25 Years is Only the Beginning
This is something of an adventure story. You see back in the early 80s I was studying with one of the great mentors in my life, Dr. Daniel Jordan, who had created a model of education called Anisa. In the Anisa Model we believed that human beings have unlimited potentialities and that we should combine a strong philosophy of education with the best that science had to offer in terms of research. In October of 1982 Dr Jordan died which was quite untimely for me since I was just beginning my study and collaboration with him. I thought that I would be working with him for a long time, but suddenly it was over. He was gone. By the spring of 1983 it was clear that the project at the university would not be supported, so many of us began looking around for other places to implement Anisa.
We ended up receiving a job offer on a First Nations reserve outside of Edmonton, Canada so in July of 1983 we left our country, the USA, and set out. A few weeks ago I started doing the math and realized that it had been 25 years since we had lived in the US. When I went to study with Dr. Jordan in 1980, I had hoped that I would be able to move to Latin America afterwards. It was always my dream to leave the US and live abroad. Now we are 25 years forward from when we left the US, having spent 16 of them in Canada, 6 in Brazil, and now we are on our 4th year in Malaysia.
Here is my story. I was really reluctant to leave California because I loved working on the model and loved the San Diego area. When I arrived in Alberta, I thought that where we were living was an armpit, but then I ended up really loving the work and loving the Cree Reserve so I again became reluctant to leave. Then my eldest daughter, Erika, decided that she wanted to go to the Maxwell International Baha’i School on Vancouver Island so when we inquired about jobs, we got them. We ended up being on the Island for 9 years and God knows the story. I was reluctant to leave. So He gave me an easy way. We were fired or restructured out. After a year of hanging out on the Island receiving unemployment insurance, we set out for the next leg on the journey, Brazil. This really is a story of reluctance.
I guess you know what I am going to say now. Brazil is so much a part of me that I often still dream in Portuguese. I thought that when I moved to Brazil that this would be it. I am just going to stay there for the rest of my life. Well, about 6 years on, the school decided to move in a different direction than the one we were in, so they asked us to leave. I think that is a really nice way to say it. Brazil has a way of stealing your heart so when we received a job offer in Asia after hanging out in Vancouver running along the seawall and going to parks with our granddaughter, Isa, for a year, I was really reluctant. I didn’t really think that Asia would be a nice place to live. How could I have been so wrong?
Really, sometimes I don’t get it with myself. I love to go on all kinds of adventures, but I am really reluctant to leave where I am. If God decides to grant me another 25 years, I think I am going to have to work on my issue of reluctance because I have had 25 wonderful years of adventure and I am just only beginning to meet a small fraction of the rest of the world.
Baha’u’llah has repeatedly exhorted us to regard the world as one country and mankind as one family. I’d like to think of moving around in the world as if I were moving from one state to another in the US visiting family, but I see that I still have a long way to go to get to His ideal.
Happy 25th to us.