Tomorrow I will need to say goodbye to students, friends and colleagues who have formed the web of my day-to-day life these past few weeks. I really dislike saying goodbyes. I take some comfort in the fact that in this high-tech, internet world it a little easier to maintain connections. And there are relationships rooted in this place that are very precious to me.
At Gustavus, and during my sabbatical I am teaching a number of courses on the role of story and storytelling in our lives. I always draw from Christina Baldwin, author of the book Storycatcher: Making Sense of Our Lives through the Power and Practice of Story, and say that how we make our experiences into story determines how we live our personal lives. Ever since we left on this journey, it has been my experience that there are many, many individuals in this world who are kind, friendly and willing to help you. On our flight from Minneapolis to Toronto we sat across the aisle from a family of three returning home to Stockholm. By the time we had gone through multiple security checks, and spent the wee hours of the night in the Reykjavik airport - we had almost become old friends. When Josh’s computer was infected with an aggressive virus, Stephan, the IT guy from the school and Jimmy, a computer savvy guy from one of my classes, spent hours with Josh helping him save the material on his computer and eliminate the virus. While I can’t even begin to cover the friend’s of friends who have offered to assist us on the road ahead I can name a few: My former student, Sonoe, who lives in Australia, who e-mailed her friend Lotta, who lives in Stockholm, who friended me on facebook and offered to assist us when we are there the end of next week; and my friend Maria from St. Paul, who e-mailed her friend Cathy, who e-mailed her friend Mirka, who lives in Prague, who e-mailed me and offered to assist us in any way she can while in her city. While I know the world also has more than its share of dishonest and dangerous people, I truly believe the balance tips in favor of the kind and caring ones.
|Anna Aronson, her son, Isak and Josh on the narrow roads in Färnäs|
|Josh and Cesar, a cross-country skier from Venezuela|
|Anna, Josh and me at restaurant in Mora|
Josh just returned to the room and said, “I can’t believe we have to leave here in a few days.” I asked him how he felt about that. He simply answered, “I like it here.”
All I could think was, I do too, my dear – I do too.