Wednesday, March 19, 2014


On Sunday Noah and I returned from a 2-week excursion to the Diocese of Olympia and Vancouver, B.C., spreading the good word about Foundation Cristosal and all the swanky new programs we have planned for 2015.

To make up for the complete lack of photos in a long while, feast your eyes on all the glorious photo documentation below! Now yes, it may look like we worked little and hiked lots, but I assume it's rather rude to take photos while you're speaking at a meeting or on a panel. So you all get the photos of everything else.

Suffice to say, the trip was an extraordinary opportunity to not only reconnect with my host Diocese (and my Seattle family), but to truly appreciate the life I have in El Salvador and with Cristosal. My official title is now Program Development Coordinator, which wouldn't ya know, means I actually have to speak slowly and articulately about our programs. This is definitely harder than it looks, but with each meeting or panel event, I started to find a little confidence here, learn from a mistake or two over there... this process will never end, but it's encouraging to see progress.

Despite my temporary access to decorative lattes, organic kale, and my dearest friends, I truly feel at home now that I'm back in San Salvador. We talk about the quick pace of life in the States as something regrettable, intangible, but a necessary part of a day well done. Since I have been back, I can tell you this is very tangible. The best way to describe it is in the way I wake up. Here, I smell the sunshine (yes smell), hear the horns blaring, there is a breath in everything, and an openness, a welcome unpredictability to how the day will go. In Seattle, whether it's an artifact of old triggers or simply something I've made up in my head, there's always somewhere to go, something to get to, a go-go-go that brings on gray hairs early and stifles the pauses that make each day beautiful.

All that aside, Seattle and Vancouver gave us some extraordinary minds to work with. A huge thank you to all those who supported the trip with their hospitality and organizing efforts:
St. Mark's Cathedral
Bishop Rickel
Bishop Skelton
St. Luke's and the SERVE Fellows
St. Thomas in Medina
St. Mary's Kerrisdale
ImpactHUB and to Carrie Schonwald
the University of Washington Center for Human Rights
Seattle CISPES
Seattle Pacific University Business School
Bainbridge Graduate Institute
Global Partnerships
Seattle International Foundation
David Mesenbring
Jeff Gill and the Global Mission Commission
the Mayan Corn Connection
... and of course to my dearest friends who took me in, lent me a towel and a warm shower, took me out for a latte, or best of all, were willing to let me nap on their couch when I just couldn't move another muscle.

A group of capoeristas are biking from Berkeley CA to Brazil! It was wonderful to train and learn from some first class women.
Training with Mestre Acordeon (one of the few Grand Masters in the world)
The whole group feasting on pupusas.
Our first event in Seattle with the Faith Formation group at St. Mark's Cathedral (photo courtesy of 6 year-old Miles Roberts).
Touring the ImpactHUB Building in Seattle - a coworking space for social entrepreneurs.

Our host Carrie showed us around ImpactHUB and was an incredible help in organizing a lunch event on international social enterprise.
Red in the face from a one-on-one training session with my original Mestre, Coquinho from Capoeira Uncão.
My first outdoor jog since leaving the States!
Someone said it was supposed to be sad and dreary in the Seattle winter... they lied.

After being lost in the rain, we stumbled upon the El Salvador consulate. It was very exciting.
Someone (ok... me) missed the part where it says "Distance one way." No gear or water or food = one long, long hike.
When life gives you snow, throw it at people.

One of many brilliant book recommendations we received during the trip.
Lake Union in Seattle.
A must for anyone visiting Pike's Place Market- sit on pig.
Yes... that is a skull in my latté.
It's just plain exciting to see penalties for littering.
An afternoon walk through my old neighborhood, hitting all the best vistas as we go along.
Scooby Doo meets Monster Truck rally. Gotta love the Pacific Northwest.
In Vancouver, B.C., we met with Jose Figueroa, a Salvadoran who has sought sanctuary in a Church after immigration tried to deport him for being involved in a "terrorist organization" (a.k.a. the FMLN - the political party of current President-elect Salvador Sanchez Seren). Read more about his story here.
The cherry blossoms are out at the University of Washington where we held several forums in partnership with the University's Center for Human Rights. You can check out their human rights work here.

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