This is my second final night here in Montreal. What an experience this has been. There’ve been times, countless times, when talking to someone here, I’d get all self-conscious on myself and think about how weird it was that I was here. I’d suddenly lose track of the conversation, think about how I’d think about this conversation in say ten years, and laugh a little.
I’d question myself and wonder if this was a dream. Indeed, it has felt like it. I have no doubt those who have felt close and familiar will return to a dreamlike wonderment once I’m back in Singapore. Figments of an imagination half-remembered. A dream of a dream. Of a dream.
In case you’re wondering, I’m typing here in my hotel room in the dark, thinking about how both short and long this trip — this business trip — to Montreal has been. I’ve been away from my family for three weeks now. And I miss them. But my surrogate family, one filled with business ties laced with personality (how generous they have been; business or personal: how ambiguous!) is one that’s going to be hard to leave behind as well.
I’ve learned much, absorbing all that I can about the region’s nuances and peculiarities. But at the same time I’ve come to realise how alike business in Asia and Americas is. We all have our own share of problems. Our own share of making work, work.
How alike; and how different.
Though I cannot hope to even understand a hundredth of that difference, I have experienced it, and I will take it with me throughout the rest of my life. Perhaps one day I shall return. Perhaps. 28 hours is a long time to travel.
Canada reminds me so much of Perth where I’d spent two years. The sheer low-riseness of the buildings here gives the Singaporean mind so much vastness to wander in. And like a only half tongue-in-cheek comment I made on Facebook sometime back: perhaps it’s the inescapable built-up areas constantly closing in on the Singaporean that creates a myopia both of vision and of the mind.
I will be returning in two nights. My wife’s waiting for me, as I’ve been for her.
How good it is to have family to look forward to.