This article appeared in my local community newspaper, The Stonewall Teulon Tribune. We’re only 10 days away from departure and it’s feeling a lot more real with every passing day. I have such a terrific group of students that will be hard to leave, and friends at work who, while we’re away, will be getting married and growing families, maybe even a retirement or two. While we sure would love to be there for those events, we also know that you could spend a lifetime enjoying other people’s lives without really living your own. I may be overstating the sentiment, but all three of us, in some way, are experiencing that tension.
Today our school staff is putting on a farewell lunch for us followed by a last night out with our amazing work friends. We’ve had a lot of good-bye’s over the last couple of weeks with people we know we won’t see again until we’re back. So thankful for digital communication and social media that will keep us connected while we’re on the other side of the planet. In preparing for the exchange, we have been looking at our world with fresh eyes – acutely aware of how much we value our family, friends, our community, work, our cozy home, even the weather, as cold as it has been… all of it is highlighted as the unique elements that make us who we are.