Tee on Instagram

I’m having so much fun on Instagram. I love living abroad but I felt like I was losing touch with some important friendships back home. It’s hard to stay connected with the distance and time difference. Instagram is the perfect bridge. I’m able to share my life and see the lives of my friends and strangers that inspire me.

Follow me: @tmpierson_85

prinkl-tmpierson_85-a3-20150314131323_f

30 Before 30 Update

Two weeks before my 30th birthday and three years after making my list, I can announce that I’ve done nearly nothing on my 30 Before 30 list and I’m OK with that.

I shouldnt’ve made it a “thing” and I shouldnt’ve tried to jump on the 30 Before 30 List bandwagon because stuff like this is just not my style. I like to let life happen. Yes, I plan but I’m willing to accept new opportunities and ditch old plans.

This list did inspire me to be intentional about doing new things and I did some very cool things that happened organically.

Here’s what I did complete on the list:

8. Complete 2 years of Peace Corps: As a Peace Corps Volunteer I built fish ponds, planned a girls empowerment camp and became a Coordinator for Malaria Projects. Kenya suspended it’s program right at my close of service so I’m extremely grateful to have completed.

10486523_10203722311554243_5741745249400105102_n

12. Raft the Nile: I wrote about this one HERE.

1011736_10201079620648622_914643633_n

17. Move to a Place I’ve Never Lived: I am the Communications Manager for Peace Corps’s first and only continent-wide malaria initiative. I wanted this position so badly and I got it. VICTORY. I live in Dakar Senegal which I document most regularly on Instagram.

SONY DSC

22. Be a Bridesmaid: You know the Dynasty right? My group of best friends from Howard University. We had our 1st Dynasty wedding on NYE. I was an honorary bridesmaid. Our next Dynasty wedding is in September and the whole Dynasty will be bridesmaids..YAY!

1526677_10100690691021540_3740710931611180326_n

10884705_10100690590188610_132562357_n

28. Make Steps Toward Opening a Boutique: I’m reading this in complete disbelief that this is on the list. It’s confirmation that this is indeed what I should do. My 27 year old self knew it enough to write it and my nearly 30 year old self is doing it. It’s not in a place for me to publicly announce but yes, something is brewing.

Logo tag

Now for the cool and unlisted.

1. Go to Goree Island: I wanted to go to Goree on my 2013 trip to Senegal and there just wasn’t time. I went and I stepped in the door of no return.

SONY DSC

2. International Birthdays: I celebrated my 28th birthday in Kenya, my 29th birthday in Ethiopia and I will be celebrating my 30th birthday in Spain and Morocco.

DSC05642

3.  Take a Solo Trip: My birthday trip will also be my 1st solo trip.

4. Be a Wedding Makeup Artist: Kenya and I were the makeup artists for Krystina’s bridal party. We had an absolute blast and everyone looked incredible.

IMG_8570

5. Had an Intuitive/Psychic Reading: I loved this experience. It revealed a future of heavy travel, love in the next year and a half, a grassroots career path that will still make me money, that my ancestors are protecting me, a connection with an unknown Native American people with African roots, and confirmation that I’m currently doing what I should be doing.

6. Test Dated a Really Good Friend: What does that mean? We spent a couple weeks together and went on a ton of dates and we were our true selves. After 10 years of friendship we were curious if we were each other’s person. We were not but it was fun. We also oddly never took a photo together during this but here’s one of me from one of our dates.

10850736_10100675717438720_2034288424_n

7. Make a Homemade Pizza: I made my 1st homemade pizza with Sarah, one of my girls in Dakar..I then independently made myself pizzas for the next 2 days. Had to stop myself.

photo

I’m about to rock my 30s because I have amazing women in my life who have been displaying how to do your 30s right for as long as I can remember. I’ll keep you guys updated.

My Visit to America

I went to America in June a week or so after my 1 year anniversary of living in Kenya. It was a much needed homecation. I flew into DC and that moment of readjustment some volunteers talk about was not necessary, as soon as I saw my friends it was almost as if I had never left. Not sure if that’s good or bad.

I think I’ve said this before but my friends are AMAZING. My friends, the dynasty, threw an elaborate cocktail party in Rochee’s perfectly decorated apartment catered by a professional chef to celebrate my visit.  The menu? Crab deviled eggs. Lobster mac n cheese. Cornbread muffins with a collard green filling. Chicken and waffles. I could go on but that really doesn’t seem fair. I’m obsessed with upscale soul food and I love when someone is able to add a new take on a classic. Kudos to the chef. Double kudos to my friends.

The timing of my visit was perfect. I was able to meet up with my H.O.P.E. family to scout venues for our 3rd anniversary event. Missing H.O.P.E. events comes in 3rd place for cause of sadness right after missing family and friends. It was so nice to jump in and be a part of a major accomplishment for our organization.

Of course I went back and visited all my friends at my pre-PC job Banner & Witcoff. Oh man, it was like old times. I was so fortunate to have an amazing supervisor and so many friends during my 4 years at the firm…I mean they have to be awesome to make intellectual property fun.

DC was just the start of my journey, I spent the majority of my time at home in Oakland, CA. My mission was to see family and friends, help get my brother prepared to start community college, and eat all my favorite foods. I think I would claim victory for all three categories.

Jetlag hit me in CA. I was tired and so appreciative of everyone who understood and let me rest a bit, unfortunately that cost me a few visits with some family and friends.

I went skating with my cousin wearing matching outfits, and by skating I mean I put on skates and hung on the sideline while she grooved around the rink. She convinced a couple of really nice guys to skate slowly with me while I held on to their arms for dear life. I had a blast.

I returned to DC for my last hoorah before returning to Kenya. I did a lot in a relatively short period of time. Visiting home was refreshing and it made me excited about continuing my work. I took pride in telling people about the work I did in Kenya. I took pride in truly believing that I am doing something that I think will make the world a better place. And it was home that made me realize that Kenya has changed me for the better.

DC: Cocktail Party

DC Cocktail Party: warm greetings

DC: Cocktail Party, The Dynasty

DC Cocktail Party: The Dynasty

DC: Cocktail Party, crab deviled eggs  cornbread and collard green muffin

DC Cocktail Party: crab deviled eggs and cornbread and collard green muffin

945916_10100264635170880_1393845718_n

DC Cocktail Party: chicken and waffles

DC Cocktail Party

DC Cocktail Party

DC Copper Canyon: Beef medallion salad with sesame dressing

DC Copper Canyon: Beef medallion salad with sesame dressing

DC Creme Brunch: shrimp and grits

DC Creme Brunch: shrimp and grits

DC: The H.O.P.E. Team

DC: The H.O.P.E. Team

CA: skate night

CA: skate night

CA: theme park

CA: theme park

The Dance of the Fish

In America, my guilty pleasure is reality chef competitions. I could spend hours watching the mastery in these televised kitchens, imagining the way the food tastes, taking notes of things I wanted to personally try and always ending each episode wishing I was a member in the audience.

I see I was dreaming and wishing far too small.

Ashley Palmer Watts, executive chef of London’s renown restaurant “Dinner”, was coming to Kenya and not just Kenya but MY AREA. WHY? To learn about organic fish farming in Kenya. And who is the master of fish farming? ME! Well I’m not I just got caught up in the emotional build up but I’m supervised and partnered with the people who are the masters of fish farming in Kenya.

And like that my dream of sitting in an audience was trumped by my reality of visiting fish farmers, learning more about fishing in the Lake and having a full out celebration with Mama Joyce and her family, Ashley and Farm Africa.

Fish Farmer & Lake Victoria Visit

Pre-Game

Food Prep

Dance of the Harvest

Dinner Served

Menu

Tomato, Potato, Ginger and Tilapia Stew

Grilled Fish on a Bed of Banana Leaves

Mango/Citrus Salsa

Chapati

The Party

Duncan: Before and After

Cooking Fish with Mama

I live on a family compound. Mama and Baba live in the main house. I have my own house and my 2 little brothers have their own house all within the family compound. My family has been incredibly accepting of me and I feel completely at home.

Mama is the best cook in Kenya. Although my biological family might not believe that I cook because I refuse to cook while I’m in CA my friends can attest that I do and I love it and if I live in this compound with the best cook in Kenya and not come book a significantly better cook then I did something wrong.

Whenever I get the chance I cook with Mama.

Here we are making fish and together we went through the whole process of removing the scales, removing the intestines, cleaning it and cooking it. It was delicious.

Here are photos of Me, Mama, and a neighbor that comes to help Mama do things around the house.

Note: Baba was our photographer 🙂

Taco Night

I decided this morning that I would make tacos for dinner and it was all I was looking forward to today. It well well worth it.

Meat: Pork chopped, seasoned and sauteed in a little oil.

Salsa: Tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, cilantro, chili pepper. Chopped and mixed. Seasoned with a little salt and juice from half of a lime.

Guacamole: Mashed avocado with a few spoons of salsa. Added a bit more salt and lime and mixed.

 

Pork in a Thai Peanut Sauce

Last night I opened up the Peace Corps cookbook “Karibu Jokoni” and decided to try something new. The cookbook offers suggestions of how to make your favorite items using local ingredients.

Below is my take on the recipe.

Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut milk powder (dissolved in about 4 tablespoons of warm water)
  • juice of 1 lime
  • chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • dash of salt
  • dash of sugar*
  • 1 teaspoon of oyster sauce
  • chopped chili pepper (small)

Mix ingredients, and add water until achieve desired consistency

Meat:

  • 1/4 kilo of pork chopped
  • chopped onion
  • chopped bell pepper
  • dash of salt

Season pork with a bit of salt. Saute in a little oil with onions and bell pepper until done.

Add meat to sauce.

Pour over your desired noodles…I just used spaghetti.

*Note: Peanut butter in Kenya isn’t so sweet, if you decide to try this in America you may need to omit adding sugar.