Today I’m “hydrating” with the ultimate fermented juice: a tangy Chilean wine from a grape I know nothing about (Carmenère). Perhaps I’m just doing this to over-compensate; we have been hydrated “to exhaustion” through some of Colombia’s water-based fruit juices: guanabana & passionfruit are the favorites right now. Guanabana looks like a giant jackfruit, but tastes closer to an atemoya.
Well, it’s delightful to greet you again here on the screen. After about four months in Portugal, we decided that it didn’t meet the mark for project-nesting. Though the food is absolutely spectacular (would be willing to have an emphatic debate vouching for Europe’s best cuisine), the culture was too closed-off. There weren’t enough smiles in the streets, and the general Portuguese is guarded and unwelcoming (of course, outside of my wonderful and welcoming extended family). We’re off to Spain in about a month to continue the search. Right now the leading candidate is Málaga, a mountainous beach-city on the southern coast.
We did a roadtrip in the US to greet loved ones and spend time “in community”. I’ve been dedicating more of my time to a healthcare organization that’s looking to integrate therapy management with the clinical practice: House Rx. We work to empower patients on their chronic illness journey; We manage everything from coverage and access to therapies, to patient education and side-effects management. I’m still consulting, but much less due to physical constraints like needing to sleep eight hours a day. Though I miss the intellectual variety of consulting, I have really been enjoying the community and sense of belonging that comes from being “all-in” on a mission (and with a crew that you love).
After some time roaming in the states, we came to Colombia to help out with our uncle’s NGO project; Empower Network. We’re in Cali learning more and volunteering at an education project in the Altos de Menga (a mountain settlement on the outskirts of Cali). The smells of fried empanadas waft between the winding hilly curves while children burst out into unexpected giggles. The ambiance is peppered in with sweet street conversations between life-long neighbors, constant motorcycle horns and loud salsa music blasting by competing merchants.
Lonis is the powerhouse that holds the doors of Fundación Talentos open today. She’s the last one alive in her nuclear family at the tender age of 42; she never had kids. But she’s a mother to all of the kids that visit the foundation on a daily basis for supplementary schooling and elective classes. She believes that by helping children explore their talents and fueling their passions, we will be nurturing tomorrow’s self-sustainable adults. I have been encouraging her to marry that beautiful vision with local labor demand; that way, we can establish “pipeline programs” so that individuals will graduate from the foundation with a job. We’re here to figure out how we might be able to help with our time and our resources— more to come on that :).
Despite all the joy and wonders that fill up our days, there has also been some deep sadness that has intersected with my world (though it’s not my story to tell). In those moments, I have found a lot of peace and respite in good reads. One that really touched me recently is a piece on Sufism, Rumi, and the essence of living gracefully: The Forty Rules of Love. If you’re looking to dive into something new that will re-shuffle your brain, I highly recommend it.
How about you? What have you been thinking about recently? Any favorite new recipes? What about a recent book that kept you up late leafing through non-stop?
I hope we get to hug sometime soon,