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!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Blog!

Hello there,

Well I was wrong, guess that wasn't my last post! Haha.  Thought I'd let you know I'm settling into university pretty well and enjoying life for the most part, post-Pearson.  Not to say the transition is easy, because it really isn't - but just that I'm realizing the world is much bigger than Pearson.

Anyways, the point of this post is to let you know that should you feel like it, and you have nothing better to do, you can always check out my new university blog!  I want it to have an international focus, of post-secondary experiences around the world (or the lack thereof) and just be a funny recount of interesting tales.  If you like the sounds of it, and were kind enough to follow this blog, feel free to check it out!

Here's the address: http://www.universitystudentmusings-emmy.blogspot.com

Sending massive amounts of love your way, and hoping that life is treating you well.

Keep dancing.  Keep loving.  Keep laughing.

Yours always,

PS:  These photos are from the incredible awe-inspiring humanitarian/educational trip I went on this past summer in Kenya.  For more info: www.kenyakulefoundation.org

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


"Do you have doubts about life? Are you unsure if it is really worth the trouble? Look at the sky: that is for you. Look at each person's face as you pass them on the street: those faces are for you. And the street itself, and the ground under the street, and the ball of fire underneath the ground: all these things are for you. They are as much for you as they are for other people. Remember this when you wake up in the morning and think you have nothing. Stand up and face the east. Now praise the sky and praise the light within each person under the sky. It's okay to be unsure. But praise, praise, praise."
Miranda July

One of the wisest people I know shared this quote with me and I love it. It's comforting and true... and one of the most profound things Pearson College has taught me, I think, is to see and honour the light within each person under the sky.

This will be my last post (I think!) and I'd like to take the time to thank YOU for reading.  I realize it has been an ERA since I last wrote so if anyone is still following this blog, kudos to you!  You deserve a bone crushing cyber hug at the very least.  But in all seriousness, I hope this blog has at least helped someone as much as it has helped me.   And to everyone who reached out in comments or emails or just by reading, thank you thank you thank you.  I must admit there is a weird narcissism attached to blogging, but having a space to unleash my random thoughts and reflections was at times therapeutic and helped  tremendously to process my time at Pearson.

And this brings me to the bright topic of adventures. Yep the name of my blog is perhaps a little cheesy and hokey but I guess our adventures are chances to learn, and I am honoured to have shared some with you.  I love the word adventure - it can turn the most tricky lesson into something exciting... it represents a trek into the unknown.  And that's what life is about, right?  I have been very lucky to have known some adventurous people lately and I admire their courage, strength, and determination.  Keep adventuring!

 Pearson is an idealistic place, but it's still easy to get caught up in the immense problems are world is facing and the suffering that permeates daily life.  So there is one idea I still hold dear, one that Pearson does too I think,  that there is something uniting us all, and we are all capable and deserving.  And that it is this vision of a better world that keeps the tides of hope flowing.  Peace is possible, and it begins in our own hearts. It's never too late to enter the present moment, take a breath, and remember that.

So most likely there won't be many more adventures for me at Pearson, but my second year was filled with some precious and incredible experiences.   Congratulations to everyone that contributed to a historically successful and supportive year.  I am proud especially of year 36 who began this year together and ended it together. I am equally proud of year 37, people I have come to love dearly and as a second year, could not feel happier and more trusting in passing the campus down to. I know they will be amazing role models.   I am infinitely grateful to everyone I have spent the last year with.   They are all incredible human beings.

I'll post some photos undeneath, but unfortunately due to my loss of a camera and only regaining one in May, I don't have many photos from the bulk of this year, therefore all of the ones below are from the last month of my second year. Trust me, though, there were tons of picture perfect moments but they're permanently stored on an 'internal' memory card you can't see. 

Lastly, since my short but phenomenal 2 years have come to a close,  I think I will take this blog off the internet by the end of August. As much as I have loved keeping it,  I think it's time to move on to the next chapter of life - and all the trials and tribulations of university.  Also, this blog by no means represents anything more than the passing thoughts and musings in my own head during my time at Pearson, and do not necessarily reflect the views of anyone else related to Pearson or UWC.  Everyone's experience at Pearson is so very unique.  That said, I am indefinitely indebted to this great organization that is building bridges around the world, in a very real, relevant, and important way.  Pearson College has opened my eyes and my heart.  And I miss it dearly. 

So keep shining, dear reader.  It has been an awe-inspiring 2 years and I wish you all the very best.

With peace, love, and gratitude from the bottom of my heart,

Friday, June 3, 2011

Embarking Again

First year Flashbacks

How do I even start to begin? Well 2 years ago I remember feeling anxious, sad, happy, overwhelmed, beyond excited, and full of hope. And once again I find myself in a swirling sea of constantly changing emotions. It has been the most incredible adventure and a tremendous privilege to be at Pearson for the last two years. I can't begin to describe how indebted and thankful I feel for everything: the ups, the downs, the friendship, the beauty, the peace. So I thought I'd put up a few of my favorite photos from my time at a gorgeous place on the edge of the ocean, where pretty much anything is possible.

All of these pictures have a story. All of these people I love dearly. Only that words and love cannot be contained and limited to this page, they are alive and travelling at this very moment, from my heart to yours.  I can hear the conversations already....

Second year photos to come...