May 31, 2007

Deer in the Headlights

Tonight the car in front of mine hit a deer on a stretch of 45 mph highway. I suppose the event in and of itself isn't that unusual, but I have never seen that happen right in front of me. In fact I have never been more than ten feet close to a deer, much less touched one, in my whole life. At the time, both the car in front of me and my car were probably traveling at least 45 miles per hour, so the impact put the deer on its back and its legs in the air almost immediately. By the time my car arrived at the point of impact, the deer was near the double yellow lines and flailing its legs in every direction. With my sister encouraging me we, my sister and my brother and I, pulled off the side off to the side of the road and put on our hazard lights before stepping out of the car and walking back along the side of the road to the deer's side. It was dangerous and I made a point of watching out for my sister more than the deer when cars were coming, but as soon as they saw us and the deer most cars slowed down quite a lot and a few even stopped to ask what happened and if everything was okay. We told them the car in front of us hit the deer and we were just trying to see what we could do for it. Impressively in only a few minutes the deer moved itself on its side by pushing its legs and body up and down until it slid off the road past the solid white line. Far enough away from traffic, and able to walk a bit, we helped the deer move off into the grass on the side. By this time another driver, a country boy who said his mother had taken care of quite a few deer, stopped like us and helped us check the deer for any injuries. Finding none he and my sister helped it to stand and calm it down some. It was a young buck with small stumps where his antlers will be in a few years and probably still pretty close to his family even though he had run out of the forest a ways. The shock of the hit, the constant light of car headlights, and the unusual behavior, scent and touch of all of us kept it standing still for quite a while, but it was becoming apparent that this deer wasn't hurt too badly from the car it hit just a few moments earlier. Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said for the car.

After maybe ten minutes, the black car that hit the deer came back and pulled up on the other side of the road. The young girl driving and her mother came to where we were and told us that their hearts were still beating loudly from the surprise that had come right out of the woods and hit the driver's side of their car. The police had been called and would later file a report for the huge dent on the left side of her front fender, but all and all everything was fine and they were glad to see the deer was alright. We were too. After a few more minutes, I was reaching to pick him up and take him to the forest but it bounded away across the field in front of us. Looking back one last time, it paused and then made several large jumps that put it far away at the forest's edge. It not only looked fine physically, but appeared to have all of its wits about it as it left. "That's my gift to the world," my sister said as we got back into our car, "I love being there for animals."

I know there is a lot of suffering in the world and that I have spent a lot of time and writing on a topic which might seem small in comparison to dozens of human tragedies, but I think the challenges we are mostly faced with on a day-to-day basis are small ones. The question of what we will do when we hit something, or see something hit, on the side of the road is a valid one that we will all have to answer. I think we made the right decision tonight and I'm glad that my brother and sister were there to encourage me to do that.

Heading into Clouds

For all you bloggers out there, Blogger just got a lot better. There are tons of small things you can do to make your blog more interesting (like widgets and embeds and so on) but there is now also the ability to make the heading of your blog a picture. I enjoyed doing this with my blog and if you would like to try out the same thing, go for it. Just to let you know, the pixel length for the header on this template is 700. If you made your pictures that length they will fit perfectly. : ) Good luck and let me know if you need any help.

May 22, 2007


"If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves."
- Thomas Edison

Can I officially not agree with this enough? I love this quote from Thomas Edison. I think the potential within each of us is really beyond our own wildest dreams. In that way the religious idea that we can accomplish unbelievable things when we believe, the spiritual belief that within each of lies the universe and the humanistic idea that we can create a heavenly world here on earth are all, I think, pointing us toward this single revelation. We can become as great as we could ever hope, and probably far beyond that.

May 20, 2007


Isn't it interesting how some of the most important things in life are the hardest to figure out?, for instance. It's hard for me to get my mind around. How unselfish is it? How universally compassionate is it? How enjoyable is it? In the universal sense, I get the feeling that true love should be expressed towards all people, not just one's family. But at the same time, I think one of the places we learn most about love is in our families. In the unselfish sense, I think love thinks about others more quickly than it thinks about oneself, that it takes into consideration the thoughts, feelings, wants and needs of others before it satisfies its own needs. However, if we were to only care about what others think and feel, want and need, than would we ever feel satisfied. How enjoyable would that be? It's hard to know what the right answer is, but I think love and compassion weigh very heavily the thoughts and feelings of others before it dives into its own wants and needs. Love, I think, sees all of the suffering in the world (including the suffering that we personally create) and it tries to eliminate that suffering as best it can. I think it is great that we can enjoy things in this world, such as a beautiful sunset, or a nice song on an mp3 player, or a great episode of Lost, but I really think far more important than that are the people around us whose lives we can improve by serving them and helping them to be happy. We become happy when we make our wants few, I have heard. I think I agree.

May 18, 2007


Graduation was great! I got to see my wonderful friends and family, eat tons of pizza and cake, party like it was the end of the school year and kick back for the beginning of my last Campbell summer! As far as video and pictures go: video of the graduation ceremony is available on Campbell's website and a media website, and pictures of graduation are available on my Flickr! Thank you everyone for making graduation so awesome. I have tons of fun and it was really special being able to see you on together on one special day. I love you all very much and thank you.


It has been a very interesting and exciting week. On Sunday everyone came to visit Campbell for graduation and Lynch House was jam-packed with excitement. On Monday it was even crazier as we all attended graduation and our little party afterward. On Tuesday morning I woke up to a phone call from my Peace Corps placement officer Yung-Mei and she offered me an invitation to serve in Central Asia leaving July 5th. On Wednesday morning I woke up to a phone call from a FedEx driver who had my invitation packet from Peace Corps and I found out, after opening it, that I was being invited to serve in Kyrgyzstan in Health Promotion. On Thursday morning I called my recruiter back and declined the invitation, asking for another assignment at a later date (which she approved) and then this morning (Friday) I woke up wondering if I made good decisions with everything seeming to go so fast. It reminds me of graduating from high school the same day I had my Eagle Scout award ceremony. With so much happening, it's hard to keep it all in order. I'm pretty sure everything went well though, and that there is a lot more excitement to come. What an interesting start to my summer.

May 17, 2007

On A Decline

On Tuesday morning, the day after graduation, Yung-Mei my placement officer from Peace Corps called. Boy, was I nervous. After a few minutes, I lost the call due to bad Campbell reception and ran around in my pajamas like a crazy man trying to get better signal outside. When she finally called back, we continued our conversation and talked about everything from my countries of interest to what it's like to be in the Peace Corps. We had a long conversation about my interest in the Pacific, Caribbean and Asia, the differences between Central Asia and Asia and also, most importantly, if I would be willing to consider an earlier assignment than the September '07 assignment for which I had been nominated. I told her I would be interested. There was a Health Assignment leaving on July 5th, she said, that seemed like a good match. Although she couldn't tell me which country this assignment was in over the phone, the country would be inside the invitation packet that I would receive later. This naturally led me to rack my brain over the possibilities all day and come to the conclusion that I must be nominated for either China or Thailand, based on the hinds she gave me turning our conversation. Luckily this thinking only lasted a day because Wednesday morning I awoke to the FedEx delivery man saying my invitation packet had arrived. It only took one day! I drove over to my dad's house to pick up that package as soon as I could. It was like some kind of television moment, right before a commercial break, where the main character opens up the letter they have been waiting years for! I tore it open, pulled out the sheet and read the country: "The Kyrgyz Republic." Commercial!

I was quite surprised. It was no China or Thailand, but after reading the 50-page assignment packet and 100-page welcome book, reading about Kyrgyz Republic online, looking over the Peace Corps website and talking with my family and friends, I found out the Kyrgyz Republic (also known as Kyrgyzstan) was a very interesting country, even if I couldn't pronounce it at first. The assignment would be leaving July 5th, which was pretty quickly, but it was certainly worth seriously considering. I made a list of the things I wanted to do before Peace Corps, the amount of time that would probably take, and a list of pro's and con's regarding serving in Krygyzstan as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I reflected and talked with maybe a dozen more people, and then I decided: I would politely decline this invitation and ask for one at a later date. If I could leave in early August or later, I told my Yung-Mei when I called her, that would be ideal: that would give me plenty of time to visit my friends and family, help around the house and then prepare for the two-year trip without rushing. "That sounds just fine," Yung-Mei replied, "I will go ahead and finish up my July placements and you can expect another invitation within a week or two." It's hard to say what will come next, but I am definitely excited to see what it is.

May 10, 2007


Isn't it incredible how we can not need something until we see it on a commercial or find it on a clearance rack? Even more incredible, isn't it something that we can forget about that special, life-completing item in less than a week or two? Somehow we "buy" into the hype that buying more things will bring us more happiness and we forget that the things that have always made us happy are pretty simple and inexpensive. It might just be an extra pillow, not a brand new one with a 500-thread count. Or maybe it's a special gift from your little brother or sister, not that expensive t-shirt you bought at the cool kids' store of the moment. Whatever it is, the thing that brings you the most happiness and enjoyment on a day-to-day basis is probably pretty small and pretty simple. Instead of crowding it with tons of crap we don't like, why don't we just surround ourselves with a few things we love. Heck, let's even surround ourselves with a few people we love. A lot of people I really admire are very good at this and that's something that I, for one, would like to buy into myself.

May 5, 2007


Journaling is an interesting endeavor. It can be anything you want it to be. It can be paper-based or computer-based, it can be introverted or extroverted, it can be blog-like or private-like. Or, it can be some weird mix of the six, like it is with me. Sometimes I write in journals, but often I type away like crazy. Sometimes I write about what's going on in my life, but often I type about things I see or my opinions of things going on around me. Sometimes I publish what I write, but often (and this might seem crazy because of how many entries I have on blogger) I don't show anyone the journal entries I've written. I'm not mysterious or secretive, but just private. Whatever the case though, I think journaling is a helpful activity for just about everyone. There are a lot of things that go on in our lives, day to day, and it's hard to keep track of it all. For posterity, for perspective, for analysis and for a little bit of inner peace, I think journaling is a really great thing to do. If you want to start, try out different things: a paper journal, a composition book, a three-ring binder, a blog, a xanga, facebook notes, word documents or notepad notes. Whatever helps you to actually write and get thoughts out, do it. You'll be glad you did, I promise.

May 2, 2007


A long time ago I heard a commercial on the radio in which a faucet was running and two people were talking about it. "I wonder who left this faucet on?" one person asked the other. "I don't know but somebody should turn it off," she responded. "What nerve! Who would do this kind of thing," he barked, "What is the world coming to these days with people who are so insensitive?"

I don't think life is about figuring out who made the biggest mess or pointing fingers at people who need to clean things up. I think life is about helping each other out and cleaning up the messes that we find. Throwing stones and waxing apocalyptic about the world around us is pretty useless.

In the end of the commercial, the faucet stops and the two conversationalists get quiet. Then one pipes up, "Hey...why did you turn the faucet off?" one asks, referring now to a third person. "Somebody needed to do it rather than just sit around and talk about it," she said.

May 1, 2007

How Does It Feel?

I had no idea what I was asking last year when I asked seniors, "So, how does it feel to be graduating?" It's an incredible feeling for me right now to be finished with classes and cleaning out my notebooks for the last time. I am sure the next few weeks will give me a lot of time to reflect before graduation, but there is just so much to think about: all the teachers that I've learned from, all the friends that I've played with and all the fun I have had in the last four years has been incredible. I suppose I just wanted to share that and say that I feel very fortunate to have shared my four years at Campbell with so many wonderful people. I'll try to thank you each individually, but until I get to you, just know I am thinking about you. Thanks.