When I was 15 years old, a doctor at the Children’s Hospital in Vancouver found that I had scoliosis and he advised me to have surgery to correct a spine that had a curvature of 47 degrees. He also said that if I didn’t have the operation, there would be a chance that I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was 45. So I had the operation and here I am 31 years later mobile. Thankfully, over the years I have been able to lead a very active lifestyle and have had no complications. So, this year is a celebration of not being confined to a wheelchair. What will the celebration look like?
Well, I have taken an educational leave for 5 months to travel to France where I will do what I love- learn languages and explore cultures. With some savings and a BC Ministry of Education teacher mobility and exchange award through BCCIE I intend to take a 4 month course at the Sorbonne where I will study French language and culture. I will also do some travelling around. Some of the trips planned so far include: an 8 day cycling tour through Provence, a walking tour around Bordeaux and visits with friends in Sweden, Belgium, and Holland. Along the way, I hope to build my own intercultural competencies.
I plan to document my experiences in English, French, Japanese and Kwak’wala. I look forward to sharing my learning with my students and colleagues upon my return home to Port Hardy.