Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Beautiful Interaction

I came across the article randomly, but I'm very happy to have found it. I've grown such much as a person through discovering the beauty of different faiths, so the fact people are taking initiative and creating a conference to promote this dialogue makes me :) take a read and enjoy! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/qasim-rashid/a-muslim-a-christian-a-si_b_826157.html

Saturday, February 19, 2011

New Favorite Song!

Please take 4 minutes and click this link, and listen to the song circles. I absolutely adore it! This is my new running/driving/playing at night song when you are far away from City lights, and can't see anything but stars and country :)

Hope you enjoy!

On a random note, here is an interesting tidbit from the organization One . One has done a lot with advocacy for the developing world and US aid, so it's always interesting to hear their perspective.

Keep Ugandan in your thoughts and prayers for a safe and fair election!

Friday, February 18, 2011

On The Road

It's crazy to think our first five weeks are done at IC, but now starts the even more exciting part! I'm writing now from the back of our IC van as we cruise down I-40 East to Tulsa, OK. We have already had some great experiences thus far, and we haven't even had our first screening yet. We are really starting to get a feel for each other as a team, and we are all excited to start doing what we cam here to do. 2 days down, and already we've experienced a faulty GPS route, an impromptu banjo concert, and a teepee village getting ransacked by a T-rex. I can only imagine what else is in store. Here a a few pictures from the road. Hope you enjoy!

Launch Dinner!














vans getting ready to go!















Entering Arizona!















Our GPS apparently likes Indian Casinos















Our new found friend














Texas Sunset















Texas















Oklahoma

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Love and Basketball

So I found guidance and path validation in another random movie this week. Last night, after an incrediblly entertaining evening, and a really fun concert, I watched the first half of Love and Basketball with three good friends. I'm really not sure if I think the movie is great (though I think the two main characters combine for a very good looking duo!) but it made me really nostalgic for athletics. As I went to bed I was actually a bit sad, and I couldn't put my finger on why until speaking with my Dad this morning. Though I do miss running, training, and competing, what this movie really made me miss was the team aspect of athletics; the community.

I always felt I got cheated out of the college athlete experience. Although I did get to do it for a year and a half, the idea of having your team, the memories, the bonding, the time spent with one another, and the collective action for a single goal, is something I covet. Looking back right now, and thinking about spending all day at a track meet and training for 2-3 hours a day doesn't necessarily get my engines revving, but the idea of doing that with people you care about, and having all the inside jokes, crushes, ups, and downs still resides with me. I know full well that my talent for running is still here, but what is not is the chance to be a NCAA athlete and compete on a team.

I thought about this for awhile today, and what I realized is that life is about progression, we just need to open our eyes and see it. I think the reason I'm so nostalgic about this idea of a sports team is because in high school and the beginning of college, I defined myself as an athlete. It was easy to find friends and a community when my goal was to be in shape, and my title was runner. I had it all figured out. Though I love the direction I'm going in now, and I wouldn't change it for the world, a single definition of who I am is no longer possible. I'm multifaceted and I have a lot of interests, which makes it difficult to sometimes find a nitch and a supportive community. But the fact of the matter is that after I spoke with my Dad, I sat on the porch of a house I share with 60 other kids, and realized I live in a community of individuals with same goals and aspirations. IC is the next step for me in community living. Though this is only for a short time, I am living in one of the most incredible, progressive, caring, and driven communities I've ever seen. We have the friendships, bonds, memories, ups, downs, crushes, heartaches, and the drive. Though we all have different backgrounds and stories, the most important thing we have is a common goal. We are a team (I know very cheesy, but so true), and all the things I thought I lost the chance at are all residing in the roadie experience. It's all here, I just needed perspective.

I am sad to have missed out on 5 full years of athletics, but I can't say that I would have lived my college career any other way. It was the experiences I had after quitting running that led me to BeadforLife, then to CEB, and now to here, and I can only imagine to other great communities in the future.

I dunno if I'll ever finish love and basketball, but I am thankful for the fact that movies, literature, and music will always be a source of guidance and insight into the path that is laid before me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Kristen Bell vs. The SPLA

This has been an emotionally draining, tiring, rewarding week at IC. We started coming in the office at 6:45 AM, which for me means waking up at 5 for the morning run, and haven't made it home earlier than 7 PM all week. On top of that, we had some serious trainings, and have been met with some huge goals. It hasn't been an easy one...

But with that being said, the last 2 days have been some of the craziest days I've ever experienced. From 6:45 Wednesday morning until this moment, I heard one of the founders of IC preach his personal philosophy, listened to lieutenant Africano Mande of the SPLA speak with incredible wisdom on what it has, and will continue to take, to build the southern Sudanese state, meet my Ugandan teammate in an immensely ostentatious and emotional greeting at the San Diego airport, and nearly knocked over Mrs. Sarah Marshall herself Kirstin Bell while taking a pee break at work. On top of that I've only slept about 5 hours a night this week, and I got to be honest, I haven't felt this good in a long time.

Hearing Africano speak about the pitfalls of other recently formed states, and the necessity for the freedom fighters to rescind their own power was life altering. It was just so amazing to hear him speak about being a rebel, and born into a fight for his kinsman's land, with such wisdom and grace. Follow that with an emotionally charged, yet philosophically challenging testimony by a person I deeply respect, then experience a love and compassion that transcends boarders, and be able to quote my favorite dick and fart jokes all in a short time frame, it's like this job was created around my interests. Politics, religion, cross-cultural experiences, and dirty humor, I couldn't ask for anything more :)

I'm drained, and yes, at points I'm struggling, but I feel alive. I've never experienced anything like this, and I don't know if I ever will again. But what really matters is I can understand now more so than ever before, why this organization makes the impact that it does. I'm learning the importance of humility, as well as congruence in your actions, work, and values.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Pictorial!

So I haven't had much time to blog lately. We have been doing 13 hour days at work, and I'm still trying to wake up in the mornings and run, so there hasn't been much time to update. Instead of writing, and getting all deep like, here are some pictures and a video of our lives. This gives a good view into life of a roadie, from inappropriate theme parties, to 60 plus people dinners, driving in vans, and going to the beach. Hope you enjoy!















video

The video is extremely long for a small pay off, so make sure you start it at around 40 seconds!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Integrity in your compassion

Tonight in our trainings, our presenter said to us that, "Demons only have power in the dark, so if we bring them to light, they no longer have a hold on us." I know for me, I have a lot of demons, and one of those will always be pride, and the fear that revolves around my image to other people.

One of the big things I struggle with now is the stigma I think i carry because I quit TFA. It's no secret, and I'm not scared to admit it, but I really struggle with that idea. I'm not one to quit things, and I hate the idea of thinking I failed.

I think part of this reserve comes from the stigma TFA places on the people who quit, regardless of situation or circumstance. I remember sitting with a higher up in TFA when contemplating my decision, and just hearing all this nonsense that made me feel as if I quit, that I would never have any affect on positive change in our country. Though those weren't the exact words, the intent was very clear. When I was really struggling, and needed help, and was asking for some guidance, my emails remained unanswered, and my requests remained unfulfilled. Two weeks before quitting I remember sitting in the TFA office, and in big red letters on a dry/erase board, seeing the names of a few kids who had left the program crossed out followed by a big RIP. Kids still in the program laughed, and the higher ups who manned the board obviously found humor in this.

Tonight we had a roadie leave the program. This is the second person to leave, and with 14 days left before we leave on tour, this is a pretty big deal. But the difference between TFA and IC is simple, IC practices what they preach. Instead of ostracizing the girl who left, or making her feel even worse for her decision, the director of the movement (one of the branches in IC) came in as if someone had passed, addressed all the roadies about our loss, then proceeded not only to speak highly of this girl, but encourage everyone who was friends with her to reach out and support her through this difficult time. He acknowledge that sometimes things don't work out, and praised her for making the decision. We now have to find two new roadies, put them in place, teach them how to book, try to make up for a months worth of relationship building, and leave on the road all in two weeks. But you know what, that is OK. It's Ok because sometimes things don't work out. It's Ok because in this organization people support one another, and seemingly unattainable tasks become much more tolerable because of our supportive community and collective action. IC truly practices what they preach, and even though the mission is to create sustainable peace in Central East Africa, they start with creating peace in the office in San Diego.

Having to quit something you've committed to sucks a big fat one. Living with demons sucks pretty bad too. But one thing is for sure, it's much easier to deal with demons when they are in the light, surrounded by people who want you to succeed.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

bang the gong, bang the gong!

We booked over 70 screenings! Only 15 more to be able to hit the road! We left the cautionary yellow area and moved into the go-ahead-green area! Here's our celebration, gong ring and all!
video