Day 1: For the ability to make impulsive decisions to fly across the world to see people who are important in my life. For friendships that are as deep as family.
Day 2: For a 7.2 mile stroll around Capitol Hill with good conversations. For the freedom to go up to the steps of the Nation’s Capitol building.
For the blue skies and fresh air of Washington, D.C. For meeting up with friends after so long as though not a day has passed.
Day 3: For the way a white blanket of snow quiets down the city of New York. For sharing the joy of Erika‘s first snow angel, and the hesitation of her first sleigh. For experiencing the joy of sledding once again.
Day 4: For the street musicians of New York. For the way they add splashes of culture in the life of New Yorkers. For hearing a fantastic Gambian musician on my way to brunch this morning.
Day 5: For the kind lady from United who sat on the phone with me for an hour to find a flight out of DC. For the extra 3 days of vacation. For Mother Nature reminding us who is boss.
Day 6: For courageous parents who set a precedent to begin new life in a foreign land. For understanding parents who let their children fly off into the world to paint the sky, however difficult and worrisome it may be.
Day 7: For conversations that inspire the mind. For friendship that challenges us to ask the hard questions. For the importance of core values and the process of knowing oneself.
Day 8: For the unanticipated forced vacation to truly relax. For going back to the simpler things of doing a puzzle and listening to RFI Afrique.
Day 9: For the Togolese cab driver who chatted with me about China-Africa business opportunities at 6am. For the unexpected checked bag of my carry on luggage that marks the beginning of my 30 hr voyage. For finally returning home.
Day 10: For the Columbia alum who chatted with me on the plane because of my Columbia shirt. For chance encounters. For how wonderfully small the world constantly feels.
Day 11: For returning to my cozy abode. For the blissful evening of binge watching Downton Abbey alone. For the freedom to indulge in such uninhibited solitude.
Day 12: For memories. For all the unique individuals who have created memories in my life thus far. For NYC/DC loves who made the past two weeks so delightful. For “the business life is the acquisition of memories.” (Downton Abbey)
Day 13: For yoga. For the two hours a day where I can be completely unplugged from the world, and humbly face my very own strengths and weaknesses, both of the body and of the mind.
Day 14: For a gorgeous Shanghai morning. For the rare occasion to see all the various hues of a clear sky.
Day 15: For meaningful gifts. For a cancelled appointment that allowed me time to finally pick up my custom frame for this meaningful gift. For the unexpected free time to bake and share with friends. For good conversations.
Day 16: For live performances. For the beauty of a baby grand piano. For being reminded of the days when I used to spend hours in front of one.
Day 17: For children’s sponge-like ability to learn. For the opportunity to make an impact in a little person’s life, however minute it may be.
Day 18: For my eclectic social network that constantly provides plenty of food for thought. For living a life that allows me to entertain the idea of “Do What You Love”, but also forces me to face the reality of life. For individuals who challenge the status quo.
Day 19: For the arts. For good company who enjoys art exhibitions. For spontaneity. For friends who invite me to get on a Shanghai bus tour in the middle of Sunday afternoon!
Day 20: For writers. For poignant viewpoints that demand a second thought on our daily actions. For the experience of living in China to keenly understand the harm that the world is creating by demanding low-priced goods. For the way the world is intertwined. China’s problem is yours, too.
Day 21: For my Chinese colleagues, who keep me humble by teaching me what it truly means to be Chinese. For the daily reminder that culture understanding is acquired not only via living within a country, but by conversations
Day 22: For WeChat that reconnected me with my Chinese friends from Cameroon. For the way 2008 suddenly feels like yesterday, when we were making dumplings in Bafoussam, celebrating my 22nd birthday. For how a simple App connects me with people whom I may otherwise have lost touch. For global connections.
Day 23: For neighborhood cafés where the owner knows my name. For an oasis to write, to read, to people watch, to find solitude among conversations.
Day 24: For Jennifer Fong, who pursued her African dream against all odds. For the opportunity to discover the other side of the great African continent. For living in an age where this kind of adventures is plausible.
Day 25: For the marvel of air travel. For witnessing the intersection of night and day. Good morning, Doha!
Day 26: For communities. For the way strangers can become families. For the opportunity to be a part of Jennifer‘s Sunday school class in Addis. For children’s loving nature.
Day 27: For beautiful sunrise and gorgeous sunset. For discovering an oasis in an Ethiopian village. For ending a lovely day by a roaring fire.
Day 28: For revisiting a world sans ultra connectivity. For being in a restaurant where no one is looking at their smart phones. For honoring the presence of others.
Day 29: For the 12-year-old Ethiopian school boy who strikes up a conversation with me on my walk. For his kindness in giving me directions. For his aspiration to be a teacher when he grows up.
Day 30: For an afternoon of people watching at Kaldi’s, Ethiopia’s Starbucks. For catching up on Jeune Afrique. For conversations with a diaspora from San Diego who had returned home after 34 years.
Day 31: For a nostalgic 13-hr bus ride to Northern Ethiopia. For witnessing the rural beauty of this magnificent country. For recalling memories of life in Cameroon that’ve been buried deep within me.