Tuesday, March 31, 2009

a lesson learned

Since the semester has picked up with essays midterms, quizzes, work yada yada yada I've been completely avoiding my blog. It's kind of like that assignment you keep putting off until tomorrow. It's not that I don't like blogging, I mean at the beginning I didn't really think it was my thing but I've grown to like it, it has just been the lack of subject. I have had no idea what to write about .. and finally I've something to share:)

As fellow beyond bordian Krista and i walked from TWC to catch a bus this afternoon we started talking about our volunteer hours, what we've liked and what we've disliked along the way. Personally I've been a fan from the get-go. I love leaving the university bubble and entering a world entirely different than any other, meeting new people i would otherwise never meet and even tasting some delicious lunches along the way. However as all these things are aspects I love I also reflected on one minor detail that had completely frustrated during one visit to the art space;

Since Krista and i both volunteer up in the art space we can relate to the atmosphere, people and work ethic. Though the projects are diverse and there is always something to be made sometimes there just does not seem to be anything to do, at least if you don't have the skill or you are unfamiliar with the project. Mischa and Leeanne, two women who run the space are never too concerned if there is a lul, usually they make tea and we clean up previous projects, however for me.. this is an awful time! The one day I went and basically sat around for my entire 'shift.' I left feeling like my visit was pointless and I didn't help at all. Though I didn't do anything particularly constructive I met some new people and really had a chance to get to know them through the time given and dialogue. It was just recently that it hit me (possibly because I'm slow) that this is a great example of what we have all been warned about before we go overseas. We are not there to change the world for others, heck, we're not even there to really accomplish a lot, we're there to 'be' with people- and that's it.

Many BB alumni have forewarned me about their feelings of uselessness while away.. however I never quite understood. I thought.. I'm going to this organization and I'm going to plan things and carry them out. Through volunteering at TWC I have realized that many times the 'plans' do not go as they should, but things still get done, perhaps slowly, but they get done. I now approach my days at TWC quite differently. I head to the commons cafe for lunch and usually am stopped by an older man John who can't remember my name but remembers my face and always greets me with a smile. I've learned he loves to bring sweets to the group of friends he plays cards with and he likes be around people helping others. I've figured out my favourite dish the cafe serves (bean and cheese burrito with the works) and that I love to sit by the window so I can say hi to those coming and going and enjoy the sunshine. I've also learned that sometimes it's okay to just sit in the art space drinking tea and enjoying the company of those around you. I am quite fortunate to have experienced this before I go to Nicaragua because if I had felt useless here i can't imagine how frustrated I would have been there.

Once again, Oz has prooved itself.


Monday, March 23, 2009

Lagging Behind

It's been forever since my last post and it's not that I haven't been wanting to write, or that i don't care about the blogs. I feel with each post it is harder and harder to come up with something to focus on, a hot topic of learning or ambition or something that someone will find great to read. As the program comes to an end (at least the pre-departure program) I feel like we've covered almost everything that needs to be covered and now it's more or less a waiting game.

I appreciate all of the opportunities that have been available to us during these last two semesters. The seminars as well as the hands on work at TWC and our conferences with Joanna have made me feel much more prepared for the adventure that awaits. The seminar on Saturday was a great way to connect back with Lisa and Mary Bee who have been helping us get ready since the very beginning. St. Jerome's students were also lucky enough to have the last seminar with the group from Kings College in London. It was great to meet other students who have similar interests, fears and questions. They were a great group to spend the day with and i look forward to seeing them in August at the re-integration seminar. The seminar itself was a little frightening at times, yet very informative as a whole. We learned the protocol for certain situations that we hope never to deal with, but gained the knowledge just in case we have too. I didn't like thinking about possible problems because it really just adds to my list of mounting worries but I know how helpful it was because if similar situations do arise at least I will be well informed as to what I should do!

On another note I am almost finished my hours at The Working Centre and I am a little sad to see it come to an end. Every Tuesday I make my way down there for lunch. I really enjoy the atmosphere there and i seem to get a lot of homework done as well. I love working in the art space and I have gained a new appreciation for many many things. Throughout the last few weeks I've learned how to weave, knit, makes teas, salves, lib balms - and all with natural products. I hope that when I return from Nicaragua I will still be able to spend some time there once in awhile!

As the weeks pass I still cannot believe that I'll be leaving soon. It's a jumbled feeling of excitement and sheer fear, I can't wait to finish the last few weeks of school and enter into a summer of a lifetime.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Long time gone

It's been about two weeks since my last post and now I have a lot to talk about! After talking to other Beyond Bordians this past week I feel as if a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Everyone has basically the same worries and as time dwindles I've learned it's best to talk to those who may be going through the same things rather than just avoid the subject entirely. Because clearly that's been working really well for me, Shocking right?

This week when we met at The Working Centre as a group with Joanne, Rebbecca and Joe and we were able to sit down and have a small meal together and discuss the alienation of tools. I read the articles that we were given and was instantly intrigued. The articles are so very true and before volunteering in the art space I would have been in the exact same boat. However, after spending time volunteering and just hanging out in the space I view things drastically different. The article discusses how people no longer grow their own food / repair their own things / sew / knit/ weave etc. I've learned how rewarding it can be to pick up something with your own two hands and DO rather than hand the project off to 'someone else' or BUY. I look forward to my placement each week because I never know what I'm going to be doing or learning how to make. Since coming to TWC I have big hopes to grow some of my own food when I am older and have the opportunity. I want to continue learning how to be self sufficient rather than relying on big name stores. It's refreshing to think "I can do this" when you may never had thought it possible. Thank you TWC!!

On another note my parents came to visit this weekend for my sister's birthday. Before the celebrations began they asked me to take them to The Working Centre so they could see where I spend my time. I was really touched by their genuine interest. I took them down to the Commons Cafe and showed them the art space and recycle cycles, I was able to buy the tea and lip balm that I had made last week and gave it to my sister for her birthday. I know how much my parents support me but reminders such as this one is really nice. Needless to say they LOVED it and will be sure to come back!

I cannot believe there is three weeks left of classes and then exams and lift off! My worries are less as my excitement takes over!! Hopefully more to come soon.