Monday, September 28, 2009

roadtrip to a new life

I roadtripped 2160 miles in three days last week with my dad. It was awesome. We basically followed Route 66 from beginning to end on accident. It was also kind of a donut tour because I am obsessed with donuts and we wanted to find the best in every state. My favorite response was from a guy in New Mexico we met at Big Lots. The conversation went like this:

Dad: "Hey, do you know any good donut places around here?"
Random Guy: "Donuts? This is Albuquerque!"

OK then. I am still not quite sure what this means, other than there are apparently no donuts in Albuquerque. How sad is that? New Mexico was awesome other than that. I can see why Georgia O'Keefe spent so much time there painting landscapes. Absolutely breathtaking.

Now I am here sitting on the rather cold green and brown and black linoleum floor of my room in my new apartment, trying to build up desire to unpack and waiting for someone from comcast to come and fix my tv. There was insane thunder and lightning outside last night, I was very thankful for a roof and a warm bed. I had earl grey and honey gelato at a local neighborhood shop yesterday, and saw the gas lights that line the street outside my apartment. A cop stopped me to ask me if I was lost while I was driving in my yellow car with California plates. I guess I dont fit in! I appreciated the gesture all the same. I am trying to get involved at a church, and after going to another "first time at {insert name here} church" yesterday I have decided I am tired of being the person that keeps moving around and having to recreate a new community in new places all the time. It is exhausting. I think that will be my life for a while though, and I am so excited to be here so hopefully the feeling will pass fast.

Work starts on Thursday, and I am pretty intimidated by the massiveness of the task in front of Rebecca (my work partner) and I. I really want to do this well, and the burden of potential is lying heavy on my shoulders. I can't imagine doing anything else though, so I guess that means I am in the right place.

The Comcast guy has come and gone and my tv is fixed. i gave him a cinnamon roll I had in the fridge. He said this is his eighth stop of the day, and I am the first person to offer him food and water and he had not had anything to eat all day. He was super happy. Moral of the story: if a comcast guy comes to your house, maybe ask him if he wants a sandwich.

Monday, September 21, 2009


This has been quite the week. I said goodbye to all the fellows last Monday and headed back to California. On Tuesday evening I did a presentation at my church (Thanks you to all who came! I really appreciate it) and have been spending the last several days trying to not think about the next eight months or saying the word malaria, and failing miserably. I can't not think about all that is to come because it is so important and I am so passionate about it. Oh well.

Eid was yesterday. That is the official end of Ramadan and fasting for Muslims. My mom decided to fast with me the final four days while I was with her here, and I thought that was a really cool display of understanding. What a crazy journey the last 30 days of fasting has been! Thinking about all the weird food we ate during Ramadan in Tanzania, then our deep dish pizza morning 4 am suhoor breakfast in Chicago with all the fellows, such wonderful memories. I was sitting at a Muslim Eid service yesterday thinking about how much my perspective on what community is has changed in the past month. I felt so welcomed being there, and it was very powerful to have the shared experience of Ramadan to talk about. I was thinking about how the "me" of two months ago probably would have been super uncomfortable and confused about what was happening and not know what to think; and now I feel like I understand a little bit of their story and respect the Muslim faith so much.

I hope I continue to learn and change and grow as much in the next eight months as I have in the past two. I have a feeling the best is yet to come. I mean, I am living in Chicago with the coolest roommate in the best apartment ever working at an awesome organization. How could things not be epic?

Stay tuned. Again.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Sorry for the lack of posting. I hate reading someone's blog and have them have a long hiatus of time. In my defense, I literally have had zero time to do anything since arriving in Chicago. We have been having eleven hour training days, and with fasting on top of that I usually just crash at the hotel every night when i get back. I dont know how much more I can cram into my brain right now. I wonder if there is a limit to new things you can learn and think about in a given period of time. I think I surpassed that about three weeks ago! But I absolutely would not have it any other way.

The last two days have been spent doing presentations in front of all the fellows and staff in our pairs for the year. What an incredible group of people I get the privilege to work with. I am continually in awe of everyone's oratory skills, and the importance of our message. Yesterday one guy quoted a Canadian olympian who said; "The hardest moment of being a gold medalist is not the moment I crossed the finish line or started training, it is the moment I realized I could be a gold medalist." I feel a burden very similar to that right now. The reality is malaria has a huge negative impact on the world and a lot of people die. It doesn't have to be this way. And it can be drastically altered in the next ten years. And faith communities play an integral role in that. It is incredibly exciting but also horribly intimidating to know that in a lot of ways we as fellows are on the forefront of that fight and that my work this year can have a significant impact in saving lives.


In other news, Mr. Blair is awesome. We got to hang out with him the other night and he listened to a lot of our stories about our relationships across faith lines with each other, as well as what we learned in Africa. A close friend of his said he could tell that he was really inspired by the things we have been learning. So cool. He said that even though he feels he has made many mistakes, he thinks that he has maintained a sense of optimism in the face of difficulty and that is what he charges us to maintain both in the work ahead both this year and throughout our lives.

More to come. In the next few days, I promise.