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One Year Later


I moved to DC just over a year ago and am only a few days away from my 1 year anniversary at PSI. At this point living in Lesotho feels like more of a distant memory than I would have expected after living there for a little over 6.5 years.

The last year has been crazy. Crazy good. Since I left Lesotho I have been:

Traveling at least once a month for 9 of the last 12 months either for work or fun or both. For work I’ve done 7 trips to 5 different countries. All, except one, new to me. I just can’t pass on an opportunity to go somewhere new and advising our country teams has been both challenging but rewarding. For fun I’ve been to four countries (three of them new), two weddings, my 20th high school reunion, a salsa dancing conference, and Christmas at home. There is no end in sight with plans to get on a plane at least once a month through July.

Reading 36 books, 14,145 pages. Mostly on audiobook. Notably I finally started the Harry Potter series and to date have finished the first five books. I rebelled against Harry Potter for a long long time, but after finally hearing so many recommendations for the audiobooks I caved. And I’ve really enjoyed them. I am on track to finish my 17 before 2017 goal of reading 90k pages.

Taking advantage of city life by going plays, musicals, concerts and any other kind of live performance that piques my interest. Between subscriptions to the Kennedy Center and the National Theater and random other events I’ve been to some kind of live performance at least once a month.

Walking 11,637 steps per day on average according to the Health app on my phone. The average, of course, obscures the fact that when I’m not traveling I normally walk somewhere between 13-16,000 steps per day and sometimes up to 18-20,000 thanks to my central location and the fact that I live a 15 minute walk from work. I’ve been trying to be better at getting more steps in while traveling, but it’s HARD.

Hanging out with friends from Lesotho. Lucky for me lots of people I knew in Lesotho either moved to DC afterwards, or have moved to DC while I’ve been here. Not to mention the people who come through town from time to time and the three (!) weddings of Lesotho friends that I’ve attended. Most of my social life here still revolves around the people I met in Lesotho and I feel so fortunate for that.

Pushing myself outside of my comfort zone. I joined a competitive karaoke league for two seasons, one of which my team (accidentally?) made it to city-wide finals. That was crazy. I volunteer as a case manager for a local reproductive health organization, which has been much more fulfilling than I imagined. I’ve also been taking casino salsa classes, attending a conference last October in San Diego but also pushing myself to get out of the classroom and attend socials where it’s a lot harder when you don’t know exactly what your partner is going to do.

If it sounds like I’m really happy with my life right now it’s because it’s true. I feel so lucky to be where I am both literally (geographically) and figuratively.

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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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I listened to the radio a lot while in S. Africa while driving my rental car. I don’t normally listen to the radio because 1) the FM bands on the radio in my car don’t go high enough and 2) I most commonly listen to books when driving to and from work. At first I found listening to the radio to be incredibly obnoxious because you have to listen to all the talking and the advertisements and songs that you don’t like … You get the picture. In the end, though, I did end up downloading a few songs that I heard

This one is number one on the S. Africa iTunes charts right now:

and this is just fun …

I loved another song by John Newman this year, so a collab with Calvin Harris was a must download

and I heard this so much that it’s just flat out stuck in my head now

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This month the Get It Scrapped creative team was challenged to make a scrapbook page with one or more color photos that have a vintage/retro photo filter like those on this Pinterest board. Here’s my take:

Beach by Heather Awsumb | Supplies: Surf Lagoon Kit, Fading Words No 3 by Katie Pertiet; Citrus Digital Jewels by Adrienne Looman; Evergreen, Carson Park by One Little Bird

Beach by Heather Awsumb | Supplies: Surf Lagoon Kit, Fading Words No 3 by Katie Pertiet; Citrus Digital Jewels by Adrienne Looman; Evergreen, Carson Park by One Little Bird

I use RadLab regularly to process my photos, but almost always stick to the basics like Lights On, Lights Off, Clairefy and Sugar Rush. It was fun to try out other filters for this assignment. I used the “Pool Party” filter because I thought it gave the photo a summery yet retro look. Also, I have to mention how much I love the Surf Lagoon Kit by Katie Pertiet. It is my go-to kit for summer/beach pages. This is one of very few kits that I have used repeatedly.

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