Some important updates

It’s been some time since I’ve posted, and a lot has occurred. I don’t want to belabor this post, but I want to touch on some important areas (I have bolded the main points).

First, as most of you know, my grandmother recently passed away. She was an incredible grandmother who was fundamental to my fantastic upbringing without a mother. From the after-school pick-ups, to purchasing a boat on the pond so I could go fishing, to the big smile that always greeted me when I opened the door to the tranquility of gram’s house.

I wrote a poem for my grandmother’s funeral, which I will share here:

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To be honest, I wrestled quite a bit with whether or not to return home for the funeral. My closest friends here have also faced similar situations; one of the tradeoffs of working on the opposite side of the world.

But with that said, I have booked my flights for my return trip in August. I will be landing in the U.S. on August 15th (Saturday) and will be leaving the U.S. on August 29th (Saturday). I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone.

On the work front, for those who have not heard, I have concluded my work with Proximity Designs and left the organization as of last week. I need to be careful in what I share publicly (out of respect and confidentiality), but at a high level, essentially most of the decision boiled down to two core areas: 1) My inability (whether my fault, the organization’s, or both) to drive improvements in the relative short-term that I felt were critical for the long-term success of Proximity (and the uncertainty of how long it would take to accomplish these items, if at all possible), and 2) A growing inclination that donor-funded financing models may not be the best long-term solution for serving needs that can be addressed with fully market-based solutions (I’m, admittedly, still wrestling with this point).

I am speaking selectively with other organizations about short-term consulting contracts here in Myanmar to buy me some time before committing to a longer-term engagement. I still need time to discern, both geographically and industry-based, where my next step will be. To that end, I’m hoping to do a) Soul-Searching (where do I want to develop my career), b) Praying (where can I best flourish using the gifts that God has given me), and c) Market Research (where are the opportunities where (a) and (b) overlap).

In other news, as I know how much you’ve all enjoyed staying up to date on my gastrointestinal health (haha), here’s the latest addition to the lineup:

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Goodbye parasites!

Apparently you are supposed to take this deworming medication every 6 months. It’s been 10 months, and I’ve been having another bout of stomach issues, so I figure it’s best to rule this out as an issue and take a dose of this stuff (I hear it’s pretty commonly taken here and in the third world in general).

I’ll be honest, my digestive system has been put through the ringer. This has been perhaps the largest unforeseen challenge in moving to Myanmar.

Finally, last weekend I attended the Proximity annual retreat (the last hurrah before my departure) which was a trip to Bagan (I visited Bagan once before and shared about the experience in an earlier post).

Pit stop at Mt. Popa:

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Nature + Temples in Bagan:

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One of my friends who performed at the Proximity talent show:

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