FOR BRANT NEWS
Opportunities only come every so often and, when they do, we must embrace them.
I learned this valuable lesson from a man who lived down the street from me by the name of Gord Paynter.
We were on some levels the same. We both shared humour, wit and dealing with medical complications.
One night, my family and I were in New York City eating in Little Italy when we spotted Gord and his wife walking down the street. We called out to them, taking the risk of looking like idiots if they didn’t hear us.
“Hey! People from Elm Street in Brantford!”
They did hear us and walked over to chat. We talked about the sheer luck of seeing each other, not only many kilometres from home, but in a city of millions of people.
When I look back on this experience, I think that it must have been a sign – a sign that Gord was someone who I should get to know and foster a relationship with.
I knew that Gord was a great man and someone who I wanted to get to know better, but I procrastinated writing him a letter or even walking down the street and talking with him.
Maybe it would have just been for one afternoon – one afternoon does not seem like that much time – but it will never be an afternoon I can have. Gord passed away in April.
Now anytime there is an opportunity, I will be the one to take it.
This summer, in the year I will be going into high school, I have been presented the chance to go on an Arctic expedition to Nunavut and Greenland for two weeks. This has been made possible by the generous funding of an organization called The Leacross Foundation, which is devoted to educating women and furthering their lives through knowledge.
Applying for such a large scholarship was nerve racking and time consuming, but it will pay off when I set sail on July 29 until Aug. 12.
I will be travelling with 80 international high school students on a working vessel with 35 polar scientists, native elders, writers, photographers and musicians.
The reason I am going is because I want to see the Arctic for myself and I want to learn more about the environmental impacts that each of us make. While in the Arctic, I will be visiting many interesting places and doing interesting things.
I will be learning about the poles from a global perspective. While I am there, I will leave footprints and take knowledge (and photos). It should be a wild ride and I am glad that I can share it with my hometown through a column in the Brant News. Flat Gord will be joining me on my adventure and we will be taking lots of pictures.
You can follow the expedition through my upcoming articles.