Hello, it's me

Woah, that was a long stretch.

So why no blogging? There are a few reasons, but what it comes down to is that right now getting my thoughts out there takes a lot of energy, and I am really trying to use that energy to make some sort of impact with street dogs.

Since May I’ve been channeling everything I’ve got into launching my new nonprofit, For the Love of Dogs. It's a registered 501c3 in the US and the current focus is unloved dogs in Argentina and Portugal! 

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/274831

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/274831

I am sure it would be interesting to have been along for that ride with me (the highs, the lows, the I DON’T EFFING KNOWS!), but here is a brief summary of what my journey looks like, so far. I think it is similar to one of those entrepreneur graphs > 

What can I do to help?
Why can’t I find somewhere to volunteer?
Get. Me. Out. Of. Here.
But I love this guy.
Sweet! I can volunteer at a government sterilization center.
No one speaks English.
YAY! Day 1. OOPS, 2 cats escape (my fault), PHEW, caught them! Well that’s an infected hand, 20 punctures is definitely sexy.
I need to learn better Spanish.
Oh I can help write surgery notes.
And suture up ball sacks.
Ok sterilizations are key in helping dogs.
This place needs to be more efficient. Great idea! Make sterilizations more efficient!
Spanish, right, study.
How do I even start a nonprofit.
Ah that’s how.
Nope, this is.
I need to get my vet tech certification.
No, I am a marketer, I can find vets.
Paperwork. Legal Fees. 1 month waiting.
Dogs are so miserable in the streets here. And the world.
I cannot even understand anyone, how could I think I could run a nonprofit. I am lonely.
Who am I to even try?
I have my whole life to get this right. Relax.
Well at least Pato loves me regardless of how many dogs I save.
STUDY SPANISH YOU GODDAMN SLACKER. Ok, un poquito.
Wow I like what this brand is becoming.
Website. Logo. Content. Photos. I got this.
No. Logo. Is. Not. Right.
What even is a nonprofit? Haha, typical me, thinking I can do anything… Sigh.
I haven’t even helped one dog.
OMG we have a rescue dog. And I love her.
OMG more dogs, starving near our home.
I can speak with locals! I convinced them to sterilize the mamas!
This nonprofit is going to earn so much grant and fundraising dollars.
Still no final logo.
I am lonely AF. Why does the world have so many languages?
I hate to do this, but I need another version of that logo.
Ok, more sterilized dogs.
OMG no one will adopt this puppy. I will take care of him till he is better…
Amazing, a group I can volunteer in the streets with and find more in-need dogs.
My Spanish is better, a little.
I can’t put this puppy back on the street.
Headed to the US! Launching the nonprofit! I will be a great success!
And I will bring this puppy!
No one wants this puppy in the US.
OMG MOM WANTS THIS PUPPY.
How the hell does a puppy get into the US?
Get this website just right… And this fundraising campaign. It will be a wild success.
I don’t have the right paperwork.
HOORAH! The US with my little immigrant street dog!
Nonprofits are lots of work.
Ok LAUNCH!
Holy shit, fundraising is a lot of work. This is not EZ money.
Wow, so many people trusted me with their money. Now I have to do things.
22 dogs sterilized!
What do you mean the costs have increased?
I love my mission.
I will effect no change on this godforsaken earth and we will all die due to climate change.
Look what I can do. Save the dogs. Save the world.

it's all worth it to help these guys! thank you Mike Gelen!

it's all worth it to help these guys! thank you Mike Gelen!

You get it. Or maybe you don’t and you think I should be admitted into the psych ward. There are highs and there are lows, but I think that I’m living life with open arms. I’m building a new life with a really amazing guy (today is our 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY!) - 2 months of backpacker romance, to 2 months of separation (while I taught English in Colombia), to intensive, grown-up-style, living together. We’re being creative about what our dreams look like and how we can turn them into a reality. How lucky am I?!

Also, I am so very excited to be able to present the website that I designed for my new brand, For the Love of Dogs here and the first fundraising campaign I have ever launched, 101 Sterilizations. My goal is to make sterilization (spay / neuter) sexy! Yaaaaa! Let's get it!

Also, I definitely couldn't do any of this alone. I am so very thankful to my sweet and sexy boytoy, Pato. To both of my parents and both of their partners. To all of my friends who have been supporting me in my ups and downs and freak out phone calls. To Michael Gelen, for the wonderful logo. To Nikki, for the wise & fun counsel. And to all the dogs, just because. 

Non Zen AF

The last time I wrote I had just exited 10 days of silence and meditation. I am still meditating regularly, and you know what?

I am still the control freak, anxious ball of OCD emotions I always was.

Surprise, sur-fuckin-prise! I was definitely not expecting a metamorphosis from the experience though, and something the instructor said has really stuck with me:

on top of Swaziland

on top of Swaziland

You will still get angry. You will still experience emotions and exhibit bad behaviors, but what used to be 5 hours of anger might only be 3. Regular practice will slowly and consistently continue to improve this.

This was especially true on my Prodigal return to the United States (first time in 15 months) for Christmas. After so long away from one's family I think the traveler tends to romanticize them, idealizing them into a perfect clan - at least I did. Well when I got back, reality struck. I was sleeping on the couch and no one wanted to be my personal chauffeur. Not even for Epic Anderson Animal Rescue Road Trip 2016. 

Despite some letdowns, I was home. And my perfectly imperfect family was there for me, and I for them. Catching up in person was delicious, under-cooked brownie delicious. And the 6 days flew! 

I had dreams...!

This time at home was supposed to be about ridding myself of 80% of my belongings and making travel money from them. Well that sure as hell was not possible, here is why:

  • 6 days (including Christmas) is not long enough to list and sell something online then ship it
  • I am never going to host a garage sale
  • It does not make sense to donate / sell an item that I will end up re-buying in the future
  • Furthermore - as wonderful as Minimalism feels, the concept of un-weighting myself is potentially a burden to the environment if the secondhand shop cannot sell it, thus adding to landfills

So instead, I reduced 8 bins to 4. Then donated a truck full of bags to AMVETS. 

Dreams do come true...

  • I got a new 52 page passport while in Buffalo, they turned it around in 24 hours. This was obviously necessary for my last minute, financially irresponsible jaunt to Zanzibar
  • I thought I needed surgery on my ever-exciting reproductive system - but while in Bogota the doctor was unable to locate any issues via ultrasound! WHATTTTT?! IZ I NORMALZ?
  •  I had thoughts of South America and learning Spanish, and here I sit in Yopal, Colombia typing away. A volunteer opportunity came up teaching kids English and I took it. Teaching is hard. Spanish is hard. Missing someone is hard. And I don't regret the decision for 1 second
  • ❤ I'm in stupid, crazy, last-minute-flight-booking, move-down-to-Argentina-for-you L O V E... Yes. Me. ❤ Headed South in 23 days!

I keep reminding myself of the note in my phone: If I step outside my comfort zone today, then I will grow.

Not all dreams though. Yet.

I haven't started the dog sterilization non-profit yet. I guess we will call this the *leisurely information gathering* phase of my life.