Archive for the ‘Everyday Life’ Category

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.

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Saying goodbye to Lesotho

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!

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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.

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Currently (November 2015)

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.

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Currently (September 2015)


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

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Currently (August 2015)

Watching: Season 3 of “Orphan Black” (Tatiayana Maslany FTW at the Emmy’s by the way … What she does on the show is pretty incredible) and Season 1 of “Madam Secretary” (Their depiction of the King of Swaziland and his wives was SO OFF. The actors and the clothes they were wearing all looked more West African than Southern.)

Anticipating: Being at home for the month of August. I have no trips planned and I’m looking forward to it. Starting in September I have either work or personal trips planned (or both) at least once a month every month to the end of the year. While I can’t imagine my life without travel, it’s nice being home for long stints too.

Reading: “Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania” by Erik Larson. I’ve loved his other books and this is no exception.

Eating: Conference food since I’ve been in meetings every day but 2 since returning from Utah. In Lesotho, at least, conference food usually means traditional food that I don’t normally eat but love to eat at conferences like polony sandwiches, peas, samp and beans, and dessert that usually involves jello and/or custard. This week I was pleasantly surprised to find what I thought was pap was really mashed potatoes!

Working On: Finishing the colouring pages that I’ve started in three separate books, using a combination of markers and pencils but can’t seem to complete.

Loving: The entertainment I’ve been getting by going back through old entries in my “micro-journaling” app from a couple years ago. I’ve gone through a dry spell recently where I haven’t been writing very frequently (or at all). Looking back through my entries I’m reminded that it works best when I write frequent but quick entries.

Playing: Nothing these days but someone advertised that they are looking for people to play nerdy boardgames with in the local expat email newsletter and the first meet up is in the middle of the month.

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Currently (July 2015)

Watching: The Americans. If you’ve seen it I think you’ll understand that my main question about the show is: where do Elizabeth and Phillip (the main characters) keep all their wigs?

Anticipating: Warm weather in Utah later this month. My flight back includes a 12 hour layover in Paris. I’ve always done that in winter, so I’m also looking forward to Paris in summer even if just for 12 hours.

Listening/Reading: I just finished listening to “Thomas Jefferson the Art of Power” as an audiobook. It was 18+ hours long. I have a couple of books I’ve been reading on my Kindle, but very slowly. My next audiobook will be “Queen of the Tearling”- something a little lighter.

Eating: A recipe that I found on Pinterest for “eggless chocolate chip cookie dough for 2” It’s delicious. I kind of wish that I hadn’t found the recipe 😉

Working On: Staying caught up day to day. Then I’ll move on to staying caught up on my life in general.

Loving: That the shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere is behind us. Bring on the sun!

Playing: Elevate on my iPhone. Everyday there is a different combination of games that are meant to keep your brain sharp. My best areas are Writing and Reading. My worst area: Listening. Especially the game where you have to learn names.

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Currently (June 2015)

Watching: My scrapbook pages scroll across the television screen since I use the jpegs as screen savers for my Apple TV. It’s a fun way to “interact” with my photos.

Anticipating: Not much right now. It’s winter and (per the below) I haven’t figure out my travel plans for the next few months.

Listening/Reading: New music I downloaded after the Bushfire music festival in Swaziland last weekend. New favorite group: The Soil.

Eating: Soup. Lots and lots of soup. A clear sign it’s winter here.

Working On: Travel plans. Namely I’m trying to figure out when I’ll go to the U.S. (summer? winter?) and how to split up everything I want to see in India between two trips for weddings later this year.

Loving: All the cool stuff going on at work these days. The number of people on our team has nearly doubled since the beginning of the year and we’re scoping a project that I think is going to be BIG.

Playing: Plants vs Zombies 2.

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Currently (May 2015)

2015-04-25 17.13.03 I know, I know, it’s been awfully quiet around here. What can I say … LIFE. I have a reminder set to write this in the middle of each month, but given how far off schedule I am considering moving it up to the beginning of the month. If I can be consistent at all. So here we go for May …

Watching: Movies and TV shows on the TV screen I finally broke down and bought in March. Yes, after literally years of watching movies and TV shows on my laptop or iPad I finally bought a TV screen. I also bought an Apple TV. Between that and my external hard drive I am overwhelmed by options.

Anticipating: Another winter in Lesotho by increasing my collection of things to keep me warm. Items recently acquired include new flannel sheets and a flannel duvet cover. The longer I live here the more of a wimp I become.

Listening/Reading: I just finished “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins, which I really enjoyed. Very well paced. Starting “Sugar” by Deirdre Riordan Hall that I bought through the Kindle First subscription on a recommendation from a friend.

Eating: Beef stew made in the crock pot. Winter is officially here.

Working On: Lots of exciting stuff at work these days. We just started a new program to increase the number of HIV-infected children who are identified and initiated on treatment. It’s the first big growth the Lesotho office has had basically since I got here. Will hopefully be starting another program in the next couple of months, too. It’s an exciting time to be here.

Loving: Being at home for a solid chunk of time. I spent a good part of February, March and April traveling. As of now my next trip isn’t until the end of the month when I’m planning a trip to Swaziland for the Bushfire music festival.

Playing: Nothing these days.

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