Last
night, I had dinner with some friends who went exploring Rome at the same
time Hemang and I went exploring Siena.  On Tuesday morning, we had heard
that they were still stuck in Italy, because they didn’t have their Passports. 
To further complicate the matters, one of the guys is Pakistan. (This’ll
give you a small taste of the rest of the story.) On Wednesday morning, we
were really worried about when they were going to come back.  And on Thursday
morning, we were releaved that everyone was ok.  You can check out the entire
story at:  Your Passport, and why you should never leave a country without it. (Especially at these times and if you’re Pakastani.)

This weekend, I plan to explore Paris.  I’ve been living here for about
2 weeks and I haven’t been able to explore this place much.  I’ll take care
of the big attractions, like the Arc, Tower, Versailles, etc.  Also, it might
be the first time I go touring by myself.  It will be a new and interesting
adventure.

Even though it’s still October, I keep thinking ahead towards X-mas and how I would so enjoy having Terri and my family come visit me in France.  It would truly be a great experience.

A bientot!

This morning, I came back from my trip to Italy.

It was an interesting, frustrating, tiring, majesticly beautiful, and bad luck weekend.

We started off by taking a train to Florence, where Hemang and I talked
to this half French/Italian guy who was very cool; later joined by a group
of female travellers looking to explore Italy. I couldn’t sleep that well,
(surprisingly enough) so I went to the dining car and wrote a letter to Terri, who I began to miss very much. When we left the train, we jumped to a bus to Siena.

Siena was exquisite! The hotel right in front of the bus stop was “The
Jolly Hotel”, where Hemang and I dropped our bags and showered. We then
had lunch in the Piazza while marvelling at the wonderful view. We began
exploring the “Piazza” (an open area in about the size of a city block) and
“Domo” and walked to the top of the Piazza’s Great tower for what is called
the best view of Italy. I started to carve my initials in the bell at the
top, when a German couple asked me if I thought that the bell needed that.
Shocked, amazed and embarrassed, I stopped. (If you see the letter “T” in
the hanging part of the bell in this area, that’s ME!) When we got down,
we decided to join the people lying down in the piazza and took a nap on
the bricks. Rested, we went back to the hotel to prepare ourselves for sundown.

At 7PM in Siena, something amazing happens. Everyone comes out to walk
on the major rode. EVERYONE! And then they come out dressed in their most
fashionable attire. Men dressed in suits. Women dressed as fashion models.
It was like a mile long runway with everyone showing off. Truly amazing!
Hemang and I stuck around till about 1AM chatting and having some of the
best gelato (Ice Cream) in the world!

For the next day, we were going to explore San Gimangino, another small
hill town in Italy. That city was on top of a hill, which offered a truly
majestic site. We did some shopping, eating and exploring. That’s where
it all fell apart. See: “All I want is to go to Paris…is that so hard?

It’s now 1AM, and I’m at Nortel, waiting for Hemang to finish his stuff,
so we can go to bed. We’re waiting for someone else to finish up over here,
so that he can drive us back because the train workers are on strike and
there aren’t that many trains going to Montparnarse.

Ciao!

Yesterday, I discovered my favorite part of this buisness trip so far: The laundry service.

Hemang and I are planning to go to Italy this weekend, so he recommended
getting all my laundry done so that I can pack it. So, I put my dirty laundry
in two bags and brought them downstairs. When I came in from work yesterday,
there they were: Bright, Shiny and New. My underware was neatly folded
with tags, my socks were matched together by pair. My shirts were even ironed
and clipped to a cardboard square! My jeans were on a hanger and my “travel
pants”…the pants that have seen more cities that some people’s luggage,
with all of it’s holes, loose threads and crinkled pockets were ironed and
maybe even starched! The only thing I could say that even came close to
how I was feeling was, “Wow! That’s worth the price of admission!” I would
definitely go on more buisness vacations if it meant having someone else
do my laundry and fold and iron it like that!

Other than that, things are really shaky. My roommate situation is sticky right now and Terri
sent me an email which has got my world in a swirl. I’m beginning to see
how big of a jerk I am to people. Lots of times, I do inconsiderate stuff.
Stuff, I’m sometimes not even aware of. Stuff, where I may have good intentions,
but something else happens. If you’re one of those people I’ve hurt or offended,
I apologize. And finally, the pastor’s son at my church passed away after
fighting a lengthy illness. He was a friend of mine, close to my age, and
the epitomy of dignity, intelligence and acceptance. The world will miss
you, Bill Jemison IV.

Yesterday was definitely and interesting day, worthy of a story. Check out: Indian Incidents for more info.

On the train ride to work today, I realized that one month ago today,
the WTC was attacked. It seems like such a long time ago, yet I can still
remember standing in my living room, watching TV and seeing the second tower
collapse on live TV.

Material possessions come and go. Life is precious. All you have is “Now”. Live it up.

Hemang and I are talking about going to a Depeche Mode concert tonight.
I was hesitent at first, but since I realized that this will be a once-in-a-lifetime
chance, I couldn’t pass it up.

— Later —

Depeche Mode is a no-go. Since Hemang and I are going travelling tomorrow to Italy, we’re going to take it easy tonight.

Hemang
and I bought tickets for this weekend to go to the small villas in Italy.
I can’t wait! This is what I’ve been looking forward to…not the big cities,
monuments and museums, but the beautiful scenery. I’m so jealous of me.
🙂

One mistake I made so far was to leave my Visor
(read: My life) in the restaurant tonight. When I got home (did I say HOME?!)
I realized this and walked back to the restaurant. I couldn’t figure out
how to tell the doormen I forgot something, so I used a line I remembered
from Better Off Dead – “Je
suis tres stupid.” and made the motion of leaving something and walking
away. The got a good laugh and directions to the bartender. I did the same
for her after the waiter from my original table told her that I forgot my
Visor. She laughed. I guess self-depracating humor is universal. 🙂

I’m beginning to learn the RER and metro system. Thankfully, I’m a quick
learner. I’m also grateful for Hemang who’s been a great help to me getting
around and his ideas for travel inspire me. Soon, I will be adventuring
a la Falgout.

I saw the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triumph for the first time last night
while eating dunner at a really expensive restaurant in the Chanz de Lizze
(sp?). They had people salsa dancing in the bottom of the restaurant, and
if I knew the dance any better, I would have grabbed someone and started
dancing. However, when I go swing dancing (I found a swing club) I will
live it up.

So! I finally made it to Paris. This is just a quick note before I head off and do some real work in Nortel. Thank you all for your support and I will keep all of your updated on my adventures. I’ve seen some interesting sites!

Love, sunshine and disco dancing,

-Me

Here are some excerpts from my journal which I started on the flight to France:

Now, for the future. Where will I go in the next 2 1/2 months? What adventures will I experience? How will I grow?

A lot of people are afraid to fly nowadays. I completely understand their
fear; however, I don’t share the same fear as them. As I just learned, I
am most frightened by the sound that the airplane toilets make after those
few seconds of silence after pressing the flush button. *Push Button* …
?? … Is it working? … WWWHHHOOOOSSSHHH!!!!

I realized today that the relationship I have with my pilot is the same
I have with my doctor. I know that I’ll hear from him in the beginning and
in the end. However, I want as little interaction from him in between.

Heh heh. The growth has already started, and I haven’t even touched down
yet. I realize that I’ve chosen to remain or pretend to remain innocent
or ignorant in certain areas of my life. In ‘Paris Inside Out’, one of the
first things I read was: “Wisdom is acquired only through the gradual shedding
of innocence.” So, I’ve been stunting my growth in those areas by deciding
to stay innocent. Interesting.

Every
now and then a dream pops into the mind.  Usually, the dream is killed off
through cynicism and resignation…”You can’t do that.”  “You don’t really
want THAT, do you?”  “Get real.”  And sometimes, through the sheer power
of determination and the power of committment, the dream wiggles and squirms
it’s way out of those thoughs and into the world.

Two dreams of mine which I gave up on a while ago are now coming true.

  • Own a house I am in love with.
  • All expenses paid travel.

Funny, now that I look at that, I think to myself…a year ago, I didn’t
think those were possible…ESPECIALLY at the same time.

On May 29, 2001, I closed on my house.  It is a beautiful, split level
house which overlooks a park, has a beautilful garden, 4 bedrooms, 2 living
rooms, and a beautiful kitchen.

On October 6, 2001, I am leaving for France to work there for 2 1/2 months. 
I have no idea what to expect when I get there.  Rude French?  Not knowing
the language as well as I would like?  Another flight disaster?

However, I will not be deterred by any of these thoughts.  I am about
to embark on a journey into a foreign country.  And with it, I plan to embark
on a journey into my soul.  Who am I?  What do I want to do with my life? 
What’s next for me?

In the words of my best friends, Lee:  “It’s all good, baby!”

So,
This is the beginning of it all. Soon, there will be discussions about the
trips and adventures in foreign and distant lands. (France, Cancun, Cozimel,
Mediterranian, etc.) And then…Tommy’sTubCam.com. It all begins here.
Stay tuned for details and drop a line if you have other suggestions!

“If all of life’s a stage, who do I talk to about getting some better props?”

Hi
everyone.  I know it’s been a long time since I’ve written; however, I am
planning to make updates to this journal regularly.  The main reason I write
today is to release a lot of frustration I have going on right now and to
get it all out of my head an onto “virtual” paper.

It has been one of those weeks, where SO many things have happened, that
on Thursday a co-worker called me back and I told him I didn’t need to talk
to him anymore because that was a long time ago, and he reminded me that
the message was on Tuesday.

Here’s a lowdown of my week:  Wheee!!!

  • Sunday – I completed the 5th weekend of my Landmark Wisdom course and
    saw that I was not being honest with myself or with my girlfriend, Terri
    I talked to her with the intent on cleaning that up and seeing where we could
    go from there.  However, the said conversation ended up with us breaking
    up.  Many tears later, I was back on the road to Dallas, doing the best I
    could not to indulge in the “If only I had…” conversation.
  • Monday – For the past 3 weeks, I have been in an intensive fight
    with my computer to get it upgraded.  So far, I have gone through 3 different
    AMD processors, 3 different “compatable” motherboards, 2 cases, and 3 hardware
    providers.  This was all because Fry’s
    (read: Satan) refused to take back my returns, because a fan which I purchased
    from them, fried (appropriate, eh?) my CPU. I even talked to the store manager,
    who wouldn’t budge.  I then tried my luck again and amazingly enough, they
    took back EVERYTHING, including the fried CPU.  I walked out of there feeling
    like a completely serviced customer.
  • Tuesday – I woke up that morning to see something I’ve only seen
    about 3 times in my life:  Snow.  I was so amazed, I went out and took pictures of my house and some of the surrounding areas
    I then went to Landmark center where I was going to be a major part of an
    introduction going on that night and I was lit up; however, out of the 8
    people, noone registered.  I was sad; however, I got to see why I participate
    at Landmark…because in an instant, your view of life, the universe and
    everything can shift, which opens up new ways of viewing and interpreting
    the circumstances which present themselves.  (i.e.  I have been beating myself
    up for the breakup with Terri, because I know how wonderful of a person she
    is.  Amazing, beautiful, caring, genuine.  How could I not want to be with
    someone like that?  And I saw that the relationship wasn’t “IT” and was just
    the next step I take towards finding “IT.” (More on my theory of “IT” later.))
  • Wednesday – Usually the day that I go swing dancing at Sons of Hermann Hall;
    however, that didn’t happen, because when I went to Microcenter to return
    two of the processors I purchased from them, I found out that they would
    not take them back.  I was ready to start tossing fists.  It was one of those
    moments were everything I had been supressing came up and I had to stop myself
    a few times and tell the person I was talking to that it’s been a rough week
    to keep from busting into tears and going postal on them.  I called my roommate
    and ranted and raved all the way back home to keep from driving my car into
    the store.  Thankfully, it began to look up after my amazing, omnipotent
    friend Lee got my computer
    up and running.  Yeah babye!  Bad news:  My computer typcially crashes when
    downloading from the internet and my cable modem’s out.  ETA:  next Tuesday.
    Grrrr…
  • Thursday – This was the least eventful of the days.  So far, my
    “upgrade” has cost me ~$1500.  And on top of that, I’m thinking about getting
    a laptop for convenience.  This would also further my goal to being a writer. 
    (Inspiration strikes me at the least convenient of places.)  That added to
    a wireless Ethernet router, and a new Linux box, would make me mighty!  Mighty
    Tommy!  Mighty Tommy!…who still has a lot of work to do on relationships.
    🙂
  • Friday – I started off today by getting very overwhelmed by everything which
    happened this week.  I then found my peace and sanity in two things: 
  1. An online journal written by “Pfunk“, an aspiring comic book writer, that is involved in one of my favorite online comics, Pffft
    I have never met this person, nor have I even talked to her; however, Thank
    you, nameless soul.  Your writing has granted me ease, and got me back in
    touch with my journalistic soul.
  2. A conversation with a friend of mine, Steve Racz, who’s generosity
    simply amazes me.  Steve was one of the people laid off by the many rounds
    of Nortel cuts.  After being laid off, he joined a cross-country bike ride
    while also maintaining a group designed to support ex-Nortel employees to
    find jobs called HireTopTalent
    Today, Steve and I were talking about relationships, life and the usual. 
    After sharing with him where I was with life, Terri, and the universe, he
    said something very profound, “Be yourself.  And those that need to be in
    your life will be attracted to you.  And those that don’t need to be in your
    life will be repelled by you.”  It makes so much sense and gives me so much
    freedom.  And it doesn’t even necessarily apply to romantic relationships…but
    everything.  If only computers were that simple. 🙂

What I’ve realized about all this is that I’m starting to get a bigger
sense of what I’m up to in my life.  I’m looking to do something big.  Something
biggger than what I can do by myself.  I want to impact this world…this
place we all live and dwell on.  And I want my future partner to be a part
of this.  And I want this future partner to be someone I grow and develop
with.  I am easily distracted and am looking for someone to bring me back
to my goals and desires.  It might be a while till I find that person.  Hell,
it may never happen.  And that’s ok…because I know that God and the Universe
are on my side.

Thanks for everything, people.  You make this world worth living.

P.S.  The interesting thing about the two people who contributed to me
on Friday are both Canadian.  Thus giving me more evidence that Canuks are
some of the coolest people around.