Facing forward to say goodbye

Monday September 23, 2013. 12:49am
I started writing a new post about how much this recent experience (a month course in the tropics and a 3 month placement in Africa) has affected my life and then remembered that I had explained it well in my last letter home to my friends and family.

I want to share this here because I think it puts into context what I mean when I say that It feels like I was given a fresh start in coming home. What was different about this trip was the approach that I took when I left home; for the first time I refused to see myself as a researcher or a student and just allowed myself to be myself. I suppose travel allows those types of outer/inner body experiences but for me, it was the first time I adopted this philosophy and im proud to say it worked. I found I gave myself permission to not exactly be a blank canvas but more to take what I needed and leave what i didnt while still being 100% true to myself– an act which I know is not easy to do and I’m seeing the impact of that decision everyday at home. I find myself more confident in pursing an art and community focused masters instead of the stricter urban planning focus I began with. I am less afraid to work hard towards what I am passionate about, and thanks to the CEO of Seelands, I have learned carefully when to seek help and how to look out for common challenges in organizations and community work. I am still not entirely sure of where I will land but I know now that the road to plan B never will lead to plan A.

written August 29, 2013

Dearest lovely family + readers,

Im finally in my last few days in South Africa and the experience has been an amazing one. In traveling Costa Rica and South Africa during this summer Ive learned that I love community economic development but that I don’t want to do it in a rural setting, Ive rekindled my love for business, fashion, and writing; Ive discovered the residual pains of apartheid and the essential ingredient of revolution and understanding ones worth; I reacquainted myself with the idea that I need not make myself small to make someone else feel big; I traveled the entire length of the country and in the process rediscovered my bliss. Had I not spent 90 days here and a month is the tropics I may not have grown in the direction I have now and Im so proud to have finished this experience reenergized and ready to tackle my final year as a grad student. Thank you all for inspiring me, reading my rants when there was no hot water and the winter cold was biting me and for being close to me despite the 6 hour time difference. Im ready to come back home, this last week has been trying as Ive been struggling to stay present while my mind was racing ahead of me to Toronto. I feel really good, at peace actually, with my decisions again at last, and confident again in the direction my life is taking. So thank you for the role you have played in that. You all are so special and important to me.
With love,

A.

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