Living and dying

On Saturday, September 24th, 2016, I went skydiving for the first time in Maceió, Brazil. On Sunday, September 25th, my grandfather died in New Jersey. On Monday, September 26th, I got my third tattoo this month in Maceió. This weekend has been the epitome of juxtaposition. Living and dying. Being ‘there’ and being disconnected. HomeContinue reading “Living and dying”

Three. Years. Later.

Three years ago I flew home from a year abroad in Madrid. And three years ago, my life changed forever. No, this is not your average study-abroad-changed-my-life story (well, in most ways, it is…). This is your life can change in an instant story—the kind of change that is unexpected, unforeseen, unanticipated, unwanted, unimaginable, and, quiteContinue reading “Three. Years. Later.”

Why don’t you come on over, Valerie?

Well, sometimes I go out by myself and I …think about my daddy. It’s funny the things you remember: the highlights of your memory, and the flashbacks that are triggered by certain chord progressions, especially those that are continuously played all over Maceió. Amy Winehouse fills the sound waves here, and hearing “Valerie” takes me to ourContinue reading “Why don’t you come on over, Valerie?”

Day 1 of Brazil: My Heart is Full

Of inspiration. Of happiness. Of excitement. Of a little bit of nervousness. But, mostly, of love: for new people, places, and prospects. The positive vibes are flowing and I’m feeling like I’ve found another tribe. It’s only the first day of our three-day orientation in São Paulo, and yet I’m already floating on that newnessContinue reading “Day 1 of Brazil: My Heart is Full”

Chronicles of Chikunbaylor

On Friday, October 23rd I went to the clinic. I usually shy away from white walls and doctors, but I had back pain so severe the previous weekend that it hurt to stand up straight. I had a fever and was profusely sweating in class, even more than I usually do just standing still inContinue reading “Chronicles of Chikunbaylor”

“I want your life.”

I’ve been thinking about this reaction a bit, the “I-want-your-life” reaction I get when I catch up with people from home or post pictures on social media. Quite honestly, my response is emotionally charged. I’ve thought about it until my mind is spinning; I have much to say, yet I still come back around toContinue reading ““I want your life.””

Living in the Caribbean: Sun, Sweat and Siesta

As droplets of sweat drip down my back within five minutes of riding the bus, I wonder how people could ever live in a place this hot, with this much humidity. And then I think: Oh yeah, I live here.  I teach English in Barranquilla. I still shake my head in disbelief upon uttering this truthfulContinue reading “Living in the Caribbean: Sun, Sweat and Siesta”

That Feeling of Being Content

I popped the last piece of pizza in my mouth, darting my eyes between Nina and her two remaining personal slices. She was too busy leaned back in her chair, happily smiling into the world. When asked if she was going to finish her dinner, she readily said: “I’m just content, you know?”  Our coordinator plannedContinue reading “That Feeling of Being Content”

Timing is Everything

I’m sitting on my bed in Barranquilla all jittery, not knowing how to contain the excitement within me. I have been promoted from alternate and selected for a 2015-2016 Fulbright U.S. Student Award to Brazil. Well, that’s what the email said. What I said was much different with much fewer words: I was speechless. Just seeing an email withContinue reading “Timing is Everything”