Don’t talk to strangers! Then how will we meet interesting people?

Other than a quick hello, I don’t often engage the passenger seated next to me when I fly. I find it difficult to talk on a plane.

Firstly, you need the confidence of a good breath mint before you lean in and speak normally into the person’s ear. “How about this weather”? Failing that, you have to shout like an American on vacation. (DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?) allowing the whole plane to hear your conversation. How many times have you overheard TMI on a plane and wondered if the individuals know all of us can hear everything they are saying?

What about working on the plane? I can’t do it. I’m always worried about my computer screen and who, can see what. I remember once sitting behind someone from another radio company who was working on a business plan for a market I know well. Awkward.

img_2531-1I always seem to forget my ear bud headphones, so I never get to take advantage of the in-flight entertainment, or my own I Phone. Sometimes I watch and try to lip read the screen in the next row. Basically, my flying experience consists of sitting in my upright positioned seat, (I always feel guilty reclining for some reason) watching my “real time” journey map screen, keeping my elbows close so I don’t rub up against the person next to me, refusing the free carbohydrate heavy snack thing and having a small diet coke in the hope I don’t have to get up to use the washroom. I don’t hate flying, honestly, but I’m a sheep who follows orders and has low expectations that are often met. That leaves me satisfied mostly.
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For the record, I did get the emergency exit seat on my way back from Winnipeg on Wednesday morning. Complete surprise. I was lucky….but very grateful. Tons of leg room and all I had to do was take full responsibility for the lives of every passenger on the plane in the event of an emergency by promising to open the door, throw it out on the wing and get scratched and bit and kicked and stampeded by 100’s of panicked people……..after they grab their carry on and personal belongings of course.

 

An Open mind

I did meet an interesting young man this week on the trip back. I saw him coming down the aisle and immediately knew he was going to sit next to me. He quickly put his black Nike duffel bag under the seat, sat down and said “Hello sir”, and immediately asked me, “where are you from”? “Ottawa” I said. “I’m from Nunavut, I’m from Pond Inlet” says he, like I should know, so I bit, “where is that in relation to Iqaluit?” “It’s a tiny village about 3 hours north by plane…….so I am flying to Ottawa today, then tomorrow, it’s a 5 hour trip to Iqaluit, and then to Pond Inlet”. I opened up Google Maps on my I Phone and asked him to show me where that is…….the village is on the Northern coast of Baffin Island.img_2537

Interesting I thought. We had nearly 2 and half hours, so I definitely wanted to pick his brain.

His name is Steven. I smiled to myself as he innocently disobeyed all the airline rules, using his own ear buds on his electronic device, his music was cranked during the announcements, his duffel bag was 1/3 under the seat in front of him and he took his seat belt off about 90 seconds after takeoff. He was not being defiant at all. He was just doing his thing. And he was never called on any of it from the flight attendants. Of course, they were seated.

He was polite and not shy, but did not really expand on any answers to questions I was asking him. “Firstly, I should ask you, do you mind me asking you some questions”? He said “absolutely not, ask away.” I found out he was in Winnipeg for the last 6 months visiting the family that raised him for 8 years in foster care. He has a younger brother, who is living with those same foster parents. They evidently are decent people. He told me he had to go into foster care after doing some “crazy things”, and for economic reasons. I didn’t ask about the crazy things. He showed me pictures of his foster parents, his younger brother and his baby niece from one of his foster sisters. Also some fishing pictures from the Red River this trip.

As miles flew by, so did the conversation and my observations. He did not sit still for more than 30 seconds. Honestly, it was crazy. Fidgety the entire trip. When the beverage cart came, he had a Coke Classic, “can I have the whole can please”?, then pulled out a Tim’s cake muffin, then a Tim’s breakfast sandwich, then had a coffee with SIX sugars and 3 creams…….then a Gator Aid High Test………he guzzled that. I said “that’s a lot of sugar you know”. He just laughed. Perhaps that contributed to the restlessness.

He told me he went to Maples Collegiate and graduated in 2013. The graduating class did a school fundraising project that year and they traveled to Africa!!!! They raised $50,000.00 to do so. Half of the funds went to travel costs and the other half went to a school in Nairobi Kenya as a donation. He said it was the coolest thing he has ever done. “I guess”…..said I.   He told me he traveled out west in Alberta and Saskatchewan as a member of an Aboriginal Leadership Group. They visited reserves and met with elders and experienced traditional ceremonies (the names of which escaped him) and what the living conditions were like in many communities. For his age, he’s traveled and lived a lot I thought.

“What’s that music on your Smartphone”? I asked. “I like Hip Hop (I knew that because I could hear it)…….and some Country”. Jay Z is a favourite.

“What will you do when you get back to Pond Inlet”? He has a job waiting at the school helping students with math and English and teachers with other things. The native language of Nunavut is “Inuktitut”. He speaks both. Half the village works for the Federal Government and the other half work in the community and most everyone get subsidies to live. I would think they would.

In the meantime, it will be a few weeks of hunting and fishing for him and his family before fall. They will hunt deer, but not Caribou. It’s illegal to hunt Caribou on Baffin Island. The fish catch is Arctic Char. It’s netted, and then smoked. They’ll also take some seals and perhaps a whale!! All the hunting is for consumption over the coming winter. Speaking of, ‘what’s the coldest temperature you’ve ever experienced”? I asked. “I’d say minus 50’s, with windchill in minus 60’s…..that’s when a piece of fatty seal meat helps………swallow it and 20 minutes later you’re warm….really”. Nothing you can buy has the same effect. Food is incredibly expensive in the village. He points to that free now empty Coke Classic can stored in the pouch and says “this is $4.50 at home”.

Getting closer to Ottawa, I knew our sporadic and casual conversation was nearing an end. ‘So what’s in your future Steven”? He replied, “I don’t know really…..I might go back to school to become a plumber…..you know I was the only Inuit to play High School football in Winnipeg”?.  “I did not know that, what’s your favourite CFL team?” I asked. “Saskatchewan”!!!!! As an Edmonton Eskimo fan, I told him I resent that. He wants to come back to Winnipeg but has to work first. The trip cost $4,000.00!!!!! He needs to save money.

I asked if I could take a picture of him. I wasn’t sure. He lit up and said ‘yes”. So I did and showed him and he was very happy with how it turned out. I asked if he wanted a copy and of course he did. So I sent it to him. I said to “use it for your Facebook profile”. He got up after landing but we shook hands and thanked each other for the company. Off to the Garden Inn for him overnight and then back home to Pond Inlet, Nunavut.

Good Luck in your travels Steven, it was nice to meet you.

See, you should talk to strangers sometime.

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Customer Service

Like you, I really appreciate customer service. I have a Financial Adviser who is a gem. His name is Bahram Yazdi, but he goes by Bob with his customers.  Every time something major breaks in the Financial World, stock market plunge or increase, Government Budget released etc., he sends his clients his thoughts on the ramifications, if any, from his perspective. He’s always thoughtful and calming. I asked him if he minded if I shared this week’s note in my blog. Even though I only really understand about half of what he writes, I really appreciate that he does it.

So……..here it is……

To: Danny Kingsbury <Danny.Kingsbury@rci.rogers.com>
Subject: Bank of Canada’s Decision Today…

Good Afternoon Danny,

Well….it’s official….interest rates ticked up today for the first time in 7 years!

  • The Bank of Canada raised the rate from 0.50% to 0.75% today citing confidence in the Canadian economy
  • There may be a second one later this year but any increase will be a result of economic data at that time
  • The Loonie pushed above 77 US cents to an 9-month high this week because of remarks by central bank officials which had prompted markets to bring forward expectations of when rate hikes will begin but also in part to a rise in oil prices back above US$45 per barrel
  • Real GDP expanded by 0.2% in April, in line with expectations putting the economy on track for growth around 3% in the second quarter
  • The Business Outlook Survey showed that business activity continues to gain momentum, with forward looking indicators improving for a third straight quarter
  • The “pricing-in” of today’s rate hike has not only caused the Canadian Dollar to rise sharply, but has also put upwards pressure on 5 and 10 year bond yields, causing an increase of 25 BPS (3 month high)
  • This put downward pressure on the Canadian bond market for the month of June (1.48%)
  • I was at a conference a few weeks ago and messaging from our head of fixed income, Robert Pemberton was that “This is NOT Bond-ageddon!”
  • History has seen these sorts of rises in interest rates/yields and although it may cause for some short term volatility, the long term outlook for fixed income is still very conservative
  • Current near-record low interest rates are punishing prudent savers, as they are assured of fairly low returns
  • The only way bond investors are going to earn higher long-term returns is if rates rise
  • The fixed income portion of our portfolios incorporate a laddered strategy of shorter-term securities, so maturing bonds can be reinvested at higher yields……They also continue to advocate corporate credit to enhance yield over a longer-term horizon

Let me know if you have any questions!

Bob Yazdi   | Senior Financial Planner| TD Wealth Financial Planning

Tel: 613.831.5503 | bahram.yazdi@td.com

Thanks for the caring service Bob!!!! And if anyone needs a new money guy……..tell ’em DK sent ya.

Did you know……..

  • A women would have won $1,000,000.00 on Thursday night with the Safeway Touchdown to win contest….if not for a blown call by the officials on a second touchdown return by Toronto against Winnipeg. Oh man. I was watching the game and when they showed the penalty I couldn’t believe it. Now, truth be told, karma may have played a role here as she did win a $20,000.00 stereo on the first TD return, which looked like the player had stepped out of bounds……but it was ruled good.
  • Paw Patrol Live is touring……..I wonder if they’ll be any interest in that? I wonder if parents (Grand Parents) will be gouged? Are Chase, Ryder, Marshall, Rubble, Skye, Zuma, Rocky and Everest dogs? You bet. So what….should be fun.img_2533
  • An Air Canada flight apparently almost landed on a taxiway in Los Angeles this week. The results would have been horrific naturally. I will wait for further info on this as I don’t think modern aircraft even let pilots line up arrival flight paths. The navigation system does it. At least, that’s what think? Hope it wasn’t as close as the reports say.
  • Last week’s blog on Omar Khadr was read all over the world. Not 100″s of times but dozens. Seeing that got my attention. The internet huh?
  • Off to North Bay, Sudbury and Timmins this week. Can’t wait.

Thanks for reading…..have a great weekend.

 

 

 

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