When applying to come to Solheimar I was:
- A ball of excitement (as evidenced by lots of jumping and spontaneous Disney song singing)
- Impatient impatient im…AM I THERE YET?!
- SO FLIPPITY-FLAPJACK READY FOR THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME
I was a woman on a mission. (Still am.)
Prepare your gameface.
I explained to them that I am optimistic about our ability to change this path humanity has put itself on, we can come back and save our planet, and better yet, we will. But I am just one person, and a young one at that. I need teachers, researchers, and practice. I believed that a semester in Solheimar was the perfect recipe to push me on my quest for a better planet.
And show me they have.
Here I have learned, grown, and experienced all that I could have ever dreamed of. And yet, there is still so much more to do.
It seems we haven’t been listening to our grandparents. I remember their generation reiterating the saying “don’t bite the hand that feeds you” as words to live by. And yet, here we are, years down the road with a depleting ozone layer, melting ice caps, a rising sea level, and draining sources of fresh water. To say the least, we’re in a pickle (and not one of the yummy kinds).
Simply testifying that we are faced with critical sustainability issues is a vast understatement of the predicament humanity and planet Earth are stuck in. With the issues varying far and wide, the task can seem too daunting to accomplish.
But it isn’t.
Like a term paper the importance is in the details, details that are allocated to different paragraphs. If we all unite together with one common goal (save the planet by focusing on sustainability) we can use this as our thesis and then divide and conquer.
So what would the main body paragraph include in my mind? Currently, development. Today’s globalized economy is watching the effects of colonization continue to grow as underdeveloped nations fall further behind and developed economies charge full speed ahead. The current state of all-consuming absolute poverty in many developing countries and growing inequality around the world begs the question: Where did this all begin?
During the periods of colonization and industrialization mother countries took raw materials from their colonies and used them to their own gain. The immediate impact was that of imposed monoculture and poverty, while today the lack of industrialization kept them from being affluent participants in the global market, even post-colonization, and thus they fall further and further behind as the technological era speeds ahead.
Nelson Mandela was quoted saying “We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender, and other discrimination.” And around the world we claim this is what we do, start movements and policies to ensure the eventual flourishing of everyone on the planet.
But, European nations and the United States wrecked the planet in their efforts to grow. And yet here we sit, wondering why underdeveloped nations cannot progress when the materials are gone AND there are imposed environmental regulations to boot.
We need a revolution: A revolution to marry development with environmental sustainability. Let’s pull people out of poverty and tie it to pulling the planet away from death’s door. Environmental sustainability was one of the main millennium development goals set up by the United Nations. 15 years in and we’re not there. Have we even started? We need people-power behind the movement. The planet’s got people, and plenty of them, so let’s start moving. Together we can change the world, and together we can save the planet, in fact, we can do both at the same time. I think. I’m still brainstorming on how.
With a semester in Solheimar (almost) under my belt, I thought I had found a good starting point.
And hopefully, I have.
But then I realized that so much of what brought me here today was what I learned in the Dominican Republic. I was volunteering to teach English through Siena College, but what really happened is that the kids and my fellow volunteers taught me some Spanish, and a lot about life.
To Charlieann: It’s hard to believe I met you less than a year ago. You feel like the big sister I’ve always wanted, a mentor I’ve always needed, and a friend I am so grateful to have ❤ Some people you’ve known forever, even if you only just met. Thank you for your kindness, love, hugs, and smile that lights up a room 🙂
To Danielle: Where would I be without you?! From sleepless nights in the DR to Saturday coffee dates at Professor Java’s, I’m forever grateful to have you in my life. Without your sparkling eyes and laugh, the world wouldn’t be nearly as wonderful ❤
To Kelsey: The Elsa to my Anna, I cannot wait to come home and see you! Your positivity, passion, and pure heart will lead you to great places darling ❤ and I can’t wait to see where.
To Shannon: Once upon a time you were the resident who wasn’t mine but basically lived in my hallway, now you are the friend without whom I’d be lost. I’m grateful for every hug, dance, conversation and moment we’ve had, and every piece of our journey to come ❤
To Kate: YOU WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO GRADUATE (I mean I’m happy for you but…). Anywho, I know you’re taking med-school by storm and changing the lives of everyone you meet (as you once did mine). I love you to death and cannot wait for more documentary-adventure nights to come ❤
To the Sisters: Thank you for opening up your home, school, and hearts to a bunch of over-excited students looking to learn and love the world. We were blessed to have met you.
To Sister Sue: Siena misses you dearly, and I am grateful to have met you in all of your glory before you left to a new adventure. Thank you for your hope, guidance, and the peace you spread with every word you spoke to us all. Come visit us soon?
To Amorcito/Lucky: Once upon a time you were left on the Sisters’ doorstep, and we couldn’t have fallen in love faster. These days you’re taking the backyard world by storm as you trample through the grass on a mission to make friends and chew everything in sight. What an unexpected surprise (and beautiful one) you were for us all ❤
To all of our friends in the D.R.: We miss you, we love you, and we will forever hold you in our hearts.
My time in the Dominican with the Sisters and students continued to change my life long after I returned home. It motivated me to try harder, to get more involved, and to follow my heart wherever it takes me.
I joked that I left my soul there when I left. It must have been doing a lot of traveling since, because it met me here in Iceland. Words cannot describe how blessed I feel to be in a place of such magic, adventure, and learning.
Th world is ours for the changing.
So put on your Nikes and…
Here are some pictures of this weekend’s snow covered hike (I have only just regained feeling in my toes and gotten my nose to stop running…yes, I caught it hehehehe) to remind you that this world is worth saving:
Love and hugs from a positive popsicle ❤
Live, laugh, love, bake,
Marley and Tea
P.S. Always give in to your wanderlust.