Late Night Thoughts

I don’t know what it is about music but a note, a beat, a lyric, a voice or even a song in general can spark such an emotion in me. It brings back old feelings, makes me think harder about current ones and even makes me ponder the future. What is interesting about this is that the type of music doesn’t matter. The most recent song that I have been playing on repeat is “Take Five” by Dave Brubeck. All I can think about when I hear the alto sax solo is that I want to get my alto sax out and learn the solo, and start playing more in general.

It doesn’t stop there though. The song, the beat, the solo, all of it makes my brain fire in so many different directions with so many different thoughts. It makes me think about all the traveling I have done and all the traveling I want to do. Where I want to go, what I want to see, what I want to experience and even who I want to do all of that with. I am thinking about how I want to travel. Planes, trains, tours, car, or even backpacking?! Do I combine some, or only do one of them? Do I want to make plans, or don’t I?! I like both ways and have even done both. There is a sense of adventure that can’t be beat when you land in a foreign country and have no idea what you are going to do, or even where you are going to stay. I have had some of the most amazing adventures, conversations and experiences of my life with strangers.

Another thought that keeps creeping into my head is this desire to go back to school and pursue a Masters degree. I always want to keep learning. There is no greater asset in life then knowledge and I want to gain as much knowledge as possible. I recently was talking to my mother about this and I believe she agreed but its all about education and traveling. In my mind they go hand in hand and you can’t have one without the other.

Anyways, late night thoughts ramble over for now!

BTW, go check out some of Dave Brubeck’s music, you won’t be disappointed…

What’s Next?

It is an interesting feeling when you plan for one thing for so long and out of nowhere plans change. I understand that at some level we can’t control anything in our lives, all we can control is how we handle what comes our way. I thought I would be in Ukraine right now and for the next 23 months with the Peace Corps, but that changed in a moment when I hurt my shoulder. All I can do is ask, “What’s next?”

What’s next is an amazing opportunity for me. I have been offered and have accepted the position of Israel Engagement Fellow with Oregon Hillel serving the students of the University of Oregon and Oregon State University. This means I am moving to the West Coast! It will be a drastic change for this East Coast boy and his dog Maverick but we are up for it. I am excited that I will be interacting with students and helping them with their Birthright trips and their connection to Israel. Plus I get to go on the Birthright trips to Israel with them as a trip leader! This means I can continue to explore my connection to Israel too, a country I am very passionate about.

Am I where I thought I would be right now? No. However, everything happens for a reason. We can never stop learning and we can never stop exploring. What’s Next…

Plans Be A Changing

I can honestly say that right now, at this very moment I’m not where I thought I would be. I am at my parents place recovering from a major shoulder surgery, watching the NBA Finals and America Ninja Warrior with my dog Maverick snoring next to me. Where I should be is at my permanent site in Ukraine doing Community Economic Development with the Peace Corps. Due to circumstances beyond my control I have been medically separated from my service in the Peace Corps due to my shoulder injury sustained in Ukraine. Am I sad? Absolutely! Am I going to let this situation keep me down? No way!

My family, friends and myself put a lot of time, energy and effort into getting me ready for Peace Corps service and for that I want to thank everyone who helped me and I am sorry that I was not able to complete my service. It’s life after all but a new plan is starting to take shape and updates on that will be coming up shortly. All I can say for now is that whats next is very exciting! As my parents say, “Everything happens for a reason!”

For now, I am recovering from surgery. It is going very slowly but it is going good. I have my good days and my bad days but that is to be expected. I look forward to a great snowboarding season once I am fully recovered, in 4 more months.

To my fellow 49ers: do great, have fun, make a difference and learn something!

30 Days Out

I am 30 days out, 29 now actually, from reporting for staging for the Peace Corps. I found out Friday night that staging will be in Miami, not D.C. like I was thinking it would be. I am thinking that this is a nice way of the Peace Corps allowing us to have a few days in the Miami sun before we head to the end of the Ukrainian winter. Regardless of the reason, I am looking forward to it and honestly it can’t come soon enough, I am ready to start my service.

I keep getting asked what I will be doing in the Peace Corps and my answer is, “I will be serving in Ukraine as a Business/NGO Advisor doing Community Economic Development.” The looks I get after this answer are hilarious to say the least. I keep telling everyone that, that is the broad description of what I will be doing and when I get a better idea of my main project I will be more then happy to pass it along and explain it better.

To say I am excited is an understatement. This has been a dream of mine for many, many years. That being said, I plan to document as much of this journey as possible across multiple social media platforms from this blog to a weekly vlog on my YouTube page, to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I want to be as open as possible about my experience and share as much as possible with the world as I can. I welcome all comments, questions and concerns.

Finally and most importantly, I chose the picture for this 1st blog post because it is one of my favorite pictures of me and my parents. It was taken at Pier Two in Sydney, Australia while I was on Student Exchange at the University of Newcastle taking my Globalization classes in the Fall of 2014. I was lucky enough for them to come visit me Down Under for a few weeks in October for my birthday (they have never missed a birthday in 30 years). These two amazing people have given me so much over my life and I will never be able to pay them back for everything they have done for me but hopefully I can make them proud. The fact that I get to join and serve in the Peace Corps is because of all the opportunities, travels, education and guidance given to me by my parents over the years.

Thanks mom & dad! What’s next…