No Ordinary People

“There are no ordinary people,” said C.S. Lewis.  Last week I certainly had evidence of that!

“They told me they only promoted married men. That’s when I knew I needed a change.”  While doing some volunteer work I met a woman who’d emigrated from Ireland to Canada forty years ago. The bank she worked for in Ireland told her though her work was stellar she couldn’t be promoted. Men needed to be assigned the better paying jobs to support their families. The woman went right down to the Canadian embassy and investigated the possibility of moving to Canada. She and her husband were rated excellent candidates for immigration and asked where they wanted to live. They knew little about Canada and so the official interviewing them suggested the middle of the country, a place called Manitoba.  “We’ve never been sorry,” said the woman who went on to tell me stories about her family and her successful Canadian banking career as well as her plans to travel back to Ireland this summer.

“I do many different kinds of art.”  In church on Sunday I met a man who created a statue I walk by almost everyday. Outside the Air Canada building in Winnipeg’s downtown is a huge sculpture called The Pigeon King. The man I met in church created it. I learned he was from my mom’s hometown of Drake, Saskatchewan and has worked as an animator, sculptor, costume designer, filmmaker, composer and teacher.

“It’s called Through the Window of a Train.”  I went out for coffee with a British woman from my children’s writers’ group and she told me about a project she had worked on for many years. She loves train travel and after moving to Canada she collected stories from people who had worked and traveled on Canadian Pacific Railway trains. She edited an anthology of their stories and went to great lengths to get the book published.

 “ I travel to China all the time. It’s where we have many of our factories.”  My husband and I attended a dinner for residents of Winnipeg’s Exchange District.  One couple at our table was a man from Argentina married to a woman who was the head of her family’s clothing manufacturing company. Much of their stock was manufactured in various cities in main land China. All of the cities were places we had visited so we had an excellent discussion about the pros and cons of manufacturing Canadian products in Asia. The woman had also lived and traveled extensively in Israel and since I had been there too we compared notes on those experiences as well.

 “I’ve written quite a number of books.”  I was assigned as a mentor for a white-haired gentleman who was just beginning to work as a volunteer tour guide at the art gallery. I discovered he had a doctorate from a prestigious American university, was a specialist in children’s literature, a retired professor and had written not only textbooks, but several novels for young people as well. We had a great discussion about the subject of his current book and it gave me an idea for a blog on children’s literature I contribute to on a regular basis.

I met some other interesting people last week–the writer of numerous books of published poetry, a forty year old medical researcher whose decided to go back to university to become a writer, a young man working on his masters degree in physics and economics who loves Russian art, and a dental hygienist whose expecting her first child and just spent four months living in France.

The world is indeed full of interesting people and I’m looking forward to the ones I’ll meet this coming week. 

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