Hello, dear readers! I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post. And that I only posted a couple times in all of 2016. And that I have so many important things to share about my Winnipeg life, but alas, they are all contained in half-composed drafts that I never seem to be able to finish. Plus I am expecting baby #3 in the next little while, so realistically, my time is going to be even more scarce. Well, c’est la vie, I suppose!
In the meantime I just wanted to highlight a local blog series that I’ve been loving. Local realtor Carl Seier has undertaken a project called “The Stranger Connection Winnipeg“. The premise is pretty simple: he asks strangers about their lives, shares a drink or meal and conversation with them, and then writes about that person’s life and the experience (with remarkable introspection and candour). He recently wrote about Stranger #44 and though I haven’t gotten through all his entries yet, I haven’t read a single one that I didn’t find moving, or fascinating, or inspiring in some way. He’s been working on the project for just over a year.
Carl’s inspiration for the project came in part from “the Maclean’s article” (you know the one I’m talking about) and noticing people’s reactions to it. It made him realize that he was quite isolated in his south Winnipeg community and didn’t have a lot of diversity in his social circles — and specifically, not a single Indigenous person. Read more about the story behind his project here.
If you haven’t been reading The Stranger Connection Winnipeg, I highly recommend it. This series perfectly captures how every one of us has a story — so many of us have had hardships in our lives — and yet we are all just trying to do the best we can in our lives, for our families, our friends, and our communities. For example, Stranger #38, Lexa Rae, has found incredible meaning and importance in volunteering with the Mama Bear Clan. Carl writes,
“I was quite surprised at how important helping others is in her life. I mean she has next to nothing herself. She is raising four children on her own (with help from her mother who has been clean for over 10 years now). Lexa Rae barely has enough to get by herself. I asked her why helping others is so important to her. She paused for a moment and she began to cry. After a moment to compose herself she explained that when she was at her lowest, living on the street and deep into addiction, nobody helped her. She was all alone. She told me she wants to make sure nobody has to go through what she went through.”
You can follow The Stranger Connection Winnipeg on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/TheStrangerProjectWpg/) – where he also posts updates on the strangers he’s met in the past and kept in touch with, and on his blog, http://www.carlseier.ca/category/strangerconnectionwpg/.
Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
p.s. In what is basically the norm for me now, shortly after I discovered this project, I had an “all road lead to Portage and Main”/Winnipeg moment — it turns out that our realtor and our next-door neighbour both work with Carl at the same brokerage!