BC students (PC years 35 and 36) at RaceRocks, taken by Mark Kelsey. Spring 2010.

Friday, April 9, 2010

An Everyday Reflection

On the bathing-tub of King T'ang the following words were engraved: "If you would one day renovate yourself, do so from day to day. Yea, let there be daily renovation." ~Confucian Analects

I think I like Confucius' take on daily renewal. It's something that I've found particularly true here at Pearson. Every day I think I grow a little tiny bit, learn something new, feel something different, and appreciate something else. I'd like to keep doing that every day in my life, reflect on the adventures of the day and be ready for the next one. Coincidentally we talked about Confucius's Analects in English today when Vikram Seth alluded to it in his travel literature From Heaven Lake. One really cool part of the IB is the diverse and fascinating literature we read in English. From Heaven Lake is about travels through Tibet and Sinkiang province of China!

I'm sorry I've been absent lately - homework and life in general can be consuming ( I know I said I would stop apologizing about that, but I can't help it!). But it's great to be back and blogging! How are you doing, my dear reader? I hope Spring has turned up in your life. Unfortunately this morning I'm pretty sure it nearly snowed on campus. Speaking of the weather, we had an EPIC power outage last weekend (Easter weekend). The power was gone for about 1 and 3/4 days and it was a most enjoyable adventure! We played Hide and Seek in the Max Bell Building and built campfires...we watched movies on our dying laptops and huddled close together for warmth. The wind howled, we didn't scowl. It was a great opportunity to put our laptops down and actually look at each other in the eye and connect. Every now and then I find myself sucked up by day to day survival and then something magically appears to remind me how lucky I am to be here. I think the power outage was a message to never lose track of that.

Okay so let's rewind the adventures a couple weeks, to one fantastic night where the Vic High R & B Band came to Pearson and played some INCREDIBLE live music! http://www.sd61.bc.ca/vichigh/band/index.htm Their impressive repetoire had us on our feet for hours and grooving to the beat. It was a party to remember.
Easter Weekend provided a much needed break. Block Week required a lot of studying and since we are completing our IB in less time than usual, academics here are quite rigorous. I decided to stay on campus for the 4 day weekend to spend some valuable time not doing much except chillaxing. It was wonderful. One day my good friends Juan Manuel from Panama, Eric from Alberta, Kay from Ontario, and Khalid for Ontario went into Victoria. We had a magnificent brunch at a really hip diner called Floyd's and then headed into the trusty Chapters Starbucks to get some internet (no internet during the power outage) and reading time. I have this lovely memory of all of us just hanging out at the tables or reading by the window on this cold, rainy day, enjoying each other's company in such a beautiful place. Maybe sometimes that's all we need: good company, good food, and good books.

The next couple days I hung up my beloved hammock on the East House lawn (pictures to come) and spent some quality time with friends. On Monday I took my first sailing trip off the docks! It was a gorgeous day so Techi (my roommate from Uruguay), Anwen from Wales, Chris our Director of Operations, a guest named John from UWC-USA, and I headed out on the boat Wings for an afternoon sail into the bay. It was a very cool experience, listening to the captain giving orders, pulling ropes, tying ropes, and bringing up sails.

On Wednesday we had a village meeting - our first in a while. Often, village meetings renew my perspective on being part of this UWC network. No matter what happens, what controversy arises, what is said, I always see friends leaving arm in arm after. It is so inspiring. Kay read a beautiful reflection about how our village meetings often revolve around small things (10:30 rule, spoons in the cafeteria, new furniture) but the hope is that if we can solve these day to day issues, one day in the future we`ll be able to help solve global crises and emergencies. By recognizing our common humanity in this unique village we are developing strong ties across oceans and mountains. When I hear the news, I hear it differently. If there is a bombing in Israel or Palestine I immediately think of my friend who lives across the hallway. I want to make sure she is alright. If I am shopping in a store and pick up and item made in Nepal, I think of my Nepali friend and how he is doing. I feel a completely different connection to the world.

I thought I would end with a transcript of the end of Abiodun Williams' - a PC grad and world leader in his field - speech from a particularly memorable International Relations session. I hope you find it as poignant and moving as I did. For more info about Mr. Williams - http://www.usip.org/specialists/bios/current/williams.html

My friends,

Some of you will acquire wealth, some will acquire power, and some will achieve fame. Wealth, power and fames are not ends in of themselves but means to ends. If you acquire wealth, I hope you will remember that it is a gift, however hard-earned and therefore it must be shared with those less fortunate. If you acquire power, I hope you will remember that it gives you a tremendous opportunity to serve the powerless. If you achieve fame, it gives others, including the less fortunate to get to know you and seek your help.

You’ve earned on merit a special kind of education. It is my hope that what you’ve learnt about human values and human relationships in the international and multicultural environment of Pearson College will be a life long influence on your judgments and attitudes.

Pearson College has changed since I arrived here as a student in the fall of 1977. But the spirit of idealism commands the shores of Pedder Bay today as it did three decades ago.

You must never trade idealism for cynicism, and never confuse cynicism with wisdom. Cynicism corrodes, idealism strengthens. Cynicism imprisons, idealism liberates. Cynicism destroys, idealism builds.

May the idealism of Pearson College serve as a continuing source of inspiration, and spur you to build bridges of understanding throughout your lives. And wherever your paths may lead, may you always work for a better world.

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