March Staff Profile: Ryan B.

 When we last visited Ryan, he was close to leaving on a month-long vacation—destination: India… What took Ryan to India?

A childhood friend and his friend’s wife encouraged him to visit. Ryan has said before that he would rather save up for “the big trip” rather than take a number of smaller trips. A month vacationing in India? Fit the bill. His friends live in Siliguri, a city located in the Darjeeling district and Jalpaiguri district in the Indian state of West Bengal. It is a city located on the banks of the Mahananda River and the foothills of the Himalayas. A city that coincidently was in the news recently due to a wild elephant “rampaging” through the town.

Although Ryan missed seeing the wild elephant running the streets, he did get to visit local tea gardens and take a few smaller trips using Siliguri as a base, but mostly just enjoyed the experience of being in India, taking in the sights and smells and languages.

Now he’s been happily back in the Moscow Food Co-op’s deli for almost a year. And, although it’s not readily evident to customers peering over the sneeze guard, there is some serious language learning happening back there. Ryan and Stevie B. are studying Gaelic, two other deli staff are learning Italian, and Ingrid knows Arabic.

Ryan’s next “big trip”? Undecided at this point. Maybe Ireland to flex the Gaelic tongue. Maybe northern Spain to experience the Camino de Santiago (also known in English as the Way of St. James, St. James’ Path, etc.), one of the most important Christian pilgrimages during the Middle Ages—now religious for some, existential for others, and a fun, challenging, get-away-from-it-all experience for many more. It is said that if you travel the trail, whatever problems you have will resolve themselves by the trip’s end.

Originally from Coeur d' Alene, Ryan came to Moscow to study virtual technology and design at the University of Idaho. He started as a dishwasher at the Moscow Food Co-op while earning his degree, but admits it wasn't a good fit; he was too slow at washing. So, he moved into service as a deli server (a much better fit), then got a position as lead server, and eventually was promoted to the position he currently holds as deli supervisor.

He has been at the Co-op for over five years now and says that the best part of his job (besides the biscuits and gravy) is his co-workers. He feels very fortunate to work with great people with fun personalities that bring such bright color into his work days. Ryan is quick to laugh and received one of the best compliments from a co-worker while being interviewed for this article. "I'm a mom and [Ryan] is always there with a smile. I'd be proud if [he] was my son."

Awwwww… Smile. Perhaps next year, we can visit with Ryan again and find out about his upcoming trip to Bozeman where he's attending a swimsuit competition that his sister is competing in. Almost assuredly, to be continued.

Need some delicious, authentic Indian food and culture after reading this article? The University of Idaho’s Indian Student Association is hosting A Taste of India on April 10, from 5 – 8 p.m. in the International Ballroom in the Bruce Pitman Center (formerly the SUB). Tickets will be going on sale soon. Mark your calendars! It’s an evening filled with dancing, delicious food, and fun facts about India.