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Showing posts from December, 2013

Starting the New Year Right

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The holidays aren't quite over yet, but I'm still looking ahead to 2014. My friend/fellow vagabond/renaissance man/living-through-service-extraordinaire Luke contacted me about a community in Guatemala that needs help sending 55 children from the garbage dump to the classroom in 2014. They need $10,000 to make this happen, and that's where we come in. The indigenous people of Guatemala are near and dear to my heart, so I'm starting off the new year by donating to the Integral Heart Foundation.

I already sponsor a boy in Ecuador monthly through Children International, but Luke knows I'm a sucker for a cause, so that won't stop me from making a one-time donation to help out a sustainable development organization that is bettering the quality of lives for Guatemalan children through educational community outreach. Programs like this don't just throw money at a problem, they incorporate the people they are trying to help and provide jobs, opportunities, and the…

Living With Post Traumatic Stress

I have PTSD. Well, technically it's just post traumatic stress, because psychiatrists have recently decided it's not a disorder. Anyways, I was diagnosed this fall and I'm seeing a therapist and working on getting better. I know mental health isn't really discussed openly, but this isn't something I'm ashamed of. 
I thought my behavior was just cautious and a little jumpy coming out of Ecuador, until it became clear that it was much more than that. It's not normal to panic when you hear someone running behind you, or to jump out of a cab and flee if the driver shows the slightest sign of disorientation. It's also not normal to lie in bed at night, unable to sleep because of an overwhelming fear that something bad is going to happen. Or to sit in a coffee shop with a racing heart and panic creeping in because a stranger asked you a simple question. Anxiety attacks, night terrors, heaving on street corners- all decidedly not normal. And yet, this is my r…

Rock Climbing on Tung Lung Island

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I didn't realize part of my job description was 'camping chaperone' when I signed up to teach in Hong Kong. Oh, how clueless I was. Most of the teachers at my school are expected to do a multi-day travel or camping experience with the kids at some point, and all the students have options of different trips they can go on. For our little city folk, a week outdoors is eye-opening and grounding. This was like a digital detox for our little tech addicts. The withdrawal symptoms from their lack of iPhones started wearing off around day two.

Our campsite on Tung Lung Island
View from the Tung Lung Island campsite
I escorted forty 8th graders on an Asia Pacific Adventures trip to Tung Lung Island, the rock climbing capital of Hong Kong. I really didn't have to do much, because the trip facilitators really built up trust with the kids and took care of everything. These guys were professionals.

Our trip facilitators were amazing!
Tung Lung Island is a twenty minute ferry ride from…

Clockenflap 2013

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I had Sunday passes to the Clockenflap music festival in Hong Kong last weekend. Friday and Saturday had more of the big name headliners, but the Sunday lineup really stood out to me. Clockenflap was so much more than a music festival. It had art exhibits, and artisan markets, and interactive tents with fun activities. My favorite was the silent disco. There was a dj and a dance floor, but everyone wore headphones and from the outside looking in, it seemed like we were dancing to silence. Only we could hear the music!

Dancing at the Silent Disco
The setting of Clockenflap was incredible. It was on the Western Kowloon Waterfront Promenade, with a crystal clear view of downtown. Some of the bands commented on how beautiful it was (Sara Quin from Tegan and Sara even commented that she was moving to Hong Kong). I only saw two bands even though there were loads of other stages and options. Tegan and Sara was the first, and they were fun and cute and sounded great live.

Tegan and Sara at Cloc…