Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Changing Directions

Mile End Corner (Bernard and Waverly -- Summer 2010)

This is an excerpt from a letter I sent to colleagues in the North South Program at Montreal's Dawson College. For the last five years, I have collaborated with them to prepare students for a one month field trip to Nicaragua. One week ago, my boyfriend of many years and I moved to Vancouver:

Hi Everyone,

I want to take a little time to express my deepest gratitude to all of you. I have been truly so very fortunate these last few years to have been able to work with you in North South and to get to know you on the trip, on the 8th Floor, at Ovide's cottage, at various potlucks, on trails, at restaurants, in bank lineups, Canadian Tire, in airline check ins, clinics, outdoor toilets, poolside resorts(!), on various ferry rides, and even beaches. 

We've shared our lives and hearts at open houses and talking circles, during heated street arguments, on cramped school buses, in dingy hotel rooms, sharing cigarettes (history now of course) and in meetings, tons of meetings. You've heard me mutter and swear on volcano walks, motorcycles, and while walking for hours, sitting next to pigs, eating rotten oranges, grading student notebooks, figuring out who goes where, translating inadvertently dirty jokes, and elsewhere I'm sure. Paul and I have been deeply and permanently moved by all of these experiences. Professionally and personally, I have been absolutely stunned by your commitment to students and North South and to each other. Our involvement with North South and Dawson and all of you has been utterly awesome.

We all know how profoundly formative and important the trip has been for our students, and how the responsibility of getting them ready can be both inspiring and frustrating. I thank you for all of your support and the laughs and tears we've shared. This has been one of the most authentic and truly enriching experiences of my life. Paul and I are so fortunate and so very grateful.

Special note:  This was one of several heart wrenching goodbyes. We are in Vancouver now and I will continue with this cut and paste blog from the new location. BUT look for Coasted...more writing and stuff. 

Au revoir.