The absolute best thing about being retired (four years this month!) is the gift of time. I’ve been using it for catching up on house repairs, decluttering, recharging my body (worn out from years of those letter carrier walks), and of course, focusing more on reading and writing. New writing projects still get relegated to first thing in the morning—just like when I was working. That way I’ve done the hardest part first.
Afternoons are for non-writing activities like swimming (my favorite winter sport) biking, gardening (in the warmer weather), along with my mini-teaching gig in an after-school science program.
I read an article by Joy Kowaga in TWUC’s Write journal, the other day, where she referred to the word philoxenia, which she had used in a convocation address at University of Victoria. It means, ‘openness to newcomers,’ and is the opposite of xenophobia.
Reading that reminded me of another thing I thoroughly enjoy about retirement: volunteering with immigrants. Being the first born of an immigrant family, I relate to some of the challenges and emotions of starting over. Currently I’m helping out in an EAL (English as an additional language) class with students who are at the beginning of their English study. What a warm, enthusiastic group of learners. I really appreciate their energy.
The other day we worked in small groups trying to make conversation about what we like about spring. (We’ve had unseasonably warm weather this past week.) One woman (from Somalia) said she liked the clouds. Why? Because clouds bring rain and she loves to dance in the warm rain of spring.
Ah. Spring. Yes, it’s just around the corner. But these are the prairies, and first we have a snowstorm coming our way.
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