I recently started volunteering for a non-profit cafe in Fort Collins called FoCo Cafe, which stands for Feeding Our Community Ourselves. FoCo Cafe follows the community cafe model which integrates pay as you are able model and often times locally … Continue reading
One of my favorite websites for inspirational tid-bits is “A Mighty Girl.” The site was started to empower and inspire young girls with books, stories, and other resources that represent a positive message for equality. According to the site’s description, “[A Mighty Girl] was founded on the belief that all children should have the opportunity to read books and watch movies that offer positive messages about girls and honor their diverse capabilities.” The site features clothing, books, movies, music, and countless other resources with empowering messages for girls and women of all ages. My favorite part of the site is the daily summary of an empowering woman figure throughout history.
For Labor Day, A Mighty Girl put out a list of books about women and work labor throughout history. This section features a unique section on Rosie the Riveter, which includes an excellent book for young readers about women working on the home front during WWII and a Rosie the Riveter poster, puzzle, action figure, and t-shirts. I had a connection to Rosie the Riveter this Labor Day weekend at an annual bike race in Fort Collins called Tour de Fat. At the festival thousands of Coloradoans dress up in costumes and ride through the streets of the home of New Belgium Brewing company to celebrate the company, and donate to area non-profit organizations. This year I dressed up as Rosie the Riveter as my own little Mighty Girl mission.
I encourage all my followers to visit A Mighty Girl, particularly if you have young children (girls AND boys), to learn more about empowering resources and stories. Find A Mighty Girl on the web at http://www.amightygirl.com/, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/amightygirl on Pinterest at http://pinterest.com/amightygirl/, on Twitter at https://twitter.com/amightygirl, or on Tumblr at http://amightygirl.tumblr.com/.
In the words of the Might Girl staff, “Girls do not have to be relegated to the role of sidekick or damsel in distress; they can be the leaders, the heroes, the champions that save the day, find the cure, and go on the adventure. It is our hope that these high-quality children’s products will help a new generation of girls to grow and pursue whatever dreams they choose — to truly be Mighty Girls!”
If you are not already following “Humans of New York,” my recommendation is to start today. The blog was started by a guy named Brandon in the summer of 2010. Brandon left his job in finance in New York City and started creating a unique and comprehensive “catalogue”of the inhabitants of New York City. His original mission was to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers and document their stories on a map. Along the way he began to ask his subjects questions about their lives along with documenting their stories through photography. He would include short quotes from them with their pictures. The result is an incredible social media site that gives glimpses into the trials and triumphs of everyday people like you and me. It is incredible the result that comes from asking your neighbor a few questions about themselves. The blog now has over nine million followers and in the words of Brandon, gives “worldwide audience with daily glimpses into the lives of strangers on the streets of New York City.” Check out Humans of New York on the blog website and Facebook.
The blog has now teamed up with the United Nations to launch the Humans of New York World Tour. From August-September 2014 the website will be documenting experiences of people around the world. Check out the Website to learn about unique stories from places like Kampala, Uganda.
I recently came across one HONY entry that struck me, and I think hits home for the development world.
“We don’t like pictures like this. It is not good to deduce an entire country to the image of a person reaching out for food. It is not good for people to see us like this, and it is not good for us to see ourselves like this. This gives us no dignity. We don’t want to be shown as a country of people waiting for someone to bring us food. Congo has an incredible amount of farmland. An incredible amount of resources. Yes, we have a lot of problems. But food is not what we are reaching for. We need investment. We need the means to develop ourselves.”
Every aspect of my life involves multitasking. I have been constantly juggling multiple activities for my entire life–so why should my senior year at Colorado State University be any different? My current “tasks” include interning for a local electric vehicle advocacy organization, researching my Capstone thesis “The Impacts of Renewable Energy at Fossil Ridge High School,” trying to keep my 2.5 year old puppy satisfied with sufficient W.A.L.K.s, and the newest addition to the chaos– applying for the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship!
I’ve been multitasking for many years, so why should my blogging be any different? I wrote this blog for my internship with Drive Electric Northern Colorado and it was posted in October 2013. By re-blogging my own blog, I hope to do two things. 1.) Show my lovely followers what I have been doing in the last few months. 2.) Tell you about the passion for energy initiatives, and particularly renewable energy that I have developed over the past year.
October 2, 2013 | Originally Published, Drive Electric Northern Colorado
One of the best parts about being involved in the EV community is the ability to collaborate and take action in a visible and tangible way, against problems that we are all concerned about- like improving our national security by decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, and protecting the environment by reducing tailpipe emissions.
On September 30, 2013 DENC and the communities of Fort Collins and Loveland celebrated National Plug In Day at the Museum of Discovery in Fort Collins. I stood on top of the Discovery Museum with the event photographer and looked down at a parking lot filled with the EV models I have been talking about for the last five months working as an intern with Drive Electric Northern Colorado. From the top of the building I could see the Northern Colorado EV owners smiling and proud to be wearing their black DENC T-Shirts.
National Plug In Day in Fort Collins was an event to gather the EV community to demonstrate the progress we have made to get EVs on the road. With 33 electric vehicles gathered to take photos, the event was a powerful collaboration between local EV owners, EV advocates, and DENC partners who have transferred their fleets to electric- including the cities of Fort Collins and Loveland, Morning Fresh Dairy, and the Fort Collins Downtown Business Association.
As an intern with DENC, I have helped to plan various DENC events, along with my other activities of talking with local businesses about transitioning to electric, and blogging about new EV owners in Northern Colorado. When I started as an intern with Drive Electric Northern Colorado I knew very little about electric cars, but I was eager to learn. I found that after just a few weeks of working with DENC I had learned so much about EVs that that they quickly became an integral part of both my personal and professional life. My friends and family now get annoyed fairly quickly on car rides with be, because I point out every EV model on the road as we drive.
Part of my “job” as an intern is to occasionally drive a Nissan Leaf. I love the ability to bypass the gas station and spend the extra time advocating for EVs. I also love the opportunity to talk to people about EVs at random places and times, like in the parking lot of the grocery store. It’s pretty evident that while working with EVs started as my job, over the past five months they have slowly turned into my passion.
National Plug In Day and other DENC events act as a way to not only bring our Northern Colorado EV family closer together, but also to draw in more individuals to join the EV community. The DENC events allow me to meet each EV owner and to hear their stories about going electric. We then bond over our love of the torque on the Leaf or the Volt, or the latest news about Tesla or the soon-to-be released electric BMWs. Electric Vehicles have intensified the sense of community in Northern Colorado, and have given yet another way for Coloradoans to take action in our world today.
Written by Annie Freyschlag
Intern with Drive Electric Northern Colorado
A “Solutionary” is a person who takes action in the world against concerns that they see around them—from global issues to smaller issues in one’s life. Zoe Weil, the Co-Founder of The Humane Education Project, came up with this term, … Continue reading
A multimedia video blog about the benefits of “Voluntourism” in the Dominican Republic. Music by Jack Johnson
Video, photos, text by Annie Freyschlag
Students in this film were participants in the 2011 ISV Project in the Dominican Republic
ReBlogged from Cristao408. I think this is a wonderful view of one way our global society can unite in our pain and progress forward, together.
Originally posted on christao408:
In remembrance of the 9-11-2001 attacks, I humbly suggest that we need to move beyond thinking of ourselves in terms of our nationality, our religion, or our race. We need to start thinking of ourselves as human beings. Only then will peace truly be possible. Easier to say than to do, but let’s use today as an opportunity to move towards that goal.
My godson, Owen Daniel was born on August 23rd, just as I was stepping off the plane into South Korea. I held him for the first time when he was about six hours old, as soon as I arrived at the hospital on the Yongson US Army Base.
Cultural standards for eye contact vary across the world. In the United States, we are quite forward with our mannerisms according to other cultures. In many countries I have visited including Spain, Dominican republic, Greece, and others, intense eye contact can signify other emotions that can offend or cause unwanted problems. I think the exception for this is when you are looking into the eyes of a newborn baby or a small child. When I hold my godson and look into his eyes, he looks right back at me and seemingly into my soul. There are no cultural barriers, there are no differences, just two beings and a whole lot of love.
Yesterday I went adventuring to the Changdeokgung Palace and Gyeongbokgung Palace. I walked through the palaces constructed in 1405 and 1395, and felt the history of each dynasty that lived through those walls. I drank cold plum tea sweetened with honey, from the modern cafe that has been recently built in the courtyard of Changdeokgung Palace. I analyzed the intricate designs that colored the outside of the royal buildings and I imagined the king being carried around within the walls of the palaces- the king was seen as an extension of the heavens, so he never walked directly on the ground (Jiwoo Song, 2013).
Later, as I toured the Secret Garden behind the palace, I learned of all the stories of the king who built the castle. In front of his library were three doors- one large part in the middle and two small doors on the side. The middle door was for the King, and the side doors were for his servants. But above the door is a Korean inscription that describes the relationship between a fish and water because the king understood that his relationship with his servants was similar- a fish cannot live but a few moments without water, and likewise the king could not live without his servants.*
Also in the Secret Garden of Changdeokgung Palace were a few beautiful ponds, but one in particular that stuck in my mind. This pond was built to symbolize the relationship between the universe and the earth. The water represented all that is the universe, all-welcoming and all-encompassing. The little patch of land in the center of the pond represents the earth.*
I wandered with the tour through the Secret Garden for hours, lost in the sounds of the acacias and flowing streams. When I finished the tour I was exhausted, but had somehow rediscovered a sense of optimism for the world we live in. Understanding history and connecting it with the present has a way of doing that- reconfiguring the mind to see the light and life of this planet. That’s another reason I love to travel, it allows me to literally and figuratively touch history.
When I finished with my historical ramblings, I hopped on the subway (that’s putting it lightly, more like “got lost six or seven times on the subway”) and eventually arrived back at the home of my friends, and the house of my baby godson. After showering to get the yucky subway off my clothing and body, I picked up that little ball of future, light, connection, hope, serenity, and I looked into those eyes that shined with the new life of an eight day-old. It was at that moment that the experience of my day came full circle. I was content to be standing with that baby in my arms and the soles of my feet pressed firmly into the ground, ready to remain a constant in this child’s life. I was ready to relay the experiences of my life to him in the most open and affirming way possible- to allow him to explore this world without fear, but with a critical eye. I hope to be a friend and to show him that he is also mine. But the most important thing I hope to tell him is that the way those eyes view the world in intricately connected with the way he will make an impact on it. I will continue to remind him (as I have already written it in his first book) that I hope for him to see the beauty in this world so he will emphasize that and help it to grow.
I will tell him with my eyes until I can tell him with my words, that he is the light and the beauty in this world and I can’t wait to see the footprints he makes on this earth.
*Facts from my tour guide at Changdeokgung Palace, I have not confirmed in my own research.
I like adventure. I find that I am able to think most clearly when I am in the middle of a city I don’t know, in a country that is foreign to me, surrounded by people I have never met. Today I found myself standing on the corner of a busy intersection in downtown Seoul having just told my friends to drop me off because the kids were getting fussy and my friends needed to take them home for a nap. So there I was, umbrella in hand and Birkenstocks already soggy, ready for an adventure (it always seems to be raining when I have my best adventures).
When I have no plans and no ideas in mind, I usually find the most interesting things- it must have something to do with minimal expectations. I started walking in the opposite direction of the way I knew took me back to where I am staying. I passed a corner restaurant that made dumplings, and I made a mental note to return because it smelled amazing. I kept walking and when it felt right (I always adventure on the basis of impulse) I took a left hand turn down a side-street, made note of my surroundings, and continued on my way. I walked in the front door of teapot shop filled floor to ceiling with teapots of every make and color, and I walked out the side door onto another side street. When I looked right out of the shop I was surprised to find there was an outdoor market, exactly like what I had been wanting to visit while in Korea! Colorful umbrellas sheltered the vendors from the rainy day. Little old Korean men selling socks, fruit, and other things lined the small street, chattering and looking up with curious eyes. We bowed to each other as I walked past.
I bought a few Korean pears, which are my favorite. If you haven’t tried one, it’s like a pear and an apple combined in a juicy explosion of perfection. I continued through the nuts, the spices, the meat, and the fish- ohhh the fish. Dead fish, live fish, flat fish, long fish, puffy fish, shellfish, every single kind of fish. While they were amusing, their smells were not. I still stayed over the amount of time I probably should have for the odor-removing power of my homemade laundry detergent back home.
When I had my fill of the market I walked out and found a corner restaurant with Gimbap, the Korean version of Sushi. Of course I had to purchase when I learned it was only 1,200 Korean Won (Roughly $1). They rolled it up in tin-foil and I ate it while walking… fast food, anyone?? At this point I was soaking wet but most certainly content, so I half-hardheartedly decided to find my way home.
Just as soon as I started walking I got distracted again at the possibility of more adventure. I spotted a restaurant where everyone had to take their shoes off at the door. I had just eaten and half of my mind was telling me that I could eat at a similar restaurant later this week, but that would have totally violated my theory of, “If not now, when?”… so I went in.
I was led over to a table and sat on my mat on the floor. I quickly discovered that no one spoke English there, but after a quick game of charades involving myself, the waitress and the two young Korean women at the table next to me, I placed my order. While I waited I checked out the rest of the room and noticed the diversity in ages of everyone sitting in the small restaurant. There was a young couple in the corner with their eyes glued to their smart phones (that’s not just a US American thing) and a group of little old women chatting and laughing at the table opposite of me. In the corner of the restaurant a 20-something guy sat by himself reading a book on his phone, and of course there were my silly “friends” at the table next to me who left shortly after that, smiling to me as they left the room.
My food came quickly, but not before the manager came over and adjusted the fan so it was directly on me (I must have looked tired and lost). They unloaded seven different bowls of Kimchi, a traditional food of pickled vegetables, and my bowl of noodles. They must have cooked the soup right in that little black bowl because it came out to me still bubbling. The soup was incredible, just the right amount of flavor, salt, heat and substance. I struggled with the noodles in the bowl, they were a clear rice noodle that were very slippery. Once again, I accidentally dropped my metal chopsticks on the table, making a lot of noise in the quiet restaurant, but I had already made “eye-contact friends” with everyone in the room so they just smiled and giggled with me. I scraped the bowl to the very bottom.
When I finished my food I got up, said “Homsomnidad (thank you)” to the waitress and manager, bowed very low (a sign of respect, especially in the presence of elders) and told them in English how much I loved the food- I think they still got the point. I found my soggy Birkenstocks and set out onto the brick streets, under the dipping trees, looking for the next part of my adventure.
Last night I walked out of Hannam Village and onto the busy street corner with the smell of noodles and Korean coffee easing from every brick building- it was almost time for the dinner rush and the smells of South Korea were filling the streets. I walked slowly down the street taking in all the smells and looking in all the shop windows. I finally found the little restaurant I had in my mind all day- I had seen it earlier that day when I went out to a bakery. The little old woman who owned the restaurant opened the door to greet me and we bowed to each other slightly as I said, “annyeonghaseyo,” or Hello. I sat at the table closest to the window and as I sat down she handed me a menu in Korean. I sat there looking confused for a few minutes before she brought me a menu in English.
I have traveled a lot in my 21 years, but this was one of the first countries I have traveled to where I can’t read the phonetics of their language (Greek being the other). It’s a slightly intimidating feeling not being able to communicate at all, partly my fault for not working harder at learning the basics before I arrived. There are a few people who speak English here, but for the most part I am incredibly lost. That’s one of my favorite feelings though.
I decided to order a Gimbap, a Korean version of Sushi and a side of Udon. The woman came up to my little table by the door, I pointed to what I wanted, and we bowed our heads to each other when she understood what I wanted.
When I sat down by myself I began to feel a little self- conscious, thinking things like, what are people thinking when they see me, what do I do with my hands, what do I do to entertain myself? After a few minutes though, my mind stopped with the thoughts about myself and I began to think externally again. It was at that point that I looked around and saw that there were a few other Korean women eating by themselves too. I watched the feet of the Korean Nationals walk by outside the glass door- it was dinnertime and everyone was bustling around to get their food.
My food came pretty quickly and I said, “Homsomnidad (Thank you)” as she walked away. I took a picture of the beautiful dish and quickly realized I had no idea what I was doing (once again). No one else had received their food yet and I had no idea how to use the utinsles, so I just began with my basic knowledge of Americanized Japanese food, and picked up the metal chopsicks. I took a bite of my colorful Gimbap and let the flavors explode. It was so fresh. I also ate the Udon noodles with the chopsticks, but I’m still unsure as to whether I did that correctly or not. Once, when I reached for another piece of Gipbap, I dropped the metal chopstick and it clanked loudly on the table in the small restaurant of 5 tables. I laughed quietly at myself, picked my chopstick up, and tried again.
A Korean couple sat down at the table next to me and decided they didn’t like the Korean music on the radio, so they played their Bob Marley loudly on their iPhones (ahhh, Globalization). The owner of the restaurant didn’t even flinch, which surprised me seeing as her restaurant was quite small and there were quite a few other customers. As I sat there at my tiny table, watching the feet of the Koreans pass by the door in front of me, my thoughts sank deeper and deeper with every bite of Udon. Toward my final bites, my thoughts clustered around the thought of humanity. There are some things that are just universally human, like that guy who just ran into a chair and made an “Ugh” sound, looking quickly at the ground awkwardly- I would have done the same thing. I’m not sure if I ever cared about differences between people, but especially in that moment on the last bite of tasty Udon noodles I thought to myself, humans are humans, whether I am sitting next to them in an inactive war zone, or a coffee shop in my hometown in the Rocky Mountains.
When I finished, the sun had begun to set and I was ready to go home. I walked slowly out the door, nodded and said “Homsomnidad” to the kind owner once more. Then I slowly wandered back to the gates of where I am staying, full belly and happy heart.