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It has been ten months. Another goodbye dinner after the day before, this time round it was just a simple dinner with an international party of 13 – all whom I have some regular interaction with. Hailing  from Italy, Singapore, Poland, South Africa, Brazil, Japan, England, Tanzania, Spain and Bangladesh, we chilled out on a relaxing Sunday evening with a delicious meal accompanied by soothing music.

L’s home was at a pleasant area in the west. Looking out of the window, bright lights in the far distance beckoned and produced a warm fuzzy feeling which felt almost like home. The dinner was hosted at L’s home and it was a cosy special farewell occasion specially for T. He was here on a working holiday and his time here was expiring.

I recall the first time I met him – not the typical Japanese, he was quite warm in fact, I would say overly warm only after a couple of interactions that I was taken aback. Sometimes he cracked jokes which I didnt quite understand, probably due to the language barrier as he was still in the learning phase. Many times, he seemed to misinterpret or didnt quite understand what I was trying to explain.

At times, I have to admit embarassedly that I lost my patience and just gave up trying to transfer my message across. The effort was tiring my patience. It was many months later that somehow we were finally conversing. A proper conversation – an exchange of thoughts and I realised we did share many common values and he gave his perspective and afterthoughts upon his duration of stay here – in this foreign land. His purpose to get to know people from all over the world drove him around the world to  understand the culture and embracing them as individuals whilst gathering the diversified values and to him – that’s how he wanted to enrich his life.

Coming from Japan – a traditional country yet among the technology leaders, I did ask him two questions. What has he learnt so far and from here, how was he moving on? His reply to which – he has achieved his purpose to learn the language and with this international tool, managed to immerse himself into this big community which has changed his perespective. And pershaps how he wished his life to move forward, I thought silently.

After the meal, we gathered around in the warm lighting and urged him to speak a few words. Thanking everyone present, he declared he has fulfilled his goals of this initiative and the plans on his cards revealed travel plans to Africa before making a trip to Singapore on another working holiday. He sincerely expressed how he has enjoyed his stay and his desire of course to keep the friendships whom has has forged in the past 22 months.

I must say I was quite touched at this stage, not just this being the second farewell but also at his perseverence on how he had his mind set to enrich his life. His learnings, his thoughts, his goals – all hit at me at that instant. Fully experiencing the chill from the last season of the year as I exited the party, I marvel at how I managed to get here so far. The steps I took – it wasnt easy but the unexpected turn of events have propelled me to the next stage. I seemed to have nearly figured out the source of my restlessness and the frequent lack of enthusiasm and emotions since my return in December.

Presence – How to turn positive energy into success in every situation was a new book I bought two weeks back. This statement by a Hopi(native American) struck a chord in me – : If life is too easy, you derive no joy. As such, they live a nomadic life and move to a new place whenever they felt that things were going too easy for them. Entering into a new phase, the need to erect something tangible for the next one to two years on this English land here seems to be the only cure for now – though keeping focus is yet another story altogether.

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