I suck at small talk. Seriously, get past the weather, and maybe the latest news story, and I can’t think of anything to say. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that nothing comes to mind. If you’re a sports fan, then there’s a chance I can keep the conversation going for a few more minutes, but it’s always destined to wither. Which is sad really, because we all have something interesting to say, but bringing it all up in a “small talk” situation is often difficult. That’s what’s so great about blogs, I don’t need to talk about the weather, politics, of what restaurant serves the best burger. I can just say what I want to say!

So, what to say…? Well, I love learning about people, and culture. When I travel, it’s not to see the sights as much as it is to meet and learn about the people. Since I can’t learn about you here, I am going to tell you some things about me, some things you probably didn’t know, and some things that make me an individual. Some good, some bad, some happy, some sad. But they all make me ME. If you are still reading, I am going to assume you are still interested, and/or you care. Thanks!

1. I’ve hitchhiked across Canada… in January! OMG the cold!!! I left London, ON on Jan.4, 1991, and arrived in Vancouver 5 days later, in a heavy snow storm. I wasn’t impressed! I had always wanted to see Vancouver so I thought it a good idea to come out here for 6-12 months, make some money, and move back to Ontario. That was 21 years ago.

2. I was a homeless person. Seriously. From the summer of 1990 to Jan. 1991 I didn’t have a home. It was totally my own fault and I was far too embarrassed to ask for help. Trust me, pride had nothing to do with it. I slept in an old car behind a garage, and did a few odd jobs for food money. I never begged for money, except one time I needed a quarter to ride the bus to a job interview. (To this day I have a very difficult time asking for money, even if it’s owed to me)  I remember one time I hadn’t eaten for 3 days when I found a half a bag of popcorn outside of a cinema in Waterloo. That was one of my better days that year. Like I said, that experience made me who I am today. And I know the value of a dollar.

3. I have taken a swim in 3 of the world’s ocean. And I have stepped foot on 3 continents, plus Oceania. 4 more continents, but only 2 more oceans to go, and I will swim in them before I die. I just hope that it’s not the last thing I do…

4. When I was 15ish I was at a church camp, and we had to make a list of goals. I wasn’t terribly keen on the importance of goals, so things like money, family, or a career weren’t on that list. At the time  goals meant dreams, and I didn’t really put much stock in them, thinking them unreachable. Most wqere fantastic or unreasonable (I don’t think I’ll get to walk on the moon) but the top three things on that list have been accomplished! 1. See Vancouver, 2. Learn to Scuba dive, 3. See the Taj Mahal! If you knew the simplicity of my childhood, you would understand how dreamy those goals were. Number 4 was to write a book… I’m sorta working on that. 5 was to be a professional baseball or hockey players. I don’t think I’ll achieve that one.

5. Something I have always wanted to do since I was a small child was to see the Olympics. More specifically, I wanted to see Canada win a gold medal at the Olympics. I was lucky enough to enjoy that privilege when I was able to watch the Canadian women’s hockey team beat the Americans 2-0 at the 2010 Winter Games. The best part was that I was with my family, and my girls got to see something at 6 and 2 that it took me 42 years to see. That was really cool!

6. I grew up in a very “hick” part of the world. As children we knew very little of the world, and I don’t think I saw a non-Caucasian person up close until I was in high-school. On top of that I don’t ever interacted with an Oriental person until I was in university. It was just the time and place I grew up in. Yet, I ended up marrying a girl who was born in India and raised in the Middle East. Two of my best friends growing up married girls from Iran and Argentina. That may not seem like a big deal these days, but I still look back at where I was 30 years ago and think that’s pretty darn amazing.

7. I grew up in a foster home. From the age of 6 until the age of 13 my brother and I were sheltered and fed by a foster family. 6 years were spent on a farm, doing a lot of farm work, growing corn and soy beans, and raising pigs and chickens. To this day I hate working in a field.

8. I’ve been shot. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

There is more, of course. All of us have stories that would impress others. It makes us who we are. Now, I would love to hear a story from you. I have opened my book of life to you, and would love to see a page or two of yours.