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It was so long ago but yet I still recognise her. In Jan 2005, I shook hands with this tall British lady – a consultant I met on my first real job – 10 years my senior. She was one of my admired individual and I did what I could to emulate her. My vivid memory of the first meeting – confident, smiley and professional. Over the next six months, I discovered more likeable traits and I couldnt help liking her more and more.  Armed with the ability to deal with things in her stride, she broke down problems and developed viable solutions. At the same time, her endless patience and optimism stood strong against demands and tight project timelines. I strove to be like her as much as I could.

Roll forward six years – she still looked nearly the same, we didnt feel as though there was a gap. Still as chatty, smiley and open and honest. Nothing seemed to have changed. Only I did. I havent yet to be like her yet. Still a far cry, the optimism I felt from her was endearingly familiar but the wall I have erected over the years appeared to have filtered off the full effect. Someone once told me, it’s easier to be sad rather than happy. As such, he has been trying to be more engaging and to succeed  in the more challenging task. K looks to have succeeded. Beaming with happiness, she chatted on about everything and the conversation was flowing on throughout the roast duck meal along Gerrad Street.

Stories were exchanged and gaps were filled over the past few years. It felt heart-warming and I could still recall the coffee and toast sessions we had at Harbourfront. She mentioned about the gift I gave to her which I have totally forgotten but I did recall the experience and advice she shared with me when I was still very much a greenhorn. In the past, each time I talked to her, the gloom just lifted and everything looked straightforward and easy to conquer. Except for the evidence of age, K was the same, I observed. Perhaps just maybe, with an additional tinge of steel and optimism, despite life’s obstacles.

Looking forward to spending time with her and her fiance at their countryside house, I conclude with conviction that she has not been my idol in vain.

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