It is Christmas day of 2016. I am sitting by the fireplace with my two dogs laying beneath me on the living room floor waiting for a treat to come their way. I am feeling cozy and content underneath my blanket that was knitted by my Nana but still my mind can’t help but wander to two days from now, where I will be boarding a plane that will leave me in Paris, France. Where I will venture through the city with three others and then we will be off to Munich, Germany, Zurich ,Switzerland, and then by myself…I will continue on to Dakar, Senegal where I will be studying language and education as part of my graduate program at SIT (School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont).
I watch the fire flicker in its place, I feel the slight warmth that reaches me and I can hear the panting that is coming from my dogs. I can feel the spirit of the Nook surrounding me in this place, at this very moment. The Nook embodies the spirit of listening and acceptance, the spirit of empathy and it is dedicated to what it means to be human, which can be defined by each and everyone of us. A Nook can be created in any small corner of the world by any person, as long as it is created in conjunction with the people around us.
I dream of all the places I can create a nook of my own. I know there are many because it is not about where I am but rather who I am with. It is about the spirit of the culture and the community I find myself in. It is about exploring the stories of the people we interact with, understanding where they come from and who they are. In the Nook I can better understand myself and what my purpose is within this world.
In two days I will spend three weeks traveling to countries I have never been to, listening to languages I don’t fully understand, and finding connections with people and the earth we live on. But in the meantime, here by the fireplace, I will embrace the warmth of my loved ones that have constantly been by my side and I will prepare to venture out into the unknown, taking the spirit of the Nook with me, wherever I go.