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Watching: Have I mentioned how much I enjoy the series “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”? I was an early adopter, not one of those people who waited until Rachel Bloom won a Golden Globe to start watching (but you should start now even if that’s the case!) Musical + rom-com like twist? Sold. (Also, if you like the show you should read this profile of Rachel Bloom from the NYT)

Anticipating: Doing a big road trip to visit my favourite places in Lesotho this month. Right now my idea is Maseru > Bokong  Katse Dam > Thaba Tseka > Sani Top > Thaba Tseka > Semonkong > Sehlabathebe … Or something like that.

Listening/Reading: I read 8 books in January. A couple I got a head start on in December but most of them I started and finished in January and most of those are audiobook fuelled by my long drive to/from Cape Town. Yay for listening to books at 1.5x normal speed.

Also, FiveThirtyEight has a politics podcast. Nate Silver helps me stay sane/not despair in election years, highly recommended.

Eating: Gazpacho, my summer go-to recipe. I’ve also been making a lot of caramel popcorn recently but haven’t quite got the technique down yet.

Working On: Keeping up with my 10 Commandments of #funemployment. So far, so good – with the exception of the Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred workout. I haven’t done it even once, yet.

Loving: #funemployment. Like way more than I thought I would. This is partially because my job search has been going pretty well so far (… knock on wood!). Nothing is moving too quickly, but I’ve had a pretty steady stream of interviews which has made me feel more comfortable in enjoying this time off.

It is becoming increasingly clear to me that I am not going to live in Lesotho for the rest of my life. I have always known this, but these days it feels a little more direct. True Story: While listening to the Hamilton soundtrack on my road trip from Lesotho to Cape Town I cried at the song “One Last Time” where George Washington gives his resignation speech. The line “George Washington’s going home” repeated at the end hit just a little too close to my heart (as cheesy and ridiculous as it is to compare me leaving Lesotho to George Washington voluntarily giving up the presidency …)

I’ve lived in Lesotho for 6,5 years – the longest place I’ve lived outside of the city where I grew up from age ~3 to 18. I call it home not only because it’s where my stuff resides but also because this is where I have had a host of amazing experiences. Therefore over the next few weeks I’m going to pop up here and reflect on some of my all-time favourite memories (focusing only on those that happened in Lesotho specifically, so excluding a bunch of road trips and fun events in South Africa and the region) including:

1. Sehlabathebe National Park
2. Maseru Players Company (generally)
3. Playing Ms. Pennywise in MPC’s production of Urinetown: The Musical
4. Iron Chef: Maseru
5. Bokong to Tsehlenyane hike
6. The river lodges at Maliba Lodge
7. Hashing on Sundays
8. Malealea to Semonkong Hike
9. Sani Pass – hike to highest point in Southern Africa

Stay tuned!

I’ve been officially #funemployed for a month now but thanks to a series of trips it has felt more like an extended vacation than time going by and not actually having a job. Now that I am back in Lesotho the reality that I don’t have to report to work on Monday morning is starting to hit me and I’m increasingly wondering what the **** I’ve gotten myself into …

My sister, in the meantime, was also #funemployed at the end of the year and came up with the great idea of the 10 Commandments of Unemployment. (And then reviewed how she did now that she’s starting a new job on Monday.) This seems like a reasonable idea so I’ve come up with my own list of 10 things I want to do while #funemployed including:

  1. Thou shalt walk 10,000 steps per day
  2. Thou shalt make social arrangements at least 3x per week
  3. Thou shalt block yourself from Facebook between 9am and 5pm
  4. Thou shalt cook dinner 3x a week. This does not include popcorn or meals that primarily involve boiling water.
  5. Thou shalt do the Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred workout 3x per week
  6. Thou shalt connect with two people in your network per week
  7. Thou shalt take a road trip once a month
  8. Thou shalt catch up on your 17 Before 2017 reading goals (currently 960 pages).
  9. Thou shalt participate in Allison’s photo-a-day project called #funemployment
  10. Thou shalt re-visit your favorite places in Lesotho including Maliba Lodge, Sehlabathebe National Park, Semonkong

In addition to this list there are things that I have to do to get ready for my next step like Konmari the house to get ready to pack up, pack up the house, sell/giveaway things I’m not taking with me, figure out the logistics of actually moving my stuff from here to somewhere else, figure out the logistics of moving my animals from here to somewhere else, find a job and figure out where that somewhere else is going to be …

I like the list because it includes some things that I really don’t want to do, but want to push myself to actually do (*ahem* the Jillian Michael’s workout that I’ve had on video for several years now and never even watched …) and things that will be fun to do like road trips. There are also things that can be combined like cooking dinner and making social arrangements. Here’s to making the most of and enjoying my time off!

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Watching: The sunset over Patan Durbar (Royal) Square, the last of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley.

Anticipating: Bhutan starting tomorrow! I finally experienced cold weather when in the foothills surrounding the Kathmandu Valley, a little preview for what I think the weather will be like in Bhutan.

Listening/Reading: 25 by Adele and the Hamilton Original Broadway Soundtrack because I forgot to load Christmas music onto my phone before leaving .

Also reading ‘The Iconography of Nepalese Buddhism’ I’ve seen enough Buddhist and Hindu imagery around and will be seeing more in Bhutan that when I came across this I figured it was worth studying up.

Eating: Dal bhaat served Thali style, the national dish of Nepal.  Good thing I live dal.

Working On: Being patient with the guides pestering me. I have a great guidebook that I’ve used to get around. I know they just want work but between a somewhat heavily guided trip in India and a mandatory guided trip in Bhutan I decided I wanted to do this on my own. I can’t tell that to them so I just have to say no, repeatedly to every potential guide who asks.

Loving: Life.

Playing: Badlands, pretty fun once you get the hang of it and better on the iPhone 6S with the 3D touch.

Watching: Borgen about a woman who becomes the Prime Minister of Denmark, aka the Danish “The West Wing.” All the speaking is in Danish, so it’s a lot of work to watch and read sub-titles in English. If you’re a fan of the “The West Wing”, though, you’ll enjoy this.

Anticipating: My big trip in just a couple of weeks!! Most of me can’t believe that my job at CHAI is ending so soon, but the rest of me is downright giddy at the prospect of my trip. In case you missed it I’ll be going to India, Nepal and Bhutan for about a week each, then back to Lesotho for a few days then on to Copenhagen via Cape Town where I’ll be seeing THIS and then visiting my sister and her family for Christmas.

Listening/Reading: I am literally obsessed with the original Broadway cast recording of “Hamilton” – a hip-hop musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton. It’s one of those things that was in my pop culture sphere, and when I finally got around to checking it out couldn’t imagine my life without it. I dare you to watch this performance by Lin-Manuel Miranda performing what would eventually become the opening number of the musical and NOT be completely bowled over by his genius. (Literally, he was just awarded with the MacArthur “genius” award.)

Eating and drinking up the food and booze in my house! It’s time for me to go through all my “food storage” given my travels and that I then don’t know how much longer I’ll be in Lesotho. I don’t have as much “food storage” as my Mormon upbringing might bring to mind, but there’s enough non-perishables on my shelves that I really only need to shop for meat and veggies in the short term. I was even good and kept myself from stock piling on a recent trip to Bloem and Woolworths food.

Working On: Getting ready to hand over my duties in just a few weeks time. The closer my departure gets the more I realise how much information is stored in my head that I am going to have to get out in one way or another. It’s madness.

Loving: That I will be seeing another “generation” of Lesotho friends at the wedding in India later this month. Basically I will get to see almost all of my most favourite people who I met in Lesotho in a 3-month period. So much fun.

Playing: Monument Valley for a 2nd time. After I upgraded to a new iPhone recently I had more space to add games and I rediscovered this gem. Loved it once, loving it twice.

So, I have some news and now that it’s out of the bag at work I figure that it’s time to tell the world that …

… I’ll be leaving my job at CHAI in November. I haven’t figured out what I’ll be doing or where I’ll be next. In the meantime I’ll be doing some traveling and then staying in Lesotho a little longer until I do (or winter comes around again, whatever comes first …)

There. I thought that writing this for the world to know would make it feel more real. It does not. I am both sad and excited, but right now mostly sad. If I think about leaving what has been my home for the last 6 years I get weepy. At the same time I know that there’s a great opportunity out there for me, now I just have to find it. It’s a very strange feeling.

As I mentioned above I plan travel a bunch after my last day with CHAI as it happens to correspond to a return trip to India for the wedding of more friends. (Yes, my third wedding in an 8 month period. All friends who I met in Lesotho, 4 of whom met their partners in Lesotho.) I all of a sudden realised that I had free time to travel and then couldn’t stop thinking about it. Then there was decision paralysis when the number of options started to overwhelm me. In the end I decided to tack on a trip to Nepal and Bhutan at the end of my time in India. It will be a little chilly, but no worse than Lesotho in winter. Altogether it is going to be the longest trip I’ve ever been on and the longest time I’ve spent traveling by myself. It’s going to be pretty awesome.

In the meantime I am very actively looking for my next opportunity. So, people, shoot me an email if you know of anything! I would love to find something in South Africa but am pretty flexible geographically as long as the job is challenging.

I’ll leave you with some cheesy sayings that I pinned on Pinterest awhile ago but that have even more meaning to me at this phase in my life. There will be a lot to process in the coming weeks so I imagine that I’ll be writing here more than usual. Stay tuned🙂

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Watching: Season 1 of “Mr Robot” (Whoa.) and old seasons of “The Wire.” After “Breaking Bad” ended I started saying that it was the best television show EVER because it went out on a high note while Season 5 of “The Wire” is the worst of the bunch. I’m reconsidering this assertion now that I have started on my third time watching the entire series of “The Wire.” I’m not sure I could go back and re-watch “Breaking Bad” but, man, do I love “The Wire.” Let’s just call it a tie.

Anticipating: So many exciting things happening this month! The Lesotho Wine & Craft Festival is this weekend (aka the social event of the season). Later I get to see the Alvin Ailey dance company perform in Joburg and then I’m off to Jon and Emma’s wedding at the end of the month. Yay for reuniting with Lesotho friends!! I’m also eagerly anticipating the arrival of my first grown-up piece of furniture, a couch I ordered and that should be delivered this week or next. Exciting month ahead!!

Listening/Reading: I just finished “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer” as an audiobook and cannot wait to start the next one in the trilogy. It left me wondering, “What the f*** is going on?” in the best way possible.

Eating: Lots of salads (my fave: chopped up broccoli, red onion, cucumber, red pepper plus chick peas and canned corn) but it’s almost time to break out the gas grill.

Working On: The future.

Loving: Spring in Lesotho! The peach trees are in bloom and the whole country is pink. Love it.

Wanting: This bullet journal