I have the travelling itch. I don’t want to travel to do some sight seeing but I want tot travel to meet people and hear their stories.
Here’s the deal I have always liked travelling but with a purpose. During the summer just before grade 9 I went to Trois Rivières, Québec on my own and I think that’s where the itch started. This was my first time leaving the comfort of my parents home for such a long time. I only went for three weeks but I do have to say it was great to be far from home. It was also my first time taking a plane so that was exciting.
Side note on this (and it makes me laugh overtime I think about it). So yes it was my first time on a plane and my ears were hurting so I decided to sleep it off. I had a window seat and put my head against the window. I was sitting beside this really big mennonite woman and she was very kind (thank God). When I opened my eyes I realized that I had done the unthinkable, my head wasn’t against the window anymore but instead it was on this woman’s shoulder AND it that wasn’t bad enough… well I can’t believe I will tell everyone about this but when I sleep I usually drool. Yea gross I know but I can’t help it. So I wiped my face and hoped that there wasn’t on the woman’s black jacket. *face palm* yes there was drool on her jacket and one could clearly see it. I was so embarassed and just said nothing. Until the woman looks at me and says Did you sleep well? all I could say was Yes thanks for being a good pillow… I hope she laughs about it as much as I laugh about it today.
This experience hasn’t stopped me from visiting places but it has changed my perspective. I come from what I thought was an isolated town, no cellphone reception, dial up internet and the closest hospital is a 45 minute drive. But that is nothing compared to the communities I work with now. You can’t even drive to some of these places (actually this depends on the season) During the winter we can take ice roads if it freezes enough. And during the summer you have to either boat in or fly in. Yea now that is what I call isolated.
These people have been pushed to live there when the Europeans came here. I’m by no means blaming anyone here because if it wasn’t for those Europeans I wouldn’T be here. But the Europeans claimed the good land and pushed the Aboriginals and Métis in the north where there isn’t much. And yet these people are really happy because they have each other and they have their culture. I wouldn’t of learned much about this if I wouldn’t of actually physically gone to these places. Sure we learned about their history and their culture in school but learning with a book isn’t the same as learning from an elder.
I’m a shy person but when it come to talking with elders I have so many questions. And they have so many answers. I noticed that our society is rejecting older people. We put our grandparents an old folks home and rarely visit them. (I am guilty of that to a certain point). My grandmother is an old folks home and I don’t visit her much but I’m also far away from her and all my family. But I also know that my father and mother visit her. Her sister in law is in the same home and they are so cute together. They are the two old ladies playing pranks and getting in trouble.
We have to be careful and treat our parents, grandparents correctly and not ignore them. They are people too even though they are in their old age. I love my grandma and I wish I could see her more often but it isn’t a possibility so what I do instead is that I have my spiritual grandparents. When I go to these isolated communities these elders accept me as their own.
I was thinking about how lucky I am to have so many kokum (grandma in Dene, an aboriginal language). They have so much to share with us!
Please talk to your elders, learn from them, pray with them.
There is this one elder in particular that I have fallen in love with. She clearly has a devotion to Mary. Every time she speaks she inspires me to get to know Mother Mary even more. Just this beautiful inspiring person that I randomly met and we stayed in touch. I should call her today to see how she’s doing.
All of this to say yes be a tourist but be a good one. Get to know the people, the history and the culture. Go to a place not just for sightseeing but go to meet the people. Keep in touch with them and if possible pray with them.