There’s something about small communities that I love. The familiar faces and open spaces that are typical of small communities are things that make me feel like I’m at home. I think growing up in a small community has made me develop an affinity for the nature of them. I’m from Salmon Arm, BC, a town of about 17,000 people that sits on the Shuswap Lake in the Southern Interior. As a kid, I could go into town and recognize a dozen people in 20 minuets no problem, but I could also head up Mt. Ida or Fly Hills and not see a single soul for an entire day. It was comforting knowing that I had the ability to connect and disconnect from the world when I needed to.

Life at the KSDC has offered me a similar kind of comfort, and I think that’s why I’ve been able to adapt to life here so well. I have an ability to connect and disconnect at the KSDC, like I could in Salmon Arm. I’ve learned that having this ability is important for my well-being. I love spending time with people, but I also really appreciate having time to be completely alone.

What I love about the people at KSDC is that they know this about me, and they’re totally supportive about it. The familiarity that I’ve been able to establish with people in small communities makes me feel comfortable. In a small community, you don’t really have much of a choice but to become familiar with people. You see the same people all the time so, in my opinion, it’s best to develop a relationship with them. That way you really get to know who you’re living with in your community, which I think is important.

Ti Moe, Ngouy Mya and Day Meh eyeing up Kay Meh’s paper air plane toss.

I believe the close relationships that I’ve been able to foster at KSDC have allowed to be become a better teacher and co-worker. Everyone here has taken the time to get to know each other, so we have a pretty good idea of how one another operates. As a teacher, the familiarity that I have with my students has been helpful because I’m able to get a good read on how they’re feeling, which helps me gauge how I should deliver my lesson. Being close with my co-workers has enabled candid and thorough conversations on important topics such as curriculum structure, student affairs, and examination preparation.

The secluded jungle area that surrounds Nai Soi contrasts the personal and connected environment of the KSDC. The jungle is an extremely quiet and pensive place. When I hike into the rolling hillside outside of the KSDC, I feel like I’m leaving one world and entering another. The atmosphere in the jungle is extremely tranquil; the only noises come from creaky old trees and vibrating cicadas. I often bring my journal with me when I head into the palm trees to jot down some thoughts that I use in my blogs. When I need to think about the experiences that I’ve been having during my internship, and what the deeper meaning behind them is, the jungle is where I go to sort my thoughts out.

The jungle.

The biggest surprise about my internship has been the parallels that I’ve drawn between my life at the KSDC and my life in Canada. This is not to say that my life here is the same as my life in Canada. Far from it. When I think about the experiences and relationships that I have here, on some level, they are quite similar to my experiences and relationships in Canada. Of course the context of these relationships and experiences are much different, but once I peel back the geographical and cultural dichotomies of these experiences and relationships, I realize that they have a lot in common.

The never shy Byar Reh posing for the camera.

My internship at the KSDC is quickly coming to a close. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and family in Canada but, undoubtedly, I will miss my life here. I’ve had the privilege of being apart of an extremely tight-knit community at the KSDC. I’ve felt welcomed here since my first day. I was able to make the KSDC my new home very quickly because I felt comfortable immediately.

The experiences that I’ve had here have been incredibly thought provoking. For example, how I interact in communities that I’m apart of in Canada, and how I might be able to incorporate some characteristics of the community at the KSDC into my communities in Canada when I get back, is something that I’ve contemplated since I arrived in May.

Ku Reh making moves on the football pitch.

It’s hard to put into words how I would describe my time here, but I think there’s a word that can capture the gist of it pretty well: amazing.