217/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. About two or so decades ago, being not sport-minded, not uber-masculine, not a beer drinker, not publicly making moves on the ladies, basically not being very male, I found it tough to make friendships with other guys. Actually, let me correct that – I wouldn’t allow myself to make friendships with other guys as I thought I’d be rejected. I kept more to myself and would make the casual and superficial small-talk and leave it at that. Fast forward a couple of years to Burnett Secondary where I met Rob – Robin Thicke look-alike. Rob was a substitute English teacher and the casual chat at the lunch table started but given that there was more time and no where for me to go, I got to talking with Rob and found that he was nothing like what I thought he should be. He was a very nice guy – kind, caring and just laid back. Somehow a friendship developed and we started hanging out and he introduced me to a few new friends. One spring break, he asked if I wanted to go to Vegas with his group of friends (who I had never met) and not one to shy away from anything, I said yes and had an amazing time. I got to know his parents, his sister and some other cool friends as well as a few girlfriends (one being a common friend) and he got to know my wife and a few new colleagues. We hung out regularly, had beers, went shopping for clothes, hung out with people – basically, we had a bromance before the term was even, ever invented LOL. Rob got a job at an international school which allowed him to travel all over the world, meet his wife, and have two sons. Both my wife and I were fortunate enough to travel to Egypt because Rob was there and stay with him – not even a destination on our horizon but Rob made it a reality. In fact, I was supposed to go to visit him in Russia in a few weeks but because of injuries, visa delays and the like, that won’t happen but for him to open up his home to me yet again, what an amazing guy. Yes, Rob, you were my first true guy friend – I remember telling you that and you definitely set the bar high but I totally appreciate your friendship and advice over the years. Have an awesome birthday today and I look forward to seeing you again next time you are in Vancouver!