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The 50! – Sam’s 50 most memorable experiences of 2012!

Top 50 - 2

End of a year long project and what a year it was! – Here are my 50 most memorable moments of 2012!

2012 has been an amazing year with the 50/50-2012. I would have never thought that I would be writing let alone having so many blog posts…well even never thought I would be a blogger. Right from Jan 1st, to Dec 31st, my eye has been on the extraordinary in the ordinary. I hope you enjoy my list and I am now thinking about 2013 and the adventures ahead.

I did this journey for two reasons. One was to reflect and appreciate all that came to me in 2012 as I turned 50 years old. The other reason was to show that everyone can discover stories and capture the important and meaningful things in life. If I can find so many highlights, what can you discover?!

The top 50 memorable experiences listed have some order at the outset but then again, they were all meaningful in some way or another and some are grouped together. I think each person will pull something different from each story.

1) Feb 23 – 1 down 49 to go – I think the blog post said it all – This was about the birth of my second son Sahil – to have a new person in my life who will be with me has to be a rich experience. To also see him grow throughout the year. This had to be a list topper because I have enjoyed him throughout the year.

2) Dec 19 – Diamond Jubilee and golden testimonials – I was presented with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and it was a humbling experience. I had so much appreciation and gratitude this day for all who are part of my life and are part of this medal. While the medal is a great acknowledgement, the 10 pages of testimonials from my students/alumni were gold!

3) Jan 1 – The adventure begins – to actually start blogging and beginning this journey for a year. At this time, I had no idea what the path was going to be and that I would have over 100 blog posts in one year. I never thought of myself as a writer but had appreciation from many on the conversational writing style and many posts providing comfort and inspiration. I also dedicated this blog to Will as he pulled all this together on his own time so that I could capture this year and memories…will always be thankful of Will.

4) Dec 17 – My blog, a hacker and the positive outcome. On Nov 13th, a hacker went in and killed my blog. I woke up and it was destroyed. At first I was devastated and disappointed because of all the work that I had done. After a couple of hours I started pulling my blog posts together in word and into one central document and realized that I now had 94 pages and 40,000 words – I now have an instant book that I will explore in 2013. While Jan 1st the journey began, in Nov 13th someone tried to end it but I was not going to let them have that satisfaction.

5) May 19 – Rick Hansen Relay – 1 of 7,000 stories to tell – I got an opportunity to be a part of the Rick Hansen Relay and carry the medal that 6999 other Canadians got to do and be considered a ‘Difference Maker’. The 7,000 participants each had stories to share and got to carry the medal across Canada. This one was dedicated to my father, who is a paraplegic.

6) Feb 11 – The longest 43.60 seconds of my life – was about going to Whistler and going down the bobsleigh run. It was exhilarating and a thrilling ride where I got to 124 km/hr and 3G’s (no seatbelts and to only hold cables was an interesting experience). Working on the 2010 Bid Committee, this had purpose and meaning..

7) Oct 2 – A tradition…create one or be in one?…how about be one! – This post was about the realization that we often work our way into a tradition. How about create one. With this, I purchased two military swords and will provide it to each of my son’s to carry on my tradition.

8) Oct 28 – A journey to China and Singapore – there were a series of blog posts on this that I will list but to go on a journey with my very good friend Gord was epic to say the least. To be able to say that I paid $111 for my ticket to China and Singapore was a highlight and not many can say that they got to travel on such a budget ? There were many memorable experiences on this trip.

9) Oct 29 – Storming the Great Wall of China – Ever since I was a child, I have wanted to see the Great Wall of China. This one was special as I not only got to see the Great Wall of China in a touristy part, but we also got to do something that not a lot of people have been able to do and that was to sleep in tents in a remote part. We had to climb a trail for about a km with our backpacks. The experience was not comfortable, I did not get a great sleep but when I woke up in the morning, we got an amazing view…and I would not trade this experience. Got to be in the midst of history

10) Dec 21 – Lost warriors and blog post – This post related to the China trip but was missed in my posts. I heard about the Terracotta Warriors years ago and if I ever made it to China, I had to see this historical site. Our guide Julie (now a life long friend), took us and we got to see history being discovered because this heritage site is still an active site. Very impressive!

11) Oct 30 – Bland over Glam any day – One of the unexpected highlights for me on this China trip was visiting the ancient city of Ping Yao. Outside the city walls was the bustling city of Ping Yao but they protected the inner city and for that I am thankful. What was also memorable was sleeping in a 17th century manor house of a noble, it was restored and traditional. We had the courtyards and period room designs/furniture…our favorite place to stay!

12) Oct 31 – An abundance of Blessings in Singapore – while visiting Singapore, I went into the Sacred Buddha Tooth temple and was blessed three separate times by monks. The senior monk happened to be walking past me and as I bowed to him, he touched my head and it was a spiritual moment

13) Nov 2 – Expanding the relationships to new boundaries – Part of the trip to Singapore and China was to do an alumni social in Singapore. We all gathered together as SFU and had a lovely get together where there were about 40 people. There were some of my close alumni like Zaya, Mila, Alan and Richard to name a few that we got to meet. It is an enjoyable evening and I have made new friends in Singapore.

14) July 18 – A star is born and it is named Sam – One of the most creative and thoughtful gifts I have ever received was from my friend Jo in England. She had a star named after me and provided me all the documentation and the charts to find it…this was very thoughtful and greatly appreciated.

15) Aug 31 – Life is a grind – one step at a time – for many years I had wanted to attempt and do the Grouse Grind in North Vancouver. This is like doing an outdoor stairmaster and is quite a challenge. It was difficult and I did accomplish this in 1 ½ hours (which is not a bad time) and the feeling of accomplishment was significant…one more thing off my list ?

16) Nov 7 – Family matters – my niece Kelly got engaged to Sean. This one was close and the wedding is planned for Aug 2014. While I have known Kelly since birth, Sean has been a real pleasure to get to know and has become part of our family.

17) April 14 – A new adventure, journey and calling – Today a step in a new direction after 8 years – After spending 8 years in student engagement, it is time to move on. I was passionate and poured my heart and soul into the position but it was time to move on to a new challenge of building the undergraduate alumni engagement piece

18) Feb 11 – Time out/ walk away and don’t look back – Feb 11th was when I walked out of SFU for parental leave but also from my student engagement job. It was a challenge at this time because I felt like I was leaving my post, until I had my intervention in late January with Rick Antonson from Tourism Vancouver and he made me realize that I could move forward.

19) Jan 25 – Intervention secured – Dinner with Rick Antonson from Tourism Vancouver was supposed to be a catch up but quickly became an intervention where I needed some words of comfort on leaving my position and transitioning to another. Rick put it best by saying: “Stop admiring your house of student engagement and go out and build a new house.” That is all it took – thank you Rick!

20) June 4 – Ready Set Go…translation – Vision, Build and Implement the Alumni CODE – After starting to work in alumni engagement, I realized very early that I needed to build a foundation to work from and came up with CODE – Connections, Opportunity, Development and Engagement. This is what I am using now to implement our alumni program.

21) Mar 25 – Are you a dreamer or a doer? – I am co-authoring a book with Adam Cotterall and we both attended a book writing workshop. At the outset, the presenter asked if we are dreamers or doers…the world is full of dreamers but we need more doers. My thought is that we need to be both. This year is about putting thought and action to this book

22) Apr 7 – Turning words into a book…a year long adventure – now taking the time and effort to make this into a reality. The idea was to complete the book before the end of the year; however, we did not want to compromise quality over timeline so we have extended it to 2013. Work is being done on it but it is not going to be realized in 2012. I feel that there has been a lot of quality work put into this and the feedback has been positive.

23) Oh Canada – reaffirm my citizenship oath today – I was asked to sit on a panel for new Canadians who were going to become new Canadians. Following this part, I attended the citizenship ceremony and the judge had the new Canadians take the oath and turned to us and said we can reaffirm our citizenship…I became a citizen when I was young and never took the oath so I took the opportunity to reaffirm it.

24) Nov 8 – Understanding the word sacrifice a bit better – While being recognized for my work with the RCMP and the North Shore Crime Prevention Society, I sat there and was reflecting on the word ‘sacrifice’. There are two versions of sacrifice. Sacrifice of time is what I do and help the community. Sacrifice of life is what the RCMP officers do when they react to a dangerous situation.

25) Nov 7 – Governexx – I share therefore I am – I was asked to do a Pecha Kucha presentation which is where you get to provide your message over 20 slides and each slide for 20 seconds. This was an amazing opportunity to try my hand at a different sort of presentation. The audience were young federal government employees and it was about how to be unique in your position

26) Sept 23 – Spending a day with TED – attending the 2nd ever, TEDxSFU and hearing inspirational speakers and stories. I had some favorites like Riaz Meghji from Breakfast Television and Mark Brand from Save on Meats. It is always an inspiring day.

27) June 30 – Turning 50 years old…a quiet celebration – actually turning 50 years old and reflecting on the last 50 years. It was on this day that in 199 Derby Road, Southampton, England that I took my first breath and today was a day to reflect on my life and the journey

28) July 1 – Having a full house and heart – having a party and the company of many people in my life. It was about sharing the time with those who have been a part of my life. It was not about celebrating me but the time we have spent together

29) July 4 – A room full of greatness – again my heart if full– the celebration continues and a function to celebrate with my students/alumni and friends at Malones. It was a lovely evening with about 120 people and we were able to collect enough for 2 ½ scholarship for Education Generation

30) Dec 4 – Last trip of the year…and it is Thailand – My last trip of the year and I ventured to Bangkok with 4 of my students for the IIBD competition. Our team did very well and came in 2nd over all. It was a nice way to end the academic year with this opportunity

31) Dec 6 – New friends in Bangkok – ‘suits’ me just fine – while in Bangkok, have always wanted to get a suit made and did manage to get one made that is a Nehru style. Unique and now I have something to wear at formal events that is different – first opportunity was at the Diamond Jubilee medal ceremony

32) April 14 – The origin of a smile discovered – While getting ready for work and got to see Sahiil’s first ever smile in his life. There are many more to come but the first is memorable. To be there for something that is so important in life.

33) Dec 25 – Christmas …the best gift is something you already have and need to return – Every year I go to the North Shore Neighborhood House on Christmas Day and help serve lunch to the homeless, single parents, low income seniors and new immigrants. When asked why, my only answer was: “so I can serve”

34) Aug 16 – Getting reflective – what does the mirror say – At the outset, I said that while I will have positive memorable experiences, I was fully prepared for some that were not so positive and in 2012, I had 8 people pass away. Part of living is to die; however, it is what you do with your time that is most important

35) July 17 – The worst sneeze ever – I had my back go out and I was sitting at about 8 out of 10 on the pain scale and then I sneezed and it went to 9.5 and I could not even walk and the pain was intense. This carries forward from the last post on the scale tipping at times in the negative. I think it is important to acknowledge this as while it was not positive, it was something I will not forget.

36) May 12 – At SIFE Simon Fraser, we dare to do…and they did – I went to Calgary with about 26 of my students to the SIFE Nationals. I worked with Kyle to coach the team and then sat there to watch them do an amazing job and we almost cracked the top 5 teams in Canada…for now I will settle for 6th.

37) Mar 31 – Sam and Fred’s bacon adventure – This post was about spending breakfast together with Fred and we had our bacon adventure at the Tomahawk Restaurant and this is an establishment. We both are bacon consumers and this was a great spot to enjoy each others company

38) Feb 9 – A celebrity moment – I have had the honour and privilege of calling Riaz Meghji from Breakfast Television a close friend. We have been able to get together a few times in 2012 and I always enjoy his company as we reflect on life

39) Dec 27 – Mirror moment – sharing with Sherwin and seeing me 15 years ago – Had a few catch ups with my good friend Sherwin but today I got to reflect and see what I was like 15 years ago. He wants to be more involved and it is where I was in my life.

40) Jan 30 – Starting out with $2.00 – I found my first ever bank book and on July 13, 1968 I had an entry of $2.00. Folks, this is where I started out financially with just $2.00. It made me realize that we all start from somewhere whether it is financially, personally and professionally

41) Jan 8 – SFU Ice Hockey…who knew – I had never been to an SFU varsity sport match so when I was approached about attending an SFU ice hockey match, my first reaction was, “we have an ice hockey team?” I attended and had a great time seeing SFU beat UBC in a friendly tournament

42) June 29 – Getting a Legge up on no ordinary Joe – I had the pleasure of hearing Joe Segal speak a couple of days before I turned 50. One of the most profound things he said sits with me as he talked about turning 50 and how we feel this is half life. Reality is that I will likely be here till I am 80 and if that is the case, I have reached 5/8’s of my life and have 3/8’s left…what am I going to do with the remaining 3/8’s?

43) June 17 – Happily after ever begins here – I got to attend the wedding of Shawn and Eileen and it was one of the most beautiful weddings I have been to because while it rained, no one rushed it and it was a gathering of some of my closest alumni. I also got to share an evening with a close friend Jane.

44) Mar 23 – Seeing more at Seymour – I took two months parental leave while Sahil was born and dedicated my time to Ishaan so he would not feel jealous. The benefit is that I got to do some fun things like tobogganing with Ishaan at Seymour Mountain on a beautiful snowy day.

45) May 23 – Seeing real life Avengers…and they are everywhere – As mentioned earlier, I got to be a part of the Rick Hansen relay and supported my friend Riaz. I also attended the evening gala event and saw amazing Canadian talent. What I appreciated was that many of the guests who are real heroes were in wheel chairs, rolling beds, guide dogs etc…they never give up!

46) July 13 – I think I know too many people – ask me if I care…of course I do! – This post was a glimpse into a day in my life where I get to see and meet so many wonderful people. The post was to remind us to make sure we have those meaningful conversations with each other.

47) Sept 30 – My job involves doing what? – I enjoyed going on a hike in North Vancouver with alumni and friends. While it was a wonderful day with some wonderful people, technically I was working…I enjoy what I get to do! Thanks to Brent S for organizing this…great friend and alumni.

48) Dec 27 – The people I did not meet – there were a number of people that I tried to meet and tried to connect through email or by letter. While I realize people were busy, I did not think this one would be difficult but understand that people are busy. I did manage to get a personal letter from the office of Prince Charles and a hand signed note from Justin Trudeau…the gesture was appreciated

49) Dec 31 – The people I did meet– OK, technically this was not a blog post but there were too many people to consider and put out separately so I will acknowledge those who have been part of this year – Rick A, Riaz M, Meghan D, Jillian W, Sonam S, Brent S, Fred B, Sherwin C ,G, Julia, SIFE team (now Enactus), CaseIT organizers, my students, my alumni,

50) Dec 31 – Wrapping up the year…and what I year it was! – This last post is to say that it has been a real pleasure and delight to reflect on this year. There have been many memories and people that I have greatly appreciated. Last year this was only a vision and we are now at the conclusion. On wards to 2013. The finish of one is the start of another!

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  1. Sam,
    Very, very beautiful… a gem on each day. You live each day while many of us just have a life.

    • Sam

      It is only as beautiful as the people I surround myself with Bhai. It was a great year to capture and these memories will stay with me. Would have been great to catch up but lets try for 2013. Look forward to the journey of 2013.

  2. Will Swanston

    Congratulations Sam! It’s been an honor and a pleasure

  3. Sherwin Catindig

    Sam, what an epic journey that you have yourself in! Truly amazing and we all can’t wait to see how the rest of the story(ies) play out!

    • Sam

      Thanks Sherwin. I am glad to have you along on the journey. It has been a memorable year and I am sure 2013 will be equally…but probably not as documented at 2012 :-)