt, Uncle and cousins, whom willingly gave up all their free time to play tourist with me (before having to go back to work the next day).
  • To my extended family, whom asked me not to wait too long before coming to visit them again…after I had worn out my welcome.
  • To my cousin, whom (like me), is not quite a morning person, but on her own accord set her alarm so she could be awake in the wee hours of the morning to give me a hug goodbye before I left for the airport.

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my family: the ones I get to see every day, and the ones that are spread out all across the globe.

The Doctor

Many years ago, a young man was set. All his life he had wanted to become a doctor. He took the necessary entrance exams. He passed!

Then, tragedy struck.

His father’s business went under and they had to declare bankruptcy. His dreams were dashed; his older brother was still in University and his younger siblings were still in high school. Life was still turning, bills needed to be paid.

He took a job at the local bank. Days turned into a routine. At least once a month, he would suffer severe stomach pains that left him next to immobile. And as per company policy, he had to go and see the bank doctor (whom looked after all the bank employees) to obtain the doctor’s note and claim the sick day.

Several visits passed before the doctor finally spoke up and asked, “why are you always suffering from stomach pains quite regularly? Is something bothering you?”

Unable to hold it back any longer, the young man told him everything. His joy over being accepted into medical school. His ultimate frustration having to give everything up after working so hard to pass the entrance exams. He wanted nothing more than to be a doctor, and now his dream was gone.

The doctor and his wife adopted this young man as their godson. When he entered into medical school, the couple paid for his room and board, his tuition, and even gave him a monthly spending allowance. They didn’t have to do it, nobody begged them, in that one instant the doctor had looked on that young man and decided he would be a great doctor, and he had the power to remove that last snag. That same young man went to have a long and healthy career as a much loved doctor.

It’s a funny thing, how some things in life work out. Without having worked at that bank, without having suffered those regular stomach pains (likely a result of stress and frustration)…he would have likely had a very different life.

“Everything works out in the end. if it hasn’t worked out yet, then it’s not the end.”

There’s Always Tomorrow?

It is early in the morning. Still in my PJ’s, coffee in hand, I switch on the TV and decide it is time to catch up on some news. Within seconds I find myself watching a fire erupt from the Lac-Mégantic derailment in Quebec. Even from my tiny TV screen, I knew the flames were huge.

Courtesy of Anne-Julie Hallee/YouTube and the UK Daily Mail.

Courtesy of Anne-Julie Hallee/YouTube and the UK Daily Mail.

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A couple of months ago a fellow Toastmaster asked me an interesting question. She asked me where I got my sense of humour from, my mother or father? Without hesitation I answered: mom. That surprised her. Everyone else she had asked had all answered with their fathers. I was the only one that answered differently. Continue reading