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

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy 50th Anniversary UWC!

Hello once again  lovely readers,

I hope that you are well.  If you have come to this blog in search of a UWC future (or perhaps a UWC past or present too) I am so happy that you found this.  Welcome. This blog is a diary of 2 very important years of my life, ones where I was surrounded by friendship, love, and humanity on the shores of the Pacific guarded by magnificent tall trees.  If all this sounds romantic and ideal - it sure was.  And sometimes it wasn't. But most of the time it was.

I am writing again today, a full year since I began my second year at Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific because it is a very special day.  As I write I can listen to the  live stream of UWC's 50th Anniversary Celebration, where it all began - at St. Donats Castle in Wales at Atlantic College.    Atlantic College is one of 12 magnificent schools across the globe that are united by a common mandate: to use education  as a force to unite peoples, nations, and cultures for peace and a sustainable future.   It has been 50 years since UWC was created.  An extremely influential man named Kurt Hahn played a huge role in beginning this movement (he also created Outward Bound, the Duke of Edinburgh award, and the Round Square) and my favorite quote from him is, "There is more in you than you think." 

How extraordinary to think of education as more than a classroom, more than exam results, more than facts regurgitated, more than desks and pencils and powerpoints, more than laptops, more than papers...to me, education is about relationship(s).  Relationships with others and relationships to our environment.  Relationship can also mean conflict. 

Education is dynamic.  Education is fluid.  Education is not fixed.

And I was completely blessed to experience my education (and kind of grow up in the process) at Pearson College, a true and beautiful United World College.

If I look at my life now, my decisions and the people I connect with most are intrinsically linked to UWC.  Even if the people I am surrounded by did not/ do not attend a UWC, they often have the spirit in their hearts.  I still miss my second years, my co-years, and my first-years and the times we spent together on Pedder Bay. The village meetings where we would talk and discuss anything on our minds...the late night conversations in the spiritual centre (a place for all faiths)....or the time spent in the outdoors biking and climbing - all of these are etched on my soul.  Even doing laundry was an adventure.

 I know that no matter what these connections remain and can be re-lit at any point!  Great conversations are a result of great hearts connecting.  And the beauty is - this can happen anywhere, the flame never dies.

So from my heart to yours, congratulations and happy birthday UWC!

Sincerely and with much love,

PS: Earlier on I had planned to take this blog down after I left Pearson, but I will maintain it's presence on the internet if it continues to help inform and spread the aims and admirable goals of UWC.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Pearson, 8 Months Later.

Bet you thought I was gone! 

Okay so although it may seem I am unable to let go of this blog, I am slowly letting go of Pearson.  You may ask why would I ever want to do such a thing? The simple answer is: I have to keep living my life.

Two years seemed like so long when I signed up.  Today I am feeling rather baffled because one of the biggest forwarding sights to this blog recently, is a German forum where people are talking about my blog in a chat!  I found this quite amusing and it made me feel very happy!  Not because they were talking about my blog (and therefore me) but because the conversation was a shared enthusiasm for UWC.  That brings me joy.  Also somone said they can practise their English by reading this, and if so, good for you. :)

Today I am meeting up with 15 UWCers in BC.  I am so excited. I don't think you ever truly "leave" a UWC.  It is only the ways that you stay connected, that transform.  I am trying to think of a clever analogy.  The only one I can get is really cheesy.  One day a caterpillar crawled into my heart.  At Pearson it became a cocoon.  When I left the butterfly emerged and flew away although she comes back to visit every now and then, softly landing on my nose.

I have so much to tell you.  But it isn't really relevant.   One thing is though.  This new year is a gift, and I am growing and learning all along the way (www.universitystudentmusings-emmy.blogspot.com)

Here is a stunning poem by Mary Oliver that sums up how I am feeling about this new year:

In Blackwater Woods

Look, the trees
are turning
their own bodies
into pillars

of light,
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
and fulfillment,

the long tapers
of cattails
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders

of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is

nameless now.
Every year
I have ever learned

in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side

is salvation,
whose meaning
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.


In other news, if you are looking for a current Pearson student's blog, my dear friend Mohamed (who I met through this blog!) has an excellent one, full of insight and humour.  I am so glad he and I could meet in person and share our enthusiasm for UWC.  Write on Mohamed, you're going far!  http://moudy1994.wordpress.com/

And of course my beautiful and wonderous friend Liz has a great blog about her Pearson experience:   http://lizwelliver.wordpress.com   Liz is a beautiful soul, full of appreciation, gratitude, and deep awareness.  I know that her presence on campus is wholly transformative, for the entire community.

I am going back to visit Pearson soon and I have a good feeling about it.
I wonder if it will still feel like home, but the more I have started to realize that home really exists in the tears in a friends' eye, the hug of a stranger, the kindness of words, the beauty of love, and in the reassuring constant tide washing the ocean to shore.

May you live in so much peace.


PS: The UWC in BC reunion was phenomenal.  This picture says it all, and it was taken 2 seconds before a zamboni nearly hit us at the ice rink!