New Hampshire: Conclusion

Thumbnail: Three drinks
Thumbnail: My clam appetizer
Thumbnail: Jazz night
Thumbnail: Scallop entree
Thumbnail: Tuna sushi
Thumbnail: Chinese food
Thumbnail: Pecan pie
Thumbnail: Guinness in a bottle
Thumbnail: Bath feets
Thumbnail: Fire hydrant
Thumbnail: Frozen river
Thumbnail: Fungus
Thumbnail: Cosmo horoscope
Thumbnail: Live free or die license plate
Thumbnail: The bed in my room

What an over­whelm­ing expe­ri­ence.

There was bare­ly any time to explore; we took one walk and pret­ty much stayed with­in a 10km radius. Too much read­ing, test­ing, and meet­ing to do any­thing else. It felt like the time went fly­ing by, yet dragged on, the longer I was from home.

There’s some­thing about being away. Being iso­lat­ed from your rou­tine and every­thing that’s famil­iar. It’s a dif­fer­ent set of stim­uli.

As an intro­vert, you fall back on mem­o­ries and past expe­ri­ences, and it dri­ves reflec­tion and re-eval­u­a­tion.

I’d be lying if I said that it did­n’t affect me. I learned more about myself in the last two weeks than I did in the last year, and I’ll be writ­ing about it for weeks, if not months.

A Change of Personalities

It was the peo­ple who had the most impact on me. There were the ones in my lit­tle clique, a group of client spe­cial­ists in train­ing. All con­fi­dent, extro­vert­ed, empa­thet­ic peo­ple. There was much to admire in them.

Then there was the upper ech­e­lon. Vice-pres­i­dents, lab pres­i­dents, big-wigs who spoke with weight in their words. You thank them for tak­ing you to din­ner, and they thank you in turn by telling you that your com­pa­ny was a plea­sure. It was inspir­ing to observe how effort­less­ly they car­ry them­selves with grace and charis­ma.

There was one in par­tic­u­lar, the nation­al sales man­ag­er, a true gen­tle­man about 60, who real­ly stood out. At first, he was the most intim­i­dat­ing per­son there; one of those exec­u­tives whose time is worth gold. His wingtips were always pol­ished to the point of reflec­tion (“you have to sell your­self before you can sell your prod­uct”, he would say).

During his full-day lec­ture he kept giv­ing me props and high-fives when I answered his ques­tions.

What kind of busi­ness are we in, Jeff?”

An annu­ity busi­ness.”

BINGO!”, and he’d put his fist out for me to tap.

Maybe it was because I was by far the youngest in the class. He had the abil­i­ty con­nect with any­one, regard­less of their age, expe­ri­ence, or sta­tus. He did­n’t just teach us about per­son­al empa­thy, he lived it. At the very end, I had the plea­sure of a lit­tle one-on-one time with him.


The nicest thing that any­one said to me was that I should go into sales.

He felt that I had the out­go­ing, con­fi­dent per­son­al­i­ty and empa­thy that’s required. Little did he know that it was the per­sona I adapt­ed around the group.

He also did­n’t know that it’s some­thing that it drains me rather quick­ly, but it was nice of him to say so.

Another per­son saw my pho­tos in my screen saver and said that my can­did shots cap­tured quin­tes­sen­tial moments and emo­tions. Then he start­ed telling oth­er peo­ple about them and show­ing them off, which was espe­cial­ly com­pli­men­ta­ry. I inspired him to take up pho­tog­ra­phy, he said, so I gave him a small course on the basics.

A New Friend

There was one per­son, more than 15 years my senior, with whom I got along espe­cial­ly well, to the point where we were shar­ing old sto­ries and con­fi­dences. Part of it was the fact that I could make him laugh. Humor is usu­al­ly how I relate to peo­ple. While we were wait­ing at the air­port, he thought some­thing I said was so fun­ny that he had to call his friend to tell him right there before he for­got it. He had the con­fi­dent, peo­ple-per­son ener­gy, and I drew from that. It was only when we trad­ed per­son­al con­tact info before leav­ing that I felt as if my trip was com­plete.

Misplaced Luggage

My suit­case was nowhere to be found on the lug­gage belt at the air­port on the way back. I was rerout­ed because of a bunch of air traf­fic delays, and the suit­case was mis­placed in the process, although they found and deliv­ered it yes­ter­day. My favourite dress-shirts and sweaters were in there, and I was com­plete­ly depressed when I thought they were lost.

I nev­er real­ized how emo­tion­al­ly attached I was to my clothes.

I had a ton of stuff packed in that suit­case — includ­ing a beau­ti­ful cK toi­letries bag that was giv­en to me as a gift, and the per­fect DKNY groom­ing kit I haven’t seen since pur­chas­ing it — but I did­n’t care about any­thing else except the shirts and sweaters. It’s frus­trat­ing­ly dif­fi­cult for me to find ones that fit my style and frame. And when you dress based on mood, los­ing part of your clothes is like for­get­ting your favourite mem­o­ries.


  1. As usu­al, the pics look awe­some bro.

  2. Ohhhhhhmy stom­ach is growl­ing over the clams and scal­lops, and I love the round pond. Pecan pie is trea­cle tart, with inex­plic­a­ble addi­tion of nuts.

    I under­stand the shirt prob­lem. Every guy I’ve been with has had that same prob­lem. American clothes (and prob­a­bly Canadian too) are all cut too wide and blocky. Clothes in Asia fit so much nicer, made for your dif­fer­ent frame. Take a vaca­tion in Hong Kong soon! buy every­thing!

    Sales and per­son­al­i­ty — isn’t it odd? It’s a spe­cial breed who can do that. I was told I’d be good too, but I was scold­ed for being too cre­ative… hehe. I’m glad I did­n’t con­tin­ue. It’s tough and felt rather fake too.

    I’m across the page from you on the cos­mo.….

  3. The shirt prob­lem is def­i­nite­ly a Canadian thing too. In Hong Kong, I was a fit­ting larg­er (medi­um, instead of small). I still fit most smalls in Canada, but extra-small is bet­ter. Unfortunately, Banana Republic (my favourite store), has dress-shirt smalls that are still too big, so I can only buy sweaters and ties from there.

    Sales def­i­nite­ly requires a cer­tain type. Not an easy job. I would­n’t call it being fake though, I’d con­sid­er it as putting aside your­self for the cus­tomer. Being cre­ative isn’t a problem…I think it just depends on the com­pa­ny, and I would­n’t want to work for one that sti­fled cre­ativ­i­ty.

    And I can’t tell if those Cosmo horo­scopes are for women or their men.

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