Archive | February, 2014


26 Feb

Where’s Waldo?

Early last week, I was back in Elim; back to the yard with Mama, back to roosters clearing their sinuses at 2am, back to sun beating down so hot it’s like an eager boy-scout trying desperately to earn his badges. Back to a place where being called “fat” is a compliment, where food cooked over an actual fire is the norm, and where everyone in an entire community knows me by name.

But I don't go to Jamaica to be comfortable.

Somewhere in Jamaica lies the secret to perfect fried chicken.

I went to back to a country where any taxi driver, at any point, will blow you a kiss. And where the fruits are so plentiful, so delicious, and so exotic, even Willy Wonka would be impressed.


better than candy


You’d think if you lived on an island, you’d have been on a boat. Shockingly, I found out this was not the case for Mama and company. No one in the yard had ever been at sea! I set out to change that…

As a special family outing, we all took a speed boat to the to Pelican Bar,
a free-standing bamboo hut on the Caribbean. They were thrilled by the ride and grateful to experience Jamaica like tourists (with life jackets and ice-cold
Red Stripes).

happy faces

the day they lost their boat virginity


I went back to a country where I spent years of my life, where I farmed, wrote grants, had a school built, cried from loneliness, made foreigners family, and learned how to dance. (And by “learned how to dance,” of course I mean that I’m still white.)

I went back to a country that I had learned to love and that learned to love me.
A country I will visit for the rest of my life.

Like those ever persistent taxi men, I’m now blowing you a kiss — I can’t say with any authority when it will reach you, because I don’t know the Speed of Kiss, but be ready for it.

It’s coming.


I’m not sure if you were gone months or years, but I missed you

23 Feb

My parents were shocked; as they roused from peaceful slumber, in sailed the tresses, teeth, & backpack of a vagabond. No one knew that I was coming back from Nepal. It was sort of an “it’s-almost-Christmas-my-visa’s-about-to-expire-and-um-yeah-a-boy-bought-me-the-ticket” type of trip.

So I was home. And America was exceptional. As always. I opened my mouth in the shower, snuggled with clean puppies, and used facebook for so long I got depressed. I saw people I should have (mom, dad, angela, pmart, diane, wendy, paul, patty, erica, steph, trent, britt, betsy, marvin, michael, molly). And regretfully didn’t see others (kat, lauren). I rediscovered that my friends and family, in real time, are just as amazing as they promise they’ll be over the Internet. Russ gave me keys to his apartment, which, given his visceral reluctance to give any girl any key for any reason, is a good indicator of just how good I had it.

I didn’t get enough of Asia. I’m dying to know what it’s like in Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, China…okay, okay, ALL OF THEM! I will definitely be back, but something even stronger than my passion for travel pulled me to Pittsburgh: love. Complicated love.

For the moment, a fix of complicated love will have to do, as my hunger for more exotic and mysterious (to me) destinations grows. So now I’m on the move. A free agent, destined to but not ready to come back.

Love is sometimes confusing and hard to navigate. Right now, I know I have to keep traveling. So I’m off again. More soon.