Last evening I wanted to get outside and soak up the good weather so I took off on my bike. The sun was going down as I peddled towards the west edge of campus and out on the running path behind the ag science buildings. You can't tell it's a university out there, with all the barns and sheep and cows and open fields. And with the sun going down and the hills in the distance, it's beautiful.
Though the day was hot, the evening was cool and I was pretty cold by the time I made it out to Bald Hill. Plus it was getting dark so I figured it was time to turn around (and I have not ridden my bike so hard in a while so I was a bit tired!).
The summer days and nights we've been having are awesome, and my school schedule is busy but not terrible so I've been enjoying it. Last weekend Dad, Kyla, and I did a trip to the library and I got some books off my ever-expanding "to read" list... a medley of business bestsellers, philanthropist memoirs, and indie releases. I haven't had the chance to read in a while so this week has been a treat so far. Usually my laptop (blogs, pinterest, ...;) is my mealtime companion during the week at school, but this week I've been engrossed in the culture and adventure of the Himalayas. The book is "Three Cups of Tea" and it is about this man named Greg Mortenson who attempted to climb K2 and just about died, but ended up wandering into an impoverished village in the mountains. So moved by the kindness he was shown there, he promised to return and build a school -- their "school" consisted of all 82 local kids self-teaching their own lessons using sticks in the dirt, save for the two days a week a traveling teacher came through. No building, no materials. And only 4 of the 82 students were girls. Greg was just scraping by financially in America, yet he made it happen: this is the story of his school and what turned into building 55 schools in the forbidding terrain that is the Karakoram mountains. It is a captivating book so far and incites a good reflection over priorities. There have been two thoughts so far that I've found especially provoking:
One of them, commenting on the Balti culture being so isolated from the world--- a village carved into this dangerous mountain range, asks: "Isn't it better to live in ignorance of everything--asphalt and macadam, vehicles, telephones, television--to live in bliss without knowing it?" This is hard to imagine since we've been born knowing this life, but seeing the stress on our families' faces and the endless time-sinking activities that give us few of the returns we seek makes me wonder what a life of ignorance would be like. Maybe we have it backwards: we pity them, but if they knew what messed up priorities our society had they would pity us. In the middle of the school-building process, Greg describes the whole village spending their evenings in the golden sunsets, sitting on their roofs and talking to each other across the rooftops. I cannot even imagine a season of this level of carelessness (in a wonderfully positive way) in America: there is always something to worry about or some next task to get started on. And I think we miss out on much of God's beauty and purpose with this mindset.
Ok enough of my soapbox. The other thought was very similar to this: "I used to assume that the direction of 'progress' was somehow inevitable, not to be questioned," [Helena Norberg-Hodge writes]. "I passively accepted a new road through the middle of the park, a steel-and-glass bank where a 200-year-old church had stood... and the fact that life seemed to get harder and faster with each day. I do not anymore. In Ladakh I have learned that there is more than one path into the future and I have had the privilege to witness another, saner, way of life--a pattern of existence based on the coevolution between human beings and the earth."
Maintaining this balance is something I want to be deliberate about as I bridge the gap between college and real life.
On a less reflective note, it was a wonderful weekend last weekend -- having Tressa home and getting some good car talks after setting tables for church lunch, getting my first swim of the season, and introducing Costco's black bean burgers to my family (which are absolutely delicious and better than real hamburgers. No joke. My dad even loved them).
Ok I should stop this midweek hiatus and get back to writing my globalization paper.. . which, incidentally, is about how we measure progress (shockingly, there is something called the Happy Planet Index, which measures how happy people are with their lives, and no surprise the US is not doing so hot).
I'm a twenty-something from the Pacific NW making home in new places as I follow where God leads.
My intent is to show Christ's love to the world and use business to solve some of the social problems we face: hunger, illiteracy, healthcare, economic hardship. For now, I'm in a stage of learning. A little adventuring, a few books, some good friends, and a whole lot of prayer and life runs on.