Sunday, July 19, 2015


Do folks blog anymore?  These spaces have been so quiet, recently with a few of my favorite blogs closing.  I guess many of us who want to document life via social media moved to less intensive forms of documentation, like Instagram, long ago.  But I'm finding more and more that I want to write in this space, even if it's just a picture and a few words about how the month treated me - not that I have a lot of time.  

Today, with M asleep and the sun too hot for me to want to venture outside for too long, I want to write a few words about our trip to Panama, which we planned as a stopover en route to California. In her first year, we've clocked a decent amount of mileage domestically with M, but this was our first international trip as a family.

Traveling with an 11-month old child was fun, as well as challenging.  Gone are the days where I can pack a small suitcase and be out the door with minimal planning. Baby infrastructure is needed, if only for ease of mind. Thankfully, M traveled so well.  She was happy and curious as we explored Panama City and enjoyed the attention of the many strangers she came across. She handled the bus rides, taxi rides, and metro/subway rides like a champ.  She even tried Panamanian food. Perhaps most importantly, she tolerated the 5 flights we scheduled over a period of 2 weeks. (Not to self: That's too many flights.)

There were, of course, rough patches, including shifting sleeping schedules.  Also, flights with a curious baby are exhausting!

If time permits, I'll post more about Panama City and Boquete, our two stops in Panama.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


I love you.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Life lately

The last few months have not been easy.  The cumulative fatigue--the lack of a good night's sleep for nearly 11 months--has caught up with me.  In addition, there's a lot of tension at the office and an increasing workload that coincides with my deceasing motivation (or you could see it as my stricter enforcement of boundaries between work and life). I am working on a project that focuses more on research and writing, a nice change of pace.  I do wish, however, that I could take on more complaints/cases, but I also know from experience that providing legal support to a group in another country would require frequent travel, particularly where dispute resolution is involved.  And right now, I'm okay staying at home for most of the time.

Motherhood has also presented challenges, but overall it has brought me so much joy.  Some weeks, I'm startled by how much M is changing into a being with a personality. A few weeks ago, she added "mama" to her vocabulary, which consisted of "hi" and "dada." She also started very clearly mimicking my tone and even some of my gestures.  

In July, we'll celebrate her first birthday. It is insane how writing/saying that chokes me up.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Images from Joburg

Thank you for the nice comments and messages in response to my last post.  Although I still struggle with finding time to be in this space, I do want to continue this documentation.  I'm thankful for the support of this small blogging community.

And so:

I spent about a week in Johannesburg, South Africa in early February.  It was the first time I was away from Madeleine.  I felt guilty being away from her.  But despite the lingering guilt, that trip was really good for me.  In addition to providing me the best sleep I have had in the past 9.5 months, that trip also gave me an opportunity to be around incredible advocates from all over the world, strategizing, plotting and drawing links between our work.  My heart was on fire.  I was reminded of how the work I am doing from DC fits into the bigger picture. 

That trip also forced me to accept that being outside and working outside of DC is a necessity for me.  There is a lot to enjoy about our lives in DC.  I am conscious of the many things, all the small pleasures associated with daily life, that I would miss.  But I feel just as strongly as I did two years ago, when I first moved: I don't want to settle here - we don't want to settle here.  I want to be back working in Asia.  Since Johannesburg, there have been opportunities presented that would allow my family to move back abroad.  I don't intend to make a move in near future, but Ethan and I are looking ahead. (And that is a reminder to myself as to why I keep this space anonymous!)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Portland recap and this space

Well, hello.  I haven't checked into this space in a while. It's not for lack of trying, but I admit it has been a struggle to keep up this work-life-baby balance.  Most days, I prioritize any extra minutes of sleep I can sneak in.

Briefly, since last time, there's been a lot of just daily life, a trip to Portland (evidence above) and even a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa.

There's so much I want to write in this space.  At the same time, I've often thought about shutting down this blog.  I started it nearly five years ago, at a time when I thought it was important to document the mental and emotional preparation for a big move abroad.  And I'm so glad I did.  Blogging forced me to take stock of both the small and big moments in the past five years, colors, shapes and emotions I would have strained to remember today.  Through this space, I can remember what it felt like the first day I stepped foot in Phnom Penh, the cacophony of motorbikes, and the gravity of the idea, slowly settling on me, that this dusty city would be my home. I can recall the first moments I realized I loved this strange international human rights thing - that feeling of having my heart on fire; the crescendo of emotion when I realized I fell in love with Ethan; our travels; our moves to Thailand and eventually back Stateside.

But I've been in DC for nearly two years!  How?!  And I'm not often inspired to document life here. Hah. That sounds horrible but it's the truth.

That's not entirely true. I am inspired to document M's life and motherhood, as I stumble along.  I wonder, though, if this is the place to do it.  Shouldn't I avoid pictures of her (like the one above) in the public domain?  Does this make me a bad mother? I joke, but I'm somewhat serious.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The sun

We took M to Los Angeles (and Portland) for a three-week holiday.  I'm still thinking of the time spent with my family in California, the sunshine, the ocean, the tamale-filled festivities.  One day, while staying at my sister's house, we walked to the neighborhood pokÄ“ restaurant.  It was a breezy 80 degree day, in late December.  I stared up at the towering palm trees and my thoughts swirled around how cold it must be in DC.

I always enjoy time with family but, with M now in our lives, those interactions take on another level of meaning for me (sorry if that sounds blow-hardy).  I'm starting to wonder if I would be fine with my daughter seeing her cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents -- in many ways, her (and my) cultural anchors - once or twice a year tops.  I'm not so sure.  Yet, I'm not exactly ready to move back to California either.

There are other things I'm thinking about, some more frivolous than others, but someone is calling for me.

And my time is up.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Documenting a walk (drive): An afternoon in B'more

A few weekends ago, we drove up to Baltimore to visit Stu, who hadn't yet met Madeleine.  We brunched at Woodberry Kitchen, a cavernous space in a renovated mill.  I was not disappointed - it lived up to the hype. It was also such a baby-friendly restaurant, which seems like a rarity these days, at least in this country.  We then enjoyed a leisurely cup of coffee at Artifact before driving back to the city.  M is a fairly happy baby, particularly in the morning, but her temperament and level of patience take a sharp decline as we edge toward early evening. We squeeze in all the roaming around, errands and coffee dates in the mornings and early afternoons.  It helps keep me sane.  
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