I’m alone in Bologna today, the last Vancitizen left.
It has been an intense trip. Full of experiencing the local culture, understanding new business models, learning economic theory, leadership development and powerful bonding with other Vancity employees and Board members, labour leaders, city councilors, not for profit directors and some fantastic spouses and partners of the participants. It has been intensely social and I leave here with a real love for all of those I was lucky enough to be in Bologna with, some of whom I had never met before our orientation just three weeks ago.
There is obviously a lot to reflect on. What is exportable back to Vancity and British Columbia, and what is unique to this region’s attitudes and culture that might not be effective back home? What does Redefining Wealth truly mean, and how do we bring that to life? What role can cooperatives play in our local economy and how can Vancity play a role in their development and success?
Some people started catching their trains on Wednesday afternoon, most left Thursday morning, a few left today. I am the only one who stayed in through Saturday. It seemed like a good idea when I booked the trip. The last time I was in Europe was exactly twenty years ago when I traveled with a good friend who is now my brother-in-law. I wanted an extra couple of days to soak it all in.
But after absorbing everything we have done in the last two weeks, and going from such an intensely social time to being alone, and missing my wife Amy and son Ivan back home, I just feel done.
So today is a day of reflection, exhaustion and a small touch of loneliness and homesickness.
I am not looking forward to a long day of flying tomorrow, but I can’t wait to be home.
Thanks for reading my blog. I write my blog as a way of making sense of my thoughts and experiences, and am so gratified and humbled that people find it worth reading. Each comment people left on my blog gave me a wonderful moment of elation. I thank each of you who left a comment, it made me feel connected to you at home, which was a much needed feeling.
Monday, I’m back in my office and will try to just be around to catch up an email and connect with people and projects. If you’re in head office, please drop by at the NE corner of the 7th floor to say hi. I’d love to see you!
And now I’m going to do something for the first time since arriving – take a nap!