Sunday, February 17, 2013


What I want out of my life is for the last year of what I have lived to replay itself in a similar way, while not leaving the people I care about behind me.  I have bounced around three countries for almost six years now, and in the last twelve months got to learn a new language, climb two mountains, and run a biathlon to raise money for people without access to drinking water.  The support I got for the marathon was inspiring, kept me going, and wanting more.  What I want for the rest of my life is this: to inspire and then be inspired back. Five and a half years ago, I was sitting on a rooftop in the outskirts of Lima in the middle of the night thinking about the future.  I made a promise to myself not to take my foot off the gas peddle and learn as much as I can.  I kept that promise to myself, and now want to tie a brick on that pedal and keep going.  The graduation clock is ticking louder and louder, and in eleven weeks I will be done with my MBA. I'm not exactly sure what comes next, but I want this cycle to swing back, get bigger in scope, and include my friends and family in a better way.

Tomorrow I start the last leg of my International MBA. I decided to stay in Rio and do my classes in Portuguese to finish up.  I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous, but at least for me, getting the jitters tells me I am doing something right.  I have never made the comfortable decision, looked back six months later, and thought, "wow that was the right choice."  The right choice for me is always the one that makes me think twice and and a little nervous.  Rio is an incredible city, teeming with life, beaches, forests and interesting people.  My first impressions here are that the people are very personable, expressive and loud.  Stereotypical Rio is beach and sand, but it also has a gritty and melancholy side to it as well.  I'm living in an area called Santa Teresa, up on the hills.  It's safe enough, but close to a pacified slum, or favela called Prazeres. Getting groceries or buying anything involves a fifteen minute bus ride, and then walking around piles of trash on the street and side stepping over bums cracked out on who knows what.  Being able to count someone's ribs that is passed out on the street as I go into the grocery store makes me think twice about what I buy, and also complaining about the hour long wait to check out here.

But you do what you can and try to focus on what is good in life.  It is especially good to be here right now, considering that my passport and visa were lost by the United States Postal Service. I sent my visa application in to the Brazilian consulate in Chicago, with supposedly more than a week than I needed to get it back.  However, do to the inefficiency of two government agencies, I had to go to the post office sorting facility at the airport, help them look for it, and jump on my plane with an hour to spare. That was probably the most stressed out I have been in a few years, and sorry to everyone that had to be around me in the 48 hours before I almost didn't get to go back to Peru and Brazil after almost two months back home for the holidays.

I have been lucky enough to have a lot of visitors down here in South America, 32 at this point right now.  Some of my best memories are traveling around with old friends here, and I am also grateful when someone makes the effort to come to see me.  I was fortunate enough to see most of my close friends over the holidays; I caught up with people in Indianapolis, Chicago, South Carolina, Denver and Las Vegas.  The sign of a strong friendship is no matter how long it has been since you have seen someone, it still feels the same when they tell you that your are acting like a moron.  I have a good number of these friendships, and along with my family, they are what I miss the most about home.  I have no idea where I am going to be after graduation, but these relationships are my number one priority when I go back to the states.

Now as I'm typing this, I'm sitting on a rooftop deck in Rio, watching the sun go down and the  city lights starting to blink back at me.  I'm not going to make the same promise this time, just keep the one I made to myself in Lima what seems like forever ago.  It wasn't, and whatever comes next, I hope it follows the same cycle that my life has seen recently.  I want my life after graduation to inspire and get inspired by others, while not leaving anyone I care about behind.  And also keep that brick on the accelerator, because life is better lived fast and too its fullest.