All posts filed under: Expat Living

on that life I always wanted

Over the last five or six years, my constellation has expanded, the points of light farther flung, moving ever outward. But the weight, the gravity of the galaxy remains. There is no escaping yourself. Recent chapters of my life have seen travel like I hadn’t expected, but that I embraced with the zeal of a child offered an unexpected dessert–that’s for me?!–probably undeserving but jumping at the opportunity, spoon poised for attack, in knowing haste. I’ve seen my fair share of visa-related riots, people crowded around the speaker panel, lunging towards the glass and banging with their fists, arms outstretched, frantically waving white paper visa applications like so many seagulls flitting madly around a dumpster, shouting at the tops of their lungs about trips that should have started 3 days ago, and the ineptitude of the staff and the obscene processing delays.

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on becoming: are you a rock or a leaf?

At times, I can feign a decent rock. But I am in essence, and unequivocally, a leaf. We marvel at the fortitude of our rock friends: even in the most challenging moments, their certainty shone bright. Whether their choices turned out for the better was irrelevant; they were confident in those decisions, and that made all the difference to their state of mind. Lately, I’ve been responding to life’s knocks and turns with a a stonier veneer: unmoved, unimpressed, essentially not giving a f*ck. I’ve been more solid in my stance, I don’t brace for impact as much, and criticism doesn’t knock the wind out of me in the way it normally would.

on travel favorites: long hauls

After 4 years abroad, and enough inter-continental travel to warrant a few opinions, I thought I’d put together a quick list of travel favorites for long-haul trips (8+ hours, in economy class). My first goal is to share, but my second is to hear suggestions; there are always more efficient, more pleasant, and less harried ways to reach your destination. 

on Roda, and resilience

Roda invited us into her tea shop, a wooden frame of sticks and crunchy, curled, leaves shading customers from the sun. We had made our way into rural Somaliland for monitoring activities, and at one stop we chatted with Roda, businesswoman and single mother of six. A tea kettle sat on smoking logs, and we sat on woven mats on the ground. birds flitted through the leaves above us, chirping away. At the time, Roda was doing pretty well for her family: she had a decent income from her tea shop, and she owned a couple cows. She was making it work, holding it together. I’ve been thinking about Roda during the past few weeks as the drought in Somalia and Somaliland slides quickly into something much worse. Of all the things we’re able to control in the modern day, the weather just isn’t one of them (yet), and this corner of the world is especially vulnerable to climate change. I think also about community, and its power to manifest resilience in the individual. In this place, community is fierce; a Somali with …