~Transformation isn’t about improving, it’s about re-thinking. Malcolm Gladwell
It was one year ago today, that my beagle Chloe, and I had been in Canada for our first twenty-four hours. This past week I have been reflecting upon changes from this past year’s journey as the new year begins. A year ago, I was on sabbatical leave from SUNY Oswego. I was beginning my Visiting Research Chair of Tranborder Studies at Brock University—as part of my Fulbright experience in Canada for those next eight months. I remember feeling a little tired, a little bit overwhelmed, but tremendously excited too. And I remember quickly being hooked on “Border Security: Canada’s Frontline.” The new President of the United States was days away from his swearing in, and I was curious to see how Canadian news would cover the start of a controversial presidency.
I resided in a hotel for about two and half weeks. I had a little kitchenette; and I had already ventured out to a grocery store—at least for sandwiches and chips, and the like. I had a lot to accomplish in a very small window of time. There were a lot of things up in the air: a place to live (would it be in St. Catharines’ or Brantford Ontario), a course to prep for (at Brock University), and a research project and agenda to map out (at Six Nations on the Grand River).
Finding Community & Myself
Those eight months would blow by in a fast, exciting, and an engaging experience of a lifetime. I would return to SUNY Oswego in August, and resume a complex and complicated schedule in both Oswego and Brantford for the final four months of 2017. I would renew old and start new friendships. I felt welcomed both as a Mohawk and as an academic. I would engage in so many conversations that drove my curiosity, find myself living healthier than I had in a very long time, and finding my voice and a direction in which to write toward things I had long been ruminating upon–but failed to write out.
While this long and complex journey was filled with many peaks, and some valleys, it was transformative. I found my love of teaching again. I found myself inspired by students both in Canada and Oswego. I grew confident in my research and writing agenda going forward into 2018.
Start of 2018
This past week has been a little hiccup of a start to 2018. My first entry on Meandering Mohawk was supposed to be days ago, along with other numerous other writing forms and work. Frustratingly, I came down with a flu on January 2nd, and am finally started to feel like myself again. I resume my intricate work schedule tomorrow; yet, I remain excited about it actually.
I have learned some things about myself, and my age (I turned 47 on Friday). I was amazed by the speed of modern day surgery this fall (part of my age lesson) and recovery from surgery. I am still struggling to find a work-life balance—but then I have developed some bad habits that cannot simply be ignored any longer. And, find myself with a lot to write and say—this is but one step in that journey tonight.
It’s the start of a new year. The world can seem chaotic and overwhelming, only if I let it be so. I have found my desire to write, to share stories and lessons I have learned along my life’s journey through this medium and in other forms. These lessons come not just from the past year, but from all those inspirational and aspirational conversations I had the privilege to partake in throughout Fulbright and the fall semester, in classrooms with students, in conferences and presentations with Indigenous communities, and with my colleagues across many institutions and two countries. And some stories and writings will be throwbacks to moments that seem like only yesterday, but were now twenty years ago.
What will you try to share with others from your journey and lessons in life so far?