Sometimes it takes a small thing, or a series of small things, to make connections for us.
A random post by someone in a chat yesterday inspired today’s blog. The comment in the chat was about profiles on Twitter, and how this individual didn’t see the importance of having one. The reasoning behind it was: she uses Twitter for professional, not personal, reasons, so doesn’t want to share anything on Twitter that’s about her.
Last week, I responded to a personal post from our Ontario maestro, Doug Peterson. The reason: someone was eating pączki on the “wrong day” and I noticed that the Polish translation of Tłusty Czwartek in a newspaper article had been incorrectly presented as Fat Tuesday. A conversation ensued with the end result: my posting the recipe for Polish pickle soup on his FB page. I didn’t think non-Poles knew of it or would even like it, but he does.
What is the connection?
I follow Doug because of all the things he shares about technology, education, and his support of Ontario educators in all our shapes and sizes, but the only times I’ve engaged him on social media is when something non-educational that he shared has captured my eye: flying turkeys, Toronto millionaires’ mansions for sale, or children enjoying Polish donuts on the wrong day. Does Doug know I appreciate him for his expertise if I reply only to the sidebars?
Julie Szyj co-moderates the New Teachers to Twitter chat on Saturdays #NT2T. I never thought to connect with her directly outside of the chat until she posted a photo last year that felt so familiar, yet unfamiliar, to me. Turns out, her father comes from the same part of Poland my father was from, and they would have been approximately the same age the year her photo was taken. I noticed the word “gardener” on her profile and we exchanged some tips and information about that as well.
Yesterday, Naomi Epstein’s blog caught my eye. I connected with Naomi originally through #ELTchat. She has been posting about family photos and letters she has received about relatives in Poland (Belarus by today’s boundaries) and she’s trying to piece the story together from the 1930s to 1940. Her request to decipher Polish handwriting inspired me to chat with her about our families’ wartime experiences. She said something that stuck with me.
I set aside some time today in my busy life and have pulled out all my father’s old documents he kept from the war onwards. Julie is exploring her roots; my father only shared his experience with me once before he died, but left me all his documents. Naomi hasn’t finished telling her family’s story, but has hinted at unhappy times. My father’s unhappy times are recorded in the old attaché case where I keep these:
I took photos of these three documents because they tell my father’s story starkly: his identity card for ex Prisoners of War, the proof that he was kept in a concentration camp, and his landed immigration card, stamped by Canadian Immigration in Halifax, N.S., on May 28, 1950.
Doug issued a challenge to Ontario educators: challenge others within our education circles to submit “Bringing IT Together 2016” proposals, to be held in Niagara this November. I challenged a friend, she challenged me back, and I’ve seen other challenges come up in my feed ever since. I am connected to Doug, to Julie, to Naomi because I use Twitter for professional reasons, but the connections I have are personal, and it’s because they’ve all shared a piece of themselves that made me want to connect with them more. And they brought this all together for me.