What a wild weekend it’s been. Getting to spend time in Melbourne with Tim Klapdor, Jim Groom, Rowan Peter, Joyce Seitzinger, & Mark Smithers has been a blast. In fact, it’s been quite invigorating getting to know more about these phenomenal educators.

Because, frankly this year has been rather emotionally taxing. The results of the US election, the senseless violence, and the “post-truth” mentality that’s infected our society steals away portions of my emotional energy and impacts my positivity. Having a weekend to recharge through laughter, site-seeing, and great food, shared among fantastic company compels me to be the best educator I can be.

Saturday started off right, sitting between Tim and Jim enjoying the “best cup of coffee in Melbourne” according to Jim (or whatever research he conducted). The delicious coffee might have yielded physical energy, but conversations with Tim and Jim granted the emotional vitality I needed. Bouncing between raw ideas, current projects, and technology implementations (even discussing the LMS) brought a level of clarity and inspiration to our shared goals—like making the world a better place by inspiring more people to critically engage with the world.

Later in the day, we were joined by Rowan who guided us around Melbourne including on a 3-hour walking tour. Having lived here for a few weeks now, it was wonderful hearing more history and background of the city. And it still blows my mind how much wall art is scattered across Melbourne!

Saturday evening we met up with Joyce & Mark who are working in other departments at RMIT (where I’m consulting). Learning more about their projects and goals at the university revealed where pockets of interesting work were present across the RMIT campus. This was another case where connecting with passionate educators recharged me this weekend.

Sunday morning Tim, Jim, Rowan and I found ourselves enjoying another round of “Melbourne’s best coffee” and lovingly comparing the cultures of Australia and the U.S. (Un)Fortunately, this is was also where I was officially inducted to Australian culture as Tim and Rowan had me eating Vegemite on toast to accompany my coffee. If you’re unfamiliar with the black substance I squeezed onto my toast from a sunscreen tube, you need to try this savory spread! Isn’t that right Jim?

This weekend will be one of my favorite memories from my month abroad, because at the end of the day, we are strongest when we are connected and supporting one another. Collectively, our efforts to improve the world will succeed. The educators who continue pushing the boundaries, folks like Joyce, Mark, Rowan, Tim, and Jim give me more strength than they realize—their pursuits invigorate me.

The future is bright, I’ve seen it, I know it. Thank you everyone for being awesome.

The featured image is provided CC0 by Mike Wilson via Unsplash.

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