Another year gone

To ensure I don't conveniently forget my new year's resolutions I am posting them here so everyone can harass me. I have three major resolutions for the year and some smaller ideas of things I would like to accomplish as well. Feel free to comment or PM me to keep me accountable.

  • I find myself writing less and less these days, even though writing for fun is one of the few creative outlets I Have left. I used to be so crafty, making Christmas ornaments, jewelry, handmade cards, mosiacs, etc. It's hard though, when you're living as an expat, to cart those type of things around or find them where you are living. Therefore, I will write more either here (unlikely) or on my foodie blog (much more likely). 
  • I will learn more Hindi. I would like to become conversational or at least understand a little bit and be able to communicate with the housegirl/drivers. 
  • I will expand my consulting. While I have consistently consulted for World Vision and do some part time work for a school, I would like to do more remote consulting work and will continuously seek out new potential clients. 
Wishful thinking: 
  • Cook more and blog about it. 
  • Plant my kitchen garden. 
  • Make an effort to meet new people. 
  • Grow my social media presence (consulting Facebook page and personal Instagram) as part of my personal brand. 
  • Keep in better touch with good friends.
  • Exercise more patience and be more mindful. 
  • Explore. 
  • Remind myself of what I have to offer and stop selling myself short. 

99 Things

I found this list that I started drafting in August 2012 but never published; it's a grander version of my "Things to Do" lists (2012, 2011, 2010).  Here it is, in its current iteration, with a few updates (and a few more things checked off since it's creation). Suggestions for places to see, things to do, or goals to accomplish to complete the list are welcome.

Photo credit

1. Travel to all seven continents: North America, South America, Asia, Australia, Antarctica, Europe, Africa; 2. Get over my fear of heights and take a hot air balloon ride; 3. Live in and explore a new country: France, Kenya, Tanzania, India; 4. Wear a giant hat at the Derby; 5. Party in a sunflower field in Tuscany; 6. Cruise the Greek isles; 7. Explore Turkey; 8. Get published; 9. Converse in a foreign language; 10. Stand inside the Taj Mahal, Agra; 11. Wander the halls of Musee d'Orsay, Paris; 12. Walk in Papa's footsteps at Dachau; 13. Attend TED; 14. Complete a photo series; 15. Keep it classy on Bourbon Street, New Orleans; 16. See the 7 Natural Wonders of the World: Grand Canyon, Great Barrier Reef, Harbor of Rio de Janeiro, Mount Everest, Aurora Borealis, Paricutin volcano, Victoria Falls; 17. Stand atop Niagara Falls; 18. Scuba dive; 19. Shop the great fashion hotspots of the world: Rodeo Drive, Milan, Champs Elysees, Ginza; 20. Leave a legacy; 21. Buy a car; 22. Explore more than the South Africa airport; 23. Pet a live cheetah; 24. Ride an ostrich; 25. Veg on the beach in Zanzibar

Radio Silence

So much for last year's resolution to use my free time to post updates. I brainstormed and even drafted I don't know how many posts that never saw the light of day. I was just feeling a bit uninspired it seems. So, no promises for this year, but let's see what happens.

Like I mentioned in my last post I resigned my position at RSC in Jan 2014 in order to take a little break and return to my roots, helping small businesses and nonprofits through resource development, communications, and strategic planning. I relaunched my company, Makusudi Consulting, (as some of you know, I worked as a consultant in 2010 after leaving another position in the region and continued with short-term contracts before joining RSC) and returned to work as a full-time freelance consultant. I've enjoyed setting my own schedule and choosing projects that complement my talents.

New Beginnings

This blog is really all about new beginnings and the reason I started it in the first place.  I know I've been terrible at posting and keeping people up to date with the day in and day out goings on in my life but those things get mundane and it's hard to be creative and want to write after 8-12 hours of recording refugee torture testimonies.  But I'll attempt to be better this year now that I have a bit more free time on my hands since I left my role at RSC. "WHAT?!," you say?  Here's a brief overview of what you've missed:

World Refugee Day 2013

Today is World Refugee Day. 
According to a new UNHCR report, the average number of forcibly displaced people is at an 18 year high and, as of the end of 2012, 45.2 million people are displaced.   "This includes 15.4 million refugees, 937,000 asylum seekers, and 28.8 million people forced to flee within the borders of their own countries." 
Please take a moment to appreciate the freedoms we typically take for granted: the freedom of speech, the right to vote for your chosen political representative without fear of retaliation, the ability to move freely, the right to practice your religion as you understand it, and the privilege to live without fear that you may be targeted and harmed solely because of an inherent trait (your gender, sexual preference, or ethnicity).

Overdue: Pics from Nairobi

Life isn't always glamorous as an expat, but it's not all being stuck in the field wishing for home either.  Here's some pics from June - early October (the longest amount of time I've been in the country since I took my current job) when I was working in the office or seconded to UNHCR Nairobi.  I traveled with friends, I blogged a few times, I cooked some, but mostly I watched trashy reality shows on E! while writing refugees' persecution histories, explaining why they should be recommended for resettlement.  The fact I only have so few to share also tells me I need to be taking more photographic evidence of my life in Nairobi.  Here's some I did manage to snap along the way:

I survived Tchad

So I'm aware that I've been very lame about posting for the last month since I went off secondment and began traveling again.  (For the record I did blog a restaurant review on my other blog African Nights so I wasn't a complete slacker.)  My first trip post-Nairobi secondment was to Tchad.  Yes, that is a real country.  It's landlocked between Sudan, Libya, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Central African Republic.  They host refugees from both Sudan and CAR. 

Now for something a little more...creamy

Chicken satay!  The first of the appetizers I am creating for a small get-together I'm hostessing tomorrow.

2 tbsp peanut butter (in the comments section it suggests a couple of extra tbsp in order to get a more "authentic" taste)
1/2 c soy sauce
1/2 c lemon or lime juice
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp curry powder
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves- cubed

Combine peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, curry powder, garlic, and hot pepper sauce in a mixing bowl.

"There's a little too much hate going on in my feed right now"

And this is why I don't live in Texas anymore:

Facebook feed 1: representing the hillbilly section of the population.  Keep in mind this man is a police detective.  He is college educated and technically not an idiot.

Former FB Friend's status update henceforth dubbed "Jethro": "Simple way to end these rock throwing sheep herders from attacking our Embassy's. You breach the walls? You die! You throw a rock? You get a bullet! You kill 4 US citizens? We kill 1,000 of you!"

Burned into our memory: 9/11

While I'm not in the US being inundated with 9/11 coverage my facebook feed has not escaped.  It's not that I don't recall this day eleven years with sorrow for those who lost loved ones in the senseless attacks as well as those families who lost sons and daughters in its aftermath with the ensuing wars, it's just that I wish that people would recognize that this tragic assault on unsuspecting America changed the lives of many not only living in the US but around the world.