do mind me

I’m always covered in bruises or running into things. I have bad balance. I’m not a good person to have on a boat. Unfortunately for me, the past year or so has been a lot like being on a boat (a metaphor I’ve drawn before x). Everything about my life has changed dramatically several times and every time I feel like I have found my footing the ground pitches and I have to fight to regain my balance all over again. I feel like I’m always sort of tilted in one direction – too much work, too much time alone,…

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…

hysteresis

hys–ter-e-sis:n [NL, fr. Gk hysteresis shortcoming, fr. hysterein to be late, fall short, fr. hysteros later] a retardation of the effect when the forces acting upon a body are changed (as if from viscosity or internal friction); esp: a lagging in the values of resulting magnetization in a magnetic material (as iron) due to a changing magnetizing force. –hys-ter-et-ic adj (x) The concept of hysteresis was presented to me by Dr. Seirlis last summer, in a lecture I did not understand at ALL. I had numerous opportunities to engage with the text she provided for us outside of that initial lecture and I rejected it. She brought up those…

at the top of my lungs

In February I posted a blog titled “why you’ll hear a lot more from me from now on” (x) and since then you have heard from me exactly zero times. I talked a lot about how silence is complicity and then I stayed silent. And now I’m going to tell you why. Just a couple of weeks after I posted my last blog, my placement contract was suddenly terminated. I thought things were going well (or at least, they were okay), and then I was saying goodbye to people I know I will never see again and trying to decide if going…

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…

single-serving friendships

One of the most unique and wonderful things about the expat life is this idea that was first planted in my head by a movie – you know, that one we don’t talk about. The narrator, for some reason, traveled a lot for work. Right at the beginning, when the narrator meets the antagonist, he makes a bad joke about how everywhere he goes, things are provided to him in single portions – one meal at a restaurant, only having enough shampoo in the bottle to wash your hair one time, being given a tube of toothpaste so small you can only get…

the year of like, realizing stuff

I’ll put it bluntly: this year kind of sucked. It’s December 30, and I’m looking back at the last 365 days and, yeah, I’m seeing of a lot of happy, a lot of incredible, even, but I’m leaving 2016 defeated. I’m tired, I’m sad, I’m ready to spend 3-5 weeks in bed. I’m one of the lucky ones, too – my country didn’t elect a president who was against me. My right to life, to love, or to safety was not questioned or compromised. I had consistent and reliable access to clean water and healthy food, I had a job and a…

heading north

“You’re going where?” was the reaction I got from most people when I told them about my plans for the long weekend. Nobody expected us to go to Jaffna. We were, in fact, discouraged from it. Only seven years after the end of the war, Jaffna is not exactly a tourist destination. It’s far away, it’s ultra conservative, and it’s still healing from a long and brutal conflict. But, Sri Lanka had two government holidays this week, on Monday and Tuesday, and of course we took advantage of our extended weekend to visit the northern peninsula. Saturday morning, Karen, Margaret, and I, backpacks…

om shanti shanti shanti

I’ve only been able to touch my toes a few times in my life: when I was young, briefly, and then this past summer when I attended yoga classes several times a week with my best friend. For most of my life, I’ve been able to get close but not quite reach. It’s just not a natural ability for me. This entire placement so far has been a struggle to reach my toes. I came here pretending I had no expectations, but of course I did, and my experiences haven’t met my expectations on any count. This isn’t to say I’m…