This post is going to be a little different than my usual education/Technology/art posts.
Two days ago was my last day as a Faculty Liaison, Technology at the Centre for Teaching Support and Innovation at the University of Toronto. I was on contract and funding was no longer available. I was given a lovely send-off and I had a chance to share my in-the-works passion project, an Accessibility Hub of all things accessibility-related at my university. The hugs and farewells (or maybe au revoirs) were lovely.
There’s a good chance that I’ll be able to use my skills in a different department. Here’s hoping! The whole experience was a gift to me – the ability to keep learning and to make use of that learning at a world class institution where I had been a student many, many years ago. As a former high-school visual art and computer literacy teacher (plus the school’s coordinator of Ed Tech, PD developer, and a bit of special ed on the side) I hadn’t dreamed I would be able to be involved in something so wonderful, with an amazingly skilled and friendly and productive team. My intention is to keep working on and learning about Accessibility.
No, that wasn’t my lovely day. I was sad.
Yesterday was my birthday. My husband asked me to come in and help in his office. Normally I would be happy to help but this was my birthday, and ugh… I just wanted to decompress and feel sorry for myself for one day. Instead, when it came time to leave, he whisked me off to Paris. Ontario.
A beautiful town with crafts and ice cream and, get this, an accessible trail along the Nith River ! It is called the Nith River Sensory Trail. Signs were in text and in braille. There was a rope along the path with breaks for interactive activities that made music. It was wonderful for someone engaged in learning about accessibility. We bought some gifts for the kids. We drove back – 1.5 hour ride – talking about philosophy, small town history, the oats growing in our backyard, life, what we enjoy.
I think the best part was the planning that my husband did. I’m usually the one who plans day trips but he really took the initiative. He even borrowed a wheelchair for me as I’m somewhat mobility-challenged. The rascal also sent our kids a video claiming to have pushed me in the river. 😁 I love his sense of humour and the kids know he was kidding. We’ve been married almost 40 years and he still makes me laugh.
He wanted to take me out for dinner, but we were both kinda tired. It was really quite hot outside and we’d been exploring for hours. But then my kids showed up with a wonderful gift (an air fryer toaster oven), a kitten to play with (my daughter’s pet), and too much ice cream (a happy miscommunication). We were trying to call my mom – it was her birthday, too – a beautiful and lively 91-years-old! – but couldn’t reach her (of course we had spoken earlier to wish each other happy birthday). I really wanted to talk to her. And then suddenly in walks my sister with 2 of her kids – and my mom! We danced and hugged and kissed. And I was surrounded by love and caring.
I wasn’t so sad about the end of my job anymore. And instead of feeling sorry for myself (I only planned to take one day because I’m an optimist by nature), this much better day happened.
So in thanks to my beautiful family, friends, colleagues (not saying former yet), and God, I just made a donation to Camp HASC (they called at the right time!) They are a summer program for children and adults with special needs.
Bottom line: I no longer have an excuse to be grumpy. Let the positivity return! 😀