Hello, Dzien Dobry, Buenos Dias!
Wow, I feel like the journey that has led me here, the adventure that I’m still on, has been less than ordinary, but instead, one comprised of phenomenal experiences, a cascade of serendipitous events, honest soul searching, and a love affair with travel, the world, and all of God’s people that inhabit this crazy place. If I would have met you ten years ago, I would have told you that I had everything figured out; but not today. I'm learning to embrace the idea that even the best laid out plans can change and not much ever goes the way you imagined; even when you think you're sure, especially. There's a poem by Johann Franck that says it better than I can, "Defy the old dragon, defy fear. The world may rage and quake, but I shall remain singing in perfect peace".
My name is Laurie, however I’m known to my family and friends as “Frenny”. There's obviously a long story behind this name, but one that is better shared over a cup of coffee or a pint of beer. And while I have now lived in almost every time zone, and currently reside in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines as a medical student, the time zone I call home is a small town in Kansas. The tastes, sounds, and smells of "my Kansas" are a glorius combination of: homemade ice-cream (the kind you churn in a wooden bucket), bomb-pops on the 4th of July, smells of freshly cut grass and lawn mower gas, my papa's masterfully grilled rib-eye steaks, falling asleep to the sound of summer locusts, cherry limeades, sizzling of frying okra, crackling of campfires, splashes in the lake, and my grandma's midnight chocolate shakes. I fall in the middle of seven siblings; I'm an Auntie to one amazing niece and two incredible nephews; a doggy-mom to three pups that have stolen my heart; a life-long learner; and avid adventurer/globetrotter...my mom often refers to me as her "gypsy" child. My memory book of home is saturated with expeditions on our five-generation, family, farm with my sisters and cousins; youth group adventures and mission trips; pick-up trucks and jeeps; sipping iced-tea with my grandparents; hanging Christmas lights; sports; mapping stars in the Flint Hills; long bike rides; and building tree forts and model rockets. And today, 30 years into this thing, I’m much the same as I am different. My choice meal will always be homemade ice cream and blackberry cobbler; I'd choose a tree house or fort with my nieces and nephews over five-star accommodations any day; I still savor trudging the pastures of the farm and catching sunsets from the middle of the pond; I've found that clear winter nights are the best nights to trace my footsteps in the stars; I can't plant my feet in enough foreign places; repelling down mountains still makes my stomach drop; and I greatly value the love and support that comes from family relationships.
From a young age, I’ve always felt the most alive and "at home" in my own skin, when I was either traveling, in the midst of the outdoors, or submerged in another culture. Much to my mother's chagrin, she can attest to the fact that I've never been one to buy into the idealism of "The American Dream". During my udergraduate and graduate years at Kansas State and Tulane, I plunged, often blindly and sometimes knowingly, into any opportunity that took me geographically and culturally further from my Kansas roots. Whether it be standing on the mountaintops of Central America; in neighborhoods of a post-Katrina, New Orleans; driving the “amber waves of grain” highways of the fly-over states; walking the war-imprinted streets of Poland; or sailing the clear-blue seas of the Caribbean; I've lived a millon, brilliant, terrifying, exciting, and peaceful moments; in what feels like only the time it takes the sun to fade. Honestly, as a person who thrives on discovery and adventure, I admittedly have more questions about life than answers; lofty aspirations and expectations that I may or may not attain; but all of which exist as the catalysts behind my driving force and continued passion to encounter new places and people; fight against social injustices; understand socio-economic disparities; and create sustainable change as a physician in the developing world.
It is my greatest hope as a counselor at Camp Makery, that as my world paradigm continues in its construction process; I will be able to share with other like-minded, fellow, world-visionaries and travelers, my thoughts, my experiences, and my aspirations for making a positive impact on this complex, magnificent, colossal, floating ball, we all call home. More importantly, I hope that you'll feel welcomed to participate in this conversation with me! I'm a big believer in all of the extraordinary and outrageous claims God speaks of our lives and I most definitely believe in the courageousness, power, and goodness of the human spirit!
So here I am, in my clothes, in my life, in my future; continually embarking on a journey that will take me to a place of surprise when life turns out to be nothing like I imagined! I have a Master's Degree in International Health and Development Studies from Tulane University Law School and a Bachelor's Degree in Kinesiology from Kansas State University. Currently, I am a medical student at Trinity School of Medicine in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. During non-study hours, you can usually find me riding bikes with my niece and nephews, volunteering at orphanages or with the local VSPCA, trying my hand at the guitar, walking my dogs at the beach, hiking, or sailing.
Jump on board, hold on tight, and let's Carpe Diem at Camp Makery!