Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Human Trafficking Project

I recently became a contributing writer for The Human Trafficking Project, a blog that aims to offer education and awareness about human trafficking issues to readers on a daily basis. It's a really easy and quick way to stay connected to what is happening globally in regards to various aspects of the trafficking world. Some writers focus on labor trafficking, some on what US citizens can do to lessen our unintentional compliance with traffickers, while others like me will focus on sex slavery and prostitution.

Once I am in Ecuador, I will pick up my Prone to Wander blog again - but until then, take 5 minutes out of your Facebook time to get hooked on The Human Trafficking Project!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bagpipes, Nostalgia and Moving Onward

During my final week of college, I was asked to write an article for Jewell's newspaper, the Hilltop Monitor. Of course, I wanted to write a snazzy blog post about this momentous life change but instead have decided to be lazy and plagiarize myself. The reality of leaving Jewell forever and opening a new chapter has not sunk in even a little. When it does, I will attempt to collect my thoughts, but until then:

In eight days I will walk around the Quad for the last time. The bagpipes will play, the professors will nod their heads in approval, and I am not too proud to admit that I will get sad and nostalgic and possibly even weepy. Plus, if Dr. Sallee is giving the commencement speech, how can I keep those tears from flowing? The answer: I cannot.

As I begin my transition out of this little haven of mine, I find myself simultaneously thrilled and terrified - thrilled that I will not have to write any more papers or take any more tests, terrified that I will not know what to do without those papers and tests. In the real world, there will be no Kettle Corn Day and no CUA Formal. I won’t get to walk Dr. Reynolds’ puppy twice a week or skip class to eat lunch with a friend or practice yoga outside with Airam.

The past four years have taught me that, yes, Jewell can be annoying and frustrating, but it can also be a home. It can be a source of wisdom and encouragement. It can be a foundation and a launching pad for future endeavors. If you utilize its resources, build relationships with the professors, faculty and darling cafeteria ladies, and seize the abundance of opportunities that our tiny liberal arts college has to offer, it can become your sanctuary for a time.

Through my experiences at Jewell, I have discovered how to be an activist, a thinker, a questioner and a dreamer. I have grown and transformed into a full-fledged adult through unique and challenging experiences over the past four years thanks to the opportunities that Jewell has provided and the risks I have welcomed.

Jewell has taken me to four continents. I studied Liberation Theology in Central America. I drank coffee with guerrilla fighters in Guatemala. In El Salvador I drove an old beat up truck down a remote highway in the dark with a blind nun instructing me on how to drive a stick shift. In Venezuela, I may (or may not) have lied to immigration in order to get back to my study abroad program in Nicaragua. In Amsterdam, I painfully translated the stories of women who had been forced into sexual slavery. And I revisited the little African village in the mountains of Ghana that forever changed my life and shattered my worldview forever.

Through these travels, I have gained a deeper sense of who I am and who I want to be in the future. I have learned to embrace the uncomfortable and relish in the outlandish experiences that life so readily presents. And ultimately, I have gained a sense of belonging to an adventure greater than myself.

Where to now? Well, in the fall, I will embark on a new chapter of my life - one that will take me far away from my beloved Jewell but much closer to my dreams and passions. I will hop a plane to Ecuador with a lovely curly haired boy. We will live on the beach, eat our weight in avocados, correct an abundance of grammatical errors, hike to Machu Picchu, and maybe even raise some chickens. I will be ever so removed from my little sanctuary here on the Hill, but it is time. I am ready.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


In the year of our Lord, two thousand ten. Anno Domini. How is that possible? Y2K was ten years ago. An entire DECADE ago. Holy canole.

Last year I wrote an "end of the year" blog reminisicing about the past and dreaming about the future. I had high hopes about 2009. Turns out, those hopes were very, very valid. If I can be so bold to say it, 2009 was my favorite year. I usually prefer even numbered years (cerca 1986) but this odd one blew me away.

I apprehensively moved to Central America in January. I was stubbornly positive that I did not want to make friends or have enough room in my heart for any new relationships. Turns out, I had the time of my life. I made some of the best friends I could ever hope to have in my life. I was inspired day in and day out by the people of Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua. I drank the best coffee in the world. I ate huevos, gallo pinto, platanos and aguacates every single day. I learned how to be vulnerable and open to strangers. I forced myself to break outside of every comfort zone and barrier that I had placed around me, and found that life outside of those obstacles is exactly how I want to live, despite the constant struggle to slip back into the easy. I learned more about social justice, the fight against poverty, the oppression and pain and brokenness that humanity imposes upon each other, the ins and out of free trade agreements and neoliberal policies. And I played drinking games with a nun. Absolutely, hands down one of the most inspiring five months of my life.

And then I came back. Fell in love. Went to Amsterdam for a month. Spoke Spanish. Hung out with prostitutes. Drank wine with the three best friends. Rode a bike like a badass. Faked Dutch. Flew to Hungary. Tasted danger. And finished the Harry Potter series.

My sister and brother-in-law gave birth to the most precious human being I have ever layed eyes on. Noa Violet. She smiles now. And reaches for my nose. My mom bought her a pilot hat that stays on for days because it keeps her ears warm and makes her somehow even more adorable.

In 2009 I can honestly say that I am now most definitely in love. With a man that somehow gets me and my weird quirks and strange sentence structure. He likes my glasses that make my eyes look even larger. Plus, Noa approves. But I do not really want the blogosphere to know too much about this. It is rather sacred.

Also, my mom moved back to America. Tulsa, more specifically. Praise the Lord. I love having her around again. She is teaching at her dream school, a low-income public school that has a need for passionate, genuine and caring teachers like my dear Mama. And she swears that Noa says, "I love Grammy" to her all the time. Noa is 3 months old.

2009 really set the bar high. Bring it on 2010! In the true fashion of YWAM-Amsterdam and their inspiration glittered posters, I'm expecting a miracle.