2008 in Review

So here it is, another landmark year. Every year seems to be so, but for different reasons and each better than the last. This year was no different.

I started last year off having New Years’ in Hong Kong with my new friends, watching fireworks in HK harbour. Within days, I was in Beijing and crossed another item off the “bucket list”. I climbed the Great Wall. It took me forever and hurt like hell, but I did it. My last day in HK was spent packing, shipping and partying. I couldn’t get enough of the place. So much so, I didn’t sleep that night. I checked out of my room, went to the airport, couldn’t get my tai chi sword on board, so it had to stay behind. So, I guess a piece of me will always be in HK (Erin and Daniel: I don’t want to know what you did with it. Just let me have my dream. ) At least I got one sword over the border. That one came in from Texas and I have a hell of a story to go with it. Another day…

One of the most pleasant things to come home to was my brother, Ravi. How he’d changed and improved. I’ve never seen him so happy and so co-operative in my life. I have faith now that he will be able to live on his own. This is something that my parents never thought possible. Now it’s within reach.

I then spent the next seven months at StormFisher Biogas as the IT Specialist. I used much of my knowledge from CAP REIT and as a project manager. I never saw myself in a lead IT role, but I enjoyed it and gained even more knowledge.

The return to the Ted Rogers School of Management in the fall was the first time I’d attended classes there in a year and a half, but it felt natural. Seeing some familiar faces made it easier. This is my last year, so I have to make it count. No more exchanges, no more co-op. Just studies (and some training, hehe).

I was fortunate enough to grade for my second degree black belt in Kobudo in September. Not the best one I’ve ever done, but now I know how NOT to do a grading and will never do it like that again. With any luck, there will be a couple more gradings this year.

Recently, I’ve heard that the greatest and most important journey that you will take in life is the one you take to find yourself. I think I’ve finally done that. I’ve done a lot of soul searching this year and as a result have had the best full time semester in my career. I plan to graduate this year and like I promised my grandmother, by the time I’m 35 with my degree and get a real job!

Where that job will be and in what, I don’t know. But it will be great. With all the new friends I’ve gained, I can go almost anywhere in the world and have someone I know. Since there are so many more friends in far off places and the Christmas card and present list is now so large, I made my shopping this year very easy (procrastination paid off this time). In lieu of gifts this year, I decided to make donations to some worthy causes. In honour of all the friends and family around the world, near and far I have given $50 to each of the charities and causes listed below. I have also given the links to each in case you decide to make one yourself. Best wishes to you all for this year and years to come.

Donations:

Good Neighbours Club (www.goodneighboursclub.com) – Supports for older and homeless men in downtown Toronto. Dad and I have both served on the board and we usually give our old clothing, etc., to them. They also have a partnership with a women’s shelter where they give the women’s clothing they can’t use.

Sea Shepherd (www.seashepherd.org) – Protects animals worldwide, including whales, sharks and seals. This organization is supported greatly by CMAC.

The Toronto Star Santa Claus Fund (www.thestar.com/SantaClausFund/article/558059) – Gives gifts to children who don’t have a Christmas in Toronto.

Surrey Place Centre (www.surreyplace.on.ca) – Provides services to people with developmental disabilities of all ages in Toronto. Dad was on the Board and is on the Finance Committee, Ravi is a client, Shelley and Adrian were on the fundraising committee and my teammates from Ryerson and I are working with their team for our final year project.

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