Intentional. It’s not easy to wrap the motive behind every day and every action into one single word, but if I had just one option in an “In my life, I want to be _________” fill-in-the-blank test, it would be intentional. For me, it’s about purpose and integrity. I believe there’s glory in thoughtfulness, contemplative action, and dogged hard work. In my personal life and character, I strive for mindful and active compassion. Active in that I try to carry compassion into not only my daily interactions but also my life choices.
I selected my professional paths — the Air Force, engineering, graduate school, and the messiness of addressing disaster risk reduction — to challenge and strengthen my conscientious muscles. If you were to ask me “So what do you do for a living?” my answer, although ostensibly about my 9-5 occupation, would be as meaningful to me had your inquiry been “Who are you?” Most of my “hobbies” are on some level nerdy, I generally like to read and learn and read and learn and… you get the point. I’ve been thankfully very successful at surrounding myself with people who draw their energy entirely from nature and adventure. They keep me in the mountains, keep me dancing by campfires, and keep me grounded.
Of course, I’m more of an intentional-wannabe. My life is hectic and often haphazardly managed. I have yet to find the type intentionally yogis rave about. The multitude of challenges I’ll concoct to test my character instead primarily test my scheduling abilities. Sometimes, when those character tests aren’t derailed into multitasking missions, I fail. I’ve been brought to my knees by the terrible mix of miscommunication and misjudgments. As a consequence, there are a few people in the world who don’t find me compassionate, intentional, or even respectful. I think of them every day. And then I carry on.
I started this blog to chronicle my time living in the Philippines in 2016. I spent the second half of that year in Tacloban City, Leyte investigating resettlement decision making and site outcomes. My research is motivated by the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, on the strongest storms to ever make landfall, and the subsequent call to forcibly relocated thousands of households.I’m really into holistic risk reduction, integrating social, cultural, economic, geographic and built environment considerations into how we strive for risk reduction, and integrating risk reduction into sustainable development.
Now, near the end of 2018, I have spent 9 months in the Philippines over the past several years. In intervening years, my blog has meandered through very context or relocation-specific posts to sharing personal experiences and commentary. This year, I’m entering the hunt for a career, and with that, I don’t have set plans about where I’ll take this blog or what singular message I should focus on. For now, I just take care to put down words that matter to me and hope that some of them resonate with readers.