Thursday, August 28, 2008

Paint the Town Green (& Blue & White & Yellow & Red).

Light and Love.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
- Martin Luther King

Creating Causes.

For those of you that are Facebook users, I have fun new developments to share in Causes land. I've created Causes profiles for both AMURT - Haiti and The Causes application allows organizations to raise awareness and funds for their organizations. Next time you log in, check it out. Within the Causes application, you can search for either organization - the new profile should appear there for you. Or, if you'd like to just check it out, visit my facebook page and click on my Causes tab.

Causes donations are processed through Network for Good, a reputable non-profit donation service. I've seen multiple causes that have raised more than $25,000 through Facebook - Incredible.

Become a member, invite a friend, or just check it out to learn more. I hope to add more photos and materials to both pages as time goes on, so check back often!

Fluent In Hope.

As usual, I was full of questions for Pedro (my spanish teacher) this week. I was asking for clarification about the use of a particular verb when we had my favorite spanish-class-moment so far. Pedro responded to my questioning with his usual kindness, and an extra dose of inspiration.

"Yes, that's one way to say it. But in Spanish, we have 1,000 words for hope - many different ways to express it, depending on the situation."

(1,000 words for hope. What a beautiful thought.)

In that moment, I knew that Pedro and I were kindred somehow - with a something common, something shared at our core. And I knew that I wanted to learn every single hope*filled word.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

LIFE Argentina.

Since Eric and I are both working at NGOs that address social issues on a macro level, we haven't had the opportunity to meet, serve and hear the stories of people struggling (with poverty, health, access to education) in Argentina. In our day to day routine here, its easy to start feeling disconnected from the very people that we hope our efforts will eventually serve. So, we've begun to explore additional volunteer opportunities during our free time that allow us to be a part of service on a more direct level as well.

Last weekend, we volunteered with LIFE Argentina ( - a group working in "socially marginalized and extremely impoverished areas" of Argentina. Their objective is to raise the standard of living for children, giving them new opportunities that encourage their growth and development. Many of their efforts are done collaboratively with orphanages, community centers and soup kitchens throughout Argentina.

Eric and I volunteered at LIFE's celebration for Argentina's "Day of the Child". Together with their partner organizations, LIFE hosted 1,000 children in a city park for games, food and fun. Eric and I took photographs for LIFE and helped to serve lunch. We left inspired and grateful for the good work being done, the kindness and generosity of the people involved, and the opportunity to be a part of it - even for one day.

More LIFE...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Typical (delightful) Days.

As Eric & I settle into life in Buenos Aires, we continue to discover that living in here is a distinct combination of familiar and new. In many ways, our pattern of life here is one that we are used to – getting up in the morning, going to work, living surrounded by people and noises and city energy, having evenings for rest and fun. And, yet, there are little reminders all around us of the new place in which we’re developing familiar routines. There is joy in the discovery.

8:45 - 9 Walk to work.
This is the first time that I’ve ever lived in an urban area, with a small enough distance between work and home that I can walk. Its amazing. I love the air in the morning, the movement of the steps, the people on the street – it’s a great way to start the day. During the course of my 10 block walk I cross Avenida 9 de Julio, the widest avenue in the world. Surrounded by grand stone buildings and the steady stream of motion on this magnificent avenue, I welcome the new day.

9 – 1 I continue to be astounded at the opportunity to be a part of the smart, innovative team at Idealist. My work is interesting and stimulating, and I am hopeful that my efforts will be of help. And not only am I learning an extraordinary amount, I am continually inspired by the work that they do – connecting individuals and organizations to further goodness in the world.

1 – 2 Lunch! Another first: I go home for lunch. As volunteers in a big city, it would be a vast understatement to say that Eric and I are trying to live on a budget. Fortunately, I really like lunch at home.

2 – 5 Spanish (etc).
I am taking Spanish classes at Alem Spanish School, again a short little walk from my apartment. When I’m not in class, I try to study during the afternoons to make good use of the opportunity to learn Spanish, while in a Spanish-speaking country. I have also been known to throw a home yoga session in to my afternoon routine every now and then.

[4 – 7 Tea/Snack time. Well, at least for the majority of the country. Most Argentines eat 4 meals a day: breakfast, lunch, tea/snack and dinner. This puts dinner sometime between 8 – 11pm. Eric and I haven’t quite transitioned to this schedule, but we do enjoy coffee and cookies whenever we get a chance.]

During the evenings, Eric and I hang out, try out little coffee shops, read our Argentine history books, watch TV in Spanish (I hear it’s a great way to learn!) and try to find cheap fun. On the weekends, we explore. Our hope is to visit a new neighborhood/town every weekend as we explore this city, hear its stories, learn about its history. Over and over again, there is joy in the discovery.

[Note: The intersection pictured above is Paraguay & Suipacha, the closest intersection to our apartment building.]