Thursday, May 2, 2013


A few quick announcements:

  1. Online, tax-deductible donation is now available through PayPal here! (For more information about donations and supporting our work in El Salvador, please visit the "Support" tab.)
  2. Posts and comments are welcome! If you would like to share anything in response to a post - thoughts, questions, your favorite song lyric that happens to be oh-so-apropos - please do!
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There have also been a lot of questions about when I actually leave. Here are all relevant dates:

May 15th is my final day with Anchor QEA (my current company where I work as an environmental scientist and consultant).

June 11th is my final day in Seattle, after which I am flying back to Boston to live and be with my family.

~ September 7th I move to El Salvador! My mom made the request that I be home for my birthday and my parent's 25th anniversary (September 3rd), which seems fantastically reasonable to me.

Keep the questions and comments coming, and, as always, thank you for your love, support, and curiosity.

Con amor,


I’m sitting on the back porch of my house, basking in the sun in Seattle.

Let me say that again… basking in the sun… in Seattle.

It’s gorgeous here, and I have a bowl of wheat farina cooked with honey and cinnamon fresh off the stove with sliced banana. There’s birds, there’s kids laughing in the background, the whole yard is covered in dandelions and those white fluffy things you make wishes on when you’re a kid. I had to look around and tell myself… just hold on a sec. You’re sitting right in the middle of heaven.

A later expedition from this afternoon which resulted in scoop of coconut + scoop of salted caramel + waffle cone.  Yummmm.
Because all this morning from the moment I woke up I’ve been stressed. I’ve had a to-do list in my head, I’ve been running in circles thinking of writing this post, setting up more donations, fixing my car and figuring out how to sell it, and surely there’s something I’m forgetting… there’s always something next, something more. But then there’s paradise if only I could just stop and look around.

I’ve had a lot of talks about development recently.  I wonder why so many people in the world want to end up where we are here in the US. I see people stressed, unsatisfied, confused, unhappy. Like we’re all trying to get somewhere, and even when you’ve “arrived,” there’s always somewhere else to go. I know I do. I’m always pushing to the next thing, the next thing, the next thing… my mom lovingly calls it my “disease.” 

I think that in a lot of places, that is what development can look like.  It starts off as an empirical thing – I want X, and to get it, I need Y. Let’s get a hold of Y and then we’ll have X. Simple. Done. Poverty solved. Except now that I have X, I want Z…

Oh dang… I think I just got the epic moral behind “When you give a moose a muffin.”

I don’t mean to be cavalier about what I have – I don’t mean to dismiss clean water, medicine, great food, beautiful friends... but I do! Unless I’m writing a blog post and doing all this self-reflection business, I completely forget to sit and relish the beauty around me.

A friend in Portland asked me, “Why you? Why don’t they get someone from El Salvador to do your job since you’ve never even been there before?” A great question for which I had no answer.

I don’t have answers, just a whole bunch of questions and a really long to-do list. But I am starting to realize that no matter where I go or whatever career I jump to, I won’t be happy unless I learn to appreciate exactly what’s around me in the moment. Like this sunshine. Like the fact that I’m blissfully exhausted from capoeira yesterday. That I can call up a friend and in a few hours I’ll be hiking in some of the most beautiful wilderness I’ve ever seen. And then I’ll go to El Salvador where those things don’t exist, but other things do. And I just need to learn to see them. And so even without answers, I can have awareness. Awareness of a new place and new people (and a new me) that will likely lead to more discovery and joy than if I had “answers” in the first place.

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