Friday, September 10, 2010

Brought to you by the letter...

...E

The first chapter in my time in Toronto stands out because of the following E's.

Empathy.  That was the easy one.  I'm sure you saw it coming, but it needed to be said anyway.  I had high hopes and expectations (bonus "e") for the Roots of Empathy (ROE) organization and they have been exceeded (and another!).  ROE's commitment to their mission is deeper than I honestly thought possible in the modern business world.  Every decision they make has to meet the standard of promoting their goal of developing empathy and changing the world one child at a time.

Next - English.  After spending the summer being illiterate because I didn't know Hebrew or Arabic, my brain is both relieved and excited to read and hear English again.  Even better is that the English in Toronto is flavored with accents from all over the world.  And occasionally I get a little break from English because so many other languages are spoken in Toronto too.  I LOVE the diversity of this city!

Finally - Eye contact.  This one surprised me.  I didn't experience much eye contact in Israel.  I'm not sure why.  Even while I was there I didn't fully appreciate the distance created by the lack of eye contact.  Many people in Toronto will make eye contact while walking down the street or riding in the subway.  I enjoy the connection it creates between other people even if it's brief. 

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Roots of Empathy

The next chapter in this service journey takes place in Toronto.  For my third and final project (aka Capstone project) at the Clinton School of Public Service I'll be working with the organization Roots of Empathy.  My project work begins in a couple of days.  I'm really looking forward to seeing the organization in action.  Everything I've read leads me to believe that I'll be exploring one of the root (no pun intended) issues that I've been trying to find during my time at the Clinton School.

I've been doing some looking back during my transition into this next step forward.  Some of the things I've seen in my rearview mirror...

...Teaching.  I miss it.  In particular I miss the students and faculty at the International School of the Americas (ISA).  The beginning of the school year is one of my favorite times of year.  Last year at this time I was distracted by beginning the Clinton School.  This year, I just feel a big hole that used to be filled by the energy of the classroom.

...Books.  I tried to take a lesson from my trip to Israel, in which I brought 17 books for a 10-week trip.  It was a heavy lesson to learn.  For my trip to Toronto, I only brought 9 books. As I unpacked my belongings, I gave myself a big pat on the back for learning that lesson.  Then I promptly went out and bought 6 books in a 3-day period.  Sigh.  Old habits die hard.  At least they were all used.

...Teamwork.  Assuming I get a job again, I hope it's one in which I actively and regularly collaborate with others.  I miss my teammates from ISA.  And I miss my teammates Anna and Latonya from my first project at the Clinton School.  I really enjoy working with others.

Peace, friends.