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If you're from the Windsor area, and you watch CBC or CTV, or you follow their local social media platforms, you may know that I came down with covid a few weeks ago. That's certainly not an unusual thing, given the millions and millions of people who've suffered through the virus over the last two and a half years. In fact, it's almost unusual that it took me so long to be infected. My wife and I have been incredibly careful since the pandemic began. She likes to say that we've lived like monks, and while that's not exactly true, we've certainly been careful. I'm an essential caregiver to two medically fragile parents who live in a retirement home and I had no desire to bring covid-19 into their home and maybe kill a number of their neighbours, their friends, or maybe even them.
Anyway, in what could be interpreted as a lapse in judgement, we went on a cruise to Alaska last month. Even in this though, we were careful. The cruise line demanded that all guests be fully vaccinated, and produce a negative covid test within two days of the cruise beginning. Guests are encouraged to wear masks whenever they are in public spaces except when they're eating, and the entire crew is always masked while working. In spite of all this, as I mentioned at the start, I came down with covid.
I was put in isolation on the ship for the last day and a bit of the cruise, and then I had to spend eight days in isolation in the Vancouver Airport Sheraton. This was the reason for the CBC and CTV news stories. I think the news outlets were looking for an angry traveler story, but I wasn't angry. Not at all. I was happy that the cruise line did their best to make sure no other guests were infected, and I understand the need to isolate until you're no longer a risk to others. I did warn viewers that covid was still a reality; that trips like the one I'd been on are a calculated risk; and that it would be smart to factor in some extra time after such a trip in case they were unlucky, as I had been.
The interviewers were surprised at my non-anger, and that I didn't view the eight days in a fine hotel as a terrible thing. My wife had tested negative, and so she was allowed to travel home at the end of the cruise, so I was left alone. However, due to modern technology, I was able to speak to and see my wife several times a day, and she was able to send me a 'care package' of treats and writing pads and pens. I used the eight days of isolation as a Writer's Retreat, and started fourteen short stories that I hope will be finished off and become part of The Principal Chronicles Too/Two.
That's why I called this blog entry Serendipity. My getting sick (and it was really only like a mild couple day flu) gave me the impetus and time to work on my next book, in much the same way the pandemic, when it started, gave me the impetus to write and publish my first book.
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Whenever a person interviews for any position in education, and I mean any position - it's expected that the person must say, "I'm a life long learner." I've always smiled at the expression. Not just because it's become hackneyed, but because there is no alternative. Everyone is a life long learner, whether they like it or not. Every single day, everyone learns from their experiences, even if it's something as simple as confirming that you still don't like watermelon or lima beans. It's the nature of our existence.
I suppose a better expression would be something like, "I still enjoy learning things, and I expect that that will continue until the day I die." But even that goes without saying, because the alternative to it is, "I've learned enough at your age here and I don't really want to learn anything more. I'm tired of learning." You're not going to be hired as a new teacher, principal, superintendent or director by saying that.
Anyway, the reason I'm writing this post is that I learned an awful lot by writing and publishing my book, and then I continued to learn things through the marketing and selling of it. And I continue to learn more each day. Most recently, due to the interest of Mr. Stephen Hurley at www.voicEd.ca, I've learned how to record my stories to help him publish them as a podcast, a sort of audio book. I had to purchase a pretty nice microphone and a decent set of headphones, but then, via the telephone and computer, Stephen guided me through the process of recording the stories and then uploading them to him so he could clean them up and then add some appropriate introductory and closing music before publishing them at voicEd.ca. (If you'd like, you could head over there and check them out. They're all pretty good, and I've learned to actually enjoy hearing my voice.) It was all a great lot of fun for me.
Like me, Stephen Hurley is a retired educator. I'm positive that he was an excellent one, because he's continued to stay involved and he is excellent at making even an old guy like me feel as though I can master the skills necessary to get involved in podcasting, story recording and being a somewhat recurring guest on a radio show. And he's also made the experiences enjoyable. I don't know how many of these things were related to his job as a teacher, but they certainly prove that, like me, Stephen is a life long learner.