Tuesday, May 20, 2008

From Tropical Island to the Great White North

There are times in each of our lives when drastic change is the only thing that can shake out the cobwebs, reboot the system, and clear the slate from the status quo and mundane routines that we sometimes find ourselves. My close friend, Kevin, is embarking on a journey that will indeed challenge his will, his perceptions, and most definitely his comfort zone. Over six years ago, Kevin initiated the process of applying for immigration status to Canada. In a matter of days, his six year paper chase will be over, but his new life will just be beginning.

For over five years, Kevin and I have built our friendship. It started when Kevin was first hired by my company within our Singapore office and was asked to make a business trip to the US to meet his global teammates. I happened to be based in the US at that time and remember meeting this Asian guy whose accent had the strange lilt of one you might expect to hear in Ireland. Kevin soon corrected me and told me he was Singaporean (Man, was I way off). Little did I know it at the time, but I would later see Kevin again many months down the line when I myself was the strange foreigner just touching down into my new Singaporean home.

Kevin has been my savior and mentor on so many occasions since moving to Singapore. He acted as my cultural and business ambassador as I came up-to-speed with my surroundings and my new job after arriving in Asia. I quickly learned through observation that Kevin is a consummate professional from a business perspective that can formulate trust and partnerships that benefit both parties. I also learned and benefited from Kevin's commitment and loyalty to friendship that has endeared him to many. And of course let's not forget that Kevin is my crooning cohort, who has helped me bring the house down on many a nights while singing Frank Sinatra standards at Karaoke clubs across the region. I'm not the only one that has shared fond, fun, and sometimes embarrassing moments with Kevin; so in order to properly celebrate two momentous occasions at the same time, I decided to throw Kevin an evening with his friends to commemorate not only his 40th birthday, but also his send off to Canada.

It was a great evening of good food, drinks, and friends that came together to send off our man out into the reaches of the Great White North. Kevin is making a huge undertaking by immigrating to Canada. He goes there without an established network of friends, no business contacts, no place to live, and no job. All of these things will have to be created by Kevin upon touching down in Vancouver. These kind of uncertainties would paralyze most people, and I know Kevin himself is apprehensive at times about what this roll of the dice may deliver, but I am confident in Kevin's ability to thrive and conquer his fears and win over the hearts and friendships of those he will soon encounter, just as he has done with so many on this side of the ocean.

The girls made one last valiant effort to persuade Kevin (oh so subtly) to stay in Singapore with them, but the bags have been packed, the tickets have been bought, and the future is on the horizon. All engines are set ahead at full on Kevin's new life chapter as he leaves his diminutive and tropical island home of Singapore behind and looks to thaw out the frozen uncharted tundra of challenges and awaiting opportunities that are in store for him in Canada. Good Luck, eh!


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