California goodbyes

California goodbyes

goodbye to my beautiful state. “see you soon” to my beautiful beau. mucho gusto to the new life adventure that is Guatemala…

Last night I had my first goodbye party, after all these years and all these departures. New friends, old friends, very very old friends, and my padres all came together over a glass (or three) of wine and it was wonderful. Reese and I had just returned from a 4 day road trip up the gorgeous California coast, which had been immediately preceded by a crazy new year’s eve (who thought comedy clubs could actually make you laugh? and since when has my alcohol tolerance become so low?)

I am horrible at packing though, which meant that today was a battle between stressing out over my overweight baggage (one year ago that could be such a perfect psychological metaphor), and trying to enjoy my last moments with Reese, the guy who has redefined my understanding of love.

In then end, I made it to the airport in plenty of time with decently average-weighing bags and the realization that tomorrow I will begin a new life…again. I am so ready for this next chapter to begin, but I’ll always remember these past few months as some of the happiest times I’ve spent in California 🙂


Countdown to yet another departure…

I have two weeks left and I already feel like I’ve run out of time.

There have been a few instances lately where, when asked where I’m going and I tell people I’m moving to Guatemala, they say something to the effect of “But didn’t you just get back from somewhere?” Yep, Ghana. “So what exactly do you do?” to which I respond with something like oh I work in nonprofits, or a vague “community development”. And then comes “How did you get into that kind of work?” and then there’s the glorious moment where I can say that it’s what I majored in at college, that it’s my passion, and yes, I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing and no I don’t make much money, but yes I’m just fine with that.

It’s even better when these conversations happen just after someone’s finished judging me for working at Whole Foods when I have degrees from Berkeley.

And so here I am, two weeks to say goodbye amid the chaos of christmas and the holidays and I must somehow find the time to prepare for this next journey. Physical packing is a pain in the ass in and of itself, but emotional packing is the greatest challenge of all. I utterly failed in my emotional packing for Ghana. I arrived unprepared and off-balance and I missed out on a lot of beauty in that experience because of it (not to mention I was a real pain in the ass at times, like that kid on the trip that forgot bug spray and is always trying to borrow everyone else’s). So in a way, this departure for Guatemala means a lot to me, it’s a chance to show myself that I’ve grown and learned and will be better. I also have a lot to prove to the people who have asked me to come work with them, to show them that they made the right choice and that I can do the job well and make a meaningful contribution (and ideally be that kid that’s always got enough bandaids and pepto bismal and the really nice smelling hand sanitizer).

And so, as I spend the next two weeks packing yet again (this is the 4th time I’ve moved out of the country for an extended period of time, and then of course there’s every semester of college), any tips and advice would be greatly appreciated, be they physical or emotional 🙂



“You get a stra…

“You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, I told him, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.”
— Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita In Tehran

The Distress of the Privileged

I’m going to try to get my dad to read this…wish me luck 😉

The Weekly Sift

In a memorable scene from the 1998 film Pleasantville (in which two 1998 teen-agers are transported into the black-and-white world of a 1950s TV show), the father of the TV-perfect Parker family returns from work and says the magic words “Honey, I’m home!”, expecting them to conjure up a smiling wife, adorable children, and dinner on the table.

This time, though, it doesn’t work. No wife, no kids, no food. Confused, he repeats the invocation, as if he must have said it wrong. After searching the house, he wanders out into the rain and plaintively questions this strangely malfunctioning Universe: “Where’s my dinner?”

Privileged distress. I’m not bringing this up just to discuss old movies. As the culture evolves, people who benefitted from the old ways invariably see themselves as victims of change. The world used to fit them like a glove, but it no longer does. Increasingly, they find themselves…

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Reflections on the humanitarian impulse

The above is from a great site called Humanosphere, they posted an ad from Rainforest Alliance that (probably unintentionally) points out the great contradiction of the humanitarian impulse–that it’s largely ineffective. But the best part is at the end when they try to convince you that the best way you can be effective is to buy anything and everything with a near-meaningless Rainforest Alliance label… if Rainforest Alliance can approve Chiquita banana to use its label you know it’s a load of b.s.

Anyway, why couldn’t they have made a video informing us about the products and companies we shouldn’t be supporting and the legislation/movements we should?

Toto, we’re not in Ghana anymore…

Yesterday for lunch I had an organic salad with kombucha, for dinner a grass-fed/range-bred steak, and breakfast this morning was gluten-free toast with vegan cream-cheese and soy-probiotic yogurt with gluten-free granola. Oh, and organic,shade-grown Honduran coffee of course. I took a hot shower and shall now download some music while simultaneously streaming youtube videos. Google maps actually recognizes and correctly identifies my location on the map, in a wonderfully symbolic kind of way. I must say that while this “return to the grid” feels unreal and excessive, it’s good to be home 🙂