After working back in the U.S. during the summer of 2021, I moved again to France; this time to the pink-walled city one hour from the border of Catalonian Spain. Toulouse is a golden place, as well-touched by the sun as it is well-loved, where my life consisted of talks and laughter by the Garonne river, our legs dangling over the water, where nights out were to jazz clubs, seated beneath the saxophonist and pianist playing their sounds around each other, and where from my bedroom, I could see the top spire of the Basilique Saint-Sernin ringing its song for the city’s sprawling rows of pink walls that housed us. I couldn’t believe my fortune in being placed to work here, and in meeting the people that I did-- roommates and friends learning and growing and challenging one another from all over the world, always with cross-linguistic, cross-cultural hurdles, and always with love.
My creative expression flourished here as I learned of the joys in living with such a dynamic and culturally vast community... which fed into my sense of purpose in my work. This year, I stepped into incorporating more concepts of social justice into my programming while working with students across an even broader span of ages and ability levels. I became more steady in myself and my identity as a teacher and speaker, and I remembered a previous calling to work in service to others.
This is the part of the story that oozes an orange glow. I feel warm just thinking about it. What a gift to experience such a sense of belonging in joyful community.