Saturday, January 3, 2009

Three Cups of New Year

I do admit that I have not hit the pavement once and logged any miles since the beginning of the new year. Nor have I abstained from anything most people swear to stop indulging in, as can be witnessed by the pan of half-eaten fudge brownies I made last night. I did not make any new year's resolutions, just one personal goal. However, I feel that I started off the new year right, with a feeling of contentment towards what 2009 will bring, and reading one of the best book's I ever experienced, further supporting my hopefulness: Three Cups of Tea

When Ben and I were in Cinque Terra, we both read through all the books we had brought, along with each other's (my personal favorite was  A Year in Provence), so we headed to a shop that featured English books. There were only a few selections, and since demand was high and supply low, the paperbacks were all reasonably priced for around $25 USD...yikes. This was when I first say Three Cups of Tea, but Ben was more interested in another book A Fortune Teller Told Me (which by the way, is another super interesting book), so we bought that and enjoyed it in Siena. 

Remembering how interesting the book looked, I put Three Cups on reserve at the library, but since I was number 253 on only 20 copies, Margaret was kind enough to lend me her copy over Christmas. I read the forward the other night with marginal interest, but last night I sat down to put in a few chapters and by 11 p.m. read the last page. 

This book is remarkable...well, the man who it is about is remarkable: Greg Mortenson. A brief synopsis is that Mortenson having unsuccessfully climbed K2, accidentally wandered into a remote village of Pakistan on his way remote, he was the first foreign visitor to ever set foot in the town. Learning the village had no school, and due to the gratefulness for saving his life, Mortenson vowed to come back to the village and build a school. 

His struggles, dedication and accomplishments are truly extraordinary, as is the realization that one person can honestly make a difference; and in an area most Americans associate with hatred and terrorism, he is able to shed light on the problems of these stereotypes, and how by building schools instead of dropping bombs, we can truly promote peace. 

It might sound corny, or not that interesting, but I promise you, you will be blown away.

Happy New Year! 

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