Friday, May 9, 2014

Tattooed in Bali

I have always wanted a tattoo…yep, I first wanted to get some cool Japanese writing, then a barb wire arm band, and then something to show my Irish family pride with a Hynes family crest that I found on the internet (could never confirm if it was actually my “Hynes” family or not).

Yet, over the years I never actually got a tattoo…and thank goodness!

However, when my mom passed away after losing her an unbelievably courageous battle with breast cancer something deep inside me told me that I needed to do something in her honor…and so once again, I thought about getting a tattoo.

Would I get her name? Maybe an angel? Or, perhaps somehow weave my (unconfirmed) family crest and her initials or something…At the end of the day I really didn't know exactly what I wanted.

Then one day I was struck by the obvious, there is a powerful quote in one of my mom’s journals that we decided should be on her tombstone that reads: 

“Live your life with eyes, ears, heart and soul open.”

It really sums up her approach to life…and something that reminds me of the remarkable woman my mom was and always will be to me.  

That’s it!

That’s what I should get as my one and only tattoo and not for anyone but myself…I decided that it made the most sense to put the words on my inner bicep, so that it rests near my heart and at anytime I can look at those words for inspiration and guidance. And like her, I want to live my life using that philosophy.

Yet, even with a clear vision and strong conviction I don’t think I would have actually went through with it if it weren't for my sister Stephanie.

She managed to get the time off of work AND get my dad and step mom to watch her son to make it over here in Bali. A truly once in a lifetime experience and opportunity to spend time with her brother on the other side of the world!

When she arrived, I floated the idea to her of getting tattoos but I really didn’t think she would want to go through with it…but I was WRONG!

She decided on getting butterfly's on her shoulder…after all they were mom’s favorite animal and like the quote, they too were on moms grave. She decided on getting 6, to symbolize mom’s birthday (October 6th) and coincidentally: the number of people in our family, day of the tattoo (May 6th), her son’s birth month…you get the idea ;)

At couple points…I grew hesitant…and then my sister…We could see my dad over the years telling me Why would you want to put graffiti on your body??

It was certainly a good point…and is frankly why it had taken me so long. However, in the end we stood firm and found a tattoo parlor with great reviews called Paradise Ink and went in and finalized the design and scheduled it for the following morning…the same day my sis would be on a plane back home to Seattle.

A nerve racking experience, and more painful than I thought – it felt like someone was trying to twist my skin off for 40 minutes...ouch!
STENCIL OF MY FUTURE TATTOO
I NEEDED MY SIS TO HOLD MY ARM UP FOR THE STENCIL PLACEMENT...MY ARMS CAN BE A LITTLE HEAVY!




I MAY BE A LITTLE OVER DRAMATIC HERE...BUT IT BECOMES VERY REAL ONCE YOU FEEL THAT INK FIRST BREAKING YOUR SKIN!



THE AC WASN'T WORKING TOO WELL SO STELL HAD TO STEP IN AND COOL DOWN THE TATTOOIST WITH AN OLD FASHIONED FAN! ;)




AWESOME SHOT FROM STEL...

HOLY CRAP! I DID IT!



STEPH'S BUTTERFLY STENCIL
ESTELLE, DID A GREAT JOB TO GET THIS SHOT! ;)
HOLDING MY SISTERS HAND...LIKE I SAID...IT HURTS!

STEPH'S 6 BUTTERFLY'S



POST TATTOO WITH OUR ARTIST! 
With the experience completed – I couldn't think of a better and more epic way for my sister to end her experience with me in Bali…Getting tatted up! And more so than that, paying tribute to our mom...who we knew was looking down on us with a big smile on her face ;)

-Kurt

 
MISS YOU MOM! 

  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Choosing To Make A Difference

Have you ever had the sinking feeling that maybe you should make a difference? Have you reflected on your life and realized…man, I am so, so lucky!

Well, I do that all the time!

I was fortunate to be born into a good family, always had food on the table, clothes on my back, went on vacations, got a good education, got a good job, and am healthy enough to enjoy it all…I mean what more could you want ?

This feeling, just like other thoughts or emotions, comes and goes. For me it surges when I come face to face with those suffering from a disability, serious illness, or especially when I see those facing extreme poverty – especially children.

“Something must be done!” I’d say, but just like many other things eventually that sense of urgency and motivation to act would fade away, only to reemerge days, weeks, or months later.
(TAKING IN THE BEAUTY OF BALI)

TIME FOR CHANGE


I’ve met some awesome people during my time here in Bali, and one of those folks is Dustin. Or, as I like to call him “Brother Teresa” because of his selfless work that he does all of the time for those in need. In a day of age where everyone is so “me centric” broadcasting any and everything they do on Facebook or Instagram for self promotion (I am just as guilty as anyone else). This dude does the exact opposite – when he really should because unlike most of the junk out there, the things that he does truly do make a positive difference.

Talking to Dustin, it’s not uncommon to hear things like “I’m going to the Philippines to help with the Tsunami efforts” – or - “…going to the village to build a water tank this weekend”, etc…

Talk about feeling like a lazy, selfish guy! Man, I “talked” about making a difference and this guy was actually doing it!
(MY BUDDY DUSTIN HANGIN' WITH VILLAGE KIDS THAT WE ARE WORKING ON SECURING FUNDS TO BUILD WATER TANKS FOR)

TIME IS NOW


I really don’t remember how it all came to be, but after having our weekly bro lunch session last week I ended up volunteering to help with his non-profit, the Water House Project. As a one man show, he needed help with marketing and the website and with my background and desire to actually contribute to the world I couldn't let this opportunity pass so I told him, “I’M IN!”

WHAT IS THE WATER HOUSE PROJECT?


In Bali there is a real challenge in getting clean drinking water, particularly in the rural village areas. The Water House Project mission is to bring clean drinking water to the individual village families that don’t have the means to access it. Currently most villagers only have access to contaminated water and can’t afford the bottled drinking water that those with money dr
ink. 
(THIS  IS WHERE THE VILLAGE FAMILIES GET THEIR WATER FROM NOW - AN OPEN WATER TANK THAT IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO DISEASE & BACTERIA)


The great news is that for only $500 USD we can provide a solution to give that family lifetime access to clean drinking water by installing rain water collection tanks with a filter.
(THE FIRST FAMILY IN THE VILLAGE THAT RECEIVED THE WATER TANK)

WORK TO BE DONE


Since I am fresh on board I have a lot to learn, but I am really looking forward to getting involved and genuinely making a difference.

I just had a chance to 
go out to the first village that Water House Project is working with to outfit with the water tank system and the people were incredible. I must say they were some of the friendliest and giving people I have ever met – giving so much when they had so little.

I am going to have to do a separate blog entry on my trip because so much happened and it was a simply amazing experience.

Gotta run but more to come soon!

Kurt