Tagged: travel

A front row seat to Hannah’s “reverse culture shock show”

Surprise! (or not surprise). I’m coming back to the states for the holidays. I’m coming back to cuddle my little sister, drive on the right side of the road and visit meijer at 1 am. I’m coming to buy a new pair of nikes, drink slushies and make snow angels. I’ve got my little list of to dos and most of them are financially cheap and include touching the people I love.

I’m writing (for the first time in a long time I know, I know) to talk about what it feels like to come home. I’m grateful that I was able to come home about a year and a half ago to celebrate my baby bro and his super cool wife on their wedding day (I was the best woman, cool right?). During that visit, I experienced a phenomenon that I’ve heard other volunteers describe. The phenomenon that when we come home, sometimes it’s hard for people to know… what to… do with us I guess. How to ask us questions, what to ask, how to talk about issues, how to ask if the thousands of dollars of fireworks affect our hearts after our experiences in Zambia, how to interact with us, how to talk with us about Trump, how to bring up family events that happened while we are away, just what to do with us in general. Our presence might make some uncomfortable, understandably. We’re going through some big life changes and we make ourselves uncomfortable sometimes too. Perhaps a more evident and uncomfortable feeling many of us experience, is the feeling that we have when we want to share about our new lives but are nervous, don’t know how or don’t feel like the interest of hearing about it is there. So here are a few of my pointers on how to make my trip back home a little more comfortable for me (and hopefully for you!) and how to make me feel even more love during my trip home.


  • Tell me that you don’t know what to ask (and I will figure something out)
  • Ask me about the kids that I love



  • Ask me about the differences between my life in the village and in the big city (where I now live)
  • Ask me about what it’s like to miss out big events like weddings, funerals and sports games
  • Hug me
  • Ask me about my Zambian friends, brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles, mentors, supervisors, grandma’s and grandpa’s and how they’ve facilitated my growth, comforted me and gave Zambia meaning to me.
  • Ask me about my volunteer family
  • Ask me about my new job as the Peace Corps Volunteer Leader
  • Ask me about Zambian hospitality
  • Ask me about my Zambian family
  • Ask me about my pupils
  • Touch my face
  • Ask me what it’s like living abroad with Trump as president
  • Ask me what it was like living abroad with Obama as president
  • Ask me to see some pictures
  • Ask me to watch some videos


    Our crew

  • Ask me to teach you some Bemba (the local language I used and one of the 72 Zambian languages)
  • Ask me about any strange phrase I’m using (it might be a new habit. Would love to explain how English is often used differently
  • Ask me about my pets
  • Ask me about my house
  • Tell me you don’t understand something that I’m saying
  • Ask me about Oscar
  • Ask me how many Mangos I’ve eaten (but don’t expect a real answer)
  • Kiss my cheeks
  • Ask my about my crew(s)
  • Ask me about my daily lifeWhatsApp Image 2017-11-20 at 10.06.40
  • Ask me about the difference between my daily life in the village and my daily life in the city (things like cooking, bathing, using the bathroom, etc.)
  • Ask me how my body is adjusting to the Michigan cold (and I will answer how it is not)
  • Ask me about swimming in the lake with my babies
  • Ask me about my newly found love for African music and dancing to it
  • Ask me to dance for you (play a little music and I would love to)
  • Talk about your experiences in travel as your personal experiences separate and different than mine

Please try not to: 

  • Ask me “how is Africa?”
  • Ask me about seeing lions, tigers and elephants in my backyard
  • Ask me a question if you aren’t interested in hearing my answer
  • Ignore the fact that I’ve been away for the past two plus years
  • Compare my experience to your trip abroad (or to anything really, and I promise to try not to compare mine to yours either)

I’m going to be vulnerable and explain that my life here is well… my life here. That to me means that I hold my experiences here deep, deep inside my heart. They are difficult to explain and sharing opens up that space for either validation in them or disappointment if I’m sharing with someone who seemingly doesn’t care. That sharing my life here feels risky sometimes because of that. So I am asking for your patience and grace while I learn how to share my life here and yet still protect it deep inside my heart, which feels like the safest and most appropriate place for it sometimes. Because it is so difficult to explain the value that I’ve found in my experiences here. I think that all of this is okay and I hope my loved ones and I are open to the journey of growing together in sharing our experiences.

I hope that me sharing these feelings hasn’t intimidated you into interacting or not with me during my visit home. I hope you will still feel open to me and share your love with me as you know I want to share my love with you. Even with the dos and don’ts that I’ve shared, I can feel y’alls hearts and will always follow that instinct. The instinct that tells me that your love will be enough for me. I hope that we can all be brave enough to be vulnerable in sharing our lives no matter how deep they might be being held at the moment. Thank you for your patience and grace as I step into my new unknown that I still call a home. See y’all on December 8th. Enjoy the front row seat to my reverse culture shock show…

Much love always.



Haven of peace 

"My little haven of peace/hut"

“My little haven of peace/hut”

Whaaaaat upppppp! Long time no wifi (on my part at least). It’s been relaxing but I’ve been excited to update yall on my experience so far.

Disclaimer: all the information I’m about to share has been passed to me by word of mouth (which in my opinion is a pretty cool way to pass info but still…) It may be subjective and emotional based but hey, what do you expect from me anyway! I’m lead by my heart (d’awww).
Zambia is known to some as a haven of peace. It’s history demonstrates very uncommon, peaceful and nonviolent ways of dealing with conflict (Like large scale conflict like fighting for independence and revolutions like South Africa’s fight against their racist regime aka apartheid!) Nelson Mandela and other freedom fighters were welcomed and kept safe in Zambia. Zambians are kind of living proof of this national priority of peace (based on my observations and many people’s opinions). I wish I had Google access so I could research more about Zambia’s rich history. (hint hint if you’re reading this you probably do have google access and should check my facts). For now, word of mouth will have to do for me. 🙂
Zambia has already turned into my little haven of peace. Even through the ups and downs, my heart tells me, I’m right where I’m supposed to be. My host mom’s welcoming smile, the sky full of stars, my Zambian language teacher’s patience, the relaxed nature of peace corps Zambia volunteers … All these things have confirmed this for me so far.
Now that my emotional update is finished (hehe), here is my logistical update: on June 14,we began pre-service training. It’s been pretty intense!
My days usually begin with a looooong trek from my host family’s home to the training center which has been my  biggest challenge so far (I had bike problems and there is HILL! Like a big one and I’m also probably exaggerating hehe). We then spend about four hours in our language classes. The majority of us (including me) are learning a common language spoken In Zambia called Bemba (muli shani my friends!) Others are learning other local languages such as tonga, naynja (sp?) and mwamba (sp?). I’m happy with our Zambian Bemba teacher and our five person PCV language group. We’re all in it together!
We eat lunch either with our families or at the center which is a nice time to relax. In the afternoons, we have various sessions in topics such as, malaria awareness, medical training, teaching skills, teaching English as a foreign language, bikes, cross culture awareness, etc. It’s been tiring, rewarding and information packed.
I arrive home (at my typical Zambian village home stay situation, I.e. No electricity or running water, beautiful sunsets, chickens and goats roaming the yard/compound) as the sun is setting. I play with my brothers for some time, talk with my host mom and dad, take a bucket bath under the stars as they rise and have dinner with the family. I study Bemba and read by solar charged light and pass out early. I sleep in my own mud hut on my family’s compound under a mosquito net. It’s no wonder I feel like I’m beginning to understand Zambia’s name “haven of peace.” Life is simple and I’m finding so much beauty in places I never thought I would have had the opportunity to explore. My heart is full.
There are so many special things (like my brothers, my BOSS host mom, a teaching technical trainer I connect well with, my small biking goals that I’ve met, sunsets, STARS!, Bemba, ahhh soo much Bemba)I can’t wait to tell you guys more. Much love to you all. I still feel that each of you has played a special role in getting me here and for that I am forever grateful.
Do you all have questions/ suggestions of what I should talk about in my next post? I am excited to share my new life with yall. It’s so different than anything I’ve ever experienced and I’m learning so much. I hope to document everything while my eyes are so still so fascinated with the differences! Ask away to help me keep my mind fresh 🙂
My brothers

Morning bike ride sunrise

Much Zambian love!

Love over fear

Warning- this post is extra sentimental.
Well I sucked every single drop of my people time and am officially on my journey to my next adventure. I’ve kissed and hugged and expressed love and ate and talked and did all beautiful things with my loved ones. The past month was intense filled with activity and a desire to show my love and appreciation for you all. This moment of solitude and reflection during a break in my orientation is bittersweet for me.
I am conflicted with this feeling that I need to grieve the ending of this chapter but also want to celebrate the beginning of this new one. As the Alchemist taught me (holla to my boy Paulo Coelho), we all must chase our personal legend. The inevitable pain that arises during our journey of chasing our dreams is nothing compared to the regret we will face if we allow fear to overcome and don’t pursue our dreams. In this very moment, my goodbye sadness is so real. I’m recognizing these feelings and will pray that my also real (and much stronger) internal joy will overcome them quickly.
Yes yall! I’m emotional! It’s real! Thanks for loving me anyways and as always much love back at ya.

Typical emotional Han and her next chapter

It would be foolish of me to pretend that I am ALL excitement, happiness and pure joy for every new chapter that I start. Truth is, yeah! I get nervous. Goodbyes are hard no matter how many times I convince myself that it is just a “see you later” and the unknown can be intimidating. That being said, peace trumps all other emotions when I know I’m making the right decision and right now, my peaceful emotions are BA and are dominating all others. alhumdulilah thank God.

My next chapter? It’s a big one folks (to me that is). I might even have to call it a brand new novel. A sequel to the book series I call my life. The news is… I joined the Peace Corps! In less than 2 months (June 8) I will leave for two years to volunteer in Zambia with the RED program (Rural Education Development). I’ll be teaching English. Those are the knowns as of now. There are plenty (and I mean plenty) of unknowns. I have been doing as much as I can to prepare myself (online research *mostly youtube videos that is*, meeting with RPCVs (returned Peace Corps volunteers), dating my people A LOT, etc.)


Here are some questions that people have asked:

Q) Why? 

  • A) Ecuador unleashed a wanderlust that I cannot contain. I am excited about the unknowns of any trip that I take. About the people that I will meet, what they will teach me about life, myself, the universe, culture, nature, etc. “The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know.” I have found that to be so true. And there are people out there that know so much that I have no idea about. Topics I don’t even know exist. Holla to my peeps who understand that excitement! I’m thankful that Peace Corps is introducing me to my new community and can only imagine what I will learn from these new people. It’s like my next test in this journey called life. It feels so right.

Q) So you can’t find work in the United States? 

  • A) Maybe! But again with the peace that I felt in my heart after making this decision, I can’t help but follow it. Wouldn’t I be foolish to ignore that feeling? Or am I foolish for not following the traditional “get college degree, get married, buy house, settle down, have kids…. etc.” narrative that we are told? I guess we’ll find out after a few years *wink wink*

Q) How are you gonna handle the conditions you’ll be living in? 

  • A) Another unknown of the whole thing.. I’m not sure what exactly the conditions will be in my village. But likely (95% likely), I will have no running water or electricity. And yes, this will be a huge test for me! Even bigger than that one stats exam back in the day. A life test. How adaptable have I become and can I become through this? How savvy (as my Dad says) have I grown to be? Stay tuned… Anyway, yes. Like I said. I am nervous. But I can feel how right this is because even these challenges that I know I will face, feel peaceful.

Q) What are your biggest fears?

  • I’m worried that a lack of presence will make it easy for people to forget about me. (I know sad but a real fear).  I fear that I will miss my people so much that it will hurt everyday. I’m nervous that I’m not as strong as I think that I am and that I will fail (isn’t it like that with all dream chasers though?) I’m afraid that I’ll get painfully sick (yeah, diarrhea is inevitable I know) and will miss the comfort of home. I’m worried that a student will ask me a question and I won’t have the answer. I’m afraid of loneliness, mosquito bites, insomnia, macaroni and cheese cravings, internet withdrawal, that people won’t accept me, that I’m not healthy/strong/smart/brave/communicative/adaptable enough,… Yeah, I have a lot of narcissistic fears. They’re a real part of this process and I’m choosing to recognize them (even in the public eye of my blog hehe)

What questions do y’all have for me? 

I’m thankful right now to my people for being extra sensitive with me. I’m emotional! (even more than normal… I know you didn’t think that was possible.) I feel like is a big step and I’m appreciative for everyone who has my back throughout it all. Much love ❤

Check out this link for my timeline of Peace Corps journey. Oooo la la 😉

Dhanyvaad, India

IMG_0559_2I should change the name of this blog to, “takes-too-long-to-gather-her-thoughts Hannah”. I arrived home from India almost three weeks ago and haven’t done much that’s considered “productive” (unless you’re like me and consider quality time with loved ones productivity). I’ve been meaning to write this post for some time to give myself some closure to my India trip. It’s necessary to recognize the great lessons that the people of this country have taught me during my two months in their homes.IMG_0684

During my India trip, I became deeply aware of something beautiful. I realized that God has given me gifts and that lately, I have been using the gifts that he has given me to the fullest that I know how to right now (maybe that will change in the future). I realized how difficult it would be more me to travel if I was, for example, allergic to peanuts. Although there are obviously difficulties (like me respraining/ twisting my ankle almost monthly), I am so thankful for the realization that right now, God has given me the privilege to travel. He’s opened up doors, provided me with means to go, introduced me to amazing people who have supported me financially/ spiritually/ emotionally, given me relatively good health, given me courage to go and I am beyond grateful. Somehow, the universe has answered me. I told it what I wanted and it assisted me along the way.

IMG_0474 Jim Carrey said “What we really want seems impossibly out of reach so we never dare to ask the universe for it. I’m the proof that you can ask the universe for it”Paolo Coelho says ““And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”” Somehow, things have worked out so far and I owe it all to some amazing people the universe brought my way. Thank you. *End overly emotional/ spiritual rant.*

Anyway, there were also aspects of India that were difficult to adapt to. Often times, my U.S. American mentality “just needed some dang privacy” and sometimes I really just wanted some toilet paper. However through these challenges, I feel that I developed a greater ability to adapt to my environment and contribute in some way to my community. I will take these lessons with me on the rest of my journey. I am also thankful to India for:

  • Funny stories (like the time the “rusty metal guy” “pierced” my nose in the dark)
  • Spirituality
  • Mera bhai ❤ and my best friend too
  • Simplicity
  • Peace
  • Meditation
  • Patience with the language barrier
  • Family
  • Hospitality
  • Fresh food

Thanks for reading my so very typical end of Hannah’s chapter thank you letter. India is a complex, beautiful, country full of interesting, helpful, hospitable people who taught me lots about the life that I want to lead. Gotta give them some love!

Thanks for somehow tolerating my emotional self. As always, much love!

Debo cambiar el nombre de este blog a “Hannah pasa tanto tiempo pensando y no escribiendo”. Llegue casi 3 semanas antes y no he hecho mucho de productividad (pero he hecho cosas mas importante como pasando mucho tiempo con mis amigos y familia). Quería escribir eso para agradecer India por muchas lecciones y cosas bonitas.

Aunque hay problemas siempre durante mis viajes, mas o menos me di cuenta que Dios me dio muchos regalos para que pueda hacer lo que hago. Estoy bien agradecida por lo que hace El para mi. El Universo ha hecho muchas cosas para mi durante mis transiciones y todo y me hace feliz. Paolo Coelho dice “cuando quieres algo, todo el universo conspira para que lo obtengas.” Eso si esta pasando conmigo y tengo que dar todo el gracia a la gente que el universo me dio durante todo.

Estoy bien agradecida por lo que aprendí en India. India me ensenó mucho de la vida y ya se que siempre lo voy a tener en mi corazón. Gracias India, Eres hermosa. Mucho amor ❤

My most peaceful adventure yet

Successfully completed a difficult, emotional, spiritual, rewarding ten day meditation journey. My Vipassana meditation course was phoneless, substanceless, talkingless but an adventure nonetheless. I truly learned a lot. Putting words to it is difficult really but I will try my best to do it justice.

So you can picture my daily routine here was our schedule:
·      4:00 am – wake up bell

·      4:30 – 6:30 am – meditation (in hall or residence)

·      6:30-8:00 am – breakfast and hot water for showers

·      8:00 – 9:00 am – group meditation in dhamma hall 

·      9:00 – 11:00 am – meditation (and meetings with teachers)

·      11:00 am – 1:00 pm – lunch and break

·      1:00 – 2:30 pm – meditation (in hall or residence)

·      2:30 – 3:30 pm – group meditation in dhamma hall 

·      3:30 – 5:00 pm – meditation (and meetings with teachers)

·      5:00 – 6:00 pm – tea break

·      6:00 – 7:00 pm – group meditation in dhamma hall

·      7:00 – 8:30 pm – discourse (guru speech)

·      8:30 – 9:00 pm – meditation

·      9:00 pm – bed time

I followed this schedule (almost) completely. Sometimes not gonna lie but my desire for sleep took over and I took some extra naps. The important sessions though (the ones in bold) I always attended. During this time, we were asked to sit completely still for one full hour (I’m still working on this -_-).


The first three days we focused only on our breath. There are many techniques of meditation but in this one, altering ones breath is a no no. We were asked to simply observe our breath. To Focus only on the area from our upper lip up to the nostrils (this is why I randomly know the word nostril in hindi hehe). Through this process, we make our minds sharper and more in tune with the sensations that are happening on our body all the time even if we aren’t paying attention. After this, we focus on the sensations on the rest of the body (from the top of the head to the tip of the toes). This is the actual practice of Vipassana and We did this for the remaining ten days. Through this process, if practiced properly (and a LOT :/ ) one will learn that sensations are always arising just to pass (this is dhamma/ nature). If one truly learns this, then he/ she will not develop craving or aversion toward sensations (no matter how pleasant or unpleasant) because he/she will always be aware that “this too will pass.” This is a very logical concept but the course goes beyond that. The ten day course taught us that only through experiencing this truth (by feeling the sensations and developing an ability to not react, aka Vipassana meditation) will we be able to remove all craving and aversion and therefore experience true happiness and radiate love. This is how I understand and explain the practice. Of course, every experience is different.

Soooo, the ten day course was peacefully extreme. There are things that I have politely chosen to not accept as my own. But there are many things that I learned and plan to apply to my life:

  • Have balance – this technique teaches that through the process, one should not develop any craving to any pleasant sensation experienced. That one should accept the sensation (for example delicious food, great company, etc.) as it is, understand that it too will pass and develop no craving or attachment to it. At least at this time in my life, I like emotions. I think partially life is about pleasure and passion and high highs and even low lows. Through this process however, I realized that my life could use a better balance in this area. I have a very passionate personality. Sometimes I go overboard yall and In the moment, I forget that many times my emotions are so temporary (whether high or low) so giving my self time to observe them is a good thing. Through my personal meditation journey, i hope to improve in this area.
  • Quiet my mind– my mind is so loud yall!. Especially those first two days, I spent so much time just realizing how crazy I am haha. I would be sitting there like “okay Hannah, focus on the breath” 2 minutes pass “yeah that was a good banana monkeys like bananas I like monkeys did Obama address the that issue yet Is my mom at work Who burped I can’t believe I’m in India My play set from kindergarten was BA Oh shoot I’m supposed to be meditating.” This was my reality-_- I didn’t realize how loud my mind is and how unfocused I can be. Through this, I realized that I could really use some more focus/ a quiet mind in my life.
  • Pay attention – focusing on my breath and other sensations on my body made me realize how much is happening around me that I’m not paying attention to. I’m not kidding – throughout the ten days I became aware of so many things. Particularly in the center. It was gorgeous. I watched butterflies and bees drinking from flowers, kids playin cricket in the mountains, stars become visible in the sky, chipmonks playing, a mouse eating, a lizard climbing (on the wall in my bathroom), birds chirping, a schoolgirl picking veggies from her family’s farm and so many more beautiful scenes imprinted in my heart. It was amazing. I think I could pay attention a little more to life and the little things. I don’t know what I’m missing out on.
  • Be aware – my meditation teacher (who I am forever grateful for) brought to my attention that during the daily speeches, I was moving a lot, shaking my leg, rocking back and forth, etc. just like my hyper self to do this junk. I realized that I do a lot of things that I’m not even aware of that I’m doing. I want to be aware of my actions as they do matter. Although shaking my leg may be harmless, what other actions do I do without being aware? This is another thing I plan to consider more.

My ten days in Igatpuri, India studying Vipassana meditation will never be forgotten. Leaving, I felt peaceful, happy and excited to spread love. Of course difficulties came (like leaving my passport at the meditation center -_-) and the real world hit me but my new lessons did shape my view of them.

I could write more and more about my experience butI won’t since I know this might be my least exciting post yet hehe. But really, I learned a lot, feel happy that I completed it and met some amazing people (once we were able to talk.) so I’m excited about it 🙂 I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to discover what this can do for me personally. I would encourage everyone to explore how they too can benefit from such things but of course, we all need to discover things for ourselves something I also became more aware of during my time.

To lighten the mood, let me tell you a few Funny things that happened too like my lizard bathroom friend (who when I discovered yelled happily, “awww habibi welcome to my home!”, talking to myself, dancing to motivate myself to go to meditation, etc.if there was a movie crew following me, it would be entertaining as H. Forreal yall 🙂

Thanks for listening. What do you guys think about it all? Kinda crazy no? Ever had an experience like this?

Much love and many thanks for the support. ❤


Ps- perdóname por no escribir en español está vez. Es bien difícil encontrar conexión. Voy a traducir todo cuando llegue en los Estados Unidos y tengo aceso a una computadora. Básicamente, me encanto meditación. Aprendí mucho sobre mi propia misma.

Los mando amor ❤


It would be difficult to explain in my own words how important friendship and hospitality have proven to be so far during my time. So I’ll let my new Indian friends quote it themselves:

“It’s all about my friends. With that love, everything is good.”

“Friends are oxygen in our lives.”

“Atithi Devo bhav” (Guests are like our Gods.)

“Friends and family first.”

“I love my friends. And look at how much they love me.”

“No thanks is necessary. It’s my duty as a friend.”

“Friend of Amol? Friend of us.”

“I have a friend who has a car. So basically I have a car.” (Probably my favorite)

These words don’t describe the depth of what I’m talking about completely. The actions are the best showcase. I came as a visitor and left as a friend and that term isn’t used lightly (as you can see). I’ve got a lot of love for my new Indian peeps. The connection that I have seen between them and their friends (including me now yay!) is unbeatable. There are no boundaries. And thank God for the opportunity to be a part of that.

I’m all about that unconditional love and these people’s ability to show and share it is teaching me so much. Thanks India for showing me that type of love in only 20 days. 🙂


Speaking of unconditional love, I have to give a special shoutout to mera bhai (my indian brother). You really have showed me your beautiful country in such an unforgettable way. You have shared family, friends, time, things and so much love. Not that I need to say it, but thanks hamesha. India will be forever in my heart thanks to what you have shared during this trip. Dil se re!

Take a look at the photos from my trip so far. I’ve been enjoying and learning a whole new deep definition of the meaning of friendship. Who said I shouldn’t come here? Yeah yall cray. :p hehe.

Also, did I mention what I’ll be doing for the next ten days? I’ll give you a hint. No phone, one meal a day, no reading/ writing, no speaking at all, just complete silence and solitude.. Mediation! Can’t wait for this. My mind could use lots of reflection time. I have a lot of growing to do yall 🙂

Of course, I’m missing all of you. Hope I’m able to give you each that “Indian type of friendship love” 🙂 I’ll be working on bringing this back home with me. Much love!














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The simple life

My time in India so far has been truly sundar (beautiful, Really, I think I’ve said that word a million times… maybe because it’s one of the only Hindi/Marathi words that I know) I’ve been thinking about the people as “humans in their most natural form”. Haha But really, it seems that the Indian people that I’ve met (it is a sin to say “Indian people” and disregard ALL of the wonderful diversity that this country has, so I apologize in advance for the generalization if I do that) are happy people in the most simple form I’ve seen. It doesn’t seem like there is much a need for big cars, formalities, fancy homes, tables and chairs, toilet seats (forreal!) to be happy. The people around them (and maybe some chai and rice) are sufficient for their happiness (and people are always around lol) I truly admire that about the people that I’ve met. I found myself sitting in a car packed with people on a long car ride to a temple in the mountains not understanding a single word (besides a few English ones and now “sundar” haha) thinking, “how can there be such a sense of happiness in the air?” But there really was and I’m so thankful that they’ve decided to share it with me. Of course, this is my experience from limited time in a smaller village outside of Mumbai (a very busy city). Let’s see the differences as I travel and see more of this beautiful place. Aside from these overly sentimental thoughts (I mean can you expect anything more from me at this point?) I have already seen and done so much like my first Indian-Muslim wedding, stray cows in the street, AN ELEPHANT, monkeys robbing baby’s bottles, a beautiful temple in the mountains, sugar cane farms, and so many other sundar sites. Check out my photos that will hopefully in some way complement the happiness that I’ve felt so far.

Mi tiempo en India hasta ahora ha estado sundar (lindo, y pienso que he dicho esta palabra muchas veces). He estado pensando en la gente como “humanos en su forma más natural”. Haha pero de verdad, me parece que la gente de India que he conocido (y es mal decir “la gente de India” porque hay mucha diversidad acá, por eso lo siento por la generalización) están felices en la forma más simple posible. Pienso que no es necesario tener coches grandes, formalidades, casa ricas, sillas del bano, para estar feliz. La gente alrededor (y tal vez un poco chai y arroz) son suficientes (y siempre hay gente alrededor jeje). Admiro eso mucho en la gente que he conocido. Estaba en un coche lleno de gente en un camino largo a un temple en las montañas entiendo ninguna palabra pensando “cómo es posible que hay tanta felicidad en el aire” pero realmente había y estoy agradecida que ellos han decido compartirlo conmigo. Claro, eso es mi experiencia con tiempo limitado en un pueblo pequeña afuera de Mumbai (una ciudad ocupada). Vamos a ver las diferencias cuando yo viaje a otros lugares y ver más de este lugar lindo. A parte de estos sentimientos tan emocionales (tienes expectaciones diferentes para MI? jaja) He visto y hecho mucho hasta ahora. Mira a mis fotos que ojala pueda mostrar la felicidad que he tenido acá.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my Detroit people, Egyptian people and especially my Ecuador people (where all my crazy culture passion has started). I’m forever grateful for each of you that I have met on the way and send all my love.

Ps – Wifi is limited (that’s part of the simple life I guess) so my posts will be brief 🙂 Much love!

He pensado mucho en mi gente de Detroit, mi gente de Egipcio, y especialmente mi gente de Ecuador (donde todo mi pasión loca para las culturas ha empezado). Siempre estoy agradecida para uds que he conocido en el camino y los mando todo mi amor.











I’m going to India y’all!

On Wednesday (Jan. 7) I’ll be flying out to the land of colors and smells (just made that up hehe). Got my visa (after some irrational “they’re not going to let me in because I was in North Africa and people think Ebola is everywhere in Africa” fear) and it’s official.

Here’s the itinerary –

SIKE! Y’all know me better than that. Here’s what I know: (and I promise to keep you posted as things happen)india-maharashtra-nashik-construction

  • I’ll be flying into Mumbai. The flight is 19 hours total in a plane (2 layover flights) My longest yet.
  • My bhai (Indian brother) Amol will be hosting me. He’s there until January 25 and I’m there until March 3 so I’ll be living with his parents. Him, some of his friends and I are gong to travel the country a little.
  • There’s a wedding on January 9th (and I’m invited woot woot!)
    How you like that cute face?
    How you like that cute face?
  • I’ll put an effort into learning Hindi (although India is beautifully diverse and has hundredsish languages, woah. I’m gonna be overwhelmed with language learning desires.)
  • I’ll be studying mediation at Vipassana International Academy. This means… wait for it… NO TALKING FOR 10 DAYS! Like none. Wow. What am I going to do? I imagine this will be a huge learning experience.
    Bhai 🙂
  • I love my Indian friends and am excited to feel more connected to them by seeing their home. (tu mera chamak challo <3)

India is the land of “sensory overload” (according to the people here who I know have visited before). The reaction I most commonly receive from people is “woah, India? That’s one place I’d never want to go to!” And y’all know me enough to know how that makes me feel. Like I wanna visit even more. No one with a negative opinion about a place has ever been one hundred percent correct about it in my book. Beauty is found EVERYWHERE. I truly believe that and am proven right everywhere I go.

I’m so excited to see what India has to teach me. I can only imagine. And now I don’t have to imagine it! I feel so blessed for the doors God has opened for me. The universe always watches out for me!

Thanks for the support everyone. Appreciate your thoughts and feedback! What do you all think?

As always, much love (piyar)!

Me voy a India!

Este miércoles (7 de Enero) me voy a viajar a “la tierra de colores y olores” Tengo mi visa (después de temores irracionales de “estaba en el norte de África y la gente piensa que Ebola esta en todas las partes de Africa por eso ellos no van a darme permiso”). Es oficial 🙂


Karam (an Indian game)

Aca es mi horario:

ES UNA BROMA! Ya tu sabes que no me gustan los horarios. Pero lo que se es:

  • Viajo a Mumbai. Mi vuelo es 19 horas total en un avión. Lo mas largo que he hecho.
  • Voy a vivir con mi “bhai” (Hermano en hindi) Amol y su familia. El esta alla hasta el 25 de Enero y estoy alla hasta 3 de Marzo pero me quedo con sus padres. Voy a viajar un poco en el país con el y sus amigos.
  • Hay una boda en el 9 de Enero (y estoy invitado!)
  • Voy a tratar de aprender Hindi aunque hay muchos idiomas (mas que cien!) en India. Voy a tener muchas ganas de aprender muchos idiomas.
  • Voy a estudiar meditación en Vipassana International Academy. Eso significa que… espérate… no puedo hablar por 10 dias! Wow. Que voy a hacer? Pienso que voy a aprender mucho.
  • Quiero mucho mis amigos de India y estoy emocionada sentir mas conectada con ellos y sus hogares y cultura.images-15

India es la tierra de muchos sensores para una persona de países del oeste (según mucha gente que lo han visitado). La reacción de mucha gente tiene es “woah, India? Es el lugar que nunca quiero visitar” Y ya tu sabes que eso me hace querer visitar mas. Nadie que piensa tan negativo en un lugar es totalmente correcto en mi opinión. Siempre hay belleza en cada lugar. Y cada lugar me ha demostrado esto.

Estoy bien emocionada ver lo que India va a ensenarme. Solamente puedo imaginar. Y ahora no tengo que imaginar! Puedo verlo con mis propios ojos. Me siento bendita por lo que me ha dado Dios. Siempre el universo me cuida! Gracias a todos por el apoyo. Siempre me hace feliz. Estoy agradecida también por tus comentarios! Que piensan uds?

Como siempre, mucho amor/piyar!


Shukran, Egypt

It’s hard to explain why I got so much love for Egypt… I’ve got a few ideas though. (FYI – Yimkin = Maybe)

  • Yimkin it’s because Egyptian hospitality. Gracious giving from deep inside the heart. No matter the economic background. (Special shoutout to my ommi Suzy)
  • Yimkin because kids play on the metro. (And they are so cute.)
  • IMG_9001
  • Yimkin it’s because Koshary and Mangos and full and tamaya and ayeesh baladee and…
  • Yimkin it’s because I have an overactive heart and fall in love with every place I go (likely)
  • Yimkin it’s because Arabic is beautiful.
  • Yimkin it’s because Ommi Suzy, Uncle Wahid, Baba Ray, Wafaa, Teta, Ommimina, Wissam Essam, Eman, Navine, Nabil, Tasneem, Viviane, Yasmine, Karam, Morah, Shady, Raheb, Emille, Jessie, Sarah, Other Sarah, Iztez Helmy, and countless other Egyptians who welcomed me into their lives. (most likely)
  • Yimkin it’s because the people have indescribable patience with me and my broken Arabic. Really. How dare I expect English in an Arabic speaking country, yet people are so accommodating and kind with the language barrier.IMG_9881
  • Yimkin it’s because the Nile and the pyramids (not likely, they were great But Thank God I didn’t come JUST to see them)
  • Yimkin because I learned about communicating love without using my words.
  • Yimkin it’s because my uncle Brent loves the people with all his heart.
  • Yimkin it’s because Cairokee, Dalida, Amr Diab and Tok Tok music -“Habibi ya noor el e3innn…”


  • Yimkin it’s because I had limited time and felt an urgency in showing and experiencing love. The nice thing? It was reciprocated by Egyptians. I was vulnerable so much of the time. And people were gracious and loving back.
  • Yimkin it’s because the revolution. It’s because I learned about my own privileges. It’s because the people have an urgency to demand change in their communities.
  • Yimkin it’s simply because Ahassan Nes (the best people)IMG_9769
  • Yimkin it’s because I’m learning patience from the struggle that Egyptians experience daily. Za7ma (traffic), long lines, public transport, heat, etc. Life seems tough. Takes a special person to live with a smile and many Egyptians do. Also, no matter how busy, there is always time for loved ones. Something we can all learn from.
  • Yimkin it’s because as Egyptians describe, “there is something strange about Egypt. Like a weird thing that despite all the daily struggles, always holds a big, special spot in people’s hearts.”


I’ll never know why I love Egypt so much. As I keep saying (because I have limited arabic words) “Shukran 3lla kul 7aga. Ana 3rfa ana guy hena tanney 3shen ana bheb Masr.” (Thank you for everything. I know that I’ll come here again because I love Egypt.)

Shukran Egypt, you are beautiful. ❤


Es difícil explicar porque amo Egipto tanto. Tengo algunas ideas… (Yimkin = Tal vez)

  • Yimkin a causa del hospitalidad de los Egipcios. Ellos dan desde sus corazones. No importa la situación económica.
  • Yimkin porque niños juegan en el metro. (y son bien lindos)IMG_9869
  • Yimkin a causa de Koshary y mangas y full y tamaya y ayeesh baladee y…
  • Yimkin porque yo tengo un corazón bien activo y amo todos los lugares donde me voy (probablemente)
  • Yimkin it’s because Arabic is beautiful.
  • friendsYimkin es porque Arabe es bonito
  • Yimkin es porque Suzy, Uncle Wahid, Ray, Wafaa, Tasneem, Teta, Ommimina, Wissam Essam, Eman, Navine, Nabil, Viviane, Yasmine, Yasmine, Morah, Shady, Raheb, Emille, Jessie, Sarah, otra Sarah, Beshoy, John, David, Iztez Helmy, y muchos mas egicipos que me dieron la bienvenida en sus vidas. (probablemente)
  • Yimkin es porque la gente tiene pacience bien grande conmigo y mi árabe mala. En serio. Como es posible que tengo expectativas de ellos hablan en ingles pero la gente es bien amable conmigo aunque hay una frontera de idiomas.IMG_3611
  • Yimkin es a causa de el nile y los pirámides. (no es probable. Son chéveres pero gracias a Dios que no vinieron para ver los solo.)
  • Yimkin es porque aprendí como comunicar amor sin hablar con palabras.
  • Yimkin a causa de Amr Diab “Habibi ya noor el e3innnn..”IMG_9731
  • Yimkin es porque no tuve mucho tiempo y tenia un sentimiento de urgencia de mostrar y experimentar amor. La cosa chévere? Los Egipcios correspondieron la emoción. Estaba vulnerable mucho y la gente estaba graciosa y me quieren también.
  • Yimkin porque la revolución. Yimkin porque aprendi sobre mis propias privilegios. Porque la gente tiene una urgencia en tener cambios en sus comunidades.
  • Yimkin simplemente porque “ahassen nes” (The best people)IMG_9814
  • Yimkin porque aprendi mucho sobre paciencia. Hay un aguante grande en Egipto diaramente con la za7ama (traffic), filas largas, transporte publico, calor, etc. Aunque la vida es difícil y ocupado, siempre hay tiempo por la gente especial en la vida de una person. Eso es algo que todos podemos aprender de los egipcios. Es bien bonito.
  • Yimkin es porque como los Egipcios dices “hay algo diferente, extraño sobre Egipto. Aunque hay un aguante grande aca, Egipto siempre tiene una parte grande en el corazón”

Nunca voy a saber porque me encanta Egipto en esta manera. Siempre digo (porque no tengo muchas palabras en Arabe) ““Shukran 3lla kul 7aga. Ana 3rfa ana guy hena tanney 3shen ana bheb Masr.” (Gracias por todo. Yo se que voy a regresar porque me encanta Egipto).

Shukran, Egipto. Eres linda. ❤