Thursday, January 31, 2013

Climbing down from the mountain

When I was younger back in the very early 1970's I went off to a academic retreat for a week as part of my training to become a teacher. When I returned back home, I noticed that I thought I had changed, but I noticed that the people around me had not. Live goes on as normal, even when we are away and having life changing or just wonderful experiences that force us to look at what we do differently. Talking it over with my professor (Maurice Gibbons), I think he called it the "Climbing down from the mountain" syndrome (The idea is a variation of the Mountain Top Experience that comes from religious experiences, which gave you a deep sense of your own worth and/or the beauty of life). 

This idea struck me as interesting and important and I have used the concept as a way to help my Masters of Education students think about how that experience changed them and how they had a responsibility to others around us to help them understand our journey. In brief the idea is that we find it hard to adjust to life when we have experienced a new adventure or experience that we think has changed us or our view on our world. 

The reason for bringing this up is that we have just returned from a seven week trip to Australia a few days ago. After jet lag I  immediately came down with one of the two types of flu making the rounds in my area of the country. As a result I have not had a chance to comment or catch up on the goings on in North America, but I will over the next few days and weeks get caught up on my reading and discussions with friends and family to catch up and to try to settle back into the routine of being at home so I can reconcile my experience with the routine of being at home.

One of the interesting things about being a Canadian abroad is that Canada is the realization that Canada is not a player on the world stage. In Australia, the only news of importance about Canada that I recall seeing over the seven weeks was about the Hockey lockout; this was because one of our hosts is a real hockey enthusiast, otherwise Canada was not mentioned at all in the mainstream media that I looked at over the time I was visiting.

At one point Canada may have had some influence but I suspect that Steven Harper and his government foreign affairs policies have made Canada redundant on the world stage. So without any news of Canada I missed out on the birth of the "Idle no more" movement, the hunger strike of  Attiwapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, the backlash and the support of the movement from the public the return of the ugly face of racism (for more on this check out Montreal Simon's always interesting blog,)  to the mainstream of Canadian consciousness and much more I suspect. 

As I was in an area of Australia that had no broadband, I was also not able to link to Canada with the Internet or email or Facebook, which was a bit of a shock as I think I am an information addict, and the loss of connection was hard, but after a week or two I was over the shock and getting on with the holiday.

Canadians are well received in Australia, but we are often confused with Americans and I learned to laugh and gently correct the misconception, I guess my West Coast Canadian accent must to the Australian ear sound American. Just as to my ear, the New Zealand and Australian accents sound very similar. While in Australia I had the time to write down some ideas that I will share over the next few months. 

In BC we are coming up to an election and I agree with the thoughts at "Keeping it Real" that the blogging community will play an important part in the upcoming election.

It is good to be back and I look forward on getting caught up with the life, and to my brother, whose Retirement party I missed,  as you start the second month of your retirement, best wishes and enjoy the time as you have earned it.

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