Here I am on a snowy, icy Bowen Island, taking stock of the last 12 months and fully appreciating how charmed my life has been in 2017.
Besides calling Canada home for 20 years now, I spent much of the year travelling the length and breadth of Sri Lanka, working with some of the most resilient people that I have met.
I wasn’t meant to be in Sri Lanka at all actually. It being a tropical hot and humid country filled with scary bugs and animals, it would never have been a top choice of mine to spend a length of time in. But things happen for a reason.
With a profound sadness on leaving Nepal in October 2016, and some trepidation to committing to be in Sri Lanka for the following nine months, I needn’t have stressed at all.
My time in Sri Lanka ended up being a defining moment in my life.
The people I spent time with, the work I did through the VEGA/BIZ+ Program, the experiences I shared with so many … every little thing really just renewed my sense of feeling in every moment, I was where I was meant to be. I bet there are not many of us that can say that with confidence. How blessed am I eh?
I ended the year by accepting an award presented by VEGA on behalf of the BIZ+ team across Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan small business owners who trusted me, who opened their minds and hearts to greater possibilities.
These photos are my last meetings with two of the four businesses I worked with in the north and east of Sri Lanka. A lot of hard work achieved but always with humour.
It was a tad daunting for me given the award ceremony was in the Senate Meeting Rooms on Capitol Hill, Washington DC but it was made a little easier knowing my pal Jacqui was by right my side!
News of the award ended up causing quite a stir including here on Bowen Island where Meribeth Deen, Editor of the Bowen Island Undercurrent was quick off the mark with an article sent to press on the night of the award ceremony after a long-distance phone call from Bowen to DC :-).
I headed back to Nepal twice while in Sri Lanka, first in February for Nikita & Binay’s wedding – a five-day extravaganza where friends Katrina, Cathy and I were treated like family throughout the entire celebration. Blessed again.
And the second time in June, en route home to Vancouver, I caught up with my Nepali friends, cooked Sri Lankan feasts, visited Mankamana with Prajwal and delivered a couple of workshops.
Needless to say, upon return I immediately dove back into volunteering on Bowen – doing the promotion for TOTI’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest which was a ton of fun! And I have taken the Chair of the Bowen Island Arts Council Board for a one year duration while the Vice Chair is being trained up (right Rob?!).
All in all, an epic year for me. It is real good to be home on Bowen. I’ll be visiting family and friends in Ireland & the UK in January before I start another work contract in February. I have a few plans flying around to maybe downsize …. who knows what else is on the horizon? But one thing I know, live continues to inspire me.
Be all you can be in 2018!