Monday, November 5, 2012

Personal Applause

Ever walk into a room with someone, and suddenly people start to applaud? It's a pretty fun feeling. What happens with a day later, you find out that applause was solely for the person you were with and not intended for you? You give yourself some personal applause and move on to the next adventure.

Global Forum just passed and was an enjoyable experience. When my peers ask me how my experience was, the word I use to describe it is "enjoyable". Not exciting, awesome, the best thing EVER!... but also not lame, stressful, challenging, or dramatic. It was enjoyable.

I know, such a big event, so many things going on, and enjoyable is all I give you? What is this? Well, the perception of "indifferent aelea" aside, I'd say it's the most accurate description that I can think of factoring in the lead up to, the event itself, and the current aftermath.

The lead up to Global Forum was no where near as stressful as people said it would be. Granted, I didn't play a large part in any of it. Other than coming up with ideas for booth engagement, getting items for those booths printed, and meeting about my task in the event which really required no really preparation, my role was pretty small.

At Global Forum I was titled the "Assistant Producer". While that sounds really fancy, it wasn't as intense as I feel people thought it would be. My job was ensuring those speaking at the event were in the "speakers lounge" 30 minutes before their session began, were being mic'd up 15 minutes before their session began, and ensuring they received their thank-you gift once they finished their session. Being in charge of the speakers lounge was actually quite fun. I set up the room how I wanted it, there were flowers out on the tables, snacks on every table set up the way I like-- I know, it sounds ridiculous that would be a highlight but it definitely was! It was fun meeting the speakers but I didn't really make too many conversations. Time in the lounge was meant for prep and I didn't feel like taking up people's time because I felt like chatting. There were also a total of 6 of us that had headsets to chat with which was really fun. You automatically feel special once you have a headset. ;)

Break Out Session #1 with MP Joy Smith
I had the wonderful opportunity to interview MP Joy Smith twice at the forum during the break-out sessions. The first session touched on her story, background and the bills she has been able to pass. The second focused more so on the issues of brothels being legalized in Ontario and how prostitution is legal in Canada. Mrs. Smith also touched on the adult film industry and a few other initiatives she is currently leading. Joy is such a marvellous woman-- she loves to chat, is passionate, full of expression when she speaks, and genuinely believes every person has a role to play when it comes to ending human trafficking.

Kru Nam and I after Global Forum
It was also absolutely wonderful to see JK and Kru Nam again. And by absolutely wonderful, I mean the highlight of Global Forum. As you may know from previous blog posts about my adventures in Thailand, Kru Nam is one of the most inspiring people I've ever met. Her compassion has no limits, her passion is rooted in seeing children being able to flourish into accomplished, dignified adults, and how she is able to pursue her own personal dreams while being such an abolitionist is nothing short of amazing. She is kind, hilarious, and is better at English than she leads on. Her talent at designing jewellery is just amazing and how she takes time to make things and pick out each piece specifically for each person just leaves me in awe. I helped her pick out jewellery for the various staff at Not For Sale at the after party, and was so blessed to have her pass along a gift to give to JP when I return home. She was asking me about "my husband" often amongst other things she wanted to learn about me and my life. I enjoyed chatting with JK and learning more about him. Our time in Thailand was more about him teaching us about Thailand so it was a nice turn of events to be able to ask him questions about himself.  Learning about why people are passionate about the cause is one of my favourite things to learn about people-- especially while here.

Overall the days of Global Forum went well. People were where they needed to be, no one was late for their session, and people were excited to receive their thank-you gift upon exiting the stage and being de-mic'd.  I wasn't stressed and it seemed like, while a necessary job, it was just an average, enjoyable experience. While some people found their job to be rewarding and exciting, and others found it be a less than ideal experience, I found myself somewhere in the middle.

Oh the middle. It's almost not worth a blog post-- but also it kind of is. I feel like enjoyable, average experiences are important to learning about yourself. Your preferences, what you like to do, what you don't like to do, and what you feel like you should be doing. I've learnt that when people tell you your job is important, if you don't feel it is, a little personal applause for a job well done feels better than a crowd of people applauding when you feel it wasn't appropriate-- only to find out it really wasn't for you anyways.

All in all, an enjoyable Global Forum experience will be truly felt complete once I am able to watch the video's of the sessions online. I didn't get to see any of them, and while I heard the crowd response, the messages the speakers had for the audience of abolitionists was missed.

Christmas at the Johnston House
The days after Global Forum have been nice. A couple days off is so wonderful. Yesterday I enjoyed spending time at the Johnston House-- a historic house with the halls completely decked out to be Christmas. It's their biggest fundraiser and everything they use to decorate is for sale! Amazing! Today was spent receiving a surprising email from Starbucks saying a gift card from years ago still has an amount left on it. It was hot out (wearing shorts on November 5th is so strange), and walking to the post office to receive a package containing tea and a skirt from my wonderful amazing husband. I also did grocery shopping and went for an adventure in World Market-- SO GOOD!

With a month left of the fellowship things are seeming less epic and more reflective. Reflecting on the time that has gone by and sorting through ideas of what to do next. In the moments where "what am I going to do next?" seem more nagging and less exciting and day-dream like, I remember that having it all figured out isn't necessary-- and a little personal applause for a job well done so far is needed to inspire the dreaming, and seek out what God has in store next.