Friends made in Canada
Roy     Ian     Dave     Bruce    Graham     Royce and Bea      Sabina     Cheryl     Nic and Leah     Mark and Son
There's my best bud.  We drove across Canada twice together in the same year.  He also flew out to visit me in Calgary last year despite his fear of flying.  Roy loves fishing as you can see on the right.  Our love for the outdoors is what I think drew us together.  Roy is also very easy going and accepting which are two traits I tend to need to get along well with people.  He's the kind of friend who'll do anything for you.  When I cancelled my one year trip abroad after only two months, I called him up from India at what was like two or three in the morning in Canada, to ask him to pick me up at the airport the next day and he did!  When I've been depressed, Roy's been
a silent presence and when I've been angry or rude he's know to let it slide.  That's Bea and her niece out on the bike path in Calgary.  Below is our first trip west with three of my German friends visiting other Canadian and American friends we made in Germany out in Vancouver at a Japanese restaurant.  I met Jackson, the fellow at the top left, in Germany.  He was from Taiwan and we visited a couple of times there when I taught ESL in kaohsiung.  We've met up now in three different countries.  Below is Roy and Al taking Steve out on his first canoe trip at Roy's bachelor party.
Ian and I met at a university retreat.  I remember clearly, as we exchanged e-mail addresses just before leaving the camp, a fellow saying, "You two are better men than me if you actually keep in contact."  That statement is often true of those situations, but not with Ian and I.  We were the first generation of university students to have e-mail, and we used it well.  We've gone years at
a time without seeing each other, but we always get together again when I'm back in the country.  We've been to Christmas camp together, skated the Rideau and had many overseas calls.  Ian is a great encourager!
Dave is one of the most serious outdoorsmen I know.  He's also the one who got the idea stuck in my head to become a teacher.  Dave is currently teaching Physics and IT in China and he has this crazy idea to live out of a tent this fall!  He bought an extra laptop battery to get through the night and a camouflage painted tarp to put over the tent so no one finds it and steals his stuff while he's at school.  He also took Roy and I on our first winter camping adventure that reached -30C on the first night (Dave claims it was only -twenty-sevenC).  Fortunately the next night was only -10C or I was going home!
Ok, Bruce and I are from the same city, we went to the same high school and we graduated from the same university but we met volunteering on a farm in Deering, NH!  I rented a room at his place after returning from the farm and I lived there for two years before going to Germany.  I also volunteered
at a downtown drop-in centre with Bruce and I became the shift leader when he left to work in Florida for awhile.  Bruce is an environmental engineer.  He started his own company so that he could arrange his work schedule to allow him to do volunteer work in countries around the world.  He recently came back from doing a project proposal in Argentina and he's done work and training in Africa and Asia.  Check out his website:  If you're in a place that you feel needs help with their water treatment or could use some of his skills, be sure and look him up!
I met Graham when he was visiting Bruce on the farm in NH.  His dad ran a pig and turkey farm.  I got to feed the turkeys a few times and then one time I helped with putting them in the trucks to be shipped off.  For some reason I forget, you have to chase them down in the barn in the dark!  Graham also used to volunteer at the drop-in centre.  He likes helping find jobs for people and has run his own business a few times.  He's following one of his dreams this fall and he's moving out west.
Royce and Bea
Bea and I met at U of Waterloo back in the day.  We did a crazy trip to the Paluxy river in Texas with Jerry and another friend Vincent(from China) to see some dinosaur and human footprints.  We also volunteered together at a young adult care facility in New Hampshire on a farm.  Later, we both taught at the same ESL cram school in Taiwan which is when Royce and Bea first met.  Royce was leaving for Taiwan to teach ESL at the same time as Bea.  They met each other over e-mail, only at the time, Bea thought that Royce was a girl!  Roy, Cheryl(from Singapore), Bea and I all made a trip to Calgary which is where she flew to Taiwan from and it's there that she first met Royce on a trip to a dinosaur museum.  Now, almost seven years later, Royce and Bea are engaged to be married this fall!  They've also purchased a nice place in Calgary together so be sure to stop in if you're ever in Alberta.  Bea works in human resources at the big gas company of western Canada and she was recently promoted!  She helped me get my meter reading job when I lived there a year ago.  Royce is selling Disc Golf Courses and accessories across Canada.  Congrats to both of you!


Sabina and I met through Royce and our first date was a group country ski trip that ended up being just the two of us.  That's her city boy brother on the right who we managed to get up the mountain with us!
She loves anything in the outdoors:  hiking, biking, skiing, running, sports, she does it all.
She is also one of the most positive and energetic people I've ever met which is probably why she became a teacher.  She taught me a lot about love and about constantly taking a positive attitude towards life.  Sometimes I think that our relationships teach us more about life than anything.  It's ironic that we spend so many years focusing on our education and our intellect.
On the right is the famous Lake Louise and the top right is Roy and Graham's visit to Calgary and my favourite Sunshine blanket.  We had a fun ski trip up and down a beautiful mountain (alpine touring).



Cheryl and I met at Christmas camp, along with another fellow from Oman, Mohammed, for whom I unfortunately don't have any pictures.  We travelled across Ontario, across the country and we did the Appalachians together (including Lake Placid - I never knew it was so close to Ontario).  She is one of the sweetest girls.  You would never guess how rugged she could be in the outdoors.  Unfortunately, as in the top right, her knees always gave her a little trouble on the trails.
She is married now and back in Singapore.  She just had her first child, Jonah, in October!
These were the days of my youth.  They ended at the
time of the above picture on one of my visits home, two weeks before leaving for Germany.  Little did I know that it would be the last time that I would see my dad alive and that two weeks later we would all be back there again for my dad's memorial service.  This is one of the moments in time I always wish I could go back to and change.
Roy, Jerry, Graham, Cheryl and Bea were such a great gang of friends.  We thought we were going to change the world!  I believe we still will, but it's turning out a lot different than anticipated.  It takes a lifetime to learn about love and much wisdom to change the world.


Nic and Leah
Nic is first an organic farmer with big dreams and second a high school science teacher who'll be teaching accounting for his first year to make his farm dreams happen.
His first lady on the right is working towards becoming a nurse and his second lady on the left is helping do what he loves - picking fresh vegetables.
Nic was in my B Ed section and
we did some ice fishing and conoeing together.
The current farm house (right)is a little old as you can see, but Nic plans to build a new farmhouse up on the hill with a beautiful view.  For a cool video about organic farming, check out:
You'll especially love the video if you're a Star Wars fan.
Mark and Son
Mark is from good 'ol Northern Ontario and like Nic, he was also in my B Ed section.  We did our first group presentation in our section together where I got to dress up as the stereotypical Headmaster and discipline all of the students.  While visiting my aunt, Mark and his son took me out one day for a nice bike ride along a beautiful beach.  It was a great sunny day as you can tell from my glasses.  Yeah, stop laughing.  Those are my motorcycle glasses and they do look cool when I'm riding.
Near the beach where we biked, there are also some old aboriginal paintings on a large rock face.  Apparently the paintings were done while sitting in a canoe because the
water goes almost right up to the rock face and it used to be higher back then.  It's actually a bit of a dangerous walk to get out there because the rock ledge is so steep.  They have some ropes to hang onto, but some people have fallen in to their doom in the past.  I'm intrigued by the dinosaur painting.