January 2015-Month 5-Game Change

Last year was so beautiful and just like that...2015!

Last year was so beautiful and just like that…2015!

1. Attended my first ever watch night service! Never went to the late service at EBC, so doing it here was really special and fun!

2. Starting 1/1/15 by oversleeping, waking up in a panic from a nightmare, and almost missing the bus to work, is NOT the business!! God, I’m trusting it gets better!!!

3. Hosted my first Kwanzaa gathering on New Year’s Day, real intimate, real significant.  Thankful for good folk who inspire me.

4. Made chocolate chip cookies (from scratch) that I thought were a bust, but my people asked for more!! I still need a do-over, but who knew I could make edible stuff in the kitchen??!! God.

5. For me, 2014 was my Illmatic/Miseducation/Good Kid Madd City year (y’all know Ihiphop) 😉 So the expectancy for 2015 is crazy, but God keeps reminding me to chill with that…this is a journey.

6. Some know I usually have a fitting hip hop reference for many things, but it would just be awkward to throw that into convos here.  Anyway the good news is I’m getting there with bible verses too! God is working!

7. I’m listening to The Best of Sade as I write this.

8. I got excited for all of US traveling on those cheap flights!!! Let’s normalize this worldwide thing!

9. God willing, in a few months, I’ll be reunited with my hometown! Cheah!!

10. At the same time, this experience has become a journey, not a contract, so I’m in no rush to put dates on this.  I lived methodically before, but in this moment, I’m tryna be present in the newness.

11. I’m thankful I’m still on this journey.  I traveled so much in so many ways last year and God kept me. Traffic out here is dangerous so I don’t take traveling mercies for granted.  Prayers always appreciated!!

12. I LOVE that the sun shines everyday here!!!

13. I’m excited about YOUR 2015! For real!!!

14. Testimony-last month I got to tithe for the first time since I left and really!! I was so grateful to say thank you in the smallest way. Everything I am and have is because of God. I think I’m caught up now 😉

15. God showed me a tangible reminder to live right (wasn’t me this time, whew!!! but I ain’t exempt!) Sin can have a major domino effect.  Lord, I need your help, draw me close to you!

16. I look at myself less in the mirror.  When I do look though, I notice differences (I mean we supposed to age!!!) Not bad, but different, change happens. Accept and move forward.

17. I was blessed to experience a Somali wedding in Saudi, Muslim style!!!

18. Didn’t think saying I’ll be leaving Saudi early would be a conversation I’d have, but thanks to a learning opportunity, I’m out a lil earlier, stay tuned for the next…

19. At certain times/ages, people (self included) have certain expectations for where we should be in life, but who made those rules? Is everyone supposed to live that way?? I’m really trying to listen hard and take my cues from God.

20. Grieving abroad is harder in some ways than being near.  Nneka Fritz, your being blessed my life and still inspires me to keep living, traveling, and making this time meaningful, so I thank God for the life you LIVED (you lived sis!!!) and I feel good knowing that I shared my admiration for you in life! The beads are in my suitcase, I will still bring them back for you.

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December-Month 4-Nothing Was The Same

Whew! What a year it's been!!! :-)

Whew! I need to sit down! What a year it’s been!!! 🙂

Of course I’d throw a rap reference in my title! Anyway, nearing the close of my FIRST everything overseas!  So here’s to December…

1. I miss walking freely, but wonder if I’ll walk slower (those who know…)when I get back home.

2. Re: the items I couldn’t take on the plane in February, Ms. Hill summed it up, ‘thought what I wanted was something I needed.’  I didn’t NEED any of it.

3. I’m not with structured prayer time if you ain’t tryna live right outside those times…

4. Big/small, everyone has a role to play. #justice

5. No matter how far you try to go, God will be there, making sure you confront your issues 😉 (or maybe just me?)

6. I don’t have anything to prove being on this journey.  So whether it was one day or one year, I succeeded.

7. I couldn’t picture December when I first arrived and here we are.

8. This blog (as late as it is at times) is one thing I have consistently followed through on, big step for me.

9. Nothing like an African baby dedication!! I need that in my life!!!

10. Love church out here, but still wondering why service is 3 hours??!!!

11. Had my first Eritrean wedding experience! Different, cultural, beautiful, grateful.

12. My first (yes, I been a late bloomer) baking experience was banana bread and it was quite edible!

13. I went in traditional Ethiopian dress for the Military Christmas Ball.  I said I was running my own race!

14. Some experiences you can’t put into words, like this Christmas! Unforgettable in a beautiful way!

15. I still need my people from back home.

16. I underestimated how awesome this year was for me, till one day I looked at my pics.  Sometimes it’s hard to see the beauty when you’re in it, but we gotta take a moment.

17.  As IMPERFECT as it is, I am so grateful to be born in the USA.  I now recognize there is privilege (and for me, responsibility) that comes with the blue passport.  I don’t want to take that for granted.

18. I pray that I’ll continue to follow God’s lead when I return to familiarity.

19. Witnessing loving, God centered families at church warms and encourages my spirit.

20. Nervous, excited, prayerful, trusting, wondering…about what God, in 2015, will bring!

I made it to December!!!

I made it to December!!!

November-Mind in Transition-Month 3

This thing survived being submerged in a river!

She survived being submerged in a river!

1. Had one page left on my passport (Eph 3:20)!! Handled that! I gotta see y’all at some point!

2. In reference to my travels, was asked ‘where haven’t you been??!’ Crazy because I don’t think I’ve seen a lot, yet people often see you differently than you see yourself.

3. The okeydoke is being invited to Thanksgiving dinner to arrive and find out everyone has to cook it. #wheretheydo… Made for good times tho!

4. He who finds a wife finds a good thing-God ain’t never lie!!!

5. I doubt leaving the house before 6am will ever get fun for me, help me in my unbelief Lord!

6. My church fam out here really check on folk-thankful my EBC foundation set the standard.

7. I feel very connected to the movements back home.  Figuring out my role!!

8. God is teaching me the importance of balance in this season, but the strug has been real.

9. The Princess Souk-aka flea market in Saudi Arabia is quite an experience-great deals, but bring your box cutter.

10. Trouble really don’t last always, but neither does happiness.  For me? It has to be the joy and peace of The Lord!!!! Traveling solo is making me see faith in a new way.

11. Yup! The honeymoon’s definitely over.  Still…would NEVER take this journey back!

12. I was concerned that my students weren’t really getting it/getting me, then the midterm happened and I was pleasantly surprised.

13. Two words that may try your nerves when you’re NEXT in line out here…’After prayer.’ ‘Whaaaaat???!!!!  We still got 10 minutes!!!’ Lol, sorry I digress.

14. Umm Saudi gets cold y’all (not NY cold, but) I’m bout to buy a space heater!

15. Thankful I was raised in a place with proper drainage systems. Rain/flooding out here is super dangerous!!!!

16. In life you will disappoint and be disappointed. Thankful for Jesus tho!

17. Talking to two friends back home recently was like eating a good home cooked meal! A fulfilling place!  Don’t be fooled, I need y’all!

18. I’m in a place where people have never witnessed the 4 seasons of the year. It’s Saudi winter, summer and khalas!  (pron. Ha-Las=finished)

19. The compound life/social scene out here gives me a college vibe-I’ll pass thanks.

20. I don’t think I have a metro card for when I get back home. Am I gon need to ask for a swipe? How much is the fare + card now??!!  I know, tomorrow has enough worries of its own, but typical A! 😛

October-Growing Pains-Month 2

So I was blessed to go to the Mother of Motherlands in Sep/Oct and this happened…

1. On the plane I was asked if I was a boy or girl, feelings hurt much?

2.  At the airport in Addis Ababa, there’s no such thing as orderly lines, push your way through or don’t get served-so push I did.

3. The current weather in Ethiopia is cool and rainy like NY fall, which I’m not really enjoying. I miss that Saudi heat-I’m a warm/hot weather girl for sure!

4. At the first place I stayed, I was greeted with a condom (wrapper not included) on the hallway floor.

5. I’m wondering what this journey will bring; like Asia, I’m going unplanned with hopes of having a full, rich experience, but I don’t know what will be said when I return on October 8th.

6. Got my first international ‘are you Rasta?’ today.

7. Was told I’m African but not Ethiopian (oh) , then was told I’m Ethiopian…still on a quest to find my lineage.

8. Ethiopia wasn’t love at first sight for me.

9. I saw many things I wanted to capture in pictures, but didn’t.  I felt convicted to respect the human experience.  When abroad, consider the intent behind what you photograph.

10. Going to Bahir Dir in northern Ethiopia changed my experience for the better.  Sometimes you gotta give time, time.

11. Africans are the strongest people I’ve encountered in my life! I come from a powerful people!

12. I walked barefoot in the mud for the first time EVER and definitely stepped in some mess, but it was great??!!  Thankful my guide pushed me to try new things!

13. God raises people everywhere we go!! I now have FAMILY in Ethiopia!!!!

14. Ethiopian people-man woman, boy, girl are BEAUTIFUL!!

15. Went bike riding in Bahir Dir and again became in awe of my life!  I hope you experience an euphoric excitement from God’s blessings too!

16. Injera-the main dish in Ethiopia isn’t my favorite, but…

17. Witnessing extreme poverty around the world makes me feel helpless.

18. Don’t take hot water and lights for granted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  My survivor skills have definitely sharpened since leaving America.

19. I don’t have a BFF.  I have my peoplepeople, but they don’t come with that title. Don’t know why this post is on here.

20. When I got back to Saudi, life was waiting hard for me, playtime was over, and it wasn’t comfortable.

Before I took them off!

The Gestation-Month 1, September-“Regularly” Scheduled Programming

Trying Something New!

Trying Something New!

As I start my first full school year in Saudi which will likely be 9-10 months, I kept thinking about how this gift of time is in preparation for something beautiful just like pregnancy, and each month, many changes are happening.  What will God manifest?  What will He give life to? Let’s watch what happens…

1. When I returned to Saudi, to no fault of mine, I didn’t have a job secured-told y’all this was the year of the discomfort zone!

2. I love where I’m working and what I’m doing right now!!! I’m growing, being challenged and stretched.  Look at God!

3. I feel famous when Travel Noire or an Instagram travel site features me! ha! It’s been a great platform for me to share more info with others.

4. Joined the cleanup crew at church.  I bring my own gloves-typical A move!

5. Making a list of SMART goals is easier than the execution…still on it though!

6. I’m being challenged to grow in the discomfort.

7. Y’all get excited for the Jewish holidays, but I’m hype about Eid-Al-Adha! 11 days off cheah!! Eid Mubarak to the bros and sis’!

8. Grateful and praying for the country I live in right now.  Its opened doors to so much for me! Testimony in progress.

9. My homemade lentil soup is pretty darn good (and not just I said it!! lol)

10. Pre-planning food, clothes, and lessons for the week makes me feel like a responsible adult-weird.

11. I take for granted that I’m a native English speaker, but to people around the world, it’s a huge deal!

12. Yemeni pomegranates yaaaassssss!!! And for about $.050??!!! How much y’all pomegranates cost??!! oh. 😛

13. I’m a BK girl in a Saudi world.  People say its the way I walk, talk, etc. Back home some of my people (side eye!!) would say I’m not from BK (cuz I’m kinda quirky and stuff lol) but here? Notsomuch.

14. It’s like God gave me this gift of pausing time for me to catch up on something! I’m happy being here, right now, in this moment.

15. Shopping trips have to be planned around prayer time and that can try one’s (okay my) patience.

16. I have to be in bed by 9pm to get my full 8 hours, hasn’t happened yet, but God willing, it shall!!!!

17. Change happens.  Get comfortable with it! lol, but how???!!!

18. I love the clarity that comes with being a woman of a certain age 😉 I feel it!!!

19. ‘In everything there is a season and a time.’  God reminded me this as my people back home recently experienced loss and are going through. Praying.

20. By the time this reaches you, God willing I’ll be coming back from Ethiopia (remember, Eid break)!!!…What will I have to share in October??!!

August-When I Really Knew It Was Purposeful

I didn’t forget my baby! Timing is off, but thank you Jesus, I’m back! PS-I really wrote this in August, so let’s go back for a minute!

1. Sa Pa in Vietnam was the most beautiful place I’ve visited this summer!  Every pic is a postcard! Google the images…

2. When I started this summer journey, all I knew was I’d be volunteering in Thailand for 2 weeks.  Two months later, I visited 5 countries and nearly ran out of passport pages.  Beyond what I could ask or imagine.

3. As much as I miss home, I’m not ready to leave yet.  God is working on unfinished business in me 😉

4. The world is big, but small y’all, please go see more of it!

5. His strength is made perfect in my weakness for sure! I kept saying that as I trekked up them rice fields lol!

6. Between surviving a kayak capsizing scare with a NYer, meeting my first Lucille (if you know, you know 😉 ) and being recognized by a brother from Clinton Hill (wild story!!), Laos definitely holds a memorable place in my heart.

7. I thought IG was self indulgent till I joined (ha!) but it’s been great for connecting with new traveling friends.

8. In one of my trying moments, my big sis Terri said ‘live like it’s all good, cuz it is!’…she ain’t lie.

9. When you go to remote Asian rest stops, don’t think fried rice for snacks, more like grasshopper and live larvae 😐

10. The people!!! The people make this experience come alive, thankful for everyone I’ve met along the way, every encounter had purpose.

11. Ask strangers/new acquaintances  how they perceive you, you’ll be surprised at what you learn or what’s confirmed.

12. I feel like I was on a 5 month honeymoon since I left BK 🙂 and I’m actually looking forward to going back to work in Saudi.

13. America held out on some shady history.  I love my country, but side eye fo sho!

14. Travel light.  Thanks Talijah!!! As a backpacker, all you really need is 5 main things! Wanna know? ask…

15. Some days are regular and that’s okay.  Everyday ain’t gotta be Disney World!

16. I’m looking forward to tithing again!

17. Gonna miss high speed internet! Asia, y’all rule that!

18. Biggest takeaway from the summer-God showed me I really had to trust Him and know that all would work out for my good, even in uncertainty and discomfort.  He never needed my approval, but wow!!! God really loves us.  God really loves me!!!

19. Not bragging, just recognizing.  It was brave to travel “solo” this summer (of course God was all in… still) grateful I was able to “feel the fear, but do it anyway”-DCB

20. To whom much is given, much is required.  I get it.

Each Pic Has A Special Story

July- A One Woman Show!

One of these expressions is NOT like the other!

One of these expressions is NOT like the other!

Whew! The narrowing down process was a lot harder this time.  31 days in SEA (South East Asia) is a long time for only 20 posts, but here goes…

1. I wish I paid more attention in Global class in high school, instead of being happy with my 65.  I pretty much knew nothing about each country I visited. I know I know…

2. Four countries in one month is ambitious.  Glad I did it, but next time I’d spend more time in one.

3. Vietnam streets ain’t nuthin ta fu%# wit! (cues the Wu) But seriously, the motorbikers are no joke in the cities and they have no problem running you over.

4. Patong Beach in Thailand was one of the first times I felt FREE like a kid again!

5. I’ve never been the “only” and now I know what it feels like. Not bad, but different.

6. I HATE cigarette smoke and SO MANY tourists smoke!!! Don’t even seem like they heard of cancer :-/

7. I was riding my bike to the beach in Vietnam when I realized, I’m riding a bike to the beach in Vietnam!!!! Glory to God.

8. In retrospect, my favorite experiences this summer have been the most terrifying ones…Oh, I got stories y’all!!!!!

9. You know this, but Black/Brown people need sun screen too.  Peeling at the dinner table is not attractive.

10. In Germany, it’s about 300 Euro (sometimes free) per YEAR to attend university.  Seriously America, what’s really good?

11. I decided some time ago that I will not drink alcohol while I’m out of the USA to be fully present, etc. But I’ll gladly welcome a glass when I return 😉

12. There are genuinely good people in the world who will look after you in need! (Ps 91:11)

13. The Indonesians loooved my hair (and it was lookin all types of crazy!) Surprised that it was appreciated there without question.

14. Traveling alone made me even more aware that I am a woman and a woman of color.

15. Haven’t seen the trailer, but now I really wanna see “Dear White People”!!

16. Being stared, laughed, pointed at and blatantly ignored out here was a lot at times, but I think my skin got a lil thicker!

17. This year, I’ve used these tender-dollar, dinar, riyal, baht, rupiah, real, dong, and kip. Fun to look at, confusing to convert.

18. I hear the real culture shock happens when you come back home. Hmm…

19. Invest in a proper camera when traveling the world.  The iPhone is holding me down, but it ain’t official!

20. On Christ the solid rock I stand.