My first non-white friends were the Kims from South Korea. Mr. and Mrs. Kim sought a better life for their kids Hak Gin, Hak Il, and Mejung by relocating to Tungsten N.W.T. Yes, the town was named after the metal mined. The Kim kids did not have much English upon arrival but the warmth of a cold weather sub arctic northern township earned them a little after school help inside the two room school house. Both Hak Gin and Hak Il became my friends. I was probably their closest friend during fifth grade. I was invited to their home for dinner and Mrs. Kim would be amused by my reaction to her traditional cuisine. Although father Bok Kim was a stern man, it was a joyous household of song and laughter.
My days as a promoter of health products always brought me in touch with different ethnic groups. I typically viewed other ethnicities as more open to a “pitch” and generally the statement holds true. My travels in prospecting strangers (basis of my livelihood today as a public accountant) put me in contact with Phillipina Rose, and Sri Lankan Arjuna. Both became my friends. Rose and I would sing karaoke one Sunday afternoon and talk philosophy on another. Arjuna received my moral support as he encountered hardship in his new homeland. I would remind Arjuna of his fiery spirit which would carry him through troubled times.
Membership in a private personal development club enabled me to sail the Caribbean on chartered cruises (two successive Januarys). While partying one night alongside cabin mate Randy, along comes Ochuko. One of the biggest bonuses of membership in this club was stumbling upon this soft spoken thoughtful Nigerian on the periphery of the dance floor while admiring the moves of those marvelous mesdames. Fate would have us hailing the same cab upon disembarking in Miami. Have been friends ever since.
My client database composes very cool Pakistanis…and recently three new Sri Lankan friends have become quite close. One of these three has come to learn my sentiment that I think he’s whiter than most whites given his manner and traits (and he reads my blog…so I know you’re grinning).
Dancing lessons and one lovely Russian lass blessed me with exposure to the Russian heritage and those distinctive traits of intelligence, passion and beauty known to this part of the world.
More people with experiences far greater than my own from a land I’ve never seen will continue to come into my life and enrich it with adventure stories, their aspirations, things they miss from their birth place, and characteristics of Canada for which they express gratitude.