Opportunities

I waited for an hour in the cold this evening to get into a last minute event at the Vogue Theatre downtown. It was a casual program that seemed to flow and glide through the night… Amanda Palmer who hosted the event calls it a “ninja gig” and the beauty in the uncertain and unexpected inspired me. She was attending the TED conference in Vancouver and she organized a few other musicians who were performing at TED, to put on a free show to raise money for the Vancouver Food Bank. 

 

My favourite part of the night was when Imogen Heap came on stage and sang a capella with the audience cooing the part “just for now, just for now, just for now…” Another favourite was when a young musician studying at Berkeley performed a talented gig on his guitar that was like playing piano on his guitar…then followed by a young lady who was a sound engineer who made incredible sounds and music with her mouth and found objects, artfully crafted by technology.

 

On the way home I thought about how these musicians were not only talented but were intuitive and genuine with their instruments. They expressed their ideas and opinions and emotions through their music. That’s what made it so powerful. I realized that in my new role as a music teacher next term, I will be privileged to be part of my students’ personal journey to begin viewing our music as an outlet for expression. I want them to love music for the potential it has to free our soul. It is my greatest wish that someday they will become part of a gathering like the one tonight at the Vogue, where their music and their presence is a testament to how influential music is to community. 

 

Other amazing people we saw tonight… Sarah Kay the slam poet , Chris Hadfield the astronaut guitarist who performed Space Oddity, and Bora Yoon who was the sound engineer above mentioned who performed something like this. Finally, Amy Cuddy who spoke on the power of body language, was there and all 11,000 or so of us did power poses in the theatre. 

 

I remember watching her video last year before practicum, and it really helped me get through the toughest parts of student teaching, and then teaching as a substitute teacher. It was so, so neat to see these people who I watched on TED Talks appear on stage tonight. 

Commonwealth Conference

For the last six years I have been involved with hosting the Commonwealth Conference and I have not appreciated it as much as I did this year. I feel extremely proud of all the components of our conference this year, engaging delegates in debate, diplomacy, and reporting skills. The response from our students this year was extremely positive. Students were very thorough this year, and it was a feat to coordinate our largest ever conference (90 students in one committee!). 

 

Here is the live news blog where our delegates published their articles during our debate sessions. The most recent articles are testimonies of their positive experiences participating in the mock CHOGM this year. 

http://vancouverchogm2013.wordpress.com/

a beautiful day

Since I got back from Uganda, my team and I have been working together to fundraise money to send back to Busolwe, Uganda, to continue the kindergarten project that we started there. Today, the school is a registered primary school, and offers five different grades including our original Kindergarten. It is called Mango Grove School. The advantage that our school offers for our students is that it is attached to the community library, which means that teachers have more resources to teach the students, encouraging them to be creative and love reading. We have raised over $3,000 with Cedar Grove Elementary School since last year, and today we did our second presentation at Irwin Park Elementary School.

Our presentation is 30 minutes long and includes pictures and video clips of a few of the things we did in Busolwe for the Kindergarten project. Our presentation script tells the stories of the children who live in Busolwe. We want to share the story of the students in Busolwe with students here, to give them a peek into the lives of children halfway around the world. The purpose of sharing their stories is not just to fundraise money to support the school in Busolwe. We also hope to inspire some students to be thankful for what they have and perhaps one day also go abroad to interact with other cultures.

All the students were so attentive during our presentation– they really enjoyed hearing about daily life and school of the people we knew in Busolwe. We showed them the pictures of the classroom before we painted and renovated it, right before the picture of our completed classroom, and their response was so heartwarming… they started to applaud. We then showed an even more recent picture of the classes set up there now, and it made me so happy to hear them “oooh” and “ahhh” at the progress that Mango Grove School has made. All in all, I think that knowing that they have a story of Africa that is different from the story of poverty and disease that many charities depict is fulfilling enough for me.

Today was a beautiful day. The weather was the perfect backdrop to the many acts of kindness and wonderful interactions I shared with friends and strangers all day long. Vancouver can be such a wonderful place to live in. On my way home, a girl about my age was crying at the bus stop and was afraid to approach my bus driver for directions. She was clearly lost, physically and emotionally. My driver encouraged her to calm down, then promised that he would help her get to where she needed to go, right after giving her a free ticket transfer. I think if it weren’t for this kind driver, she would have been wandering around lost, all night. She was just waiting for someone to reach out their hand to her. Apparently it was her first time taking the bus, ever, so clearly she needed to get away from somewhere quick. I hope that her night turns out okay. At least she knows that a stranger cares enough to listen to her and promise to get her help if she needed it.

It’s been a long week. I haven’t seen my close friends in so long. There are so many overdue coffees and lunches, it’ll be such a relief when I finish my exams. At least then I won’t need to worry about them on top of teaching and trying to accumulate enough work hours.