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In 2012, I taught English as a Second Language (ESL) in Jakarta, Indonesia. Often, a student would approach, confused by some obscure English grammar rule. Regularly, I went into despair, but sometimes I’d recall something useful.

One of the more useful things I’ve done was to read Lynn Truss’s book Eats, Shoots and Leaves. It’s a delightfully playful book, informative and accurate. And the example she uses in her title, to illustrate just how important punctuation can be, was valuable in Jakarta.

‘A panda bear eats shoots and leaves,’ I’d write on the board. “What does this mean?” I’d ask the students. [It’s a comment on the dietary preferences of a panda bear.] And then I’d add a single comma. ‘A panda bear eats, shoots and leaves’. “What does this mean now?” I’d inquire. [A single comma changes the meaning to illustrate the purported violent tendencies of said panda bear, brought on by a meal and completed by an exit.]

This week, everything in my life took another of those wonky directions and I felt like that punctuated panda bear.

Christine eats, shoots and leaves. My tendencies aren’t quite a violent as that bear’s, mind.

Mexico: two months of eating and taking pictures and blogging.
Indonesia: six months of eating and taking pictures and blogging.
Toronto: seven months …
Mississauga: three months …

Christine eats, shoots and leaves.

On September 29, I begin a one-month work-for-stay gig at Wolf Den Bunkhouse ‘n Cabins located at one of the entrances to Algonquin Park in Ontario.

http://www.wolfdenbunkhouse.com/

Work-for-stay means I do six hours of manual labour each day, in return for a private cabin on the grounds. I bring my own food and in my spare time, I get to cavort on the Canadian Shield. It’s financially feasible and excellent therapy.

Algonquin Park: one month …
Christine eats, shoots and leaves.

On November 1, I begin an overwinter WWOOF at Points East, a farm situated on the Newfoundland coast.

A WWOOF is a world-wide opportunity on an organic farm, where you learn farming and animal husbandry skills in return for food and accommodation.

“Have you ever been to Newfoundland?” an astonished friend inquired last night.

Yes, I have. The year before my life started going wonky, I hiked, cycled and kayaked around Gros Morne National Park, on oblivious holiday. There, I fell in love with the beauty of the land and the sea, and with the generous and kind people who live there.

“Points East is a century old, cozy fisherman’s home at the edge of the Atlantic that includes gardens and a hobby farm with goats and chickens. During the summer months it is a guesthouse visited by hikers along the East Coast Trail; in the off-season we organize workshops and retreats that emphasize holistic health.”

http://www.pointseast.ca/

Last night, I was riding the bus “home” from a meeting. A sign on the bus startled me: the universe’s encouragement?

Thank you for moving back.

You’re welcome!

Newfoundland: … a winter of learning, eating, taking pictures and blogging …

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