Tuesday, December 29, 2009

So many Christmases

And so many beautiful Christmas trees. One of my favorite parts of Christmas morning is waking up early and looking at the tree, glowing and ready. It is so peaceful.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Baltimore in the snow

Newspapers say this was the biggest December storm since record-keeping started in 1883. I really feel lucky.

The square is like Narnia, complete with lion statues and lamp posts!

(A heart someone drew in the snow.)

(Little snow babies.)

(The sidewalk outside our house.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Let it snow!

(Golfing in the middle of our street.)

Woke up this morning to a beautiful Winter Wonderland! I've never seen anything like this. They say it is the biggest storm the mid-Atlantic has seen in decades. We could not leave our house all day, except to walk next door for some chicken wings. Even that felt like an adventure.

It really feels like Christmas here.
California, the East Coast wins on this one.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

California dreamin'

(Union Station in DC.)

I'll be home for Christmas! Just 1 week left....

Monday, December 14, 2009

Shuttle driver

Today started out rough. I grabbed my coat and rushed out the door, aware that the shuttle would be there any minute and the next wasn't going to come for another half hour. I joined the long line stretching down the sidewalk and waited for the shuttle to come down the street. When it arrived the students filed on and took their seats or standing spots. With just 3 of us left, the driver turned and said, "Uh uh. No more room."

The standing students squished in a bit more, making room for all of us. The driver said, "Okay, you and you, come on. But not you. No room," and closed the glass door in my face. I could see the students in the front saying, "No! There's plenty of room. She can fit!" But the driver shook her head from side to side and pushed on the gas. I was left standing all alone.

I turned, feeling dejected and frustrated. I might have cried. I wasn't the last kid picked for the kickball game. I was the kid who wasn't picked at all. I was the kid who was told to go sit against the wall and watch.

I've always been a good shuttle rider. I say "thank you" to the drivers and I never talk on the phone. Why did she have to be so mean?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Go Wizards!

School is trying really hard to take the fun out of my life, but I'm not letting it. As a belated b-day gift for David, we took the train over to DC for a Wizards-Celtics game. Over the course of the evening the two of us put away nachos, a soft pretzel, a chicken sandwich, a hot dog and two large sodas. Pretty impressive. The best part might have been the halftime show. Watch it, then tell me how it's done. Please.

(A map to the Verizon Center drawn on my hand.)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

First snow!

Was it embarrassing how excited I got about the snow? A little. I stood in my pajamas on our stoop taking pictures, while passersby shuffled down the street in their boots and umbrellas. I wanted to yell, "It's snowing! Do you see the snow? Look!" but instead I turned my face up and caught the snowflakes in my hands.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Lighting of the monument

In Baltimore, Christmas season begins with the lighting of the Washington Monument, the first monument built in honor of George Washington.

And to top it off, we're expecting snow this weekend! I see little flurries outside the window, and my heart is flurrying too. Cheesy, I know, but I'm not exactly familiar with a winter full of snow. Hopefully it sticks! That's what us California people say, because it never sticks. Ha ha.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

(Gee and me at the pumpkin patch.)

"For, after all, put it as we may to ourselves,
we are all of us from birth to death
guests at a table which we did not spread.
The sun, the earth, love, friends, our very breath
are parts of the banquet."
Rebecca Harding Davis

Monday, November 23, 2009


"If you are going into humanitarian work and you are not an optimist, get out now."
(today in my Refugee Health class)

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Our first cross-country visitors! In just 2 days we ate seafood, wandered around Fells Point, Federal Hill and the Harbor, ate chicken wings, played Catan, ate cupcakes, went to the Greek exhibit at the Walters, ate Afghan food at the Helmund, took pictures, celebrated 3 birthdays, and ate more and more. We are so glad you came and brightened up our fall!

Friday, November 20, 2009

My "cohort"

It is amazing how fast people can become friends. The diversity of both background and opinion, the thoughtful conversations, the stories from all around the world- I am very thankful for this group.

(Mieko, on the left, was in an avalanche in Japan. She was rescued by a dog. Just try being cooler than that.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009


I am afraid that the more I learn in class, and the more academic things become, the further I am getting from the heart and from love.

Humanitarian workers and missionaries must go beyond "wanting to help," and learn how to be effective and avoid doing more harm than good. It's just that the more I learn to analyze situations and develop interventions, and the more I am crammed full of p-values and systems frameworks, the less it becomes about people.

Occasionally I catch moments of feeling: the professor who gets tears in his eyes while remembering a certain refugee camp in Rwanda; the professor who reminds us that one maternal death is too many; the one who chooses to say "deaths of newborns" instead of always "neonatal mortality."

We must remember. A maternal death is a woman who died during or soon after pregnancy. She is a mother, a daughter, a wife, a friend, a piece of her community. She is someone who gave and who received love. She has dignity that can't be taken away. There are deep consequences of her death. She is valuable.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Birthday boy

Happy birthday little monkey!

Nothing cuter than a husband who falls asleep with a ribbon around his head. He said he was a birthday present. For himself?

The less cute part of the story:
Right before I took this picture he rolled over and the bow got in his face. I stood there, trying not to laugh, hoping he wouldn't wake up, when he woke up because of the bow irritating his face. He looked up and saw me standing over him, camera in hand, laughing with tears coming down my face. He then accused me of putting the bow in his face and wouldn't believe that I didn't until the next morning.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why I've been smiling

On the shuttle home I had the urge to smile. So I did. Smiles are too rare, and I've decided I'm not going to fight the urge. If I want to smile, I'm going to. So there!, all you shuttle people who thought I was crazy.

Some things I'm smiling about:
Tomorrow is David's birthday and he is definitely worth celebrating.
David bought me a little European stovetop espresso maker, and each morning I've been having an Americano in a tiny porcelain mug.
My classmates (or "cohort" as they like to say) threw me a surprise birthday dinner at the Turkish restaurant down the street. Almost everyone in my program came, which is a big deal for these super studyaholics.
There was carrot cake involved.
I am blessed with amazing friends. Friends who will write you poems and friends who will ask about your toothache from a week ago and friends who will pray for you even when you don't ask.
It is blustery and rainy outside, which is an excellent backdrop for sleep.
I've discovered the best homemade pizza: eggplant and green olive.
Baltimore isn't so bad, really. It's actually rather nice.

Oh, and see below. There's one big reason to smile.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Oh, Baby

Welcome, Baby Silas! Born Oct 27, 2009.
(Read all about it on Matt and Sada's blog.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The birthday people

Happy birthday to all of us. I wouldn't want to share with anyone else.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween bitterness

Yeah yeah, David was the cutest Superman ever, blah blah blah, he's always cute. But I was a boxer! See the black eye? And the cut on my cheek?! The robe?!? Okay, it was lame. I'll admit it. I need to work on my foresight when it comes to costumes, and try a little harder to not look like a psych patient when I'm supposed to be a boxer.

Still Bitter That People Were So Excited To See Superman And No One Could Even Tell What I Was

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Baltimore and Poe

One last mention of spookiness before Halloween is gone and we can move on to nicer things. Edgar Allan Poe spent much of his life in Baltimore, and died here mysteriously in 1849. In honor of Poe's funeral (the city recently hosted a funeral because he didn't get a proper one at the time), the museum down the street held a creepy celebration. Poe was there, and was rather polite if you're wondering. Weird, I know, but I enjoyed the quirkiness. This city loves its Poe.

Happy Halloween!

(LOST, Halloween 2005. From left to right: Shannon, Kate, Danielle Rousseau, Claire, Locke,Random Pregnant Other, Charlie.)