Making cheesecake.  Cheesecake for breakfast.


Holding alligators: a time-honored activity in central Florida.

Jennifer’s wedding in Chattanooga.

October in Seattle, memories from home.

“It will never be perfect, but perfect is overrated.”

I just finished reading Bossypants, thus successfully accomplishing all of the items on my short list of things to do during vacation (ie. go to the beach, hang out with the dog, read for fun, cook decent food, call home, be [more] active). The trick to feeling good about spending your Christmas and New Year’s vacation mostly-alone in Burundi, I’ve decided, is to not set expectations too high. Enjoy the solitude.

Anyway. The book made me smile, and laugh, and while I realize that Tina Fey wasn’t writing specifically for me, it sometimes felt like it was the case. Here are five quotes that spoke to me, in no particular order. If you count the title, I guess it’s six quotes.  I cheated - so it goes:

  1. Blorft” is an adjective I just made up that means ‘Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum.’ I have been blorft every day for the past seven years.
  2. When people say, “You really, really must” do something, it means you don’t really have to. No one ever says, “You really, really must deliver the baby during labor.” When it’s true, it doesn’t need to be said. 
  3. Politics and prostitution have to be the only jobs where inexperience is considered a virtue. In what other profession would you brag about not knowing stuff? “I’m not one of those fancy Harvard heart surgeons. I’m just an unlicensed plumber with a dream and I’d like to cut your chest open.” The crowd cheers. 
  4. You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute. 
  5. If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: who cares?

Sunsets in Burundi are often magical.  Heavy clouds make the light dance between golds, pinks, and purples stretching over green hills (and a certain Lake Tanganyika). Looking onto one of these sunsets, a friend of mine once said “I hope I never get used to it.” I remember being curious as to whether he was referring to the sunsets specifically, or to that larger sense of wonder that we are sometimes graced with in life.

Very little of my life in Bujumbura turned out as I expected it would when I first arrived two and a half years ago. Burundi has tried my patience more than I care to admit - and I’ve questioned countless times whether or not I should stay - but it has also given me wonderful memories.  There’s a lot to love about the life I’ve had here.  

Here’s a look at some of the fun moments - unforgettable vacations, weekends, friends, weddings, and all the rest. 

I hope that in the next year, life continues to be challenging, frustrating, rewarding, and sometimes breathtaking. And I hope, for all of us, that we never get used to it.

Tumblr limits the video quality, so watch it here for a much better image (though nothing will fix my shaky hands):

"I would not want to fall in that water.  It is totally green." - Naomi

It’s funny, and I can’t help but share.

Remember, when you choose where your dollars go: groups that ‘help’ people at the cost of stripping them of their dignity are probably not the best choice.