One Year

One year ago this weekend I finalized the pack-up of my life in Victoria and got on a ferry for a few days in Vancouver, before flying to Ontario to start a whole new chapter.

A whole new chapter? Yes, I suppose it was, though the chapter has been just one in a journey of many that started with the first conversation I had, out loud, pondering a call to ordained ministry as a priest.

The last year has had lots of new adventures. I’ve been exploring a new city and region and re-exploring the province of my birth. I’ve been within spitting distance of extended family members who I haven’t lived near in 20 years.

I have started the seminary journey, completing first year (with top grades in the class!) and have begun to lay the foundations for my field placement for this upcoming year. Lots of new friends have joined me on this journey, some who I know I will have for the rest of my life.

I had the opportunity to travel to El Salvador, participating as an international elections observer and witnessing the human rights and development work done by PWRDF partner the Cristosal Foundation.

And there are more adventures to come! Later this month I will be experiencing the Stratford Festival for the first time! Then, I head to Turkey with a group from the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa. I continue to work with the theological society to plan orientation for this upcoming year of school. Second year classes begin in a little over a month (eeek!) and I’ll be starting my field placement at a local Anglican church.

Southwestern Ontario is a far cry from Vancouver Island,  but it is beautiful country with wonderful people, and more things to learn and places to explore.

Here is to year two in Ontario!

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A Human Face

I had an interesting moment the other day.

I was sitting and talking with someone I’d never seen around work before and he was telling me his story so that I could help him to fill out a housing application for him. He talked about siblings, it seemed there were a lot. But one sister killed herself because of a degenerative disease. Another sibling has the same disease. And another sister “was got by Pickton”. That stopped me in my tracks, but he just continued on talking. It was the first time I’ve heard that said in a sentence by anyone that I have actually been speaking with. I am sure it is not the first person I’ve come across who has known someone affected by the serial killer operating on the Downtown East Side, but it was the first time I’ve actually heard someone say it out loud.

I remember when the trial was going on. I was visiting New Westminster and saw the crowds of reporters lining the steps of the courthouse.

The Missing Women’s Inquiry is going on right now in Vancouver. It is mired in controversy as interest groups drop out due to lack of funding and disillusionment with the inquiry.

But here, sitting in front of me, was a living and breathing person dramatically touched by that one person’s actions.

It brings a more human face to the whole thing.

Furthermore…

I’m in Vancouver for a series of meetings this weekend. I am the new BC/Yukon representative for the Primates World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) – the international development and social justice arm of the Anglican Church of Canada. I’m looking forward to finding out more about what that will entail and getting involved in some of these important issues!

Further to that, I have received an electronic reply to my letter to the Prime Minister. It just said my letter had been received. I have sent it off by post as well. The enthusiastic and encouraging response I received here and on Facebook was unexpected and really quite lovely! Thank you for your kind words.

Vancouver Photos

Some pictures from last weeks time in Vancouver. I decided to play tourist in and around Granville Island, since it was lovely weather and I haven’t taken many photos around there before.

Oh, and I did some shopping. Hat, blazer, and dress are new… Yay for sales and for small, independent shops that we don’t have in Victoria!

Weddings

Three friends got married on Saturday. Obviously I cannot be in three places at once and did not even really want to try. So I took the ferry over to Vancouver to stay at Dad’s place and go out to Langley for my friend, Nicole’s wedding.

I remember seeing Nicole (left, in China) a few times in my first year at the University of Victoria (six years ago). She would come to the occasional IVCF large group meeting on Friday night, with her assistance dog, Vespa. They kind of stood out so it was hard not to notice her. I didn’t really get to know her at all until my second and last year at UVic.

A few weeks before the fall semester began, a whole group of us from UVic, plus others from universities all over the province, drove to Kelowna for SLC – Student Leadership Camp. There, we spent a good few days in Bible Study and games, preparing for the year ahead. We were the leadership team of the InterVarsity chapters at our respective schools. While there, the provincial directors of IVCF presented to us the idea of going to China the following summer as a part of a Global Partnership. Right then and there, I knew I would be going; there was never any question in my mind. I wasn’t really the “world traveller” at that point that I am now. Up until then, I had been to the Netherlands with my family and lived in Australia. That was the sum total of my off-continent travel. So it was not really about the travelling… I just knew that I was supposed to go on that trip. So I signed up, and then started encouraging others to go.

Nicole and I began to get to know each other as the semester progressed. I don’t even really remember how it began, I just remember her asking me about “this trip to China.” She thought it might be fun, I told her she should go. She talked to the director, and next thing we knew, she was coming!

We spent six weeks in pretty close contact while we were in China. She and I were hotel-room buddies whenever we stayed in hotels (about two weeks of that six), and did some other stuff together.

After China and my subsequent trip around Europe, I needed a place to live in Victoria while I was preparing to go Offshore. Nicole had a room in her condo, a beautiful place about ten minutes walking from the shipyard. It was perfect, in more ways than one.

Nicole’s was a wedding I was looking forward to. I like to think I had a hand in it all: she met her now-husband in China.

So back to this past weekend, I made a long weekend of it and spent two days in Vancouver before the wedding, visiting some friends I hadn’t seen in too long. The wedding was utterly wonderful as well. The ceremony was outside in a gazebo and then we had dinner in a lovely glass conservatory. Apparently I took absolutely no pictures of the entire thing, except for the candle on the table… I’m hoping friends send some my way soon!

Perhaps the best part of the wedding, other than witnessing my friend marry the love of her life obviously, was the table I sat with at the reception. At the table were some of my nearest and dearest friends from university. At least one of them I had not seen since we graduated. But being there reminded me of how much I love and care for them and cherish the time we had together. These were people I struggled and questioned faith with (and still do, apparently, when we get back together), people I laughed with and cried with, goofed off with and studied with, and people I spent more time than I care to remember with. A great group of people and it did me good to see them and spend time with them. We closed down the dance floor.

Friday Photo

I’m in Vancouver and all the photos I have access to are the low-quality ones on my phone; I stupidly forgot to bring my camera connector so all the nice photos I took will have to wait until I get home.

I wandered around my favourite shops on Main Street yesterday before walking down to W 4th and then the seawall near Granville Island. There I sat for a couple hours on a grassy hill, reading my book. This was my view.

France France France France

I’m sitting in the International Departures area of YVR. Would you believe that there are no televisions showing the World Cup here? What is up with that?! On the plus side, YVR has free wireless Internet so I am “doing homework”. Which means I am sitting here, looking at the giant aquarium of fishes and sea anemones, with my computer open, alternating between educational tasks and pure time wasters. All going well, I should be done next weeks discussion work before I land in Paris in 12 hours time. Before then, I’ll have touched down in Calgary (apparently Air Transat flies “direct” to Paris from Vancouver… via Calgary. I guess WestJet is not the only airline that offers direct flights that stop in Calgary. On the plus side, I’ll probably unlock a new travel badge on the recently joined foursquare (if you’re on foursquare, add me, I have no friends!). So, till France, A bientot.