Stu Speaks
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Green Eyes

Sat, 2012-03-03 07:40

We left the Mercator early. 6 am. I was tired and a little groggy from a late night, celebrating. We had travelled to Zittar in the Netherlands for a night cap. Conversation, laughter and joy filled the terrace for three hours. It warmed the damp, cool almost spring air. We talked about adventure, leadership, family, love, Europe and of course home. The owner of the bistro spent time with us, chatting and asking us questions and answering ours.

“I want to come to Canada, it is so much prettier than here.” The bistro owner told us.

After a wonderful evening under the heat lamps we drove back to Germany and I knew my night wasn’t over as soon as I entered my hotel. I was greeted by the staff I had come to know fairly well over the last 4 days.

“Come Stu, come have a drink with us, come.” Eugene (my favourite staff member) said to me. As I pulled up a stool at the bar, we began talking, his broken english, my sad attempt to not embarrass myself with the few words I had learned in German. He had come to Germany when he was 3, from Africa. His father a diplomat, representing his country in Europe. He asked me question after question about Canada. He told me he was coming to visit in the fall. He had been planning it for a year. He was so excited to tell me how amazing Canada was.

As I finished my drink I got up to leave when I heard a spirited call for a drink from behind me. Eugene smiled and said “Hallo Jeff!”

Jeff pulled up a stool beside me. “You speak english don’t you?” he asked.

“Yes, I am from Canada. You?” I inquired.

“Portland, Oregon. I am here with the US military, been 4 weeks, will be here for another 4 at least. I miss home.”

He went on to tell me about how his friends and family are so jealous because of his world travels as an Engineer. He’s 27 years old and full of life.

“It’s not as good as everyone thinks. I love visiting, I love exploring and I have seen much more than most. But man I miss being able to walk in a store and read the labels with ease and ask for help without struggling. I’m not complaining but honestly, my life is good at home. I like the grass there!”

“You like the grass?” I quickly questioned. “You like the lawn? You like fields? Grass?”

“No, I like the grass where I am from. I don’t need to find better Grass. Do you get it?”

“Ahhh, the grass is always greener on the other side. Right. I do get it.” We clinked our glasses in a sort of mutual agreement of that comment.

We talked for about an hour, sharing stories from our travels and what we loved about our home. We exchanged emails, facebook names and shook hands.

‘I like the grass’, that really struck me.

It’s very dark in the morning. There isn’t much life other then the 6 bells ringing from the 200 years old church’s bell tower located a stones throw from the Mercator. As I entered the car that was taking me to the airport my driver Bruno quickly asked, “Are you with the Canadian Military?”

I told him that I was in fact working with the military. We spoke for a few minutes, then it was silent. Only the occasional sound of his GPS barking directions in German broke the almost soothing hum of tires on cool pavement. The sudden silence made me realize that perhaps the conversation was now done. I tried to find a comfortable position to hopefully grab a bit of sleep. We had a 90 minutes drive ahead of us.

I felt myself fading off. Then I was startled to consciousness by Bruno’s voice. “It’s my dream you know. Canada. It’s all I have ever wanted to do. 6 weeks. I am going in August. I am driving across Canada! You’re country is so beautiful, so big. I love to see it.”

I smiled, “Yes. Yes it is, so beautiful. So big. The grass is something you have to see.” I closed my eyes and smiled. Thought of Jeff.

Sometimes the grass is just fine where you are. Don’t just grow where you are planted, blossom.

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  • Stu Speaks

    Students were very engaged, enthusiastic and excited. Stu is hilarious…seriously. “Humour is never a bad thing” said one student.

    ~Annalisa Varano - Vice Principal - St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School
  • Stu Speaks

    They say a great presenter “leaves them wanting more”. Well, we loved your presentation and the entire team asked me when you will be back! You are truly STUpendous!

    ~Nancy Klensch - Founder of Summit Kids
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu is an energetic, entertaining and dynamic presenter. He captures is audiences’ attention and keeps the room engaged for the entire presentation! His stories in his presentation captures everyone at different points, even the teachers!

    ~Sara Meaney - Cobourg Collegiate Institute
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu was great! Staff and students felt it really broke the anxiety in the building and we even got cupcakes today from one of the students.

    ~Carrie Rowlandson - William Aberhart High School, Calgary Alberta
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu was fantastic. There is nothing better than seeing 600 adolescents laughing their heads off. He delivers a terrific message and has the entire audience engaged, thinking, listening and most importantly laughing within seconds, and he keeps it going for over an hour. Thanks again on behalf of the Shores!!

    ~Doug Woods - Vice Principal, Nantyr Shores Secondary School
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu’s speech did exactly what I hoped it would do when I tried to bring him in: it brought the school together for a good laugh while empowering the student body to be the change they wish to see in their classroom. I feel he hit this goal perfectly.

    ~Steven Fotheringham - Oakville Trafalgar High School
  • Stu Speaks

    I really liked how the speech really just seemed like Stu was telling us funny stories, but he always related it back to the overall message. It didn’t sound like a speech at all, it was as if he was just talking to the crowd. I would say that he is excellent in connecting with the audience and keeping them entertained. There was not a two minute period in Stu’s speech were nobody was laughing. He kept us amused throughout the entire presentation. I thought he was perfect.

    ~James Palloto
  • Stu Speaks

    I would highly recommend Stu, his engaging personality was a real hook for the students and his messages were ones that many of them could identify with. The humour was great and the students shared that they enjoyed the presentation.

    ~Teresa Fowler - W.H. Croxford High School, Airdrie, Alberta
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu is personable. Students are willing to listen to him. They enjoy listening to him. He has a message, but he is also entertaining. He is fun to listen to and students don’t feel talked down to or preached at.

    ~Tanya Lacey - McKinnon Park Secondary School, Caledonia, ON
  • Stu Speaks

    I was at the OCA conference on May 6th, and I just wanted to thank you on being such a wicked keynote… you definitely put me back in the camp mindset and reminded me of what’s truly important about the up-coming summer. Once again, a job very well done.

    ~Emily Summers
  • Stu Speaks

    The students really enjoyed Stu’s humour and low-key but critical message about getting involved and getting the most out of their High School experience. I would recommend Stu as a speaker who relates well to students, is funny, and gets the message out without preaching.

    Thank you,

    ~Lynn Toye