“Where am I again?” moments

Ever have one of those moments where you’re mid-conversation and as quick as the blink of an eye you subconsciously take in all of the elements surrounding you and allowing yourself, for one fleeting moment, to step out of your body and wonder “where am I?” Kin to those startling moments of waking up in the morning, in the same spot where you’ve been sleeping for days, weeks, months on end, and struggle to remember where you are. I had one the other day while seated on an the outdoor patio (is it really November?), munching on a scrumptious brunch with a good friend after a beautifully refreshing sunrise hike on the outskirts of Boulder. There I was, sharing comical life stories with someone who actually is a relative stranger compared to my “good friends” from other aspects of life and it hit me. That fleeting thought, as quick as the blink of an eye, interrupting my entire train of thought, leaving me speechless in mid-sentence yet with a silly smirk on my face as I realize just how weird and incredible life is. I wish these moments would hit me more often, leaving me in my goofy awareness that life is nothing to take for granted.

Things have really started to pick up in life. With two weeks left, students are starting to feel the pressure of endless pages to be read, to be written, to be edited, to be written again, and finally turned in to be graded (eek). It’s an odd pressure though, one that I feel needs to balanced with a an equally strong pressure to escape one’s studies and experience life in Denver. And fortunately Korbel understands this and actually hosted an awesome Halloween party for us. Nothing is better than seeing your academic peers take off their studiousness for a night and replace it for a night of laughing and dancing in a dorky costume.

Life is busy and it’s a struggle to keep it all in balance but that’s what makes it so enjoyable. And memorable. And inspiring to realize how little we can actually control life. It’s more of finding an equilibrium between pressures, keeping your knees bent, staying in balance, and hitting the jumps of life with your truest, most goofy grin.

We’ll just wait and see how I feel next week this time :)

AES

The Guy in the Glass

Often times here at Korbel whether in class, in a conversation between friends, or with a guest lecturer we discuss and struggle to define what is development and the best ways to go about it. Obviously there is no one right way which makes it so truly amazing to hear all the different stories and experiences of first hand developmental work done worldwide by fellow students, professors, and speakers. The other day in one of my classes we had the grand debate of what makes foreign aid/developmental projects worthwhile. Is it only justifiable if you can quantify the results or is it enough knowing that you have impacted one person for the better? It’s a debate that will never be quieted or resolved but in the same way that there is no right way to study or to go about “development” there is no right answer to the debate.

“You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,

And get pats on the back as you pass

But your final rewards will be heartaches and tears,

If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.”

– Dale Wimbrow –

Todo depende de ti mismo.

–AES

Week 5

We just started on week five here at Korbel which seems like it’s just the beginning but when you’re on the quarter schedule it means you’re halfway done.  And that is nerve-wracking.

This past week was an eventful one due to DU hosting the debate and the Debatefest, which was most certainly more entertaining than the actual debate itself. The Debatefest was a mini-festival hosted on the quad on campus for DU students and surrounding community. It was chalked full of informational booths, food trucks, games, media tables, and most importantly, the Lumineers. The Debatefest was a fun way to get together with fellow students to celebrate and express interest in the upcoming election. I am glad that DU made it all possible.

I just met with the head of student affairs (Susan Rivera) today and we planned out all of my classes for the rest of the quarters. It’s exciting and scary at the same time knowing that my class load is basically set and there is little wiggle room but I am looking forward to all the great classes I have coming up! Plus the process was extremely easy, Susan is more than helpful, and there is a fair degree of flexibility within the programs so I easily tailored my Masters requirements to meet my interests. Fabulous.

It’s only week 5 but I am definitely looking forward to each and every remaining week I have left at Korbel.

YAY! LIFE!

AES

Continuing Education…

It’s been over four years since I graduated from undergrad and despite my best efforts to read intelligently, stay up to date on current events etc. the  ritual of getting back into thinking intellectually for hours on end has been a stressful and hard adjustment. But life goes on and that’s when the beer comes in.

I remember the days, 2 months ago, when I’d rush from work to meet friends for Happy Hour and vividly remember how relaxing that first sip was, knowing that I was done for the day. That doesn’t happen anymore. Granted we’re still sprinting to meet with friends at The Pio for their cheap happy hour refreshments but I am positively certain I won’t have that “relaxing first sip” for another 14 months. Man, do things pile on quickly. The first week was just readings. Then the second week was double the readings and small projects. Week three has brought even more readings, small projects, and group presentations. Plus, four fold for each class. I am confident however with the assistance of my daily planner, iCalender reminders, and scheduled beer breaks I will thrive and flourish in my time here at Korbel.

Let’s take this morning for example. What a great learning and networking experience it has been. In my Non-Profit Financial Management and Fundraising class, we had the opportunity to speak with three different Executive Directors from local non-profits and asked them about their personal experiences in the non-profit world, such as working within fundraising budget constrains, communicating with the Board of Directors, fighting for salaries, and so on. What better way to learn than from a professional who has 20+ years in the field?

I would like to share a quote that was attached to the bottom of a recently received email. “The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.” I’m not sure who I owe credit to for that one but I really liked it and am excited to blur my line through all the incredible opportunities offered through Korbel, Denver, the Rocky Mountains, and my inspiring compradres.

 Off to blur the line.

AES

New Adventure, New Blog.

I started my first (and sworn to be only, oops) blog as a means to provide insight for life in another country and to showcase my everyday experiences as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Yep, that’s right, I am one of some 80 RPCVs that have chosen to continue their international tract here at Josef Korbel. It has been a thrilling ride leaving Peace Corps, returning state side and now, with one week of graduate classes under my belt, I truly am embarking on a whole new journey and feel it best that I share my adventures and encourage others to join me!

I am a born and raised Oregonian but have always admired and desired to experience all of the outdoor opportunities Colorado has to offer. After surviving my first week of classes I treated myself to a beautiful day of hiking my first “14-er” (14,000 ft Mountain which Colorado has a plethora of) and l found myself grinning from ear to ear every step of the way. Even while I was wheezing, trying to find oxygen at such an altitude.  However, my day of self-indulgence came at a cost of spending all day Sunday catching up on readings. First graduate school lesson learned: you must find a balance.

I leave you with a teasing photo that doesn’t do justice but might just entice you to a visit.

Work hard, play harder.

AES