At the end of June, I wrote a blog post about an article written by the award-winning freelance writer, Heather Greenwood Davis. The article named “Infinite Possibilities,” was published in the Canadian Living Magazine, in which Heather gave us her perspective on Quest’s summer program for adults known as “Renew Your Quest.” Even though Mathematics had never been Heather’s strongest subject, and in Grade 12 she had made an unspoken vow to never engage with the subject again, she decided to challenge herself and attend a Mathematics class taught by Ryan Derby-Talbot. Heather had soon realized that the class was much more than just numbers and theories, and the tutor was looking for opinions rather than predetermined answers.
Heather attended “Renew Your Quest,” at the time when I was still in the process of applying for my Study Permit and getting ready to move to Canada. Thus, this year since I was on campus I decided to meet the participants, listen to their opinions about the program, and even attend some of their adventures. “Renew Your Quest” is an intellectual summer retreat for adults, offered every summer by Quest University Canada. In this program adults get to experience a Quest seminar, enjoy the impressive setting of the campus, stay in the residences, and eat both on campus and in local restaurants or households.
The academic course went from 9 am to noon each day; whereas, in the afternoons and evenings the participants were free to explore the spectacular local areas, go on guided hikes, and attend workshops and discussions. I was very fortunate to enjoy some of these adventures with the participants, whom made my week a lot more fun.
On Sunday morning I attended a yoga class at The Spit, a beautiful location in Squamish, BC. Melanie, the Dean of Students at Quest, had informed the summer employees about this class, which other Renew Your Quest participants would attend as well. This closeness with the Quest community always fascinates me. Never had I thought that I would be sitting in the back seat of the Dean of Student’s car with a yoga mat on my lap. That could be because where I come from everything is much more formal. The chances that you will ever meet the President of the University or Dean of Students are pretty slim, and if you do, that would probably mean that you are in trouble.
While waiting for Melanie to come and pick us up I met Denik, Noemie, Anthony, and their mentor – Mark. They were all either students and/or employees at Université de Hearst (University in Hearst, Ontario). It took us a couple of minutes to start warming to each other, and soon we were laughing, sharing different stories, and wanting to know where each one of us came from. They all came from a small French speaking town in Ontario; however, their English was very clear and easy to understand.
The Yoga class was amazing, and the view was simply stunning. I could not stop but smile, and feel grateful for having such an incredible life. I am attending Quest, I have a very supportive family, and have an amazing group of friends back in Kosovo and in Canada. After the Yoga class we all gathered in my room and watched the World Cup final together. At the end of the game, some of us were extremely happy and some not as much. However, we had lots of fun watching the game together and drinking tea. I could not believe that I had met these people just a few hours prior to the game. If someone had seen us, they would probably think that we have been best buddies for years.
After giving a tour to the “Renew Your Quest” group, we all headed to Melanie’s house for dinner. As aforementioned, I was again surprised when I saw David (The President of Quest) and Melanie both wearing aprons and preparing a delicious and healthy dinner for us. Maybe one day I will get used to it, but for now it is still such a lovely surprise and unexpected act.
Since that day it was extremely hot my friends from Hearts, Quest friends, and I headed to the river behind one of the Quest’s Residence Buildings. We sat next to the river and enjoyed the cool breeze, the sound of the fast flowing river, and the soothing tweets of birds. It was a night to remember!
The week went by very fast. We had dinners together, played soccer in the Quest’s huge FIFA 2 certified field, and stargazed in the late night. Even thought all of us were busy during the day, because I had to work and Noemie, Denik, and Anthony had to attend their class, we still made time for each other in the late afternoons and evenings.
On Thursday, we hiked the Sea to Summit trail, and made it to the top of the new gondola in Squamish. It is a 9.8 km hike to the top, and it took us about 3.5 hours. Along the way we stopped to see the Shannon Falls, pick up and eat delicious blueberries, and also take numerous pictures. One of the Quest tutors, Bob Perkins, joined us for the hike too. I learned more about his childhood,his grandchildren, and his amazing experience as a tutor at Quest. It was such a lovely day, and I am happy that I go to spend it with new friends.
Going back to Heather’s article, where she had nothing but positive comments about the “Renew Your Quest” program, I completely agree with her. Even tough technically I was not part of the program, I got to go on different adventures with the participants, learned about the course they were taking, and had an amazing week overall. I would strongly recommend everyone to check out this program, it truly is an amazing and eye-opening experience.