Thursday, May 31, 2012

turns out, the water's fine

"It was like God was holding a bag of blessings and I was holding a bag of shit, and when I let go of my bag, God was like, 'Here you go.'" (Katori Hall)

Sometimes you think you're holding the second, but when you look inside you realize it's blessings you're carrying around after all . . .  ;)

A few things I'm saying thanks for right now:

1. We have zero dollars in credit card debt. (In fact, the only debt we do have at the moment is what remains of my itty-bitty student loan, under two grand.)

2. Since the age of 18, I've been able to live on four different continents long-term. This has meant being immersed in a range of socio-economic backgrounds, religions, educational systems, and languages. Most importantly, it has meant coming to know and love some incredible people.

In my day-to-day existence, it's easy to nestle up to the loneliness that often comes so naturally me. I have to consciously remind myself that there are people that love me and that I love around the world. A globe full of them! People I would lay down my life for are waking up in America as others are sitting down to dinner in Europe and Africa. There is such power in that.

3. Normally I'm a nothing-but-red girl, but sometimes you just can't beat a dry rosé on a hot day. Very refreshing start to the weekend! 

4. I just ordered new summer shoes (last pair in stock, and in my size -- always a sign!), and I can't wait to wear them 'til they're worn out.

Images: celebrate! | a student's henna'd arm | wine | shoes

figuring it out

Today I have a severe case of the "not-good-enoughs," as wicked an affliction as they come. Time to declare this a Facebook/Pinterest/blog-free weekend, and focus on what's well and good in my own life. Seems like everywhere I look, people are buying great houses, finishing med school, and giving birth to cute babies.

Do they really have it all figured out?

Of course not -- for the most part, I don't think anyone has much of anything figured out, not really. But I still hate feeling like I don't measure up, and that I never will. One. Step. At. A. Time. Onwards. After all,

Image via

Cheers x

Sunday, May 27, 2012

first kiva loan (free trial, too!)

Just made my first Kiva loan via a free trial from fellow blogger Jill!

Why not make your own?

You can also click here to learn more about how Kiva works.

home & release

Image via

“and objects in motion tend to stay in motion
and objects at rest tend to stay at rest
and restlessness will move you to count off the calendar
and dream about home and release. . .” 

julius airwave, “every little bit helps"


Already counting down the days, folks . . . I can practically taste it. It seems impossible that I have just three more weekends with Andy before he heads out. Does wondering where on earth the time went only prove I'm getting older? How transient everything is . . . .

Saturday, May 26, 2012

nos. 3 & 4

There are few things as satisfying as 
a good notebook.

Writing is the best therapy I know.

(Image via)


I absolutely love this photo of a little boy rubbing Obama's hair to see if it felt like his own. While any number of meanings and metaphors would be quite apt, to me it speaks of the power young children possess -- to catch us off guard, draw us into the moment, and pull us back to something pure and real. I don't remember where I first read it, but there's a line about children being "closer to the source," and I'd say that's just about right. 

(Click the link above to read the full story about the image. Via Cup of Jo.)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

no. 2

I’d rather come out laughing. 
Joy is an admirable default.

Friday, May 18, 2012

watch this/one track mind: i spy

This is weirdly awesome and addictive. CAN'T. STOP. LISTENING. Or dancing . . . x

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

genius calls

Remember these from way back when?

Well, today I finally put together this:

Then I decided that might be plagiarism, so I personalized things a bit more:

Doesn't have quite the same retro oomph as the original (I'm going to say it's reduced white space, like I know what I'm talking about), but it's probably more true to who I am. (Although, hey now, there's no denying that I do indeed have a brain and that, yes, I will travel.)

I'm thinking of having some made up over here. Someday. Maybe. Obviously I'd include my contact info if I did. (Probably scrawled in pencil on the back, in the spirit of keeping up with my plastic baggie wallet. Nothing but first class living up in here, folks, I tell you. FIRST. CLASS.)

Monday, May 14, 2012

new wallet (ish)

Two weeks ago, I threw up in my handbag. Long story, but the point I'd like to make here is, I'm now in need of a new wallet. (I have other handbags. But there was only the one wallet.)

Luckily, I ordered the pouch above about a month ago as a (tongue-in-cheek) reward to myself for running regularly. (It was on clearance at the time and has since sold out, but the tote bag version is still available.) Unfortunately, it's currently sitting in the States, waiting for the day when it will prove its worth as a catchall for my consumer essentials. (Erm, actually I don't know if old receipts into which one has spit her gum qualify as "essentials," but you get the idea.)

In the meantime, I shall rock my plastic baggie of cash. I do like to keep it classy.


Just started reading this book (a step in the direction of my lifelong dream), and I decided to make this sentence my new mantra:

“Allow yourself to be a beginner.”

Photo of Grandma Moses, 1960, via

Sunday, May 13, 2012

happy mother's day!

Sending lots of long-distance love to our moms today. Miss you both very much! x

things i know for sure: intro / no. 1

Back in January I was struggling more than usual with some big sorts of questions: Who am I? What do I want in this life? Does it matter?

That sort of dramatic crap.

There's a reason I often refer to my twenties the adult version of middle school. They feel utterly transitional, and much of the time I wander around like a confused baby panda, wobbly and tumbling and looking for its mother.

My yoga-loving, zen-philosophy-reading self has found it especially tough to wade through these identity questions. How do you find your truth if there is no such thing? How do you EVER figure out who you are in a way that society can understand? Is it necessary to choose between society and self? How willing am I to play the game, and how invested do I want to be while I'm in it? 

Like I said, big questions. Exhausting questions. 

I was in need of some sort of anchor, something I could hold on to and say, YES. Even if I know nothing else, THIS -- this I know for sure.

I started keeping a little list of my truths -- statements that resonated so strongly on a gut level that there was no denying them. Often my truths turned out to be simple. Many of them are probably transient but ring true right now, a snapshot of this person in a particular context at a given moment.

Over the next few weeks and months, I'm going to share my list in a little series of sorts. In part to sort of publicly claim my story (as ego-driven/Oprah-esque as that may sound), but also just because I think it'd be cool to have a record of who I am and where I'm at currently (and this blog happens to be where I record a lot of stuff). The aim is to share one item at the beginning of each week, starting . . . well, now, as it happens.

I prefer 8 a.m. coffee to 3 a.m. tequila shots.

(Image via, found here)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

watch this: real-life robinson crusoe

A man from Yorkshire purchased his own island (!) in the Seychelles in the '60s. He then proceeded to repopulate the land with giant tortoises, as well as plenty of plant life. I find this glimpse into his life so fascinating!

Friday, May 11, 2012

on somedays

It's no secret that I use and love Pinterest. However, I'm not unaware of the fact that all the time spent collecting various ideas and images makes it easy to lose yourself in a dream world, in the idea of a life instead of the life you are living. To get lost in "someday." 

Someday . . . I'll have a beautiful house with a perfect backyard.
Someday . . . I'll try out this incredible recipe and impress my friends and loved ones.
Someday . . . I'll lose the last ten pounds and wear these stylish clothes.
Someday . . . I'll be happy, wealthy, skinny, and perfect.

I'm not saying it's wrong to dream or even to dally in fantasy on occasion. The danger is in staying there.

In college I took a class called "The Native American Experience." We travelled up to an Ojibwe reservation in Northern Wisconsin, where we spent a weekend camping, attending a naming ceremony, and building a sweat lodge. It was an incredibly powerful experience (and not nearly as stereotypical as it sounds). One of the stories our leader, Nick, told us, was about "The Two Ghosts." In short, he said every person walks around with two ghosts, one in front called Future, and one in back called Past. Whenever we're too caught up in anything but the present, we're living as ghosts, and thus not really living at all.

So lately I've been asking myself: 

What about this day? 

How am I appreciating, enjoying, and staying rooted in the here and now? What is perfect about this moment?

And the answer is always: SO MUCH.

What a messy, complicated, thrilling life I am fortunate to live. To let live, through me.

watch this: maurice sendak on colbert

In light of Maurice Sendak's recent passing, I know these videos have been making the rounds. But just in case you haven't seen them yet, do yourself a favor and watch now. One of the funniest interviews Colbert has ever done. You, Mr. Sendak, were a badass.

Part One

Part Two

PS - Did you know? Where the Wild Things Are, probably Sendak's most famous work, was extremely controversial when it first came out. It's credited with changing the face of children's lit, expanding what was possible and acceptable in the genre.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Bring it, summer. I am so ready.

Top photo: High-waisted shorts that I scored for 10 Dhs (under 3 bucks!) at Topshop the other day. Also what I'll be wearing as I nostalgically re-enact Now & Then all summer long. Mostly the bicycle trip scenes.

Bottom: New beach towel + washcloth from a favorite store here in the Dhabs. Because I used my old beach towel for paper-making at work (plus it already smelled like a Bikram studio).

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

another (non-cupcake) dream

This week my lesson blocks keep getting interrupted by specials teachers shifting their own schedules around (so they can be done teaching by 9:45, but whatever). As a result we haven't finished any of what I prepared for the week. So what do I do? That's right, complain a bunch. Turn those lemons into bitter, bitter lemonade.

Just kidding! More like, shrug my shoulders, sigh a little bit, and decide we should make a communal mural, since it can be worked on a little bit at a time all week long.

While the kids were at Library on Monday, I taped up a bunch of butcher paper, then set out paint with all sorts of recyclables for print-making (cardboard tubes, egg cartons, that sort of thing). Our current theme is "Under the Sea," so the idea was that they'd be making the bubble-filled backdrop for all the creatures we'd been constructing the week before.

Some children worked on additional animals to add to the scene. Like these cardboard squid (squids? Squid. Squid?):

It's got me thinking . . . communal murals are where it's at! It's been so much fun watching and helping these little humans create something awesome each day, and I love that every element of our mural is kid-made. 

Dream job. Truly.

thanks, bloomsbury's

I have been dreaming about this cupcake all day. Really.

Paired with a cup of strong coffee, it did not disappoint. Not in the least. Yum.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

it may seem like nothing, but . . .

I really like the view as you approach our bedroom. The angles and juxtaposition of objects, the mid-century-yet-modern vibe -- it settles me. 

We'll be bringing the green lamp back to the States with us (you can't really tell here, but the cord is also bright green, and it's partially coiled inside a clear glass base), though the hanging light will obviously have to stay. The print on the wall was a wedding gift from the German family I lived with when I first moved abroad at 18. 

It's by German artist Andreas Felger and belonged to my host mother's sister, who passed away a few years ago. (Felger even wrote a lengthy inscription to her on the back, which I find very cool.)

Anyway, guess I just wanted to share a slice of the everyday, simple stuff that reminds me to stop, breathe, and say thanks.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

yo! it's the weekend, peeps!

Image via my Pinterest, found here

Any big plans for the end of the week? We're going to a margarita night with friends tomorrow to celebrate all manner of good life things (weddings, birthdays, summer on the way, etc.). Then on Saturday we're hoping to take a day trip to Al Ain for a mini-adventure. It's getting dang hot around these parts (108 F the other day!), so we want to get out and about as much as we can while it's still semi-bearable. 

In other news, I got a perfect score on my recent teacher observation! Meaning every teacher standard the admin was hoping to observe . . . they did! Also, that they like and respect me as a teacher. All I can say is, WHAT A MILESTONE! Recognition is almost NEVER given where I work -- in fact, I think the principal has said all of ten words to me this year, and they've been more along the lines of, "Where were you yesterday? Sick?" and "Yalla, bye." Awhile back, I decided that was actually a blessing, as it forced me to stop striving for the gold star and really truly let everything I do be about the children. (And oh, those children! I get separation anxiety and want to start bawling whenever I think about the end of the school year, just six weeks away.) Maybe that's what they saw in the lesson they observed? I'm not sure, but now they want to videotape me for professional development. To which I replied, I'll pass, thanks! Ack, I guess this goes back to the whole bragging vs. sharing thing, but it's been so long since I've felt competent at anything, and it's an incredible feeling to hit my stride doing something I'm so very passionate about. 

Speaking of passions . . . In case you didn't figure it out yesterday, I'll tell you now: I'm headed to Nepal in July (woo hoo!), where I'll be working at an orphanage for a week. It's been a long time since I got on a plane that wasn't taking me to a new life halfway around the world, and I'm looking forward to a more short-term international experience :)

And finally, I still can't get this song out of my head -- it's on repeat even as we speak.

Enjoy your weekend, folks. x

Image via

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Just booked a flight for the summer, and I'm pretty stoked! Care to guess where I'm going?

(Image found here . . . in case you want a hint ;) )