Life Is What You Make It: Updated

So as some of you might remember I made a bucket list of all the places I wanted to see and things I wanted to do in 2010.  So here's to new adventures and more great times in 2011! 

. Graduate with my Masters degree (FINALLY done!  I graduated in absentia from SMU with a Masters in Liberal Studies with concentrations in Human Rights & Social Justice and Global Studies on May 14, 2011!)
. Learn Swahili or enough to at least hold a short conversation with someone older than a toddler (I think I can safely say that I am on my way to achieving this as I finish up Level 1 Swahili lessons this week- 5/18/2011.  Level 2 bring it on!)
. Convince my Stateside buddies to venture over for a vacay (I'm not sure if Brittany counts since we've never hung out Stateside but she is American and is visiting me for the summer so I'm going to say yes.  If you want to see YOUR NAME HERE then book a trip to magical Kenya today!)
Me and Britt at Karen Blixen Tea Garden
. Attend an African wedding (Sadly due to a work trip to Ethiopia I was unable to attend my friend's wedding in Kenya.  Maybe next year.  Get engaged people, get engaged!  I did, however, crash a wedding reception in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia.)

. Pet a live cheetah 
. Get over my fear of heights and take a hot air balloon safari
. Hike Lake Navaisha 
. Camp with the pink flamingos at Lake Nakuru (Ok so camping didn't ensue since my mom is anti-doing anything nature-y or things that don't involve running water or toilets but I did spend some quality time with the flamingos and other game at the park with Mom and Brittany 6/11/2011.)
. Visit the hot springs at Lake Elementaita (I heard rumors of these hot springs but the closest we got to them was the hammock at our banda overlooking the lake and I'm ok with that 6/16-18/2011.)
It was a rough few days....
. Have sundowners in the Ngong Hills 
. Chill on the Kenyan coast
Back to Diani I went in July.  Great friends, food, and fun times!

. Explore the Nairobi National Park (After living in Nairobi for nearly a year and a half I finally visited the National Park just outside of town.  I'm not sure what took me so long.  It's a great day trip 6/12/2011.)
                                                                                                Yep, that's Nairobi back there, cool, huh?
. Veg on the beach in Zanzibar 
I didn't make it to Zanzibar but I did manage to chill in Dar es Salaam in July.  Close enough right?  Same ocean, different view.

. Hang out in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with my favorite missionary family, the Aarseths!
While in Ethiopia for work in November/December I was able to catch up with DeeDee and Paul one night while transiting through Addis.  Great seeing you guys!
. Explore more than just the South African airport
. Decide on the next great adventure and make a plan for after my contract ends. 
I started living out my next adventure as of August this year.  I started a new job as a Caseworker with the US Refugee Admissions Program/Resettlement Support Center.  I travel throughout sub-Saharan Africa processing refugee claims for resettlement.  

All in all, not a bad year.  A few things knocked off the list and a few remaining to achieve next year.  Happy New Year, y'all!


  1. Live cheetah - animal orphanage in Nairobi :) Sketchy dude without a uniform will let you in for kito kidogo :)

  2. Love it. Heard of it, but have no idea where it is. Karen, I'm guessing? Will definitely add that to places to go. Can I ride an ostrich there as well?