Thank you David Bonderman!

Because of Mr. Bonderman's generosity, I have been given the opportunity to travel the world and learn about culture. As a Bonderman Travel Fellow I plan on traveling through Western and Eastern Europe, East Africa, Northern India and Southeast Asia. I am excited to experience new and amazing things that will better enable me to empower and inspire the next generation of young students.

ALSO!!! If you are interested in following the nasty development of my beard and can follow it at

Sunday, October 24, 2010


"A picture is worth a thousand words?" Cape Town has taught me that a picture can start a 1000 word conversation with a stranger, initiate a friendship, break down barriers and capture glimpses of the moments we wish to treasure. It isn't the picture that I find valuable, but the idea of stopping time, freezing the moment, creating eternity.

It seems as though we love pictures because of our inate desire to eternalize momentary joy, love, happiness, excitement, etc. Unfortunately, when we look back at a picture, we only see a small glimpse of the moment we had. We miss out on the sounds, the context, the emotions, the realness...the true experience. I think natural beauty and God similarly relate. Beauty is a mere glimpse of who created this world. Snow-tipped mountain peaks, seemingly endless oceans, a new-born child, a couple celebrating their 50th anniversary, an unlikely stranger lending a hand, the calmness of a sunset and the excitement of a marriage proposal are tiny glimpses of something more...something truer. Just as pictures miss out on the full experience, worldly beauty doesn't include the fullness of the God who created it...we're looking at a snapshot of something much more beautiful, much more satisfying, much more thirst-quenching.

I'll look back on the Capetonian pictures and remember meeting those strangers (Notizi and Palesa), Joburg Bar, show-repairman-(or woman)-Stanton, the knife point mugger, very late nights, Table Mountain, Uncle Thami, Food Inn 24/7, late night Internet Cafe hang out and falling asleep at 5 am...But it isn't these things that will bring me the truest's the newfound friendships with Notizi and Palesa that will last through fire, tsunami, earthquake, etc. when the pictures won't.

The moment is over, the picture has been taken...but the story isn't over, I have new friends, there is more to be written...

Monday, October 18, 2010

After only a week in Joburg I've learned a lot...

Education can be as different as chalk and cheese...

On Friday I visited a lovely school in northern Joburg called HeronBridge College (college=high school). It's a small christian school with the most beautiful high school campus I've seen in my life. The faculty members were welcoming, the students were motivated and I had a blast! As I was leaving I said, "I might come back to Joburg just to teach at this school..." Fantastic place

Today (Monday) I experienced something a little different. Kingsway is a school for under-privileged kids living in "squatter camps." "Squatter camps" are similar to "Tent City" in Seattle, except much bigger...basically, hundreds of homeless families congregate in an open field and start building "homes" out of cinder blocks, rebar, tin sheets, cardboard, etc. Eventually, when violence and corruption overrun the camp, the government goes in with bull dozers to destroy the "houses". The families are forced to move out and find another field for their home. Sometimes "squatter camps" can be around for years before they get destroyed. The particular camp that most of the Kingsway students live in is just 5 km from the school. Eye opening! I was much more involved with the kids at this school than I was at HeronBridge on Friday....I taught 6th/7th graders a lesson on fractions and co-taught a class of 1st/2nd/3rd graders. It was SUPER challenging, but incredibly rewarding. As I was leaving I said, "I might come back to Joburg just to teach at this school..." Inspiring place

Along with South African education, I've learned a lot about the Marshall family! I couldn't have asked for a better welcoming than what I've received from the Marshall's extended family. I've stayed at three different Marshall houses, taken part in a big family dinner (including cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and pets), been escorted all over Joburg and have sincerely bonded with many of them :) I finally understand where Stephen gets his good looks and how he managed to bag such an awesome babe (it seems as though all of the Marshalls have found the sweetest/warmest/friendliest spouses in all of South Africa...) I couldn't say thank you enough!

I'm off to Soweto (township outside of Johannesburg) tomorrow....Then flying to Cape Town on Thursday! Woohoo

Monday, October 11, 2010


Although I flew on this plane

I made it to South Africa! WOOHOO!

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Italy Experience

It's hard to believe, but I've been tromping through Italy for three weeks now! Before leaving the states, I NEVER planned on spending more than a week in a single country...But looking back on these last three weeks, I wish I could have more time's been beautiful

Here is the update:

Venice (Sept. 16-Sept. 18)
-Became lifelong friends with a Hungarian student studying abroad in Italy for a semester. Zsolt and I agreed that if either of us visit each other's home countries in the future, we'll have a place to stay :)
-Successfully explored almost every Venetian street in a matter of 2.5 hours and wandered aimlessly for the next 1.5 days.
-Overcame all previous urges to visit Venice and will not return unless someone pays me to :)

Florence (Sept. 18-Sept. 21)
-I was looking quite haggard (as expected with a 2+ month-old beard) on the train from Venice to Florence, BUT, fortunately, I was wearing my Jermaine O'neal Blazers jersey...a contagiously outgoing oregonian girl saw past the seattle grunge and introduced herself. Turns out she is from Ptown, a Baylor student, and studying in Florence this semester with 7 other american girls...God is good! The result: 4 unbelievable days exploring Florence as a true insider. I learned Florentine secrets that I'll take to the grave. I never thought my jersey would bring such good fortune.
-O ya and Michaelangelo's David was cool too

Cinque Terre (Sept. 21 -Sept. 23)
-Clear blue skies, the beautiful mediterranean, 40+ ft cliffs, and Birra Morretti...could it have been better? I guess if Eney, Kruse and Brock were there with us.

Roma: Round 1 (Sept. 23- Sept. 26)
-Spent three awesome days exploring with Zach Hunter and Matt Woods (a fellow traveler we met in Northern Ireland)
-Colloseum, Pallatine Hill, Forum, St. Peters Basilica, ...and countless other ancient marvels
-Finally said goodbye to the last of the UW travel companions. Zach left from the train station in Rome at 10:52 pm on September was really hard (I kinda wanted to go with him)
-SHAVED off the beard :/

Italy with my DAD: Roma, Umbria, Tuscany, Chianti, Piedmont (Sept. 28 - Oct. 11)
-Major adjustment going from a 36 euro/day budget (including room, food, travel, etc.) to having dinner that costs more than 36 euros...but I made the adjustment just fine :)
-Spent 4 glorious days in Roma and fell in love with Gian Lorenzo Bernini, an Italian artist known as the Michaelangelo of the Baroque era. If you ask me, Michaelangelo is the Bernini of the Renaissance era...his work at the Borghese Galleria was insane!!
- Amazing food and wine tours through various areas north of Roma. Our travels included Orvieto, Fabbri, Montefalco, Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino, Greve in Chianti, Firenze, Monterosso al Mare, Santo Stefano Belbo and Alba.
-A few more towns are on the docket, but nothing is certain :)
-Dad leaves for Portland and I leave for Joburg on Monday, the 11th

Travelling with pops has been awesome! Much different than I originally expected, but unbelievable. I feel like we've both learned a lot about each other during these two intense weeks. A couple of conversations have opened up some relational avenues that didn't exist before. We're making bonds that will really last forever.

But, its a little awkward because every Italian that we meet is surprised to hear that we are father and son. They say (to my dad), "You look too young to be his father." We wonder what kind of relationship they think we have. Are we brothers? Or something more? We've chosen to decide that they think we're brothers. Thats okay with us, because we kind of are...I grew up kicking his ass at almost everything...and I've always said that I got the good looking genes