Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First day of school, for the last time, again.

Today was my first day of school, for the last time, again. All that is to say that I hopefully will (omgihavetomust) graduate in December and so this is my last semester at Duke. When the first day Senior year rolled around at UPS, I was so sure that there was no way I would ever go back to school that I thought it was my last first day of school. Ha.

Today, running late already. Coffee in hand, newly equipped with my cute bag from NBO.

Last year, first day of grad school! 

I am thinking the same thing again, today. Although I am not taking any courses, I am TAing for one and working on my thesis. Here's to new school year jitters everywhere! From 3 to 26 some things don't change! Meaning, yes, I picked out my outfit last night.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Two new states and a wedding

This past weekend, Marty and I took the chance to explore a new part of the country and ventured up to Vermont and Maine. Our friends from college were getting married in the bride's backyard outside of Burlington. Although the travel days were beyond awful, it was a beautiful trip. Both states reminded me of home a bit. Vermont was green and Maine had the cutest coastal towns. Marty was on the crew team in college with the groom and we saw some buddies from Puget Sound. On Sunday we drove across the state, with the help of our trusty GPS Jill, to where Marty's aunt and uncle live on the coast of Maine. We flew back on Tuesday and our plane landed almost in sync with the earthquake. We were safe but the earthquake provided another terrible day of traveling. I am thinking its a sign from the universe that I need to stay home for awhile. Or at least like a month.
College buds Joe and Travis

We were in the middle of nowhere, it was fabulous

At the wedding venue

The happy couple, and the perfect weather

College buds Joe, Tristan, the beautiful bride Victoria, and Alex

The boys

UPS Represent!

The reception included contradancing, you know, with the do-see-do and all that

Marty and his Uncle in their Mini Cooper

Maine coastline

View from Aunt and Uncle's house

We picked out our dinner while it was still swimming

And it turned into this. OMGYUM.

And then we went candlepin bowling. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

my peeps in the news

In today's NYT there is a great article, featuring the organization I worked with this summer, and written by a favorite writer of mine. He hits on a few characteristics of productive and useful workers abroad. These things are courage, deference, and thanklessness. These three characteristics, while easier said than done, are three things I try to practice. Its a good thing I have people, and the organizations they work in, to look up to and have a spectacular support network around the globe.

The article can be found here...

Collaboration - a central part of the deference characteristic Kristof points out, picture from the anniversary celebration

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Home Again, Home Again

I arrived home on Saturday night, a bit (okay, a lot) exhausted but happy to finally be in North Carolina. The trip home was mostly uneventful and I was really ready to be on the ground when we finally got to RDU.

I was kindly reminded of where I was by a woman in the Boston airport.

Staggering up the jet-bridge, two small blonde kids came up next to me and started chatting with each other. In my exhausted state, I reacted just as I had for the past three months when I heard cute kids mumbling next to me.

"Fine! And how are you?" I replied, assuming that they had said "How are you?" to me, like the thousands before them. I gave them both a quick pat on the head and held my fist out for a fist bump.

That was when their mother came in and swept them out of the way from the crazy lady attempting to converse, let alone touch, her precious children. She glared at me and scurried out of my way.

To make-up for my completely non-American move, I went straight to the nearest Starbucks and purchased a Venti-light-ice-soy-chai for no less than six dollars.

That was when I realized that I had purchased (and consumed) a Starbucks beverage before calling my parents. Or my husband. Guess my American priorities are coming back in full-force.

Pictures from my last few days:

One last visit from the kiddos next door

Even camels need a rest on the beach

Requisite coconut-on-the-beach pic

Amy and I dressed up in our new cute dresses

At a floating restaurant in Mombasa

Sharing the seafood platter for two

Cathrine and I with my new t-shirt signed by the CFK staff and volunteers

For those who care, I am going to keep this blog going even after my arrival state-side. It will now serve as a personal blog. Because my life will continue to have global health in it, that will be a continuing subject, but it will also have some excerpts from my extraordinarily awesome life. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

The one in which I say goodbye

So I am lousy at transitions. For someone who struggles to live in the moment, I have a really hard time saying good bye. So as I say good bye (for now) to Kenya and those I have come to know here, I am doing what I try to do in the low moments and keeping a grateful heart.

Things I am grateful for:

1) That I was able to come here at all. Thanks to Duke for the opportunity! And to CFK for having me! I thought to myself several times while here "this is what I was built to do". Not everyone has those moments.

Don't worry Dukies - You are represented at CFK too
2) Mama! And her cooking! And her sons who were consistently simultaneously delightful and merciless in their teasing.  I have now had a glimpse at what it is like to have brothers, for better or for worse. Asanteni for having me in your home. Karibuni my place anytime!
My temporary family
3) The patient, kind, and inspirational staff that are quick with smiles, support, and input. And the awesome people I have met outside of work who have made my time here complete.
Nina, I and fudge cake from Java. All good friends.
And especially for the rockstar health dept, namely this guy. Thanks for being my teacher, navigator, and friend.
Ben: Program officer and general life superstar

4) That I have fantastic family and friends to come home to. Believe it or not, I've missed you! Thanks for understanding my need to venture to far-flung places periodically. Thanks for sending all the good juju my way!
My smokin hot sister - Watch out Kenya, next time I am bringin this girl with me!

The grateful heart idea, currently, resonates with both my fave gospel song of the moment and a key scene in a good movie

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The band-aid

Wrapping up and leaving was like ripping off a band-aid. Had to be done quick, and boy, it stung.

To ease my pain, I came here.

On Thursday I return to Nairobi and Kibera for about 24 hours of good-byes and see-you-laters and then it is off to America!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I'm on a boat!

My last day at CFK coincided with a team-building outing with the SRH crew. It was an eventful way to end my time with these guys. I haven't laughed that hard in a while. The highlight was a boat ride with the PYEs. Too funny. It was a good thing we were confined to a small lake.

Location: Paradise Lost

The crazy amount of pilau prepared by rockstar PYE Saumu

Group shot

The sign outside told us these caves were 2.5 million years old. Helpful.

This guy.

"Do you know what this thing is?" "No, that guy just told me to put it on."

Next stop: Venice.

They even let Ben and I have a boat.

Sorry Nina, had to post this one.