we need a theme song: eye of the tiger?

Originally uploaded by faithful nomad.

this car was the valiant ride of our favorite band Dispatch, tragically left to sit and chill for a year in the weeds and kayaks next to the garage of one of the bandmates after clocking in literally thousands of miles for them. Shane, Shawn and i drove out, way way out east of Boston where there are people who live and grow up with dogs and barns and horses and live surrounded by trees and hay. my morning had a prevailing taste of "i have never seen this kind of life." for a girl who grew up in the suburbs, went to school in the corn and then moved to the city, this was new and enchanting to think about a childhood against this kind of backdrop. we drove up and three dogs pranced out to roll around our feet and beg for affection. there was a white house, a garage, and a barn, and by the garage there was evidence of people who know how to make things, big things that were made to move. there were kayaks hanging from the rafters... and Wimpy.

i almost forgot that this was the home of one of my favorite musicians ever. it was strange because no one was there, so it was extremely anonomyous. it was wierd when we went inside the house to leave a note, kind of a "we were here" and i glanced around and saw family pictures and the dogs' water bowls. not that there should have been gear lying around or anything, i'm not disappointed i wasn't tripping over guitars, but it was a little odd that my whole impression of the guy and his music is so vibrant - and when i overlapped his life there were three dogs and a kitchen table. but i wouldn't say this conflicts with my impression. what am i trying to say here? i'm not sure. sorry.

i think it's just that the kind of person that i am. i was hungry to learn more about this life i saw, and there was no one to ask about it. i'm very used to being able to ask, the travel i usually do includes a lot of that. maybe that's it.

anyway, the drive was really beautiful. we jumped Wimpy's battery and after about 30-40 minutes of juicing it, the engine turned and we... well, we drove home using back roads and a little highway without ever going over about 40 mph. but Wimpy, she's all right. shane found a classical music station and there we were, waving to the passers-by, pumping this lush music from this beater van. it was seriously fun. and the blinkers are out, so we had to use a lot of hand signals, which was fun too.

we hosed Wimpy down when we got back to the house, and then Anna took Shane and i to get some groceries. Intern Brian showed up as we were unpacking. he's cool, he doesn't say a whole lot yet, but if you say something like, "maybe we should move this mattress to the other room," he's already on his feet before you finish the sentence.

the three of us worked out the sleeping arrangements, moving furniture for a few hours before renting a few movies from down the street. we watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and now here i am. in my lovely large bed that i have to myself for a whole week before i aquire a roommate. this will be interesting.


home sweet home

front of house
Originally uploaded by faithful nomad.

i'm in boston!!!!!! shane and i got a ride from Anthony to LAX at 6am. the flight was fine, about five hours, and it was so neat to start on one coast and end on another. a couple of kids picked us up at the airport, one of them has met Shane and kind of represents our landlord. our landlord, for those of us who don't know, is the father of a family and a civic engineer who, with the support and cooperation of his family and mother in law, moved the family to Indonesia for two years to literally reconstruct damaged tsunami villages. like he's leading a crew. it's really interesting, his wife left pictures of their kids (i think aged 4, 5 and 12) hanging on the wall up the front stairs - she asked that we think of them and pray for them as we pass by.

we're living in a yellow three story house with black shutters and a white picket fence. the second floor is its own apartment, and four musicians live there who are totally unrelated to our project but are nonetheless excited about it. the first floor is ours, with a kitchen, office, shane's room, and two living rooms. the third floor is also ours, with four bedrooms and a bathroom. but let me tell you, two of these top floor rooms are attic type rooms, with sloped ceilings. i kept joking that we need to pass out bike helmets at the front door. heads are getting smacked.

i'm already unpacked, it's been uneventful in a sense. today we woke up, flew over, unpacked, and soon i'll be ready for bed. i've been up since 5:45 and now it's 1am.


are we there yet?

my bed in the corner
Originally uploaded by faithful nomad.

so after going to bed around two, i got up at seven. the Elias Fund grant is DONE and SUBMITTED. it will get there tuesday morning, and i know this because of my extensive conversation with Keith at FedExKinko's (what? FExK? it's a math equation). but yeah, we'll see if they give us any money. i really, really hope they do. i found out that we can produce 500 Elias Fund Funraiser kits for under $5,000 so that's good to know too. even if we don't get any scratch from Sappi, the project might still survive.

so that took from 8am until about 2pm because every designer at heart is among other things really, really anal and needs presentations to be perfect. so things like trimming down comps and porfolio pieces take much more time then they should and you KNOW you're taking too much time. but i felt good doing it and now we have to wait until august to find anything out.

after i ambled on home, laura headed out for a weekend of fun with some friends. we all had some hugs and then shane and i were left to our own devices for the afternoon and evening. i took a long walk by myself to take some pictures, and since then shana and i packed and repacked. we're gonna go catch some dinner in a minute. it's kind of a quiet day. neither of us know what to expect of tomorrow, neither of us have seen the boston house or anything! and it's always mildly stressful to wonder if you packed right for the next ten weeks or so :) but i think it's all good.

my one movie star moment, and it was lame

yesterday and today i worked from the apartment because there were massive amounts of meetings going on at Sodium, and since i didn't feel like moving every hour, i stayed out of the way. i honestly spent about five hours on the phone today figuring out how to price this project. i've never had to spec out paper before, so i'm calling paper reps and distributors and printers and manufacturers. this is seriously a labor of love to do the Elias Fund grant :) but this is what's amazing about it - somehow people start asking more questions about the project, unrelated and unprompted questions, and i start talking about it, and suddenly they're as excited as i am.

we had dinner in west hollywood tonight, courtesy of a birthday present shane received from some of her friends. it was a fantastic meal, a little italian place where apparently DeNiro had eaten just a few hours before us. it was really popular - we couldn't get a reservation until 9:30pm - and i think i had my only celeb spotting of the trip: Nicky Katt, who was in the Way of the Gun and the tv show Boston Public. he totally caught me staring more than once (i was trying to figure out if he really was who i thought he was) but maybe he didn't think i was being creepy. maybe he thought i was flirting? hopefully :) that was fun.

we got home about twenty mintues ago... it's 2:15am. i have to get up early and assemble the Sappi Grant. Wish me luck.


i wouldn't stop even if i wanted to

oh man i'm tired. these days are seriously flying. there's so much to do. i've been in the office more, so that's really nice, i've gotten more of a chance to sit still and have the iPod flowing. we've had another conference call, and it went really well. there are some great ideas being thrown around by everyone involved. there's a goal to raise $25,000 by august for the Elias Fund and i absolutely think we can pull it off. that's a cool thing to be able to say. between fundraising and part of The Last Dispatch proceeds, it's absolutely possible.

the other day, someone we're doing a project with wrote an email about youth culture and how the upcoming generation seems to be built with a need to fix things abroad and why they are able and even called upon to work around or even ignore their elders. it was unbelievable. i'm entranced by sociology and anthropology because i can't fathom how to describe what's current, what people are believing and doing right now - and this kid nailed it on the head. shane forwarded us all his email, shook her head, and said, "i'm just so proud. i'm proud to be a human right now." side note - she was his english teacher for several years.

you won't believe who wrote it... my friend who's an understatement, jonothan from nicaragua. somehow makes perfect sense, yeah? i'm going to talk to him about turning it into a short manifesto, a statement of beliefs, because it's honestly that good and brings up that many points worth exploring and expanding. in the back of my head, there's a buzzer going off that says "NO MORE WORK!" but whatever. there will always be more work, and there won't always be people willing to do it. somehow, design has become what's important to me right now above almost anything else. i see a need. i see a need i can fill.

tomorrow will be much like today, except in case you forgot, i'm working for a production company. they make movies around here. tomorrow i get to visit a shoot going on and check that out :) so that will be cool. other than that, lately i've been working on the "extras" for the Elias Fund, buddy icons, desktop wallpapers, that kind of thing. freebies for the kids.



roadside beauty
Originally uploaded by faithful nomad.

hey, THANK YOU everyone for all the comments that have been popping up. they're very sweet, and i appreciate you taking the time. in case anyone has missed them, you can read what people have said by clicking on the comments link in the bottom right corner of each post. i've been very blessed with lovely friends who are poking me with encouragement :) thanks again. more news to come later.


first phone conference of the summer

today is fantastic. really, really, really good. we're making good headway on the Elias Fund, i just talked to a lawyer that might take us on pro-bono and i told her that i would name her as my patron saint when it all works out. she's sweet and soft-spoken and was willing to hear the entire Elias Fund story, which sounds something like, "there was this band that broke up but first started a dream that we're turning into a NFP..."

that's the ten second story. the real story takes about six minutes and tells how three friends brought thousands of people together to believe in something that will change many, many lives.

today we had some Dispatch summer interns on a conference call! there's a motley crew of kids that are going to take over Boston, and we're going to have a ton of fun. we have groups in New York and Chicago too.

we also have our first community event under way, we're going to be participating in a 5k walk for AIDS research. you can click here to see my personal page, or here to see the Dispatch team page. if you want to support me / us, i'll send you something very special from the event :) but seriously, this is a cool cause and we're setting a team goal of $3,000, and anyone can join our team. the more the merrier!


driving tour

Originally uploaded by faithful nomad.

my. goodness. it's already wednesday night.
the time just slips away, and today i knew would be slow, but seriously, it was meetings and driving ALL DAY. shane's a trooper. i'm new at this, so it's easy for me to keep up, but it's a lot of bouncing around.

we started with working at home, then hit the office for about forty minutes, left for san diego at 10:30, lunch meeting at 11:30, drive to pastor bob's house at 3 while eating lunch in the car, meeting re: Healing the Nations until 5, hit a starbucks at 7:30, to jonothan's at 8:30, shane meets with a group of kids who are preparing to go to Uganda this summer to start an orphanage until 10:30, i blog here for a little while, and we'll leave soon to go back and go to bed.

whew. i have so much to think about. maybe i'll just chill somewhere absolutely anonomyous tomorrow and get some work done. basically i'm going to re-do the Elias Fund branding, finish that Ideas That Matter application, and work on some brand-spanking-new collateral for Healing the Nations.

shane and i had some serious bonding time today. the car rides were good. i keep forgetting and remembering that we don't know each other that well yet! but i told pastor Bob today that i was willing to shift my entire life and path to her dream this summer because of the credibility she has built by being so transparent with myself and everyone. i'm looking forward to learning from her. i feel good about this decision.


day one

cartoon network
Originally uploaded by faithful nomad.

today i met my new boss for the first time :) she's cool. i approve.

my mom and my sisters took me to the airport this morning. my family's seriously cool, and i'm sorry to miss my sisters this summer. mom missed the departures exit, so she dropped me off at the arrivals pickup and my sissies helped carry my bags to check-in. let me also mention here that they MOVED ME OUT, the both of them, without a single word of complaint or negativity. it was, like, the greatest gift they could have given me on my way out. i've had this massive guilt thing ever since this whirlwind started because i take some pride in my ability to keep my personal hurricanes pretty self-contained, and this series of decisions has made everyone around me make some changes of their own to help me along. for that i am so grateful.

so shane picked me up at the burbank airport several hours later, after two flights and a layover in phoenix. i've never been to phoenix, the topography was seriously facinating. but anyway, shane found me and we loaded up my bags - kept it down to two bags, a backpack, and a briefcase - and i got a minor tour of burbank before we hit the apartment.

guys, i'm around the corner from CARTOON NETWORK. this is like mecca.

just kidding. but it's really lovely, there are mountains and a lot of trees, and the office is only about five blocks from the apartment. i'm feeling pretty at home here already, and it's day one. it's eighty degrees out. i have to keep taking this one day at a time or i'll explode. there's so much to do, and i'm feeling about 70% ready 20% anxious i'll fail and 10% anxious that i'll succeed. that last one is a new feeling to me.


the graduates

ashley, katie, jenna
Originally uploaded by faithful nomad.

last weekend was spent at Miami University for Jenna's graduation! two daughters down, one to go. anne's going to be a senior this coming year, also attending Miami. i tried to go there, too, honest, but Drake is where i spent my four years (becoming obsessed with design).

i got back to chi-town last monday, and the chaos went into full swing for the week. my sisters helped me move into my 10' budget truck, they were absolute troopers! tonight things slowed down enough for dinner with a couple of my favorite girls at Uncommon Ground. then i took the scenic route driving home from Wrigleyville... passed through Wilmette... it's not like i'll be gone for that long! but some nostalgia is setting in. the realization that my apartment is no longer mine, that these keys aren't for me anymore.

i ran into two people this week that i haven't seen since high school. in SIX YEARS, and i pass them on the street. crazy. that's probably the source of this wave. it's strange to look around and realize i'm leaving for a while. it's like, where you're not becomes a ghost town. i know other cities exist, but because i don't exist within them they seem foreign. and soon chicago will be that while i'm in LA and Boston. i can't wait. i leave the day after tomorrow for los angeles.


to my girl in cali

julie julie
Originally uploaded by faithful nomad.



feelin the love

I LOVE MY CHURCH. God has seriously blessed me with amazing pastors, amazing friends, and everything is amazing. i had some bonding time today and it was great. all the time i spend there enriches me.

i'm almost all packed and done. the u-haul truck is rented for tomrrow.

also - please say a prayer for my friend Kasey, he's going to the middle east this summer to film some stuff with a church. which is absolutely vague, but i don't like telling other people's stories in case i get the details wrong. basically, kasey is cool and brave and a rockstar. so say a prayer, he's going abroad to handle some heavy subject material.


a moment to breathe

Originally uploaded by faithful nomad.
been back in the states for a couple days. basically, travel was amazing. i actually commented a few times how i was in awe of each person we were traveling with. at several points during the week brad and i wondered to each other at the marvel unfolding before us, that the very random emails almost six months ago led to us hanging out in central america, making fools of ourselves so that these kids can smile a little more.

more soon.
hope everyone's feeling peaceful.
tomorrow for me brings packing, blogging, and the last Wrig until august. i'm looking forward to sharing stories with the kids at church. the people there would totally love where i was last week.

i'm starting to accept the moving thing. i tend to not think about big things before they begin, in order to preserve the few shreds of sanity i have :) i pretty much make a decision and stay optimistic and even until it's upon me, then like minutes before all the bells and cheers are exploding inside my head. it's coming. i can feel it approaching...


infinity, to put it lightly

today i got up, checked my bags, and then laura and i went to a local bakery where apparently a person can buy dessert for the entire orphanage (eighty kids) for UNDER TEN DOLLARS. can you believe it? unfortunately, they had just started their morning and weren't ready to sell us that much yet. so we had to head back to the orphanage empty handed. i left laura some money, the last of my cordobas, so she could take care of it later. but suddenly it was time for me to go.

this is how cool laura is: after all this time together, i dropped her off at the school with a hug and a "see you in a week!" and i went on to the cabin to load my bags into the taxi, which took me to the managua airport. she's so, so easy to get along with. it's amazing to me that after so much time together we're totally happy with each other. i think i would get on anyone's nerves by now :)

on the drive from the orphanage to the airport it occured to me to pull out my digital camera and take some shots, but instead i decided to commune with the scenery. nicaragua is not what i expected. it was impoverished, tropical, and brightly colored. i saw cows, horses, dogs, children, old men, rocking chairs, and flowers. i thought of a poem that was published in Adbusters that went something like "at my death on the hill i looked up and saw a cloud, a tree, a bird, the sky, and realized that i saw everything there was in life." the poem goes on and gets wierd and morbid, but that part was beautiful and that's how i felt. just a slice of life passing before me for about thirty minutes. families going about their day. and then i left.

the flights were fine. got home late, my parents picked me up at o'hare and it was uneventful. how nice of them to come get me, though. put some of my NASTY clothes in the washer and went to bed.

noticed how my bedroom at my parent's house is bigger than the average nicaraguan home. not that that's bad. just noticing. i was and will remain for a while very aware of how much i have. how everything here is bigger, softer, brighter. better? the weirdest part was thinking as i went to sleep, "this morning i woke up to a rooster crowing, and i go to sleep a million years away."


looking forward while trying to stay here

our living room
Originally uploaded by faithful nomad.

so since i can NOT SLEEP at this orphanage, i get up early and meditated on the cold tile floor. soon after, laura awoke and we had some breakfast. we headed right over to the orphanage, which was much quieter than we have yet seen it. the kids were all at school - there had been a holiday for the past four days, and today is tuesday so back to work. the kids that were there were very chill, doing chores and playing by themselves.

around 10am, laura and i went over to the school, where she had the opportunity to teach english and i was able to observe a pre-school class! these kids were beautiful and SO bright. we were there until about one, at which point we headed to the cabin for lunch. we had a great conversation about where a person puts their resources. how does a person decide where to put their money and hope? i think it's just a matter of where your heart is. keep searching until you connect with something. Mohammad said to not dig many shallow wells, but to dig one and dig it deep. in other words, i say, pick something instead of wasting time wringing your hands. we all can do something. it's REALLY not hard. if you need help, CALL ME.

laura and i took a bit of a seista until about 4, then went back to the campus. we played soccer with the kids and played with them on the playground until it was time for dinner. i didn't want to upset anyone, so we kind of just headed back as though it was nothing different, but this was my last time with these kids... laura and i sat down for dinner, had some nice time together, then i packed and we went to sleep.

it was really interesting talking to laura at dinner, because i confessed that although i wasn't necessarily excited about leaving, i am pretty excited about what this summer will bring. i had a little guilt about that, but it's time to step up and help some other people. this trip was perfect to prepare me for a few months of absolutely not concentrating on myself, but instead on my work and the work of everyone around me.


more than enough of everything

j and kids
Originally uploaded by faithful nomad.

today was amazing. we started the day with breakfast outside, then just pounced on the kids. later we came back for lunch, which we also ate outside. the food was really, really good. it was too much for us, always rice, chicken, fruit, and iced tea. often there were beans and tortillas too, and for four people it was a constant feast. we joked that we were eating better than we did at home.

after lunch, brad and i washed the dishes and he commented to me again how wild it is, the way our paths have crossed. i agreed, and confided that it had almost never happened. i almost chickened out of emailing him in the first place. brad and i almost never met, which means that certainly i would never have gotten to know laura or shane, or jonothan, or any of these people that have changed my little corner of the universe. it was a cool moment to realize how God watches us and pushes us to do little things, little mustard seed things that turn into great big things that i could never have anticipated. afterwards, laura took a nap, jonothan kind of disappeared, and brad and i read for a while outside.

the four of us gathered back up a little while later and we did the yo-yo thing and went to put in a few hours with the kids before dinner. back at our cabin we had some dinner on the late side, and had a really nice time talking about the week. this was the last day for the boys and we were all feeling it tremendously. we talked about our little family dynamic, which let me echo, is amazing. we all spent day and night together, like couldn't have separated if we wanted to, but no one wanted to and the result was euphoric.

after dinner we went back to the campus and jonothan did the most amazing thing: he shared his story with the kids. j's father was not around while he grew up, and these orphans were stunned to have this in common with him. so jonothan told them that God was their true father, and shared some verses where God says exactly that. then brad played some guitar while the kids had some quiet time, praying and just sitting still, then we all erupted in hugging and things livened up a bit before the boys had to head out. we did the disappearing act thing again so the kids wouldn't get too upset, then we headed back to the cabin where the boys packed. we said a few good byes, had a prayer together, and they took a taxi back to managua.

laura and i immediately felt their absence. the house seemed so much bigger, which probably had something to do with there being fewer guitars lying around. but we kind of took a deep breath and looked forward to my last full day, tomorrow, and talked about laura's decision to stay another week by herself.


where the wild things are

my little girl, she fell asleep on my shoulder the first night
Originally uploaded by faithful nomad.

this morning laura and i actually ordered room service and watched animal planet in spanish over breakfast. i learned a lot about keeping monkeys as house pets, which is a topic of great interest around these parts :) and i'm noticing that i can understand a lot more spanish than i can speak. which is even more frustrating when i can get what someone's asking me but that doesn't mean i can respond to them.

we spent a lot of the morning waiting. we found our travel buddies, then went to return our rental cars. we met up with some friends of Global Connections who accompanied us to the orphanage. they were very interesting to speak to, they're from the states but have been in Nicaragua for years and through the revolution. we headed over to the orphanage from the rental joint and were dropped off rather abruptly, but that was probably for the best so we could concentrate on the kids.

we totally jumped right in. after a tour of the grounds, we horsed around for a while and then went over to unpack. we were housed in a cabin about a quarter mile from the main campus where the kids played, ate, and slept. after unpacking, we had a little dinner and wandered back over to the kids, which became kind of the routine: to yo-yo ourselves between the cabin and the campus. we ate and slept in our cabin, and the four of us (brad, jonothan, laura, and i) just hung out in the mornings and evenings. it was fantastic to be around these people.

so let's remind ourselves that at this point, monday night, it was probably 85 degrees in the shade. so what do we do? we build a bonfire with the orphans. that's right. let's create a source of heat to dance around - we're already dripping with sweat, what's another fifteen degrees? it's all good. so brad pulls out his guitar and the kids got a nice concert. brad sounded great, the kids were excited, and about two songs into the show a little peanut that had to be about four years old just climbed into my lap and fell asleep on my shoulder as though i'd always been there just for her.

we slipped out the back while the kids were dancing and threaded our way through the mango trees to our cabin. we slept in bunk beds, the boys in one room and the girls in the other.


day of rest

boat ride
Originally uploaded by faithful nomad.

nothing began today until 11:30! everyone was exhausted after yesterday. Laura, Mrs. Corrigan and I chatted poolside until Brad came down in time for us to all have some lunch. Jonothan had been back at the barrios with - this is how cool this trip was, this was absolutely par for the course - Jonothan had spent the morning with a cab driver he had met who had taken him back to the barrios to play soccer with a bunch of kids.

let me just take a second to express how amazing Jonothan is. he's very zen, very mellow, like the personification of an understatement, which is a really nice kind of person to be around.

around 1pm we loaded up the cars again, and drove up to lake managua. took some picts of the lovely scenery. then we hit a local market where i bought some coffee for my parents and my roommate. our group had changed again, now we had me, laura, brad, mr & mrs corrigan, and three girls that Auturo had accompany us because two of them spoke excellent english. they took us kind of out into the boonies, but there was a suprise at the end: we were set up with a boat ride through some lagoons. it was a nice low boat, close to the water, drifting at sunset, and as we threaded through these small islands, there were houses here and there that just had fantastic architecture. some where ultra-modern, like Dwell Magazine style, and some were much more traditional, but they were huge houses amid this intense tropical landscape.

after a fantastic sunset, we went back into Grenada for dinner. we found a wonderful restaurant that had a courtyard and trio of guitar players who sang for us over our meal. i sat across from one of our nicaraguan girls, who had a serious plan she laid out for us concerning the central american countries and the USA. we're all under the opinion that she should go into politics... at the end of dinner, as we were leaving, i turned to brad and it just was laid upon me to say again that i was just in awe of everyone there. they are amazing people.

after dinner, we dropped off the girls at their homes and said our goodbyes. we then headed back to the hotel, and everyone repacked everything - tomorrow we go to the orphanage, and mr. and mrs. Corrigan head back to Colorado! so we all hung out in their hotel room for a while, just reflecting on the trip, and eventually wandered back to our beds.