Dearest friends & readers,
This has been, hands down, the absolute busiest month of my life!
As many of you know, my family recently moved from Ananda Village in Nevada City, CA to the Ananda community in Portland Oregon. There is so much to share, I'm a bit overwhelmed at the prospect of writing to you all. The lessons that we are learning in this unique moment are so many that they will fill the pages of this blog for months to come. But, before I go waxing philosophical with you, I thought I should catch you up on the basics of this crazy amazing ride.
So, here's the week by week review since the big move!
NOTE: I started my wonderful new job as Chief Development Officer for Born Free USA ten days prior, so that factors into why this was such an amazing and busy time!
July 2 to 8 - 3,2,1 Blast Off!
The week of our move was huge. We jammed in a zillion goodbyes, sleepovers, packing, cleaning, blessing from our community, and a fourth of July celebration to remember. Thanks to our amazing friends on both sides of the move, we landed safely in our new home with every item accounted for! We were EXHAUSTED, excited, happy to be here, sad to say goodbyes...feeling all the feels for sure.
But, no sleep for us, we leapt right into the endless to-do list of health insurance, car insurance, utilities, library cards, address updates, DMV. You name it, we did it. My brother Kashi was a lifesaver, taking the kids on adventures with his kids while we got all this stuff done.
Upon reflection, the first five days were pretty brutal. The kids were amazingly resilient and brave by day, meeting new people and experiencing new things with grace. But the evenings were tough. That's when the accumulation of emotional charge and exhaustion would spill over. Those first nights were marked by many tears and it took all of our strength to hold the space for our family to transition.
July 9 to 15 - Rubber Meets the Road
It was back to work time for us, both Badri and me. Badri was able to take it slower, thanks to the Ananda Portland team's understanding and support. Still, the kids needed something to do during the days, so Badri took them to the local community center (Garden Home Rec Cntr) to see what was available.
Jay leapt into a fencing class that very morning like a fish to water! He parried and lunged about for three hours a day, arriving home sweaty and happy by lunchtime ready for some down time and food while we continued our workday. Tulsi jumped headlong into Code Ninjas and learned to create wearable technology, a robotic pet, and introductory computer coding. She was surrounded by Minecraft obsessed 9 year old boys, but she engaged herself fully in the learning and had a blast.
At Born Free USA, I continued the work of conducting a fundraising audit, which includes hours of meaningful conversations with my team and colleagues across the organization. More hours pouring over resources, databases, and documents. This is such an exciting step and I love it so much. Through the process of a fundraising audit, we get to look with fresh eyes at the people, purpose, structure, and resources currently in place to raise money and fulfill our mission. We look for patterns, opportunities, challenges. We listen for clues to decipher where there is promise and where the barriers exist.
Badri started with community maintenance, since he was taking it slow and steady. The community also hosted a delicious veggie burger BBQ to welcome us.
And, we bought a car! I tried to name her Rosita, she's a red Subaru, but the name didn't stick and we simply call her Subi. Buying a used car from a private sale was a scary venture. We have been burned in the past and had to sift through a shocking number of suspicious listings before we found what we were looking for...a reliable car that passed a mechanical inspection, Carfax report, clean title, and belonged to someone who took good care of it. We are very happy with our Subi and fit right in around here - every other car in Portland is a Subaru it seems. She feels sturdy, has a back-up camera (a longtime desire of mine), and a hatchback for our future pooch.
No, the week was not done yet. Then Chi arrived at Oregon Horsemanship! I was thrilled to have him with us once more and we had a whole lot of adjusting to do...him to his new surroundings and life, me to life farther from my horse.
July 16 to 22: Leadership on the Road
This week found us with new summer camps, momentum building in our work, AND my first business trip - a horse event in the Bay Area after more than sixteen months away from facilitating group workshops. The event was no small re-entry point either, it was a half day leadership development training at the Stanford Red Barn for a client from my TeachingHorse network. So, I packed my bags and headed to Palo Alto less than two weeks after unpacking in my new home!
Was I nervous? Yes. Was it amazing? Absolutely. Did it all feel kinda crazy given the timing? Um...yes. But, I added in a meeting with a generous Born Free donor who lives in the Bay Area and found the week to be one of the most rewarding EVER!
While I was galivanting the Bay Area, Jay was in his first week of UK Soccer Camp and Tulsi attended Camp Willows. They each made friends and had a blast. Now in their second week of new camps, new friends, and new experiences, Badri and I became awestruck by how adaptable they were and what incredible attitudes they maintained, even on the days when things didn't go as well as we'd hoped.
I arrived home Friday night, just in time to kiss my beautiful family. I had a sizable donation in hand for Born Free, a huge dream of mine fulfilled - teaching at the Stanford Red Barn - and a whole lot of gratitude in my heart for this incredible life I have been given to live.
July 23 to 29: Monkey Business
This week was marked by Badri's first Sunday Service talk (Do We Need a Guru?) and my parents first week-long visit with us in our new home. The kids enjoyed a slightly slower pace with Jay in his own Code Ninjas afternoon camp learning to make video games and Tulsi taking a breather. My parents played with the kids all week and enjoyed all four of the grandkids who live here in Portland (Calla, Olive, Tulsi, and Jay).
By Tuesday, I was stepping back onto an airplane though. This time I was headed to Born Free's world-class primate sanctuary in Southern Texas for a tour of the sanctuary and meetings with my colleagues and supporters. Angela, our CEO, and I landed in Austin Texas and enjoyed the 90 minute drive together to reach our team in San Antonio. The next morning, we all piled into the van for another 90 minute drive to Dilley Texas and the sanctuary.
What an amazing place it is. Our sanctuary is home to 245 rescued monkeys, mostly from the pet trade, laboratories, and roadside zoos. Many have been highly traumatized in their lives and want nothing to do with humans, but a few are curious and happy to see us. Thankfully, the sanctuary is not open to the public, so these sweet little ones need not worry about too many humans staring in at them.
July 30 to August 5th: Horse Time Round #2
Home again, home again! SOOOOO much good stuff came out of my time with the Born Free team in Texas. Ideas, energy, enthusiasm, and a clarifying way forward. One of the deep learnings from my work with TeachingHorse is how to find clarity during times of chaos. The key is to create meaningful connections with one another. It's one of those nuggets that horses teach us, if we have ears to hear. Time with the Born Free team was exactly the connection we needed to move toward clarity together.
On the docket this week was cheer camp for Tulsi, UK soccer camp round #2 for Jay, digesting all those ideas with my team at Born Free, and my first TeachingHorse event in Portland. WOWIE! Two horse events in one month after a whole year hiatus was truly something! My dear friend and the woman who taught me nearly all that I know about strategic planning flew in from Atlanta to attend. My TeachingHorse colleagues descended at the end of the week and the fun began!
I know I've mostly updated about myself and the kids. All this while, Badri is as busy as the rest of us finding a path forward with the Ananda Portland team. As a dedicated observer of organizational psychology, this period where we are both landing into new team settings and finding our way has been some of the best learning yet. Those learnings will be in the blogs to come, but for now we're keeping this a personal update.
August 6 to August 12: Four Legged Friend
Not to be outdone by the bigness of prior weeks, week five has brought to us another HUGE update. Today we welcomed Hector into our hearts and home. We found him at Oregon Humane Society. He's a 1.5 year old retriever mix who was shipped here from a shelter in California. He's an Oregon transplant too.
We've had him for only a few hours and we're all getting to know each other. He's sweet, gentle, fun loving, and curious. He seems a bit uncertain about men, but we don't know his past and we aren't going to hold him stuck there. It'll take some adjusting on all of our parts, but with patience and kindness we will become a family soon enough. We're smitten.