This time last year, I was preparing for my upcoming trip to Africa. And my life was very different back then. Tonight, as I re-read my previous post about my trip to Africa, I can’t help but feel that the girl that wrote that original post is a very different girl now. The girl that wrote that post was filled with optimism and hope and love and joy and excitement; and though she still exists, I can’t quite shake that feeling that she, the girl from a year ago, has become somewhat muted. Let me explain…
My trip to Africa was wonderful. It was fascinating to experience the true African culture, warmth and friendliness of the people. The children were remarkable and I fell in love with them all. Though they have been through a lot in their lives, their hearts are still so young and pure. Understandably, they crave love and affection and are always ready and willing to greet you with smiles and hugs. They are well taken care of by the staff and truly appreciate everything that they have. I left Africa with a sense of the bigger picture in life, vowed to keep in touch, and felt on top of the world with a new perspective.
Then, I came home and my “first world problems” quickly overtook my new worldly, “there are other things in life that are important” type attitude. I found myself stressing about work, working way too long, wondering if my relationship was the right one, agonizing over and over again how I could be “good enough” or sexy enough, or fun enough. The list goes on and on and on.
Then in September/October of this year a friend of mine became terribly ill and my downward spiral kept getting deeper. The sicker she got, the worse I became mentally and emotionally. Today, my friend is doing much better but her illness has put a lot of things into perspective for me, once again. I am slowly starting to climb out of that spiral, perhaps, not as fast as my friend is recovering (and trust me she has a long way to go), but I take it day by day, hour by hour, chanting the mantra “today is gonna be a good day” until I believe it. Whenever I need inspiration, I just need to think about my friend, who through blood, sweat and tears fought for her life, or the children at the home in Africa who keep smiling every single day, even through hardship.
So, re-reading my previous post about Africa has reminded me about the things that truly matter, the things that truly make me happy and the things that make me fight. Though the girl from a year ago was a very different girl from the one today, they are both a part of me, and I have to embrace them in order to accept the person that I am and believe in the person that I can become.
Como las barras en mi columna, me duele.
Como muchas cirugías antes de la edad de treinta, yo sangro.
Como las palabras en mi diario, me reconforta.
Como el vestido que lleva bien, el esconde me dolor.
Como su odio y la ira y el dolor y la frustración que lo abrazan.
Como el amante quien no sabe que quiere, ya lo tengo.
Como sus opiniones, “espero que la marcha sea feliz, y espero que no volver”, me voy.
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter 1 cup packed brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 8 egg yolks 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 2 1/2 cups heavy cream 1/2 cup whole milk
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until butter turns a deep golden color and you see dark flecks. Transfer to a bowl and let cool until no longer warm to the touch, about 20 minutes.
Cream together browned butter, brown sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract, whisk till combined. Slowly pour in the heavy cream and milk, whisking the entire time, until their are no lumps.
Transfer mixture to a large saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, lower heat to medium. Let mixture simmer, stirring as needed, until thickened. When thickened, the custard will lightly coat the back of a metal spoon.
Pour into a glass bowl and allow to chill completely, about 2 to 3 hours in the fridge. Once cooled, transfer mixture to your ice cream maker and mix according to manufacture instructions. Then place in an airtight container and freeze for at least 6 hours to let it fully set up. Stores for up to 3 months in the freezer!
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”—Steve Jobs
Kenya has been booked! This is a somewhat surreal experience for me as it has not quite set in that I will be in the motherland of all motherlands, Kenya, Africa for two glorious, yet tough weeks. Why will we be visiting Africa you may ask? Well let me tell you…
A friend and I have decided to volunteer at a children’s orphanage in Nakura, Kenya called the Nyota Home. Many of the children that come to Nyota have lived a thousand lives and have survived in the face of extreme hardship.
Exactly what we will be doing there…well, we haven’t quite figured that out yet (I know, I know, we’ll get right on that…) However, if I could make just one child feel happiness, love and support, then I’m hoping it will all be worth it. To be honest, I worry about how I will be able to handle the whole assignment - and if I will break down. How uncomfortable will that be…I run off all ‘gung-ho’ to an orphanage to volunteer and I become less of a help and more of a burden (That will not happen! That will not happen! That will not happen! I just need to keep repeating it to myself…) Unfortunately, some of these children have SEEN MORE IN THE FIRST 8 YEARS OF THEIR LIVES THAN I HAVE SEEN IN ALL MY YEARS OF BEING ME. However, that fact my friends, gives me all the strength I will need to help others. It is for this reason that in Jan 2012, you can find me in Africa…
“Human nature will not flourish, any more than a potato, if it be planted and replanted, for too long a series of generations, in the same worn-out soil. My children have had other birthplaces, and, so far as their fortunes may be within my control, shall strike their roots into unaccustomed earth.”—