We are nearing the holiday season. I know because the temperature is dropping, the days are shorter, and Christmas lights have invaded the streets and buildings of downtown Victoria BC, Canada. I like the winter, to a certain degree. I think it is beautiful to head to the mountains and see lights beaming off freshly fallen snow and to photograph the light layer of frost that turns trees white. When I was a child, my brother and I would find the closest hill so we could go tobogganing. There isn’t enough snow in Victoria for such an activity, typically, but Calgary was always the perfect place to toboggan. Going down the hill was always so much more fun than climbing back up.
Now, the winter months tend to decrease my outdoor activity. I no longer enjoy wearing snow pants and a ski jacket, it simply is too much work. Some of my friends tend to like fall and spring. They say fall and spring are the seasons of layering. I am learning that this leads to a whole new wardrobe and layering is the in-thing. But I digress.
This winter Canada will welcome thousands of refugees. Cities will work together to house each of these individuals during the coldest months of the years. Thankfully a group of Quebecers have come together to knit toques for the newly arriving Canadians. I am sure being welcomed at an airport by complete strangers and handed a toque will be an odd experience but also an experience our new Canadian friends will quickly appreciate. My brother has started a photo project (#25x1000MundaneWords) to showcase twenty-five boring reasons why Canada is a great place to live. I, like a good sister, think this is a wonderful idea and have started to contribute to the project myself. You can check out our pictures on Instagram, FaceBook, or Twitter. He, actually we, would love your support and contribution as well. The Inter-Cultural Association of Victoria had a winter craft sale to raise money for new immigrants and refugees. And my guess is that thousands of others are participating in one way or another to help welcome refugees to Canada.
As I sat and journaled yesterday, I started to think about my trip to Ireland again. I thought about the Peace Wall (Sleeping in My Bed – Ireland Trip) and wondered if in the days or years ahead if the world would see more walls being built that separate religious sectors. I hope that we will see more International Walls appear but I fear this is not the direction the world is headed.
I thought a lot about the idea of solidarity. I pondered where solidarity begins and how I can contribute to a global sense of solidarity. I wished I was creative enough with my hands to make toques, blankets, scarves, sweaters and so forth to welcome our new Canadian friends, but truth is they would likely receive something that would unravel within minutes of use. But, one thing I have become good at over the years is reading. Now I know my reading list has not been updated in months but I have been reading and I continue to read. Reading, as of late, has turned into one of my strongest skills. I can also write. I write here, I write papers for school, I write notes for lectures, and I journal almost daily. Writing has also become one of my strengths. So, I think I am going to put my newest skills to use.
I believe solidarity begins with the desire to want to learn and secondly through understanding the ‘other’. It will be my mission to read two books a month (beyond all my academic reading) that introduces me to a life perspective I have not experienced nor lived. Through these fiction and non-fiction tales I believe I will learn to understand individuals in a new way. Then, I will write. I will write a summary review of the book I have read and post it here on this blog. I will do my best to circulate my writing to as many individuals as possible in hopes to help others understand the experiences and perspectives of those around the globe. It might be something small but I think it is worth a shot. And hey, it is an affordable quest for a life-long student like me.
Russell books, you are Victoria’s largest used book retailer and you may just become my newest friend! Let the reading, and writing, begin. Let us, together, build a global sense of solidarity.
(p.s. If you would like to join me on my book quest let me know. Perhaps we can even create a global book club together! Our impact together could be grand!)