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