1) I have walked away from three major car accidents in my life (not the driver in any of these).
a) The first was a roll-over at about age 16. Luckily, none of us were hurt.
b) The second, at age 23, was a roll-over on the daily, 1 hour commute on the way to teach in small town Saskatchewan. The driver wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and broke his back, but I believe he is fully recovered today. I felt especially lucky at the time because I remember sitting in the back, before the crash, trying to retrieve the seatbeat. At one point, I just gave up, and figured I would go to sleep without. A few minutes later, the passenger beside me tapped me on the shoulder, and had taken the time to pull out the seatbelt for me. I acknowledge this act of kindness as having saved my life, or at least, from severe injury.
c) The third was the most serious, and happened in Greece in 2005. I was in a taxi with another occupant when we hit a large truck that was backing up. The taxi driver was killed instantly, and the occupant in the back lost part of his leg. I walked away. The crash was difficult for me on a number of different levels. The taxi driver had taken taken my fare after several other drivers tried to overcharge. I remember him speaking about how such drivers gave Greek taxi drivers a bad name, and that they were crooks. I remember him speaking fondly about his family. He was a good man. And then, that was it.
Incidentally, I took a photo of the driver before the accident and for some reason, it did not pick up the proper EXIF date data. Whenever I open up iPhoto, he’s the first photo that comes up. All of the other photos I took during my trip formatted correctly.
2) My middle name is Valintino. No one else in my family has a middle name (not a Greek tradition), but since I was born on February 14, the doctor that it would be “cute” to give me that name.
3) I never wanted to teach. I went into the B.Ed program for lack of better options. Even when I was done, I didn’t want to teach. Then, I got my first job at St. Michael’s College, a First Nations residential school near Duck Lake, Saskatchewan. It was the biggest challenge of my life. I was threatened with violence, had my car vandalized, and felt that it would be impossible to relate the least bit to my students. And this was just in my first three months of teaching. But, right before Christmas break, in my first year, several of my students came to see me. They wanted me to know that I was making a difference. I won’t get into the details, but it was what I needed at the time. And, more importantly, I think it was what they needed as well. Needless to say, I fell madly in love with teaching that year, and I have never looked back.
4) Similarly to
Angela Barbara, I am deathly afraid of heights. However, I can do amusement park rides, gondolas, and that sort of thing. But, I fear heights when I am not secured to or inside something, where I have the ability to fall. I cannot get on my own roof.
5) One of best jobs I have ever had was as a ride operator at Kinsmen Park Rides in Saskatoon. I spent four summers operating a mini-train (I considered myself an engineer), a ferris wheel, and a merry-go-round. The pay was good, the hours were great, and it was stress-free. Hmmmm …wondering if they are still hiring?
6) I was once a very skilled percussionist and pianist. I quit both. I remember my music teacher crying because I quit. I’ve always regretted it.
7) Although I am not what you would consider a religious person, I have had two distinct spiritual experiences that I cannot explain.
a) First, the night before my grandfather Aleco died, I recall him speaking to me in a dream, telling me goodbye, and that I should take care of my mother (his daughter). I had never dreamt about him before that time, or after. I remember the dream, and then my mother waking me up, telling me that she had just learned that he had passed away.
b) After a very late night in Saskatoon during my undergraduate days, my friend and I collected ourselves and headed back to Humboldt, where we were working that summer. It was about an hour long drive, and we were very tired. I was driving, but fell asleep probably about 15 minutes into the trip. I remember that moment vividly. As I fell asleep, I felt a firm hand grab my shoulder and my first name being called. I woke up instantly, just in time to veer back into my lane, and away from the half-ton truck coming in our direction. My friend was still passed out in the passenger seat and no one else was in the car.
That got a bit deeper than I expected. :-)
Alright, I duly tag the following people: