The Beat of the World: Meixi Circumnavigates the Globe

A Social Policy and International Studies major at Northwestern, Meixi began working and volunteering in the slums of India at 11 and then continued to work in Myanmar, Thailand, India and Cambodia on education in various slum communities and educational settings for children living in the red light district areas. She also worked with Evanston Township High School to create a service-learning curriculum for the teachers at the high school. She also co-founded The Amber Initiative, an organization dedicated to building a movement for youth in Southeast Asia. Meixi has been at the forefront of leading youths in various movements and conferences in the region. Meixi worked with the UN Interagency Project on Human Trafficking in Thailand and was selected to be a delegate at the Global Engagement Summit for social entrepreneurs and the 5th UN Youth Assembly for the Millennium Development Goals. On campus, Meixi co-founded the Northwestern Engagement Coalition and initiated the Northwestern World Cup to celebrate the diversity on campus. She was also elected to officer positions in the Undergraduate Priorities Committee and the Ballroom Latin American Swing Thing (BLAST) dance group. She is a Senior Community Assistant in the Freshmen Quad and tutors frequently at the Jonquil Hotel and Centro Romero in Chicago. Meixi was also selected to be Goldman Sachs Global Leader in 2009. She is excited to look at schools as tools that can transform educational spaces into catalysts for change in individuals and communities. Meixi is from the sunny island of Singapore and cannot wait to into the world, to countries and continents she has only read in books. It has been such a huge honor to receive this grant from the Circumnavigators Club of Chicago- it’s a dream come true. Itinerary:
  • Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, Miguel Angel Asturias Academy (Monday, June 21- Sunday, July 11)
  • Lima, Perú, Fe Y Alegria (Sunday, July 11- Tuesday, July 27)
  • Singapore, Northlight School (Thursday, July 29- Saturday, August 7)
  • Chiang Rai, Thailand, Institute for Women (Saturday, August 7- Monday, August 16)
  • Tema, Ghana, SOS-Hermann Gmeiner International College (Monday, August 16 – Wednesday, August 25)
  • Grenoble, France, (Wednesday, August 25- Sunday, September 5)
GRANT: Meixi is travelling as the 2010 Circumnavigator’s Club Foundation Around-the-World Travel-Study Grant recipient.  Each year one rising senior is chosen jointly by Northwestern University and the Circumnavigator’s Club Foundation to travel the world exploring a topic of her/his choosing.  The $9,000 award requires that the student travel to at least six countries on at least three continents.  For more information about the grant, please go to:


My fav photo of the Festidanza

I had the wonderful opportunity to go to Festidanza, this annual even that brought together all the schools in the region to celebrate the Peruvian culture! 🙂
The Festidanza was amazing. The culture here is Peru is wonderfully rich and it might be because it was close to the Peruvian national day but there seems to be so much pride in being Peruvian. From the kids who say “¡Soy Peruano!” to the Principal of Fe y Alegría, there is a deep sense of love and belonging for their country and people. 🙂

Photos below!

Dance from the Sierra

Dance de Música Festeja!

Dance from the mountains

The Fe y Alegria 37 team!

Beautiful colors and costumes

Three parts of peru- Costa (Coast), Sierra (Mountains), y Selva (Forest)

Fe y Alegría No. 37 (US!) teachers and supporters!

A View from the Top

I’m currently in the town of Montenegro and have been enchanted by the conversations I’ve had with the people here. They are teaching me so much about hope, perseverance and about their spirit of compassion and what it means to have an education for social justice.

Sister Teresa who founded the school said to me, “You know, what’s important is value-centered education. It’s about knowing your rights, but also know where they stop, where they affect another person.” Maybe this is social justice- knowing how to give back to the world and knowing exactly why we must.

A view from the Roof!

the invasions/ young towns they call them/ shanty towns

Library in Jicamarca

Oliver the Lama

with the sisters! they are INCREDIBLE.

Kids at Capilla Santa Rosa!

Goodbye Guatemala, Hello Peru!

I just left guatemala after a day of going to a wedding and then exploring antigua, going on a ferris wheel and eating chili rellenos (stuffed chillies with chicken)! 🙂

It was hard to say goodbye to my host family who have been my guatemalan family and just made my experience so wonderful. We had a farewell dinner and Luis and Cindy made me farewell cards. Loraina, my host mom, made this special dish with chicken in a leaf, it reminded me of the leaves we use in Singapore in like Nasi Lemak or Zhong Zi 🙂 DELICIOUS.

They got me something I had always wanted- a skirt from Guatemala 🙂

Now on to destination 2; PERU!

Leaving for Montenegro tomorrow in the morning. SO pumped. Ready for a new adventure.


Slow Me Down

The Yoga House

Guess what I did this morning! Yoga.
I have never done yoga before but Steve and I went to this place near the center for the town. And it got me thinking about being slow.
SLOW: this is not a very good word today. We have slow kids, slow traffic, slow buses… very thing should be FAST, efficient, productive. And I too think that I’m a really fast person. I get things done asap, the most in a little span of time but today during yoga and I was challenged to be slow. To take each breath and concentrate on each second, each moment. I don’t do that enough. I don’t do it because it’s hard. It’s hard to think about what we do and to be deliberate in each action we take, or each word that we say. It’s hard to take a moment to think before reacting, it’s hard to be slow.

Best Vegan Tofu sandwich

Best Vegan Tofu sandwich

Being slow’s a real gift.
At this great tofu sandwich place, these people are huge advocates of slow food (opposite of fast food)… I went in there hoping to grab something and go. There was too much on my list of things to do. But they advocated slow food, food where great thought we put into the type of ingredients used, to time taken to match it to a suitable sauce, a healthy, slow meal. I’m sure it’s obvious, that sandwich was INCREDIBLE. I can’t wait to go back for more.
I’m going to try to take some time to catch my breath today and during this trip.Slow me down.- Meixi


So I had the wonderful opportunity to visit a little island off of Guatemala and visit a school there for girls. 🙂 Jumping into the river, eating Tapados… the place was adorable, so much culture but many of the same patterns of discrimination and injustice. I’ll write more soon, but check out the Flickr photo stream for photos! 🙂

Love in Livingston!

Our boat at el restaurante agua caliente

Our guide in Livingston

Kids in Livingston- dancing to the music

The cutest restaurant- Tilingo Lingo! With Chef, Maria

Typical dish from Livingston!! So good. Fish, crab and shrimp in a coconut stew. 🙂

Gaurífuna Jungle Map


Auto Safari Chapin!


I just came back yesterday from an Auto Safari in Chapin in Guatemala and it was the coolest, not seeing the animals, but seeing the reactions of some of the kids’ faces.

I was lucky enough to be included with the school’s once-a-year excursion trip and it was so cool to ride up with the vice-principal and talk with him about what this trip meant to the kids. They don’t usually have to opportunity to go out alone without their parents and travel to another part of the country, and as he was describing each place we passed by, he said, “This is so they know their country and their place.”

I loved that statement because I think the excursion for me was more that ride than the actual place. It was about learning about what is needed for Guatemalan youth and how this school is trying to help with understand their sense of place and who they were, what their country looked like and their place in it.

I’ve been learning a lot too, from the family that I am staying with. They are the cutest.

This learning journey continues! 🙂

A Tour

So here is a tour of the school and a tour of my crib. 🙂

My bathroomLa cama

Food and other deliciousness.

Authentic breakfastBest Vegan Tofu sandwich


The Circumnavigation has BEGUN!

Day 1:

Arriving in Guate City!I arrived in Guatemala City today at six in the morning. It was so cool to be back in this beautiful, mountainous country, filled with culture and colors. Ms Gilda was a great help to be at the airport and  it’s been splendid.

I took a scenic bus ride to Xela, a beautiful quaint city in the mountains, a “walking” city was what I was told and I really want to explore the little nooks and the little market called Mercado de Flores.

My first meal here. Amazing enchilada- I think it

Scenic bus rideI had lunch, a little enchilada – 5 Quetzales just hit the spot.

Fresh rice and sauce and a mix of fruit jellies were a treat as well as I finally got to the room and met the family I would be staying with. We bonded over the Spain-Hon game- football is really the world sport.

It reminded my of a conversation I had with Don Parish, a member of the Circumnavigators Club of Chicago. He said he noticed that when you travel, you start to notice certain things. What he noticed was cucumbers. There are cucumbers in every country and culture, but each are different and used for different purposes. In a small way- cucumbers are like a band that stretched across cultures and I can’t wait to make more of those discoveries on this journey. Football is another. And I think to a certain extent, being human and sharing the same feeling of laughter, greetings and how people care for the other also span across space and country. I’m going to be able to see that this summer.

When Steve (the coordinator here) and I took a tour around the school, I started thinking about my research the more I am ready to be surprised by the work the schools around the world are doing. Schools have such a special energy and I can’t wait to make this world and this trip my classroom.

Also- photos come tomorrow! :)

– Meixi

New Eyes

The Journey begins on June 21 to Guatemala at the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy (Suppor them TODAY HERE)

I cannot wait to go! As I’m looking through travel books and my favorite The Travel Book, I am reminded that while Adventure is OUT THERE, I need new eyes to look at the places I am right now.

Taken from the Lonely Planet website

Each country, city, place-  yes, Evanston too- is special. And it is often that we don’t take the time we would in a exotic foreign place to take those photographs, smell the scents, breathe the air.

Today I am reminded to see the world with new, fresh eyes- to enjoy the sunshine and the rain. Will you join me?

– Meix

Through Friendship, To Leave This World A Little Better than We Found It.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”

It’s often easy to get caught up with planning the logistics of this trip, crafting the research proposal, and worrying about the small details of which backpack is a better buy- and I’ve been such a culprit of that. While this trip and the preparation for it has been on my mind since January, it is easy to forget that this journey itself is going to be quite the journey of a lifetime. It’s going to be a journey with a steep learning curve, a journey of friendship, a journey of discovery, a journey to learn and leave the world (and each place I go) a little better than I found it.

I’m excited to share this journey with you, my friends- for you represent a world to me and I can’t wait to share mine with you. As I experience new sights, sounds, smells, joys and confusion as I grapple with critical issues on education and social justice in broken but beautiful communities on this 85-day long journey across the world, join me, dance with me in this beautiful 世界, โลก, mundo, monde- this beautiful world. Adventure is out there.