Tuesday, December 05, 2006


It's over! I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I will say that I had a "moment" on Saturday when I heard there was a line-up out the door.

It's been really jam-packed for the last few months and the work has been very different at every stage. In Indonesia and East Timor, it was very self-gratifying. Going around high schools in Canada, less so. It's funny, but the Canadian leg was the time I felt most altruistic. Everyone would always say to me, "Wow, Banda Aceh, Dili - it is so GOOD of you to volunteer." But the truth is, I wanted to go there! I got so much more out of meeting the people there than I could ever get out of a paycheque. And Umiyatun in Yogyakarta, Dian in Banda Aceh, Ivonia in Dili - they gave me much more than I ever gave them.

Nope, it was on the road in Canada that I felt like I was working more selflessly than ever. Because many Canadians don't have a clue, and some don't want to hear it. That isn't the case most of the time but the only way I could impart any of the stories I picked up in Asia was to keep telling them, over and over, and it was more exhausting than it was to take in the stories in the first place.

I got something different out of the Canadian tour. First of all, I heart kids again. MOD actually made me afraid of teenagers. It was the weirdest environment. I don't want to be screamed at and I don't really understand autographs and stuff - but there's no other way to interact in that kind of a situation. Any of the kids who, like me, wouldn't ask me for a photo are the kids that I don't get to talk to. The whole situation there was way too weird.

In classrooms, it was way better. Very interesting. I got the most sophisticated comments and questions in Ottawa high schools. Like, I was totally blown away. It must be in the air there, to ask critical questions and know the in's and out's of NGO's. I also loved being in Malvern again. (It's heartbreaking to hear the news re: drive-bys and shootings - I thought that was all over and done with but three more in the past three weeks).

Also, I feel old for the first time in my life. You know how old people always say that you don't feel old on the inside...? That you still feel young you just start to look old? I get it now. I always felt that I hadn't changed much since high school but going back (especially to Woburn!) made me realize that we are not that young anymore. It's cool - being an adult is fun. But teenagers hold this strange power. I felt like, "Please like me and listen to what I have to say."

Most of the time, I think the presentations went well. And I didn't even mind the kids who would chat. But the worst was the kid who was sleeping at his desk in St. John. And the three girls who just walked out in Peterborough. Who ARE these kids? I feel sorry for them. Does anything matter to them? Seriously.

Saturday's show was wonderful, and I can barely put how I felt into words. If you've talked to me at all in the past month or so, you know that putting this show together was less fun than anticipated. Icy moments. Yelling. Tears. What the heck is that all about, anyway? Why is it that prepping fun stuff is NOT fun? From now on I will have an extra 150% more fun at every event I go to and hopefully, never plan one again (at least not this way).

The best, most redeeming part of the whole afternoon was halfway through the show, when I'd stopped running around, when I started to just watch from the sidelines. All the adorable teenagers in their high school clothes (their faces! so beautiful and young! I feel practically vampiric! I'm telling you, I've never felt old before but this it!) lining up BEFORE 1:30 in the afternoon! Rushing right up to the front. Clapping along to Cons and Jason. Being pin-drop silent in between (ah, kids). I love them but I'm so happy that I'm not a teenager anymore.

Anyway, if anyone still reads this (doubtful?) and you were at the show - THANK YOU. I can't tell you how much it means to me that friends came out. The whole front half of Lee's was all-ages and the back half was old, i.e. my friends. There were so many of you and it was thrilling.

Ok! My whole CARE adventure has ended as quickly as it began! Now what? Time to troll the internet and watch The View.