august

When I was in grade 5, going into grade 6, my teacher hosted an open house for incoming students to our gifted class. We said a few words about the program, and then there was time for us to talk to the younger students less formally, tell them how we really felt. My best friend and I were going through a musicals phase at the time (a phase that lasted several years) and were stuck on Grease. We had it memorized. And we proved it, making one girl listen to us recreate an entire scene. This has been stuck in my head…

the long and winding road

When I had to move back home a couple of weeks ago, my mom asked me to start cleaning off my desk (we’re trying out this thing where we don’t hold onto stuff we don’t need or like or want for thirty years.) I started today, paring down my collections of books and papers, ruthlessly sorting things into “keep,” “donate,” and “garbage” piles. I, like everyone else, have been inspired by the Marie Kondo method of only keeping things that spark joy. During that cleaning frenzy, I came across a stack of cards that my mom mailed me while I…

one year later

On February 17, 2017, I learned that I would be leaving Sri Lanka, two months early and against my will. Another way to say that would be: On February 17, 2017, my dreams broke down and I had to give up on the only thing I wanted for as long as I can remember. What followed my homecoming was a massive existential crisis, the likes of which I never thought I’d experience, and months and months of self-doubt and self-pity. It felt like I had to relearn everything, starting with who I was as a person. It was really, really…

new year, better me

Well, folks, it’s that time of year again. The beginning of January, a beautiful time of determination and hope that this is the year that we’ll keep our resolutions. We’ll go to the gym, we’ll eat better, we’ll quit smoking or drink less. It’s going to happen for real this time. I have never made and kept a new year’s resolution. I typically don’t put a lot of stock in them, and I don’t love to examine my life like that so thoroughly after a week of overeating and general laziness and decide what I need to change. I’m always exhausted…

extra ordinary

Blogging came easily when I was living abroad last year. Seeking inspiration, I spent some time looking at my old posts this week. They’re interesting if I do say so myself. I had a lot to say. I learned a lot from living in Sri Lanka and I knew how to share it with other people. It’s not so easy now. A year ago, I was learning about my own capabilities and strengths and how to be alone and learn a new culture and figure out work dynamics and every lesson I learned was worth sharing. They were the personal…

why you’ll hear a lot more from me from now on

If you’re reading this, you’ve also probably read some sort of news about what’s going on in the world. You’ve probably engaged in politics or a political issue in the last few days. It’s hard to avoid, these days, and it’s important to stay informed. But if you haven’t engaged with politics, I don’t blame you. A huge part of international development is knowing what’s going on in the world, because this field specifically is about recognizing gaps and breaks in systems and figuring out how to address them  in a manner that does the least harm. I knew this…

#BellLetsTalk (why i cried today)

I sat on my roof tonight and cried. I wish I could capture for you how extraordinary it is up here – I can see almost the whole city, lights blinking on and off. Across the valley, the house who still has their blue Christmas lights up, the gold minarets of the mosque towering over everything, crickets chirping over the faint sound of traffic. Every so often I hear a train, or a dog barking. The restaurant I can see from my wicker chair has closed, and slowly the rest of the city is shutting down and going home. The…