With days rather than weeks before the my 100,000 Grains of Sand world tour starts I have been reflecting on the last 6 months of preparation and what I have taken from the process.
When I started planning in earnest I had no idea what the reaction to my story and plans would be. Happily it became apparent that such is the depth of imprint of time spent living in the House that my reaching out as a complete stranger to members of the community received encouraging responses back. As I started my Facebook page and gradually I moved from 10 connections to 50 then 100, I began to believe that I would find alumni to meet in each country.
As I searched for connections, I was also drawn further into the history around the different Houses and the people who have worked at the Houses over the years. This led me to reflect on how an institution like an I-House continues beyond its creation and is still thriving, in the case of the NYC House, nearly 100 years later. It is down to every resident, every person who has worked there, every donor, every trustee of the Houses that ensures Harry and Mr. Rockefeller’s vision continues. It seems to me that it is always a fine balance between staying relevant to the current age and holding true to the founding principles. The trick I believe is to really identify the essence of what makes I-House life so special and protect that. I hope to learn more about this as I meet people around the globe.
I have also spent time thinking about my motivation behind taking on this project. I know that I saw a window of opportunity that my children leaving home for school and university gave me and was in need of a project to help me transition to this new phase of parenthood. It was also about the sheer curiosity of seeing what is possible if I decided to do something and committed myself to it. More recently I have found that the idea of a personal pilgrimage has come to mind. A pilgrimage with its purpose being as a homage to Harry and Florence, my great-grandparents, and also as a quest to both understand and pass on the light of tolerance, understanding and international friendship.