Do you know how many people out there would be willing to trade their lives for your exciting one in a heartbeat?!” Eric asked me as we were conversing over coffee outside Starbucks.

There are so many people out there who live uninteresting lives,” he continues. “Day in and day out, they just go to work, go home, watch TV and the cycle begins again. They live boring lives and look at your life in envy.”

Eric had just finished his first Toastmasters speech (excellent speech btw) about “The OTHER Eric,” and I was moaning that I have no content for my first Icebreaker speech in December.

I mean, what could I write about?

My organization? My indoor wallclimbing activties? My job? I mean, these aren’t really that interesting for the audience, right?

Believe me, they’ll find it interesting,” Eric said. “It may not be as interesting for you because you are living it, but it is interesting for them because not everyone can just pack their bags and go white river rafting at Hualien, visit Green Island, go rock climbing at LongDong and head over an organization. Talk about that, and the audience will listen to you.

Okay Eric… as my mentor, you’re the boss.

My friend Eric is an enigma.

Standing a tall 6 foot 3, Eric usually towers over everyone, and yet manages to blend in well into the crowd. He’s the guy everyone gets along with and wants to get close to.

From the moment I’ve met Eric, I’ve always sung his praises.

I’ve always belived that he was a terrific person.

One of the nicer guys I’ve ever met here.

Despite working in consultancy for a full 11 years and a vivid life experience of traveling to 36 countries, Eric remains the most laid-back of all men. He never flaunts his position either, despite being the vice-president of one of the biggest banks in the country.

Haha, I remember when I met him when he was still “in-between jobs.”

That Eric I know now is still the same as the Eric I knew then. Nothing much has changed.

You’ll never see him with his nose high up in the air.

He can talk to the chairman of a bank or to a street sweeper, and look both of them in the eye and talk to them the same way. I don’t think that guy ever discriminates. And with his cheery, “Gotcha” and “Great… great…” lines, he lets you think he is really listening to you instead of just blanking you out.

It got to the point where all my girlfriends were asking me, “Why are you promoting Eric so much?” It was as if I was his pimp since I was telling everyone who asked what a great guy he is.

That’s the thing, he is.

But that’s just me, if I like someone, I really like someone… and I am not afraid of letting people know what I think of you.

I asked him why out of every country he’s been to, why did he chose to stay in Taiwan.

Taiwan’s like a metropolis and I feel most at home in a city. Everything is modern, convenient and fast-paced,” he answered. “However, unlike other cities like New York and Hongkong, Taiwan has a certain laidbackness in it. It’s fast, and yet it remains level-headed. Other cities have their nose up in the air.”

“Besides, I have very good friends here,” he answered.

Ah, friends.

The spice of life.

I see Eric as a simple man with simple needs.

In his speech, he talked about the OTHER Eric — the Eric who loved to travel, the outdoors and photography. In other words, the other Eric is a man of many interests, and that makes him interesting.

Personally, I love surrounding myself with interesting people. As my org-mate and wallclimbing-buddy, I do hope to get to know interesting people better. But if one day, our paths separate, well, I count myself blessed to have met characters such as these.

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