Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Next Adventure...

Hey All.
Firstly, I want to say thank you to everyone who has been keeping tabs on me over the past few years. I really appreciate the support and love you have shown me while I have been on this amazing journey to Peru and in finding myself there.

Secondly, I think this may be my last Peru blog. I am finalizing my packing and sorting and storing for my next adventure, which starts tonight and am finding myself reminiscent of Peru and my preparations to leave. I should be loading things into my car to take to my storage unit (which I didn't think I would still inhabit when I hauled my first load of stuff there) and attacking the last pile of stuff that is on my floor. I have a few boxes to ship to myself at a zip code across the country. A friend to see. I have to pack my second suitcase and make reservations to get to the airport. But, here I am. Writing a blog instead.

I guess I have come to some sort of grips about my time in Peru. I am not as sad as I was before Christmas, and I don't cry nearly as much, and there are certain similaritites about my life there and my life here that have come to light. Like that my host mom would set pans on the stovetop to dry, and my sister does the same thing. It is a very little insignificant thing, but it makes existing here easier.

Before I left, I knew that this experience would change me, but I never thought it would change my life. I thought I would come back and still live the same life and do the same things, but I would be different and still exist in the same terms as I had before. That did not happen, and I was probably foolish to think that it could.

So, now as I prepare to leave Bremerton again, I look forward to the change that will undoubtedly come with my next adventure.

To learn more about my next steps, check out my new blog at http://ktrains.blogspot.com
Thanks again for listening.

All for me, for now.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


So, one thing I have learned over the past two years, because that is really when all of this began, is that if something scares you to your core, it is probably worth doing. Only the things we really care about can scare us that much.

I spoke this past weekend at Broad Street Presbyterian Church (BSPC) in Columbus, OH. To say that I was scared doesn't really sound quite right. Tenia miedo, I had fear; as though it was in me, seems much more accurate. This was the first official presentation I have given about Peru and my time there, and how I have changed, how my time in Peru has changed me. It was a very overwhelming topic.

Of course everything went well. My point was that we can all contribute to making our world better----whether we decide to go to Peru or India, or donate to people who do, or only drink fair trade coffee and use cloth bags at the grocery store-----we all play a part in the revolution.

I used that word in my speech. REVOLUTION. I was told that it scared some people in the audience.
Hmmmmm......something to think about.

all for me, for now.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Moses Moment...

It is so weird to think, but it's very true. I had a Moses Moment.

My dad and I drove to Colorado for Thanksgiving to visit my mom and my dad's family, who are now residing in the same city. I got to catch up with my cousins who I haven't seen in four or more years. We talked a lot about memories and about our family and our lives--where we are right now and how we ended up here.

One night, my cousin Danny, who is about my age, took me out to dinner. He looked across the table at me questioningly and said, "So, Peru, huh. Didn't see that one coming," and sort of just laughed. I laughed as I agreed, and tried to explain how I got to Peru. 1. I was not satisified with life where I was. 2. I wanted to see something different. 3. I knew there must have been more. I didn't tell him that our grandfather had convinced our grandmother to be missionaries in Peru once my father and his mother had grown. Our grandfather died when my dad was 13 and his mother was 9 and they never went to Peru.

On our way back to North Dakota, I was riding as my dad drove. The incredibly warm sun filtered in through the car window, shining on my face as I relaxed my eyes and let the vacation days with family roll around in my head and I had a moment. An honest to God, Moses moment.

I have been struggling with what to do next in my life. I feel a very strong call to a life of service, but to be perfectly honest, I am also very seduced by a life of enjoying friends and family and not really worrying about the world. And it is a struggle for me to give away that non-chalant normal North American life, for a service-filled one. The flip side of that is, I don't know how I could ignore the passion I feel for spirituality, social justice, human rights and LOVE. That would simply not be enough.

In my Moses Moment, (did I mention that I started reading the bible about 9 months ago and just began Exodus), I thought, "Why me? Why, out of everyone in my family, all of my friends, all of the people I know, was I chosen to go to Peru? to have my life changed? Why me?" and the answer was so simple. Because my heart could be changed. My heart could be filled with that passion. And my thoughts responded immediately, "But, really? Me? I think someone else could do this better. Someone else is more prepared for this work. I am not smart enough, I don't have the background, I don't even know where I am going." and the answer even more simply put, You don't need to know where you are going, you just need to follow your heart. You will get there.

So, as the sun beat down on my face, I second guessed my creator, my life force, and was reassured that my heart had it right.

Soon, I will let you all know where my path is leading me.
peace and love,

Friday, October 30, 2009

Home: A Place Where I Grew...

So, I have been back here in North Dakota working the sugar beet harvest for the past month. It is something I grew up with. My dad has worked for American Crystal Sugar Co since before I was born and I cannot say how grateful I am for the experience to see what he has endured every fall that I can remember. I have also had the opportunity to meet people I have known the names of my whole life through my dad's work stories.

And as my 8pm-8am work schedule is shifting towards daylight, I can say it has been truly rewarding.

Not just for feeling a greater connection with my father, or the name he and I both carry, and what that means here. But also for every person I have met over the past month.

There have been some incredibly conservative republicans--who don't believe that global warming is actually happening or why their locally owned stores just can't compete with WalMart for food prices, but also, who unknowingly live a very simple and green lifestyle--growing their own food, composting, spending less, etc-- much like many liberals I know. There are a huge group of hispanic workers who are all interested in my love-life and have concerned themselves with finding me a very tall match (they gave me warm feelings about the people in Peru who had the same intentions). There are some who have been to university, and some who didn't finish high school. A few who think they need to take me out on a date, and a few people I haven't seen since I moved away from Crookston over 10 years ago.

It is a very diverse community in it's own right. Which is something that I never realized when I lived here before, something I want to have in my everyday life.

And while I am not ready to determine where my future is going to take place, I am ready to start living where I am.
I hope you all are well, where you are, and happy, too.

all for me, for now.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Last Saturday, I went to a community fundraiser concert for a local non-profit called Stand Up For Kids(http://www.standupforkids.org/). It was your average, hippie community gathering, located at the park next to the local community garden. One of our favorite local singers (Vicci Martinez--check her out, she is amazing. http://www.viccimartinez.com/ or http://www.myspace.com/viccimartinez) was volunteering her voice and band for the afternoon. My friend Toni has been volunteering for Stand Up For Kids for years. This local non profit champions the rights and the lives of local homeless teenagers. They make meals, do outreach, get them bus passes, clothes, a bunch of stuff. I was really compelled by the group.

Then, on Sunday, during the minute for mission at church, a woman named Betsey recounted her experience making lunches for a homeless settlement near the old Lowe's store. She had set up her table near the Goodwill store, read her bible and waited for 3 hours with the lunches and no one came. She decided that these lunches were not going to go to waste, so she drove down the main street in East Bremerton looking for needy people. She gave away all 8 lunches that had been made. She also realized that it was necessary to seek them out.

Today, I walked to the store. I needed to buy some travel toiletries for the YAV re-entry retreat at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico. I walked past a couple of homeless guys on the way there. One of them had a super-old, poofy, starter jacket for the Miami Hurricanes. I laughed and remembered the Duke jacket I had in 8th grade. I started thinking about the cost of what I was wearing. And about what I was going to go buy. Have you ever added up the cost of what you have on, and then the cost of the products you use to get ready every morning, and eat, and gas. It can really add up.

It just got me thinking I guess.

There is very real, very true homelessness. No shelter, nothing. I have seen it in Peru, I have seen it in Seattle. But there is this lingering idea of home, what that was and how I felt there. I used to know where home was. Now, being without that leaves me with the feeling I can only call homelessness. While, physically, I have shelter, I am lost on where home is.

All for me, for now.

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Home"; One Month Down.....

Wow. So, re-culture shock sucks way more than I could have imagined, and I was not looking forward to it to say the least. I am tired. I am cranky (and say mean nasty things to people I love). I am critical. I can come up with some more adjectives, but I think you get the idea. It is not good--no bueno, no bueno.

Though, I do have some kind of funny anecdotes, and what I did in general, to share with you about my first month home...

1. I, a 6 foot tall, slender, WHITE girl, was walking through the Atlanta airport speaking Spanish to everyone. Did I mention I had my entire possible conversation with customs worked out in Spanish....which was not necessary. They speak English in the US, go figure.

2. A lot of my friends were having issues with parasites as we were leaving Peru, so I was on the look out for so tag alongs. I needed to use the restroom in the ATL airport (as I had a 6 hour layover) so I went for it. I was sitting, taking care of business, and leaned forward to inspect the outcome, when WHOOOOSSSHHHH, I was reminded of automatically flushing toilets. If I hadn't just gone, it would have scared the crap right out of me.

3. I found that when I got home, while I only weigh three pounds more than when I left, I am two sizes bigger than when I left. How does that happen??

4. I went on a historical tour of North Dakota with my dad. It was kind of amazing and sad at the same time. We stopped at a few of the battlefields where the Sioux Indians had been slaughtered by Brackett's Batallion and others in the 1840's for crimes they did not commit.

5. I got to go to Ohio. It was the first time I felt like I was really home. Thanks for a great weekend everybody. If I didn't meet up with you then, hopefully I will see you soon.

6. I took a train, which was eerily like a Peruvian bus, and found out that I can't answer the question "Where are you from?" with out talking about Fair Trade, The TRADE act, Bridge of Hope, or Partners for Just Trade. I also started speaking Spanish again. Even dreaming in Spanish--I chatted with a fat little blind boy and he was helping me practice.

7. On the train, I bought a can of Coke for $2.00 (oh my goodness) and before I finalized the purchase, I asked if it was warm.

8. I get to have Spanish time with my nephew. I even made up a song called "Besos", where I sing "Besos por to Brazos" or whatever part and he gets kisses all over his body. I need to learn some more body parts. Like elbow.

Anyway, there is some stuff for you to chew on I guess.
all for me, for now.

Monday, July 20, 2009

BSPC Peru Crew V....

I have dreamt about you at least 5 times since the day we met (including last night). You are literally in my dreams. And I am still at a loss for words as to why you all have affected me so much. I've come up with a few reasons why this may be occurring....

1. You were the first mission group I have ever been a part of.
2. You are such a diverse crowd in every way, and I see so much of who I was and who I want to be in all of you.
3. You are fun, funny, faithful, caring, laughing, working, striving, open hearted, lovely, youthful, wise, maleable, strong, amazing adaptable and much more.

Your presence made an impact on me. A strong one.

To update everybody else about the time I spent with Peru Crew V, there were 14 of them that came down from Broad Street Pres on a work crew to put in Eco-Toilets in two communities outside of Huancavelica, Peru (Occo Tuna and Vista Alegre). And through all of the joy that is intercultural exchange and partnership, we successfully dug a hole for a water filtration unit for the milk plant in Vista Alegre.

It was amazing to watch this crew respond and adapt to all of the hiccups and planning flaws that happened. I think it was also amazing to see the folks in the community realize that the crew was not leaving regardless of them being ill prepared.

Something was built during the visit, though not an eco toilet was in sight. It was trust. It is something that BSPC has been building with La Oroya for years now, and have now begun the task in a second community in Peru. The realization that partnership is so much more than a task, it is working on the task together. Regardless of outcome. Being together is what made the difference.

Maybe that is what connects me so much with BSPC. My year has mostly been about being and building trust and community. And seeing this group embrace that idea so quickly rocked me, cause it is not easy to do.

Anyway, I send all my love to my new Ohian friends, many of whom fell ill with some crazy Peru bug. Keep them in your prayers, thoughts and good energy. Also, their new and old friends here in Peru.

all for me, for now.