She was talking about this journal thing she used to do with her students back in the day when she was a teacher and it really inspired me to share some of my experiences too.
So, here is the task:
"Here's how it will work- I'll post a prompt, and then write about it below. You can write on the prompt in your blog (feel free to grab the image up top), then come back here and leave a comment with a sentence or two from your entry, and the link. I know I'd be so honored to be able to read what you write, and I know a lot of others would love to, too. I think this will be a fun way to get a writing community going, and I'm so looking forward to getting to know more of you through your words. All of these prompts come from the notebook I kept in my desk in my English classroom and they come from various places; college writing courses, my own mind, websites, friends and colleagues. I'm so excited to share them here, and bring back the most important aspect of blogging to my blog- writing. I think this will be a neat way to infuse some creativity into our daily lives too, and inspire each other to write a lot more! So, here we go.
Describe a "first" (first date, first lie, the first time you experienced something, first time in a particular setting, etc). Include as many details as possible to paint a picture."
Here it goes:
I’ve been teaching English for ten years and amazingly, I never gave a lot of thought to the fact that this language connects people more than anything else in the world. It’s been two weeks I arrived in Calgary (Canada). I won’t lie. It’s always been my dream. For some reason, Canada has been more present in my life than my own country. I must say, then, that these two weeks have changed my way of seeing things, people, my way of being, of treating people. Of course I won’t take for granted the fact that the city is cold, beautiful, clean, organized. This would catch anyone’s attention, specially if this “one” comes from Manaus – AM, like I do. But, the thing that caught my attention the most were the PEOPLE. Not because they are beautiful or dress elegantly: they’re more worried about the -41 degrees than with fashion. What makes me smitten with Calgary sums up to one word: politeness.
And when I say “politeness”, I don’t mean random “thank you’s” and “excuse me’s” just like I’ve heard in different places around the globe. I mean attention, humbleness, tenderness – things people aren’t afraid of showing to anyone that crosses their path. I’ll illustrate my point with two stories.
One of my greatest passions is walking randomly around cities that I’ve never been to before. I love reading their maps, trying to find myself in the correct streets, asking for information and taking zillions of pictures. On this very specific day, I decided I was going downtown to explore every millimeter of the city. I got on a train at Whitehorn, where I am currently living, and went straight downtown. I walked a lot, stopped at Olympic Plaza (the place where the 1988 winter Olympics were held and where the Calgary Flames celebrated the Stanley Cup’s 2004 finals), I took pictures, went to the Calgary Tower and then right after that, I decided to take a walk around Stephen Avenue.
When I got there, I took my camera out of my bag and started to take lots of pictures of the Christmas lights that lighten the street as an attempt to keep the cold depression away. Suddenly, a girl from the Red Cross came to me and asked me why I was taking so many pictures.
I told her I was from Brazil and that I loved the lights in Calgary. From this moment on, we started a talk that lasted for at least 40 minutes. Well, her name is Audrey and she dreams about teaching English in Japan – Imagine that! We exchanged phone numbers and emails because she got interested in the teaching course I was doing. And there, at that moment, out of the blue, I made a friend. When would I ever imagine that someone, who was working under such bad condition, surviving -40 degrees, would simply stop in the middle of the street to talk to some Brazilian girl who was only taking pictures? This is is what the people in Calgary are like.
And then, once again, I decided to explore the city yesterday. My friend Chris, who lives in Calgary, told me about Eau Claire and Kensington and I immediately felt like going there. I just didn’t think through it thoroughly: it was so far from where I was staying!
I left home at 4pm. I got on the same train and started walking through 6th Av SW until I could see Eau Claire. Walking around here is no sacrifice. I don’t get tired, I don’t sweat and you can still look at some handsome guys. When I realized I’d already walked past Eau Claire and was walking through the Bow Bridge, I thought: should I go further? Should I go to Kesington? I was as far from home as Dorothy (as in the Wizard of Oz)… I just kept going. And I am so glad I did it! That place is AMAZING. Lots of thrift shops around, vintage windows, lots of cafés, Nice pubs and record stores. It was love at first sight.
After walking for almost two hours, I decided it was time I got home. How was I supposed to do that once I was miles away from home?
I immediately saw a cab. I knocked on its window, the driver gives me a thumb up: great it’s free!
He was (the driver) in his late sixties. His hair was not grey, it was all white and he looked like one of those cool grandpas. First thing he did was offer me a Kleenex – I was sneezing b/c of the weather – and right after that he asked me: "Where's this funny accent from? Are you Mexican?", and I said: No, I'm from Brazil!
That was the only word we needed to start this 10-minute-conversation that said more than we needed to know about each other. The most interesting thing is that his life story is FANTASTIC: well, he is Polish and used to live in Italy as a refugee. He didn’t have anywhere to go and then Canada came up with this policy in which young refugees could move there and start afresh. And this is how he started living in Calgary.
I asked him if he liked it here. His answer was so passionate, I wanted to cry: I LOVE IT HERE!
His name is Stan. He made me think that my long journey all the way to Kensington was worth every minute. We both said goodbye and with a handshake I left his cab, with the hope that one day I’d meet him again in one of my enjoyable times around Calgary.
His last sentence to me was “Good Luck, Rebecca”
Well, Thank you Stan, you made my first trip to Canada unforgettable.
And with these two stories I illustrate what I have been living here. A magical moment of discoveries, different stories, a culture full of incredible people that make you feel special. The thing I like to hear the most since I got here is: “How are you doing today?” – You know why? Because They really mean it when they say it. It’s not about asking. It’s about waiting for you to say “I’m fine, thanks.” And I love saying I am. How could it be different?
My first time in Canada definitely changed my life.
Thank you, Calgarians."