July 31, 2011

Malesh Mifish Mishkela

Talking with my closest friends, who really serve as my advisors, always serves as a way to ground me when I get confused, frustrated or just a little off track.

We all have them, those people that makes us smile and remember who we really are and what we really want out of life. Even if we just have one, that's all we need. Whether they're in New York City, out in the Middle East, or relaxing in Missouri, they are priceless and can often be found right when we needed them.

On a personal note, I'm getting very excited about officially launching the new Advance Humanity site. I've been dreaming of it for years and working toward it now for months with the help of my friends at the New Media Marketing Agency. We're getting really close and I can't wait to show it to you! But, as with all exciting things, it's easy to get frustrated. When you have high hopes for something, it's easy to find fault in it. To nit-pick it. To stress out needlessly. Friends can help remind you of how awesome things are, to relax, appreciate life more, let go of the need for perfection, and just chill out. "Malesh mifish mishkela," my friend Erica said, "It's perhaps my most overused, but favorite phrase. It means 'No worries, it's no problem.'" I didn't know it, but it's just what I needed to hear.

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Photo courtesy of Carf

July 14, 2011

Our Mongolian Wedding

I've been gone from the digital world for a few weeks, and for good reason. On June 29th, Tunga and I were married here in Mongolia. We celebrated with family and friends in Tunga's hometown of Baruun Urt, Sukhbaatar where we met when I was serving for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

I would like to say thank you, so much, to all of you who helped make our special day so wonderful. Your kind words, your smiles and hugs, your generosity and love and support literally came to us from around the world. It's not easy to be so far away from family and friends on such a special day, but thanks to your efforts all of you were very close to our hearts. Not a moment passed when I didn't think about you and remember that without you I wouldn't be where I am today. Our world is growing smaller every day, which allowed Michael and Jonathan, my two best friends, to be with us all the way from America. It helped me receive an email from my mom which brought tears to my eyes and it allowed us to share pictures with all of you around the world within days of our the event in one of the most remote places on our planet. The idea of family reaches around the world and it includes all of us. For Tunga and I the idea family will always include different cultures, different views and traditions, but a common compassion, love and kindness that is shared in every corner of the world.

On our wedding day my mother wrote to us saying, "Today is a beautiful day. You will never have another one that takes its place... I am dreaming about an extraordinary love story that is about to let the rest of the world share a glimpse of its beauty and commitment to love... forever." I am dreaming of the same thing.

If you would like to see photography of the event, taken by the wonderful PCV Katie Borkowski, you can see the photos here anytime. Also, please let us know if you would like to celebrate with us next year in America! We have a guestbook that you can sign to hear about updates as the events next summer get closer. We would love to see you! Thank you all again so much.

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July 12, 2011

Let The World Change You and You Can Change The World

I think all of us take journeys that change us. We go places and when we return we feel like different people. In The Motorcycle Diaries, which I watched at the suggestion of my close friend Michael Lee, the main character says a line that I love, "All this time we spent on the route, something happened... something that I have to think about long and hard," said Ernesto, popularly known as Che Guevara, "that aimless roaming through our enormous America has changed me more than I thought. I am not myself anymore. At least, I’m not the same inside."

Like Joseph Campbell has said, I think each of us has a hero's journey to follow. Each of us is destined for great things, if we have the courage to listen. I can certainly relate to Che's direct honesty, his deep connection with those around him and most of all his confusion. "How is it possible to feel nostalgia for a world I never knew?" he asks. Why is there so much injustice? What are we supposed to do to help? These are great questions and I think sometimes our lives can become the answers.

I had heard of Che Guevara before seeing this movie, but I didn't really know much about him at all. After seeing the film and reading about him for several hours, I feel like I still have much to learn. If you have time, definitely check out the film and also this poem, which he loved and could recite from memory called "If", by Rudyard Kipling. Thanks for the great recommendation Michael!

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