This summer has been about reconnecting with my roots. Remembering how I came to be the person I am. It has been challenging at times and peaceful at others. It’s all about balance, right? Coming back from having the most incredible year of my life has set the bar ambitiously high for this year. Yet, I am optimistic about how everything is shaping up.
I am pleased to share that I will be returning to Colombia for 3 weeks on behalf of Magicians Without Borders this October. I am looking forward to reconnecting with the life I created there. I am especially looking forward to seeing the Bella Flor children, Carlos, and of course, Johanna. Although most of my visit will be dedicated to checking up on the progress of the Magic Project, Johanna and I are also planning a short trip to Guajira, the northeast desert Caribbean coastline of Colombia. Johanna and I are more in love than ever and are doing remarkably well despite the distance. Knowing that we are going to see each other soon gives us something to look forward to and makes the February end date much less daunting.
Carlos has done an incredible job continuing the project after I left. Unfortunately, we lost three of our Bella Flor students due to changing class schedules or family problems that prevented them from going to the foundation. However, Carlos is in the process of selecting five more children to join. Our veteran magician students will then teach these new students everything they have been learning this past year. Our budding magicians are eager to pay it forward through their teaching and this absolutely delights me. Additionally, the club continues to perform at Vista Hermosa Hospital on a regular basis.
The magic club at Findesin has come to a close. For a magic club to be successful, it requires some level of dedication from the children. Carlos nor I were seeing much commitment from the girls during the month leading up to my departure. Carlos remained patient for many months, but was not seeing any changes. It was a tough decision, but we decided to close the club because our efforts were not being reciprocated by the girls. We can only do so much as facilitators of this work – the children have to invest in it as well. For now, we are going to continue focusing our efforts on the Bella Flor growth and are keeping our antennae alert for the opportunity of establishing another club.
In addition to visiting the magic students and performing at the hospital, Carlos and I are working together on putting together some special events. Some great plans are brewing, but I will hold my tongue (or in this case, typing fingers) for now.
I recently had an article I wrote about my experience published in Gonzaga Magazine. Click here to read the article.
Please join me in revisiting my experience in Colombia with this brief slide show (produced by Gonzaga Magazine):
I spent most of the summer cranking hard on my medical school applications. That is why I haven’t written in so long! I just sent off the last of my secondary applications and am now playing the waiting game for interview invitations. I am enthusiastic about every school I am applying to (for different reasons) and I am curious to see how my future unfolds. For the more immediate future, plans are still in full swing for me to spend a few months in India this spring. My time there will be dedicated to working with and teaching magic to adolescent daughters of sex trade workers in Mumbai. MWB has been working with these young women intermittently for 3 years and I look forward to being with them for an extended period of time. I hope to connect with the magician community in Mumbai as I did in Bogotá in order to continue the program in a more sustainable way. It is very likely that Johanna will be joining me for this and she will spend her time doing medical mission work.
Although it is slowing a little now that summer is winding down, I have been performing a good bit of magic. We have had some excellent shows this summer and I hope to keep them going through the fall.
By grinding through all these applications I have reconnected in a refreshing way with the driven individual I am. Now, after having wrapped up my applications, I am able to reconnect with the incredible people I know and the jaw-dropping beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Some highlights include hiking to the mystical Mt. Baker, wakeboarding on Lake Whatcom as the sun sets, making a Spokane trip to visit Gonzaga friends and professors, and kayaking to camp on a nearby island. Getting outside and being present to the world around me has been a reminder of the relative insignificance of my own melodrama. This melodrama exists solely within the confines of my head and it will continue to come and go as the world does the same. What is important is to be present, to reconnect. When I do so, I notice the intentionality of a spider weaving its web or a fly exploring my presence in its habitat. We are all here to connect in one way or another.
To reconnect is to connect in a revitalizing way.
You are wise beyond your years. Nature provides the nurturing needed to accomplish all those well thought goals. Enjoy!
And we are so happy to have you back connecting with us, Ryan! May the flow and synchronicity continue to be with you, guiding your good choices and providing opportunities that are of benefit to mankind. And oh, yes, Proud Mama speaking – LOVE
that GU article, You Alum, You! And love GU, too, such a superb match for you…
Awesome post sir! What a summer it was! It was really good to see you and I wish you the best in Columbia