Okay, I cannot stop there; what about this Russian author, named Saunders? I am interested enough now to want to read his favourite short story called, “The Overcoat, by Nikolai Gogol. He says it’s his favourite because it’s “funny and sad, and I think it’s the way God actually thinks of us.” (Saunders) I wonder if that’s true? I wish I had the time to read the short story. I will. When space opens, and I find a corner of desired dreams where I cannot sleep, I will read the Overcoat.
There are many authors that some won’t enjoy. but the author’s that touch my imagination at the heart of their song in life, is a true artist that leaves me begging for more ‘story.’
by Christine Reeves
I haven’t been home since December. My friend had a double mastectomy then had to get her second knee replaced. She was hard and heavy into sport; this created havoc on her knees. She has become one of my closest friends, not because she is kind and loving (which helps), but because she genuinely cares. I mean, who else can put up with my drama of crying all night because I can never reach my son. She lets me be myself, even when I fall apart. Her husband died last year of cancer what are the odds? She is strong, one of the strongest women I know besides my other good friend. She has recovered from cancer. What does that say about my friends? One would think that my friends are radioactive or stepped both feet into a storm that bleeds a hurricane, but they have this amazing appreciation for life. It’s like watching these two write their life testimony while under the wheel of a semi-truck. They are both on the mend.
Conquering cancer is like conquering whatever mountain you find the hardest to climb. Mount Everest seems fitting for their success in battling the monster.
Clicking into the digital brain of our class. Everyone is making conversations. I wonder if they all know each other, or is it just me who feels like I have walked into a play and caught the last half hour of it? I am curious about spirals, but I missed the idea of it. I feel cheated; I wonder what I was doing when the Professor shared his spiraling ideas on paper.
I missed the meaning of the spiral talk because I was looking outside at the sun shimmering on the snow. The sound of the wind and the Canadian flag blowing back and forth, almost like I’ve stepped into its sail travelling to an unknown land within my imagination.
What do you hear when I write about the sound of your footsteps
crunching through the cold, dry snow
or the sound of diamonds glistening upon the fresh powdered surface
where it looks like stars on top?
I can write about the wind, but will you hear the sound?
I write when the wind pushes away from me into the trees,
and the plastic bag is caught up in the branches.
The crinkly sound it makes as I pass by.
Can you hear it?
When I write about the rain when it hits the lake,
what sound can you hear? It might make a
sound like E or E flat;
depending on where the sun is shining,
it can turn to a B by the brightness
of the sun slapping upon the water.
What about the sparkles of the melted snow
on the side of the pavement
where it glistens as I
the wheels of my car rumbles and rolls over it;
did I describe it?
Can you hear it?
I don’t know.
Writing is a quirky world where describing things is wrapped up into a ball like the earth filled with water, electricity, and mirth. Somehow, I don’t laugh anymore unless my nerves the stress of the day is overwhelming. Like when I was at the bar with a friend before COVID, and we were chilling before our writer’s group. We talked about Africa and how in Heaven it would be cool to lie with a lion and a lamb and not get eaten. Then my mind wandered. I thought about giraffes. How would that be if a bunch of giraffes were in the middle of our streets running wildly down our highways? Their necks are so long that they would get caught in the wires. How does that look? I exploded in laughter. I understand this was not a funny sight at all, to see giraffes caught up in street lights and wires with their long necks twirling around like some wild African nightmare.
It was a strange and funny random thought that relieved my stress. By the end of the evening, we were both laughing so hard that we couldn’t contain ourselves. We didn’t even have any alcohol.
This is what a studio of creativity looks like. Humans gather to talk about their favourite authors. I wonder what authors are my favourite today? When I was a little girl, it was A.A. Milne, the author of Winnie the Pooh; this is what he has to say about the writing process:
“Ideas may drift into other minds, but they do not drift my way. I have to go and fetch them. I know no work manual or mental to equal the appalling heart-breaking anguish of fetching an idea from nowhere.”
‘Lucy Maud Montgomery.’ She fascinates me, mostly because I relate to the exquisite language of her imagination and to see her house and her things make my heart skip a beat. I want so much to be a writer like her and engage my characters that put life into the world of my past budding girlhood. Then it was my sister’s book called ‘Virgins’ by Caryl Rivers. My dad threw the book away just when my sister and I were halfway through the novel. I was angry, my sister still has left over animosity towards our dad.
I wanted to enjoy Shakespeare in high school, but somehow our English teacher beat the language to death, which made me literally kill Shakespeare’s ghost. I wonder if I read Romeo and Juliet again, if I would feel the same way?
These students in this class seem to be advanced in their speech and writing. I fear I have taken the wrong turn getting here? Was choosing this class a mistake? Oh shit! Here I go again, thinking about myself. No wonder my mother calls me selfish every now and then. Somehow, trauma and suffering can cause havoc on emotions and health in a person.
“We won’t have a formal critique,” Jake said. Did he really say what I think he said? I never met a Professor like this before. How radical, how exciting. I am curious and completely engaged. This is rather a comfortable place, a place where… if I were naked in my writing, no one would strip it further to the point of killing my words to the bone. I will not worry; this is dialogue of creative minds. Open the idea and look inside, you hold a delightful find.
These authors, Saunders, is he Russian? And who is Flannery O’Connor? My desire to read these authors and learn who they are might push my language into the abyss of endless words that may break through the blocks that blur.
Curious and more curious, I found some quotes written by my favourite authors that interest me in this writing process: “Smell is the closest thing human beings have to a time machine.” by Caryl Rivers. Now that is profound. It is hard to describe the sweet, seedy taste of a strawberry, or describing the scent after fresh rain in spring, thinking about fresh rain, that is a smell that if I could bottle it up and sniff it daily, I think I would drop from the sky down into the soft tall meadows of wet dew seeping through my dress. How I love a blanket of nature enfolding me in a kiss.
How about this one: “Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.” By Lucy Maud Montgomery. My goodness, that quote makes me think of a wonderful mother I know well who was recently diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. What a horrible thing to think about at this moment. Imagine this beautiful mother one day won’t remember anything and will lose everything! That thought is enough to bury all the memory files, letters, historical facts of her dear family that were ever recorded thrown away into Niagara falls. I cannot believe that words can disappear from connections of a highly functional and articulate brain such as hers. You know what calms me at the moment? It is the realization that even though all is lost at some point in the future for this dear woman, is the very fact that love is found written in the heart of a tender and gentle soul of a good mother.
I find myself in this dark dense platform. Unsure of myself, I check my camera and volume. Are they looking through the darkness too? I hear clamouring in the kitchen. Voices echo behind me; the light is too bright I should move to the couch. I have been anticipating this class for a millennium. It seems all my other classes of writing led to this platform, this day, and this hour. It is 2:00 PM. My heart races. I wonder how I can ever reach my son. I haven’t spoken to my little one since February. The pandemic changed our time together like I am in one galaxy and he’s in another, and his dad is this big super massive black hole between us. I try to forgive. I am standing in the middle of a page. I am the page The spoken words surround me. The crowds are cheering. They shoot words at me randomly—not all at once my pen bleeds The page is turned the other way. I see my baby I run to reach him I lay motionless Lost my air everyone walks away This is me loving you by taking the blows you didn’t know. Did you? This love pours out in memory and the words found me. I was on my knees in the Adoration Chapel. You went through my heart. Saw through my eyes, and we shared a common bridge of time.
The Cambridge Dictionary describes domestic violence as “The situation in which someone you live with attacks you and tries to hurt you.”
Violence is often seen through the victim’s eyes; however, the mind, mouth and other senses fail because abuse is not defined by others or by the state’s history. It isn’t defined by social structures, physical structures or even by culture. What does that mean? Domestic violence isn’t defined except for those abused; even then, it isn’t clear due to post-traumatic stress disorder. Those who are being abused cannot recall events properly because most suffer from traumatization. That is why we have a rabbit hole that systems of “state” cannot resolve.
Understanding Domestic Violence through an Okanagan College Student’s Experience
I interviewed Cecile, a mature student at Okanagan College, on March 7-9, 2021. “There is a rabbit hole when it comes to defining hurt,” Cecile explained. She is a victim of domestic violence.
Cecile is a mother to her 15-year-old son, who was taken from her when he was 7 years old. Cecile was accused of thwarting access for over 8 years. Her abusive ex-husband was granted full custody and was able to take him to another Province by the Judge’s order in Supreme Court before any proper trial was set.
“My son, who was 7 years old at the time, was ripped from his home, his school, his appointments, piano classes, Tae kwon do, minor baseball, first communion and from all his friends with no formal investigation, and no evidence. My lawyer said to me in a little meeting room at the courthouse, “all you have to do is tell them that you will never go to the police again, and you will keep your son.” I left the courthouse with a final order in a matter of minutes. My ex-husband got approval by the court to move our son out of the province without any regard to our son and the implication this would have on him.
“We finished packing his toys and things from home that my son wanted. We both had a few minutes together before his dad was coming to pick him up. I looked at my beautiful son and asked him if he wanted anything else in his bag. My son fell to the floor, lost his air and said, “but mommy, you won’t fit in the bag.” I held and rocked him until it was time for him to go. I looked at him and said, “where there is a goodbye, there is always a hello.” That was the last I saw him at home. After that, I battle to communicate with him ever since. I see him for 2 to 3 weeks in the summer and every other Christmas, that is until COVID 19,” Cecile said.
This is what her ex-husband did once her son was out of the Province:
He cut the landline phone.
He got a cell phone.
He explained that their WIFI connection was poor where they live. Cecile understood this since she fled with their baby from that very home to the women’s shelter.
COVID 19 and Interprovincial Parenting
“Since they took my son, I have been at the mercy of his dad and the institutions that keep the abuse going. Covid adds to the stress because when there are lockdowns and not hearing from them creates further concern. At least I felt comforted knowing he was safe at school. Still, with the pandemic, my son is home with poor WIFI service and no landline phone, every time I try to communicate to my son’s father, I am coming up against my own trauma, but I push through that and keep trying to communicate,” Cecile said.
The current Covid pandemic has changed all access for Cecile and her son. Her son suffers severe anxiety due to the pandemic and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“My ex-husband has stated that travel is not a good idea due to Covid. My son also expressed to me in brief moments of connection that he is too afraid to travel and come to another Province. He hasn’t gone to school consistently since the Pandemic. I signed forms for my son to have therapy for his anxiety. I am left in the dark. I bought my son a cell phone which includes unlimited data, but my calls don’t get through. I send text messages, but hardly any response,” Cecile shared.
What Cecile has learned about her situation is that state systems will not put a majority of people at risk by revealing the corrupt system we have here in Canada.
“The only thing that works for me is my faith in God. Despite oppression and abuse. God’s love for us will take care of my son going forward during the pandemic.
Why is Domestic Violence so Puzzling?
Abuse is puzzling. The degree of violence becomes more confusing, especially when the institutions themselves deny any abuse. It was abuse when Cecile’s ex-husband, the agencies and courts stripped her of her finances, her communication with her son, and her visits. Their child has become the tool her ex-husband uses to get back at her, with the systems’ approval that should have protected them. The violence continues.
“I am told I can see him anytime in the town and Province where he lives. The court order reads that I have generous access. What that does not solve is domestic violence or how the violence is affecting my son and me. It does not solve the fact that my ex warned me that I will not see him anymore than I do now if I move closer,” Cecile explained.
The court order forces Cecile to make access arrangements with her ex to see their child. This puts more stress on Cecile, who must follow the court order. Why? “Because I have to deal with my ex, who is abusive, to agree when and if I can see my son,” Cecile said.
The political stance on structural violence is the core where internal family violence becomes the violence of the structure in which we are governed. Stein says it well,
“Value and legitimacy of the various kinds of states and state agencies and of the state as such. Careful consideration of the standard theories leads repeatedly to findings that state values are secondary and derivative. Value accrues primarily to personal and community characteristics such as liberty, conscience, cultural creativity, and religious conviction. The state puts itself at risk whenever it goes up against those.” (XIV, Stein)
“Stopping the violence” slogans are misleading.
Cecile’s experience in finding help reveals that many hotlines, societies, and non-profit agencies read that they can call a number and get help immediately. Cecile stated that she does not doubt that abused mothers get help, but the slogan, ‘Stop the Violence,’ is misleading.
“There is no such thing as stopping the violence When I went to the women’s shelter, they had me fill out a detailed form so that they could assess the level of risk. They provided help and a plan to get housing and direction to stay safe. However, these very agencies do not help when it comes to custody and access within the legal system. Legal Aid is what parents use who cannot afford a lawyer. These institutions fail so many who are domestic violence victims,” Cecile said.
What do Mothers and their children need when they are threatened by violence?
They need the following:
Changing the law on how MCFD (Ministry of Children and Family Development) is governed.
Financial support for proper legal counsel.
Better Government systems to work with parents, who are trained professionals to assess and work with both parents so that therapy is mandatory for the whole family.
Donations/funding to help mothers see their children who are far away.
Ways to communicate and co-parent safely with an abusive ex-husband, this is not possible; however, the courts and institutions force it.
Cecile could not afford the travel costs there and back for her son’s flights and her own. Planning vacation time around her ex-husband’s access dates (which were not negotiable) was a problem for her when she had to book her vacation time. This added more stress, made her sick where she had to go on sick leave numerous times.
“It is costly to pay for travel, lodging, medicine and food. I couldn’t carry on with the salary I was making. I decided to go back to school to gain better employment so I can afford to see my son.”
What Can a parent do to keep the Connection with their Child when there Is power imbalance?
Cecile shared what she does to keep hope alive and ways she communicates:
“I keep trying to call and tell my son I love him and goodnight. When I have seen my son before Covid, he told me he gets those messages even if it does not show.
I keep a journal of letters to my son. Words of inspiration and words that express my love for being his mother. Information about me, traditions we celebrated, memories we share. One day he will read them.
I continue to pray for my son and his dad every day. I pray blessings over my son every night. I write and speak of my gratitude for the gift of my son. I rely on my faith in God while my son and I are oppressed.
I keep a box of treasures that I find that my son will smile over for the different stages of his life. Treasures he will have. I also have a keepsake of memories to help him remember the loving and fun moments we had. I also kept his milestones in sports and the special CD he made in his Grade 1 piano class.
Hope for a change of Systems and Agencies when it comes to domestic violence.
We can change state agencies and state systems; however, the challenge I have for all of you is how? The Community of families is our politics. And if there is violence within the community, the very political platforms that allow violence because it’s riskier not to what does that say about our laws? What does that say about MCFD and the Courts?
The truth of what matters is that Cecile did the right thing. She did everything she could legally and within the system to protect herself and her son. The structure failed her son, but as a mother, she did not.
“The state structures failed us. My ex-husband who hurt us, has my son. The very structure and laws silenced my son and I,” Cecile said.
Here is a piece of Cecile’s writing that she wrote in one of her classes:
(Dialogue between a mother and her son)
I tried to write a dialogue with you, little one—but I erased it. Too much emotion flooded my heart. I had your toys and boxes of memories in my car, sitting in the front seat. You always wanted to sit in the front seat. In the box are toys that made you smile; I can still hear giggling. It’s the joy of Christmas lying inside the box, your favourite toy Sheriff Woody beside the other toy Jessie from Toy Story. I parked my car at Value Village—me and my box of memories.
The sign read: OPEN AT 11:00 AM. It was 10:30 AM
It took courage to go to Value Village, little one.
I sat in front of the closed doors—it was hard to drive there.
I even took a picture of our memories,
A story to be told
You warned me that you would be going far, far away.
That I would be alone
I didn’t understand
You told me so
Yet, I did not know
I held you, caressed your forehead.
“Mommy, I’m afraid you will be on the street with no money. What will happen to you?”
Oh, dear, my little one.
“Mommy has God, and He will take care of me.”
“I’m not ready to be a saint, aren’t I too little?”
I take one of your finger puppets.
“Let go of everything, take the picture and then let go,” I remember my friend Anne saying that to me.
There were five finger puppets.
I kept one. It was the little chicken because it had a loose string.
“Can you fix it, mommy?”
“I can fix anything.”
The little chicken said the sky is falling.
The sky fell for us, when you were taken.
I kept the little chicken.
Stein, Edith, translated by Sawicki, Marianne. “An Investigation Concerning the State.” Edith Stein. An Investigation Concerning the State. Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.: 2006. SBN 0-935216-39-1. Book.
Cecile, (remains anonymous) is a mature student at Okanagan College who was willing to share her experiences living with domestic violence.
My beautiful parents were hit with a few challenges this year, one of those challenges was my dad’s back injury and my mom’s back issues that prevented them from shoveling. One of the greatest blessings for seniors in the Okanagan Valley is the ability to have help through our communities. Here is a resource link for senior’s that is a huge help for those who qualify in times of great need:
Christmastime was different for many people this year. My Christmas preparation after school ended was helping my friend after she had a knee replacement. Covid 19 changed everything for many of us. My other friend who is from Columbia and myself jumped at the chance to help our friend in need. My friend from Columbia shared her tradition with us, which made it very special for the three of us to experience.
She pulled out from her red bag candles, a unique prayer book in Spanish and an eight candle holder. She lit seven candles, but she had no candle in the eighth. In her family tradition they light candles and do prayers and songs to celebrate the second coming of Christ and celebrate Jesus’ birth for days before Christmas day. She brought her musical instruments I remember playing in music class from elementary school. She pulled out a triangle instrument, tambourine and shakers. She gave us songbooks that held Christmas songs in Spanish and others published in English. She opened up this old Spanish prayer book her parents gave her when she was a child who celebrated Christmas in a fashion much like Shabbat but not quite.
After lighting the candles, she helped us understand that they celebrate the seven days of creation, and God rested on the eighth. She read the prayers in her language of Spanish then translated the prayers for us. The prayers were beautiful. In between the prayers we sang a beautiful song for the baby child Jesus a child’s song from long ago. My friend, who had knee surgery, smiled over this new experience, and I felt great peace and love that night that will stay with me forever.
Our families weren’t together this year, and yet somehow, in that little room, singing and praying in a tradition different from mine shed a new kind of light. A ray of HOPE, despite how Covid 19 changes how we do things today, ‘change’ is something to embrace rather than grieve over.
This brief little encounter into a tradition taught by another especially helped each of us endure a difficult Christmas without our family and the ‘familiar,’ into a culture that provided a ‘grace’ period.
“We didn’t realize we were making memories; we just knew we were having fun”
(This is an interview and article I wrote and pitched for my final assignment last year in my Journalism class)
Alicia Boisvert, a 27-year old mother of two children, had her world torn apart when her children were wrongfully taken into the care of MCFD (Ministry of Children and Family Development) on April 8th, 2014.
Her baby at the time was returned to her care more than 30-days later. The oldest, however, was ripped from the only home he had ever known, forced to be apart from his mother and brother for five years in an abusive foster home and was finally returned to Boisvert on March 7th, 2019, after a long and gruelling battle with the MCFD.
“Our family is very busy today, a lot of fixing, to be honest, re-cooperating. We didn’t have any involvement with our oldest son because of the MCFD; the whole family needed to adjust to Trayton being home again,” Boisvert said.
In 2014 Boisvert was at a crucial point in her health, battling a tumour and other serious health issues that needed surgery and recovery time. She had no family alive, to help so she took advice from a good friend and reached out to MCFD by writing them an email on April 6th, 2014. Two days later, there was a knock on her door; a social worker came into her home asking her to take a drug test and said they would go over the paperwork of the agreement.
“I told the worker that I don’t have a problem with getting a drug test. I said, “let’s go,” the kids were at daycare; I got in the car with the social worker. Thinking back over my youth file, the only time I had anything was only for survival as a child, so this information should never come into play in this case, to begin with. I thought, let’s clear whatever they need clearing, then let’s focus on my son,” Boisvert said.
Trayton, who was 4.5-years old at the time, suffered from behavioural issues. The daycare informed Boisvert that he needed a higher level of care than what they can provide. They said she needed to find him a suitable place. Her youngest baby was fine and did not have any issues. Trayton’s birth was traumatic; they had to use forceps, which caused some brain damage. With Boisvert’s upcoming surgeries, Trayton needed to be placed somewhere fast, plus he needed to be assessed, but the waitlists were long. Both she and her partner Frank Chartrand agreed that calling the MCFD was the best choice at the time.
On that traumatic day, the worker pulled out the paperwork that Boisvert signed. It was a VCA (voluntary care agreement), on the basis that she had the right to revoke it at any time; the second part of that agreement was to have full involvement in all of Trayton’s appointments.
The workers had her VCA agreement, and on April 8th, 2014, they picked her children up. That was the last she saw of her son Trayton except for sporadic supervised visits for the next five years, the drug testing results eventually came back clear.
“I had no idea where my children were. At this point I am calling around desperately asking what is going on. The response I got was well, the file’s changed. I said, what are you talking about? They said well, the file has been changed to a ‘removal’ and they gave me a court date, with no other explanation.” Boisvert said.
The battle had just begun, not only was Boisvert fighting for her life, she was fighting to get her oldest child back. After years of court dates and mediations, many adjournments and custody hearings, MCFD was taking her to court for a CCO (continuing custody order) so they could adopt her son out. They lied to her, and bullied her the whole time despite the odd social worker who was kind and tried to help. She ended up getting a better legal aid lawyer who got an adjournment which was crucial to getting her son back.
Trayton is now 9-years old. He has unspecified neurodevelopmental disorder with ADHD-Combined Type, which is a very tough diagnosis. that one can have, they can work with Trayton using various combined skills. The family is relieved that Trayton is finally getting the help they wanted years ago.
“I have recently seen a lot of people who got their child back who agreed to the MCFD’s terms even though they didn’t do what they were accused of. They got their child home, they agreed that they did something that they didn’t do that follows them for the rest of their life. I adjourned that CCO case I sacrificed time because at the end of the day although my son’s back home there’s a lot of trauma we are working through, it is really about holding the ministry accountable.” Boisvert said.
I made a genuine and reasonable effort to contact Katrine Conroy, MLA for the Ministry of Children and Families, and John Horgan, Premier of BC, for comment and MCFD policy verification; however, they did not get back to me despite many attempts. The MCFD client relations referred me to contact one of their front-line social workers, who stated; she is not to talk to the media.
This assignment was given to us in our communications class at Okanagan College. The assignment has as its main objective a reflection of the writing process and its significance to our future professional life. To facilitate this reflection we were asked to interview someone who holds the kind of job we might like to have. This interview turned into one of the most important interviews that I will keep close to my heart. Throughout the interview I was given an eagle eye view into the depths of how MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying and Euthanasia) impacts all of us.
Do you believe that connecting to the audience breaks the minute we forget who we are communicating with? That is one of the fundamental lessons I am learning in my last year in Communications, Culture and Journalism Program, at the Okanagan College.
Knowing our audience is vital in all channels of communication. How we make that connection with each other is a learned art. I interviewed Alex Schadenberg, the Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition, for my communications assignment.
During the whole interview I was hanging on Schadenberg’s every word. The interview was supposed to be only for an hour, but the time flew by, the next thing I knew it was two hours later. He spoke to me with authenticity that comes from a deep passion and drive for the love of human dignity. That is how this interview impacted me in ways that I will never forget. Just so you know I will be posting the entire interview under ‘Community Profiles’ here on my blog: https://okanaganvalleyview.com/, once my final exams this semester are over.
I asked Schadenberg: What do you remember the most about what you learned in school about communication that stuck with you?
“One thing that sticks in my mind is in Philosophy. I studied Thomas Aquinas and I think he was right in one of his principals, he said you have to speak to people where they are coming from. His idea was, if something is true then truth is knowable, so therefore you speak to the person from where they are at. I try to keep it on the average person as I can if you read my material. Why do I do that? Because I think, if its true, they understand– then its knowable,” said Schadenberg.
I thought about what he said for awhile, but I could not quite get my head around what he meant. Guess what I did? I went deeper and looked up Thomas Aquinas to help me understand this essential communication expertise.
“Furthermore, the king’s laws must result from the “deliberation of reason” and have the consent of both the nobility and the common people. These were radical ideas for a time when kings claimed no one but God could hold them accountable.” (Walker)
Schadenberg helped me see audience in a wider lens which I am going to carry with me in any position that I apply for and work in. My goals for working in the field of Communications and Journalism is to focus on how community can impact change that benefits all people rather than just a select few.
When you want to make a difference and communicate to people where they are you can reach them where you are. Once you connect to your audience you have built a relationship that will grow and it will impact donations in a non-profit organization to enhancing corporate meetings by reaching all levels of management and employees, as well as all affiliations. Building relationships on all levels of industry can create a stronger foundation to cope with the ever-changing media that will benefit everyone.
We are here to communicate, build relationships and make a difference in peoples lives. I will leave you with this lasting message of what I will take with me in my new career in Communications. How we connect with others is based on what we say to each other about what we know. The forever question we need to ask ourselves is: Do we really know who we are speaking too and have I reached you?
“Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.” Winnie the Pooh
It seems like there is this urgency to have everything work and be in order for there to be success in the classrooms. I watched the Professors online struggle as they tried to make this online experience less painful for us the students. But, behind the names of students that flowed in I saw a lot of Professors apologizing for the delay and the technical challenges that popped up with students and with the systems that really we didn’t have much control over. Nothing was smooth, nor was it easy, there was static, background noise, some had video, some didn’t. One class I had the videos of faces swirling every second which made me dizzy.
I tend do better when I am in a classroom setting. I find I am more focused and attentive maybe more disciplined. This Pandemic has caused quite the attention all over the world, many have lost their lives and some are breezing through it with lingering symptoms that last and continues to last with no end in sight. Covid 19 has floated into every home if not from the media it has come in through the phone, through the walls of space and time. Comparatively to the Pandemic of the Spanish flue in 1918, society itself has shut down but Covid 19 differed in the fact that we have moved into a new era of culture, communication and changed ‘live-in’ spaces. We are seeing an undercurrent of turbulence, that keeps coming unnannounced really. Precautions are taken, staying home as much as possible and yet this moment has created quite the urgency to have everything work out and have it done concisely, and perfectly.
There is no doubt about it we are adjusting, we have moved our studies online and the College is sorting all the kinks. What I find most interesting is how each Professor engages the students in this new space of learning. I am grateful for being in this time and age it gives me the chance to step back and reflect on my own learning space, how Covid 19 has changed how I look at learning and what it is that I can do to slow myself down and be ready for the messy and unpredictable side of life online and off. Don’t get me wrong I always new life is unpredictable, but this is a different messy its a ‘wired’ messy, a strange encounter with pixels and codes that form on the screen through transmission of sound and light.
We are making history, and yet on the ground level of things, we are repeating history just in a different way. Are we ready for messy? I think so.
There is something beautiful about messy and turbulent it breathes life and forces us to focus and stay awake in life. The best part of learning online is to push ourselves out of our own comfort zones into a new media a new excitement of engaging ourselves in a small space. It’s like the space in my office, a blank wall gives me the expanse of creating ‘story’ in ways I would never have created thanks to Okanagan College.
‘I walk by the river, and pieces of me leaves traces underneath like rocks beneath the current, life flows smoother over time, if we simply let it be.’