October 12, 2010


               There is no meal quite as satisfying as a turkey dinner. As most of my friends were busy this thanksgiving weekend, I decided to have dinner on Thursday to accommodate all.  Cramming seven people into a 430 sq.ft. apartment is not easy, but definitely makes for a cozy atmosphere without even trying. I have two close friends who are leaving my life soon; one friend is travelling to Uganda to work at a hospital for five months, another is moving to the Cayman Islands for two years. As I am a bit sad they are leaving, (and honestly quite jealous of them as well), thanksgiving dinner could not have been more fitting – thankful to have them as friends, thankful to spend time with them while I still can, thankful for food and wine and laughter. 430 sq.ft. might just be the perfect space for this sort of gathering, as friendships are inevitably brought closer.
                My friend who is leaving for Uganda has a project to do. She is required to involve students in some way, whether through a presentation or communication with them throughout her stay. I was so fortunate that she picked my grade threes to work with, and she created a video in which she spoke about her previous visit to Uganda and the life there. I cannot express my overwhelming gratitude to her as she opened up a whole new world to my students who were continually amazed by the experiences and daily routines of the people in Uganda. Although our lives differ immensely, my students were able to realize some common activities we both do: going to school, playing soccer, performing music, and playing card games. As we listened to more of my friend’s stories, we also realized how extremely different our lives are. My students listened to each story with curiousity, asking questions about the state of food and water, how far one must travel to get to the hospital, what it would be like to attend a one-room school. In turn, they wrote little blips about their lives here in Vancouver to share with the people in Uganda. As a class, we came up with twenty-two little paragraphs about life at school, life with friends, and life in everyday Vancouver, complete with twenty-two hand-drawn pictures. One bit from a boy in my class reads, “Vancouver has pants. Vancouver has toilets. Hockey is found on the TV.” He wanted to tell Ugandans about the things we have here that they may not. One bit from a girl in my class reads, “Skiing is like going down the snow with two sticks on your feet. The snow is white. The snow is cold.” She wanted to explain something they may not know about. As nervous as I was about doing this project with my students, it was so fantastic and so memorable that I wish to always do something like this with all of my classes. It never ceases to amaze me how such young kids can be genuine and sincere towards issues we may think they might have difficulty. They never shy away from asking honest questions, and they revel in the knowledge of honest answers. I cannot imagine what they must think listening to stories of Uganda and being able to write their own stories to people half-way across the world. And they cannot imagine how thoroughly impressed I was with their heartfelt and meaningful captions of their lives. As I read through the entire book, I could not distinguish which impulse was stronger – to laugh out loud, or to cry whole-heartedly, both from pure joy. We all wished my friend bon voyage for her adventure, and as five months trek on we will continue our Uganda project in class.
                Although I cannot say that fashion plays a part in this entry, I can definitely say that it is always fashionable to say what you mean and mean what you say. I thank my friend for this, as she has that uncanny ability to never lie and always speak from the heart. And, I thank mes petits, who without fail, show me every day the importance of speaking your mind and not being afraid to do so, to learn constantly and never give up.


  1. What a lovely story Jes! So nicely written. Thanks!

  2. Jess! I love the blog and...you really know how to make a girl cry! Thank you for all of your heart felt thoughts. I love you tremendously and you are much too kind in your words. I have the utmost respect for you and everything you do. You are a classic and classy lady, and I am eternally yours. Can't wait to read more.

    PS I just got stable internet and will blog or email soon for the kids. Miss you!



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