If life were to be consumed by meeting new people, exciting adventures, and ensuing happiness, how would you say your doing so far? As human beings, uniquely we are constructed, one by one with a purpose behind and through every ligament, tendon, and fiber in our being. We smile differently, walk diversely, and even get out of bed in a way unique to only ourselves. As strange and rare each one of us are, we are all very similar in the sense of our curiousness towards life and what it holds in store. My name is Kerry Meier. I hail from the rural waters of Pittsburg, Kansas. Nestled in the southeast corner of the state, I was raised under a rock solid roof and guided by two of the most unbelievable parents. The youngest of four boys, I found my way through humble curiosity, elder experiences and just walking in the footsteps blazed by three awesome dudes. Meet Shad, Adam, and Dylan. My brothers and I share a bond unlike anything imaginable. As deep as Big Brutus (Google it) dug back in the day, this bond we have runs deeper and thicker than every dig that piece of metal ever completed.
We all were fortunate to play the game of football. Football is a breed of its own in that there is nothing that quite compares to the in’s and out’s of it. The physical demands that couple with the mental challenges make this crazy yet special concoction that only certain folks enjoy to drink. We brothers gulped it with pure enjoyment and it became our purpose for a good while. Shad, the oldest, was the one who got the fun started. He laid the foundation. Adam (Ace), next in line, brought the “pop” and hard hats, and then I was the one that took the last big drink, smiled, and put the glass down. In between Ace and I there was a shift in the approach to how we played the “game”. A natural, born world shaker came to work in Dylan. He brought an entire new meaning and approach to this game that took it to a new level that none of us ever envisioned. Dylan saw football as a microcosm of life. He had this aberrational approach to a lot of things and he welcomed the unknown because he felt, it allowed him to figured out who he was as a person. He was and is our catalyst. He was and is our cornerstone that we all kind of looked to even though he was third in line. Dylan passed away back in 2010 but left behind his mark that echoes deep in the mind, body, and souls of people all over the world. It’s never more present than in the bodies of my family. As shaken, stirred, and blended my world was, my life was about to take another turn before long.
A week after his passing, I explored the waters of the National Football League (NFL) draft. Each year, there are a fortunate group of, give or take a few, 256 guys that get selected to continue their dreams of playing football. The Atlanta Falcons made me one of those lucky guys that year in the fifth round. With a torn and beaten soul, I wrapped my heart and body around a commitment I made the night I was drafted and made my way south to Atlanta. As adventurous and wild Dylan’s 26-year ride was, he never quite lived the NFL dream. That night in Pittsburg as I looked to the nights sky, I made a commitment to him that’d I’d take him on that adventure. We’d live it, love it, and soak every ounce of it up as possible, enjoying the good and learning from the not so good. I was fortunate to partake in the fun for three damn good years. This may sound odd, but with a happily beat up body, a change in heart and passion towards the game, I decided to step away. The happily came from me knowing that I gave my entire being towards the game and that there was not a drop of football left in me. It was on the field. It was now time to embark upon the world, post football, and to find my next challenge.
My time in Atlanta brought a world of change. Through the good and bad, I tested the change and learned an entire lot from it. Under the big city lights, I met a girl who brought a change of lens that I view through now with the greatest and most precious clarity. She goes by the name Alexandria Martinez. She grew up about 40 minutes south of Nashville in the town of Columbia, TN. Upon completing her undergrad at Middle Tennessee State, she took a job at Emory University in Atlanta as an event coordinator. See there are people that come into our lives, say hello and pass by as fast as they came into it. And then there are others who come in, drop the anchor and leave an irrevocable impact for the better. The good man above places these people in our lives for a variety of reasons and I say thanks, twice for this one. She brings a subtly, interesting approach to life that works. She challenges me just as much as I challenge her and through it, we’ve learned to live and love as greatly as possible through the reason we are all here, in our God.
(Alexandria) I think the balance we bring each other couldn’t be more perfectly met. It just seems to work know matter the situation. I knew this would be true when we lugged bags around Barcelona for three hours one day while finding our new resting point. Kerry and I have found a great joy in discovering new things. If there is a locked door, you can bet we’ll try to open it. Give us an unknown path and we’ll gladly explore it. Every new thing we share brings deeper conversations about the meaning of life and where exactly we want our lives to go. I’ll greatly admit my soul has never been more awaken then when we are sharing new experiences whether it’s an up in coming restaurant in Atlanta, trying out churches, or sipping wine on the coast of Spain. That is where I truly experienced another culture for the first time and since I have craved the excitement! About a year ago, watching the sunset in Jamaica our conversation kept leading to moving to a new country, experiencing the culture, and learning a new language. It seemed like a thought so unrealistic I couldn’t get too excited about it. This March, Kerry was fortunate to shadow a mentor of his at Notre Dame. He was gone for about a month learning about student welfare and development in college athletics and that gave me plenty of time to plan mini trips throughout the year! When he got back to the south we headed to a wedding and as I was laying out ideas he came back with,” What about teaching in Seoul far a year?”
Ok, prior to Dylan’s passing, he was locked into a contract to teach English in South Korea for a year. And just like I wanted to enjoy the NFL adventure with him, I wanted to take the Korean adventure with him as well. Alexandria and I continued to discuss this idea of teaching abroad and our once casual and audacious thoughts became realistic desires we whole-heartedly wanted to pursue. Added to our desires, the fact that this was logistically and professionally possible made it even more compelling to embrace. With our list of needs checked, we decided to commit all of our being to a new chapter. After a couple months of extensive searching, document certifying, and more than a handful of interviews, we found a position in the town of Jeonju, South Korea. The journey was about to begin.
There are things we want to do in our lives and then there are things we just need to do. This is one of those for me and I am just thankful to find someone that was curious and spontaneous enough to take the ride with me. The joy of fulfilling a brothers yearning is a big enough reason alone but I embark upon this adventure for a multitude of my own motives. To live and grow in foreignness, un-ended learning, and to have a blast blazing a trail behind that leaves this culture changed for the better. This world we live in that’s so wholesome and plentiful in it’s entirety, we humble ourselves with foreign horizons. Dylan once told me, “the world is just as much yours as it is mine. Go. Seek. And find what makes your heart come alive.” So meeting new people, exciting adventures, ensuing happiness, I welcome it all. Let’s set sail shall we...