Earlier this week, my friend Rob (whom you’ll remember from this awesomeness) emailed my brother and me and asked if we were free for sushi dinner. Specifically a Christmas sushi dinner. That’s correct; I wrote Christmas. In October. Shudder. Clearly, Rob had lost his mind.
Now, instead of balking at the idea of celebrating Christmas in October, what with my well-known annoyance of retailers that rush the season (I’m looking at you Hallmark, Carleton Cards, Sears, Zellers, HomeSense, um, really I could go on forever), Aidan and I opted to make it happen. Especially since it gave us a great excuse to see Rob and Katherine, whom we don’t get to see enough. So Friday evening we braved the chilly October weather and hopped onto the 401, making our way to Toronto.
Our Christmas in October dinner was held at Fin, and it was delicious. If you have a chance to check this place out, do so. It’s not the typical sushi place. The food was amazing, both in taste and appearance. Rob took care of ordering, so I don’t remember all of what we had, but I do remember the grilled pork belly skewers (ZOMG, my mouth is watering just thinking about these), the salted chicken wings (If my stomach were not what it is, I could eat about 1000 of these – so freaking good), sashimi, duck salad, and raw prawn. Verdict: delicious. The meal also included a pitcher of brewed-in-Guelph Sapporo, and a small bottle of warm sake. YUM.
After dinner we headed back to Rob and Katherine’s to chat, visit with their cats Nami and Mushi, and to enjoy some further sake that Rob had picked up in the Distillery district of Toronto. The sake was fantastic – light, almost like water, but with delicious tastes of pear and other fruits. I’m going to have to pick up a bottle of this stuff.
It was at this point that Rob presented us with our Christmas gifts. To say that Rob outdid himself is an understatement. My gift was clearly a labour of love. I can’t even imagine how many hours went into the project. Anyway, weeks ago Rob had contacted me about clarifying certain things that I had done; places I had travelled to; adventures I’d been on. The emails weren’t terribly out of the ordinary, but they also triggered a what the hell is he up to response. Shortly thereafter, he asked for Rick’s contact information, but then asked that I forget that this had occurred. Rick and Rob have never met. Clearly something was up. But, being the forgetful person that I am, I actually forgot that the two of them were in contact.
Fast forward to last night. Rob presented me with another infographic, but this one more epic than the last. This particular graphic began with a map of the world, and ended with a summary of my journeys travelling around it. There are so many amazing touches that I keep finding new and amazing things every time I look at it.
I wrote the other day that Rob “appreciates quality and attention to detail like no one else that I know”. This is so clearly evident just by looking at my infographic. For example, within each of the circles that highlight places I’ve been or am planning to travel, Rob has included numbers that coincide with items on my Not-So-Bucket-List list. If you were to look at the circle that surrounds Brazil (a place I’d like to go), you’d read the numbers 142, 149, and 160. These are
- #142 Travel to South or Central America again,
- #149 Attend Carnival in Brazil, and
- #160 Travel to the World Cup in 2014.
Further, and for those curious – the title of the infographic Wanderlust 1.1 is to indicate that this particular gift isn’t finished. That is, as I continue my travels and see more of the world, he’s going to update the map and reprint it for me. I’m stoked to see the time line as my adventures continue.
Honestly, without a doubt this is one of the most amazing gifts anyone has ever given me.
Rick: Thank you for helping Rob out. Your words and haiku’s were fantastic, heartfelt, and vomit inducing. I look forward to every second I get to spend with you; chatting, shenaniganning, adventuring, travelling, and living life without hesitation. I love you long time. You are one-of-a-kind and I’m fortunate to have someone as incredible as you in my life, even if your face is crooked. ZING!
Rob: Where to begin? I honestly do not have the words to adequately describe how amazing you are, nor how important you are to me. Thank you for the best gift in the history of gifts. As soon as it is framed it is going to be hung up where I will see it everyday and smile. Not because it reminds me of where I’ve been and where I want to go, but because it will remind me that I have the most amazing friends in the world, and all the travels and adventures would be meaningless if that weren’t the case. I love you my friend. Thank you for 25 years of awesome.