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Assignment #5

Written on: Wednesday August 19th, 2009

A journal entry from: El Salvador

Though my life and my identity here feel so utterly removed from my life and identity in Canada I am trying hard not to detach entirely. One thing I am taking with me is the realization that I don't have to leave myself behind when I pick up and move to a different place. There are always fragments left behind and that is a wonderful thing.

For the first time in my life I have understood what community means. I have never had a particularly strong sense of community, at least locally. Being at CIS and developing relationships of all sorts with people who all share a commitment to social justice and community building and all kinds of things that are morally important to me, has really changed me. The conversations I've had, the activities I've partaken in, the things I've shared. It has been incredible to be a part of something so strong.

I am not confrontational. However, since arriving, on several occasions I have had to swallow my pride and reach out. It's okay to have meltdowns. It's good to reach out and talk about said meltdowns. Being able to discuss problems and annoyances with the people closest to me has kept me sane. There is a different between being confrontational and being a) able to express oneself and b) open to discussion. Swallowing contempt breeds resentment.

My professional development has been incredible. Watching over the design and product development workshop that I co-ordinated left me beaming. It couldn't have gone better. I'm pleased with everything else I've been working on, as well. Networking has been one of the most important parts of what I've done here, for myself.

Leaving places, people and things you love is part of life. I've come to terms with this. Though I normally take my time warming up to places, people, things, once I love someone or something I hold on for dear life. Here, I can't. I have fallen in love over and over and over. I wake up happy every morning and go to bed exhausted every night. I am surrounded by love and positivity. Late last week I became extremely anxious and upset about my departure, about saying good bye (probably forever to many of the things that are important to me here). I had a conversation with someone who has moved around a gazillion times in her life and she talked about it becoming natural. Leaving doesn't feel like the end of the world anymore. I mean, yeah, it's sad...but the intensity of this experience won't be changed by the fact that I'm moving on.

On the subject of moving on. When I left Toronto I was miserable. 2009 had not treated me well. For a good while I was horrified at the prospect of ''going back to my life'' and slowly I've decided that ''moving forward'' is a far more accurate way to describe my return.