Give Them Other Adjectives

So yes, every time I meet a new person in my community, we have the conversation about my size. We talk about why I’m brown. They ask if I’m really American, and then ask someone else just to double check. But now, I know I don’t have to wait long before someone who knows me chimes in “she’s strong, and smart, and funny”. There is no better feeling in the world than being known well enough to let someone else defend me in a battle I’m tired of fighting.

The Occasional Defeat

Words are a large part of who I am, who we are; the creation and manipulation of them is one critical way we connect and feel understood. To be stripped of them is introducing me to a new realm of vulnerability.

Explaining the Inexplicable

But then…a tiny face with a toothy smile will grin at me. Or my host mom will tell me I’m like the daughter she never had. Or a quiet kid will speak a full sentence to me. Or my awesome counterpart will drive out of his way in the middle of the week so I can play volleyball with adults. Or the student volleyball team will triple check that I’m coming to their practice. Or the neighbor who runs a nearby noodle stand will give me a hug at the market. There are a million and one amazing little moments that continue to outweigh the moments of homesickness, and for that, I’ll continue to be grateful.

Now I Know I Can Do This

Soon we will reach the finish line. Leaving the Peace Corps Trainee title behind and finally swearing-in as Peace Corps Volunteers, and now I know I can do this.

Sawatdee ka, Thailand!

“Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from the relationships we create between each other and the world, and still it is never complete.” ― Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air On the flight to Thailand – or I should more accurately say – on the crazy long, day and half trek to Thailand, I…


The application process for getting accepted into the Peace Corps is not for the faint of heart. I wrote a lot about my process and the “why” of my service right over here. You write statements, seek recommendations, scour the internet for tips, finally get an interview request, scour the internet some more, interview, and…

2016 Reading Challenge: 50 books

This book is a masterpiece of storytelling. The human and emotional depth is especially impressive given the vast cultural difference the author also had to include and make understood. There is nothing funny about this book. What makes it so good is the depth of honesty and pain that the author doesn’t shy away from….


In the lovely state of Michigan, 63 miles west of Detroit, off Interstate-96, you’ll find a commonly passed yet rarely noticed town by the name of Fowlerville. Pop off the highway and mosey through the street lined with fast food chains and Wal-Mart. Make your way down the main street to the single traffic signal in the center of town. Then…

Next stop: Thailand!

The world only exists in your eyes – your conception of it. You can make it as big or as small as you want to.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald

The End

We went to bed early last night because we had a 5am wake up call this morning. A PhD student at Newcastle gave us a contact and through the friend of a friend, we had a trip planned to an organization called iRisee; 70km from Delhi in a rural farming community called Merwat. We woke…