To Dream and Discover
The sunset can reveal the silence of one’s own mind
By Enrique Olivo, Grade 12 St udent, Neil McNeil HS
Just last summer, I took part in an intensive
French study program in Quebec. It was the
first time I had lived on my own (thirteen
hours away from my family in Toronto) and
I can still remember the fear I felt on my first
week there—wishing I was back home, and
not having to deal with the responsibilities
of independence. But as the program went
on, and as I met new friends from across the
country and adapted to the freedom of living
alone, I fell in love with the wanderlust that I
first experienced there, which has been with
me ever since.
I know that puns are generally frowned upon in most forms of writing, but if I could sum up the most important lesson that I learned from that trip in one word, it would be the name of the program itself: Explore. That is because during the short amount of time that I spent in La Belle Province, I became aware of how vastly gorgeous the world really is, and more importantly, how little attention I was giving to it.
For instance, it wasn’t until this trip that I actually saw a real sunset. I distinctly remember crying over how beautiful it was when I saw it, coming down over the horizon of the St. Lawrence River as I sat on the hill that overlooked both its shores and my residence. It was a strange experience. After all, the sun had always been there. Why was it only then that I cried?
Perhaps it was because like most of my fellow students, I had spent the last few years caught up in books, marks, and the struggle towards obtaining a “real job” (whatever that means) without asking why. Indeed, before I went to Quebec, I don’t think I had even once stepped into the silence of my own mind and let myself simply be—away from the inexhaustible noise and bustle of life. But regardless of whatever it was that moved me to tears during that trip to Quebec, there is something from the entire experience that teaches a valuable lesson: the world is out there, ready to be seen, heard, and experienced.
“So what?” you may ask.
Well, why don’t you go and find out?