Friday, June 10, 2011

"Only Connect!"

In a previous post, I discussed the importance of "Only Connect," a key theme in literature and in philosophy.  While in Denmark, I noticed how I was connecting with a crowd of strangers as we watched something, realizing that we are always looking for ways to connect with others -- that this is such a key component of a rich and fulfilling life.

Well, thanks to my Fund for Teachers Fellowship and my experience in Norway, I have made a fabulous connection with a former student, Gabrielle.  Gabrielle studied "Philosophy for Children" in Oslo, then continued to study with a leading philosopher Oscar Brenifier in France -- eventually becoming a certified philosophical counselor and teaching at St. John's University in Philly.  She saw this blog and eventually found me on facebook where she sent me the following message.  I get to meet both Gabrielle and the philosopher Oscar Brenifier tonight.  Thanks Fund for Teachers!

Subject: HIO connection

Hei Kristin,

So I just stumbled across your blog during a google search of "p4c in museums." It's funny because your blog doesn't address what I'm looking for but, believe it or not, I attended Beate and Bo's first summer course in 2008. What a great experience, right!?!

I had previously studied with the IAPC so the information they presented wasn't so new to me but I developed a deep appreciation for the manifold of methods, practices and approaches that make up the Norsk or Scandinavian version of filosofi med barn. Studying in Oslo had a huge impact on me overall, especially since Beate and Bo introduced me to the French philosopher Oscar Brenifier who I studied with in France the following year and that lead me to eventually becoming a certified philosophical counselor. Did they push Oscar's work when you studied with them?

Somehow what’s more important though is that I absolutely fell in love with Norway when I was there in 2008 - a country I never thought about visiting until I got involved with p4c. And now I anticipate living there at some point in the near future. I could continue to gush about it all but the real reason I decided to post aka write to you - (originally I was just going to post this under one of your pics but then I realized I’d have to make an account, blah blah, so this has become the extended version) - is that I think you and I must have been assigned the same room on Bjerregaardsgate, judging from the angle of your photos.

The sunsets from that student housing building were incredible during the period of the midnight sun. I have many versions of this same photo. ;) The view made me love that room and living in St Hans so much.

Actually so many of our pictures are similar.. eating the same foods, walking the same streets… having wonderful bonding adventures with classmates from all over the world….

But what probably made me the happiest in your pictures though was seeing Marit… lol… I was just waiting for a photo of her to pop up… the one-time-grill in her hand made me crack up…

When I arrived in Oslo in 2008, I was the first international student to show up and it was Marit’s first day working that job… Just after she met me at the bus stop it started pouring rain as we started walking up one of the steep hills toward student housing. One stupid, inconvenient thing happened after the next (like... hmm where'd the keys go?) and it was concerning her cause it was her first day on the job but it was the perfect situation for us to become friends and now almost 3 years later and many adventures behind us (I’ve gone back to Norway a few times), we’re BFF. She’s actually coming to the US this weekend to hang out in Philadelphia with me for 2 weeks so we can celebrate our birthdays together and we’re competing in a tough mudder 10 mile mud run next weekend… Haven’t seen her since I last left Oslo at the end of October… such are long distance friendships.

The other big similarity I noticed from your blog is that we both have a penchants for Rick Steves!! Lol… He too is my travel idol and has given me lots of confidence to explore regions on the world on my own. He did a book tour, I guess last year, for “Travel as a Political Act” and I went to hear him speak and met him in Philly that day. Such a cool guy and I loved that there’s a section of that book on Christiania… Marit and I backpacked through Denmark together in ’08 after the class ended and then I went back there this past summer. Love it there! Haven't made it to Finland but I went to Iceland this past September to study again with Oscar Brenifier and then teach philosophy to kids for a few days in a school there. It was Awesome.

Hmm … I did not intend to write this much but – oh well.. it’s very nice to make your acquaintance . I’d love to learn if or how you're utilizing what Beate and Bo taught you in whatever classroom environment you work in. (perhaps this info is in your blog… I really haven’t read much of it… just skimmed it and then pictures caught my attention. ) I’d also be curious to hear your feedback about the course and Beate and Bo’s delivery. They can be intense but are a very special pedagogical duo. ;)

Tusen Takk for the unexpected trip down memory lane!



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