Happy Holidays 2011!

Happy 2011 Holiday Greetings to Loved Ones Around the World!

What a year it has been: many highlights, many travels, a few challenges and heaps of gratitude.  It’s hard to believe – and a tad embarrassing – that we didn’t manage interim updates here since last year’s holiday missive, but perhaps that’s indicative of how occupied we’ve been with living life in the present.  Now it’s time to make up for that and provide a past-present-future update.  So, here we go!

2011 in a nutshell:  A year of goodness, happiness and restlessness.  A year in which we remained engaged-but-still-not-married.  A year in which April took at least one international trip per month for eight out of ten consecutive months and somehow managed to remember the time zone when she got home.  A year of REXiness for Jerry, building on the REXpedition platform he described in last year’s letter, and including REXperiments and more (keep reading).  A year in which we gave thanks every day for our blessings (we love this TED talk about gratitude), and remembered that our worries are pretty “lucky worries.”  A year of good health, more time with our families-of-choice, adventures, blending new and old friendships, and deep anticipation of what is to come.

Rewinding to January, we took a quick getaway to Laguna Beach, where Jerry played faculty to a group of public affairs pros (for him, kinda like being in the lion’s den, something he loves) while April enjoyed Laguna’s “winter.”  Big news came at the end of the month, when April learned she had been selected as a Young Global Leader (YGL) by the World Economic Forum – yes, the folks in Davos.  This honor framed the rest of the year in the most incredible and memorable of ways (which you’ll see peppered throughout this update; hear more of her views on global leadership in this video done for WEF).

In short, April gets to be a YGL formally for five years, during which time there are a variety of summits, forums, task forces (on everything from water to urban mobility, dignity, youth financial education and happiness) and other initiatives to join.  She’s part of the WEF community which comes with all kinds of perks – not least, the people!  It was hard for her to keep this information confidential for six weeks like WEF required; her poker face is pretty bad.  Meanwhile Jerry wonders if there is an Old Global Wizards club that he might join… (hey!) Continue reading “Happy Holidays 2011!”

Colorado 4th of July

We’re just back from a fantastic trip to Colorado.  Although the new decade is off to a good start for us, our IDLO adventure is over, so this year hasn’t included nearly the shared travel experiences that 2009 did. We’re happy to journey closer to our own backyard.

We spent the better part of the week in Denver, Colorado Springs and Boulder.  Despite having traveled halfway around the world a half-dozen times together in less than three years, we still hadn’t made it to Colorado (where April spent many years growing up).  So we were overdue for a “trip down memory lane” and to reconnect with family and friends.

April and niecesWe were blessed with great people, great weather, and great fun throughout our time.   Continue reading “Colorado 4th of July”

Summer and Fall = Busy, Wet & Traveling

Lots of good things have happened since our last post.  So many changes, yet at least a few things have stayed just the same.  (One example:  We’re still engaged, and still haven’t set a date.)

April has mostly been traveling in her new role with WaterCredit.  It’s a perfect fit for her; Jerry likes to call her “a fish in water.” She’s been to some 12 countries in the past 4 months, taken close to 50 flights (no comments about her carbon footprint, please) and had more meetings with MFIs than she can count.  East Africa, India, Europe (three times) and various domestic trips have kept her fully occupied and happy.  You can read and learn more on her blog and — most of all — Twitterstream.

Jerry continues to win fencing tournaments and intends to be on the first spacecraft that lands on Mars.  He’ll tweet there too.

We’re together in Rome right now, connecting with the IDLO microfinance posse that we’ve trained over the past 2+ years throughout the developing world.  It feels kind of like a family reunion, with participants from 30+ developing countries and many stories to share.  We’re doing our best to enjoy the city outside of work as well — sunrise jogs through the Villa Borghese grounds, proper espresso and fresh gnocchetti al tartufo bianco (white truffles) around the corner, and wandering among golden- and rose-hued Renaissance architecture in giddy awe.  April’s rusty Italian is coming back with a vengeance, and Jerry’s isn’t half bad either; bonus is that we get to speak Spanish and French with our microfinance colleagues too.

We’ll be writing a holiday letter-post in the coming weeks but wanted at least to say a quick online hello before then, if nothing else than to let you know that we’re still together, well and doing our best to carpe diem, appreciate life (and one another!) every day.  It’s almost time for the un’aperitivo romano, so until the next post — ciao!

Spring Changes (Just Add Water)

We’ve been engaged all spring.  But that’s not the only change that’s come our way during this time, nor is it alone on the horizon…

Just before that fateful day on Crissy Field when Jerry proposed, April announced she was moving on from her legal-strategic role at Unitus.  It was time to design a more fulfilling career and develop skills extending “beyond microfinance” (though still focusing on serving the bottom of the pyramid).  Since mid-March, she’s been busy with outreach and learning — about everything from impact investing, to myriad new social enterprises, to how many many trail miles she can hike in a week (answer: a lot).  This afforded her opportunities to consult, attend conferences at leisure, discover weekly wildflower changes and travel to places like Boston, NYC and Kansas City, Missouri (if this last one seems unique, keep reading).

Although we haven’t traveled internationally in recent months, we have discovered some all-time favorite getaways in our own backyard — like Cavallo Point Lodge.  A divine sojourn there and to Sonoma, coupled with special gatherings with our “family of choice” have been highlights of the season.

After several weeks, April finally figured out what she’s meant to do next and announced she’d be joining WaterPartners International as Director of its WaterCredit initiative.  WaterCredit represents a unique opportunity to put microfinance tools and access to catalytic capital to work to address the needs of the poor for clean, safe water.  WaterPartners is one of very few organizations globally that’s pioneering scalable, sustainable financing solutions to meet one of humanity’s most basic and widespread needs.  She’s excited to be an early trailblazer  and advocate in this blended “H2O + MF” space.  (Oh, and WaterPartners’ primary U.S. office is in Kansas City — though she remains based in San Francisco.  Hurray!)

Up next for both of us is travel.  Destination: Jordan, with bonus stops in the English countryside and New York City.  We’ll be teaching the next installment of IDLO’s law-and-microfinance course series on the Dead Sea, then heading south to explore Petra and hang out with Bedouins in the Wadi Rum desert.  You can track our footsteps and observations on Twitter — Jerry here and April here.

After the Middle East, April has trips planned to Africa, India and Bangladesh; Jerry heads to Denmark; and we both somehow will find our way (together) to Rome this fall.  (No, not for a secret wedding in a village chiesa.)  So it’s good we’ve been able to catch our breath closer to home.

A lot of challenges have faced us already this year, which we’d like to think have made us grow and become a stronger couple.  Now, it’s time to take that and “dive deep” into this next chapter and series of adventures!

1/29/09: April’s Birthday (& Engagement!)

It’s been a good month, including a special trip to Atlanta to visit April’s Italian family there, fun get-togethers with friends and gloriously sunny weather in SF.  But the highlight definitely occurred on January 29 (April’s birthday) just before sunset, along Crissy Field between views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the lavender-pink-gold hues of the city and bay beyond…

Jerry proposed; we’re now engaged!

The setting was perfect, and the moment caught April quite by surprise.  After a lot of smiles, laughter, hugs and just a few tears, we celebrated with some very good wines, our favorite Noe Valley restaurant and to-die-for gourmet cupcakes (with lots of frosting, of course).  Since then we’ve been sharing the news with family and friends, and the outpouring of love from them has been tremendous.  We feel truly blessed in life!

No other details are available yet (‘cept a picture of the ring).

Stay tuned!