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.

Advertisements

A Lesson in Work/Life Balance (Hipsters United)

I didn’t quite master the work hard, play hard philosophy in undergrad but Peace Corps is an amazing teacher. I had a super productive week, the fruits of which will be blogged in the coming weeks. Work hard check…I was thrilled to be with my friends for the weekend.

The theme: Hipsterlicious.

Now for the photos…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I Turned 28 in Kenya

Allow me to prepare you for the forthcoming disappointment because like all epic events the exact details of my birthday celebration cannot be revealed in a public forum. What I can say is if it inspired a TV series the episodes would be titled:

Episode 1: Hugs All Around

Episode 2: Salads, Burgers and Shakes oh my

Episode 3: Replacement Mugs for you to Chug

Episode 4: All Dolled Up (The Return of the Mohawk)

Episode 5: Cesar’s or Signatures?

Episode 6: Go-Go Gadget Legs on the Dance Floor

Episode 7: He did it Twice (Incredible Hulk Effect)

Episode 8: Taxicab Confessions

Episode 9: Drink This Water

…and that was just day 1.

I have this weird luck to always be in a team with the coolest people and my Peace Corps group is no exception. I don’t question this luck but I’m eternally grateful for it. Just when I thought I met my friend quota. These guys made my birthday so much fun and in return I made the weekend…uh…memorable.

I hope this has been poetically vague. Now I’ll let the photos speak.

1 2 3 4

261201_10100682324777632_606342878_n 5 6 7 8

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