A poem for you.

Ipanema, Brasil

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things. 
Mary Oliver

Favela Rochinha, Rio de Janeiro.



I often wonder where time goes and why it stays when it does.

Even though I try to organize it, something always happens.  It seems to have a mind of it’s own.

Sometimes, time is as stubborn as that mid belly weight that seems resistant to sit ups and even starvation.   Like a loyal dog that just won’t die.

Other times, time moves so fast that you almost forget what your best friend looks like cuz you haven’t seen her in three months even though she lives next door to you.

I am not sure what has happened recently with my version of time but parts of me have shifted (definitely not the belly) while others have settled.

One year and eight months ago, things that were bright blue have faded to that ugly 80’s stone washed color (that apparently and to my total amazement is making a comeback on the cat walk). Why?  Don’t ask me.  I didn’t get to wear stone washed jeans when they were cool.  Instead, I was sporting polyester pants because that’s what you could buy at Kmart.

Target!  Where were you back when I really needed you!?

Anyways, over the course of the next few weeks I will catch you all up on my latest adventures.  In the meantime, I missing my Sonskyn but happy to be back in the City of Roses.

It was my turn to take the Boda Boda driver for a little ride! (Kampala, Uganda)

Part. 2 Adventures in South Africa with mom and dad

Table Mountain..

my dad isn't necessarily comfortable with heights so this was a little nerve wrecking for him. but he was a champ!

mountains inspire spontaneous dancing i think.

ready to fly

during their ritual morning walks (which normally lasted about 2-3 hours) along the beautiful coast they discovered limpets (portuguese lapas) and decided to bring some home. we cooked up a mean plate of these ugly things and ate them with bread for lunch. it has taken me years to enjoy this portuguese delight but i admit now, they're not so bad at all.

a day at the beach.

a little african dance is always nice

beautiful to look at. not so beautiful to swim in...



in line waiting to board the ferry for Robben Island

elephant riding has to be one of the most beautiful experiences that i have ever been on...

little one dancing at green market square in cape town

lovely mother's day lunch with the basilico's

Next… a movie of my mother riding an ostrich that will have you laughing a whole lot.


When you combine South Africa with Pedro & Teresa things immediately become interesting…

I type on this keyboard pretty much all day so in an effort to post-pone the inevitable arthritis that my career will undoubtedly bestow on me, and to make this all a bit more interesting for you, I have decided to make this a photo blog.
My days with my folks here in South Africa were absolutely wonderful.  Below are some of my favorite pictures of them and us…

At Wits University

Two days after arriving I took them to the Lion Park where they were able to pet baby cubs and go on their first safari.

There were about 15 people in the truck and when we saw this Cheetah my dad began re-living his days in Angola. This would've been fine except that he began telling the story of how many cheetah's he had killed in Angola. At first I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I tried to pretend that I didn't know him and then resorted to just hoping that his broken english was so bad that no one could understand him.

King of the Jungle he is!! As my mother says, "he demands respect!"

We went mushroom picking in Mpumalanga with the Basilico's. My parents picked a little but then opted to spend some time together at the lake.

anytime my mother sees a fire she either wants to bake bread or grab a corn cob. No smores in Lusitoland.

A zebra butt in the grass....

Onto a cultural village...

Remembering the old days back in Angola.

During a self-drive safari trip my parents would often insist that I stop the car so that they could walk around. At first I was skeptical but then realized that these two people had spent the majority of their lives in the middle of the African bush and so if they survived that they would certainly be okay in a game park.

At one point, my mother said "it's so nice to be here walking amidst this grass and seeing all of the different animal poop. This makes our hearts sing Elsa!" That made me look for every possibly open space with tall grass and animal dung in the surrounding areas. If only all of our wishes were this simple.

too cute.

The entrance to the Apartheid Museum...

At a traffic jam during our long drive to Cape Town.

In a mine shaft in Kimberely. The ladies working at the site told us to take the elevator down to the mine. Sonia and my mom got in but then the doors closed. My father and I took the stairs down to meet them. When the elevator doors opened my mothers eyes were the size of saucers and Sonia's face was as yellow as a Marigold. Apparently, the elevator shook side to the side while the lights flickered the whole way down. My mom was afraid and Sonia nervous that I was waiting for the elevator with my dad upstairs knowing that if I had to go thru dad with Mr. Panic things would be less than Rosie when the doors opened for us. lots of laughs and a story that will gain many a miles as the years pass us by.

Eating guava's in the backseat.

First glimpse of where we were to spend the next 10 days. My parents loved it. I loved it. Every morning they woke up and walked along the beautiful beach... they said that they never imagined that they would spend a holiday in such a beautiful place as Cape Town.

This is the three of us in Camps Bay on one of our many walks along the beach.

Simon's Town for the penguins. Ever since my mom watched March of Penguins and found out that we were going to see them in nature she couldn't wait. This became a common theme with my mom. Then came the Elephants and the Ostriches and her eagerness to see them all.

V & Waterfront

One day we drove to Pastrenoster (on the Northwest Coast) and spent the day at the beach.

We went wine tasting in the absolutely beautiful winelands of Stellenbosch and Franchoek.

Sonia was very patient with our inability to properly taste wine. 🙂 First tasting- a chocolate and wine pairing. That's like feeding strawberries to pigs. 🙂 We managed and could even taste the difference between the wines. The whole holding it in your mouth, etc. almost had my mother choking for air. But other than that- it was great. A wonderful day.

Cape of Good Hope National Park

Hout Bay as the sun was setting

There are lots more pictures but I will have to make that part 2 of this little blog.

Pictures to come:

Elephant Ride
Robben Island
Ostrich Ride
and… our last few days in Joburg together.



Poll Results were a hoax…

Most of you (70%) clicked on the “go for it” box.  The next most popular option was “wait for a year” with a whopping 17%.  The last two options hardly got any votes.  I was surprised that more of you didn’t click on the “flip a coin” box.  I was pretty sure that this was going to beat all other options.  But, like so often, I was wrong.
What am I going to do?
Well, I am going to plan on a way to figure this out somehow.  🙂  I know that is totally cryptic but it’s the best I can do for now.  Ponder, consider, and imagine.  🙂

Lots of you asked why I am considering doing a doctorate and many of you have asked what is it that I could do with a doctorate that I can’t do without one, etc.  Well, in the world of research having a doctorate is the only way to ensure that one day you will make the big bucks.  So… the money factor is a plus, but besides that  I think that it would be really cool to be able to reach the top of the academic ladder.  I like the work that I am currently doing and if it’s anything like what I would be doing for my doctorate then I think that it’s not a bad way to go about living. 🙂

There is a ton of autonomy in academia and since I am pretty self motivated I can easily function in this realm.  In fact, I actually perform much better when left alone.  I have to say, that this latter reason is one of the most appealing characteristics of pursuing this path.  🙂  Essentially, it’s all up to me.  How well I conduct research, how well I can write something up, how well I can analyze and defend my ideas- it’s all up to me.  I can do my work and avoid having to develop my already inept skills of kissing management ass.  🙂  I can just be.  Isn’t that a wonderful thing to be able to do? I think so!  🙂

There are really great opportunities on the horizon but only time will tell if this path is what I end up taking.  Funding and travel costs to and from the USA will also inform my choice.  Regardless, the idea is fun to consider.

Right now, I am digging the research work that I am doing and all of the traveling that I have coming up as part of my job.  It’s really great fun and I love it.  I have never felt like this at the end of a days work.  Maybe it will change one day, but right now- it’s fantastic.

My next research assignment:  going to border towns to find out what is going on in terms of HIV prevention, access to treatment, etc.  I will have the opportunity to talk to a whole range of fun and exciting and interesting folks… 🙂

I miss you all and would love to hear from you so when you get a chance drop me a line.  Although it all sounds really exciting here there is nothing like hearing from your loved ones.


P.S  I sure am glad that the world didn’t come to an end a few days ago.  What a wack job.

i love this street art stuff! i am not sure which i prefer most- the bead work done here or the work with recycled aluminum cans. when i can't decide i simply get one of each. 🙂

Should I, Should I not?


I need your help.

Since submitting my Master’s Thesis Report I have been encouraged by my supervisors to pursue a doctorate.  This is great and cool and wonderful, but I am totally at a loss and not sure what to do.  So… I thought that I would spend my time creating this funny little poll.  🙂

Please just click on one or two or three or all.  It’s what I do.  smile.  On a daily basis, I heavily consider all of these options and just when I think I have an answer I realize that I don’t know anything.

Miss you lots

Back to the screen…

Standing on top of Table Mountain

The month with my parents here in South Africa was amazing…

They loved it.

I loved it.

They left last night and already I miss their laughter and carefree spirit.  I miss them telling me about their long walks and watching them as their eyes grew with amazement at the beautiful sights that we visited.  We traveled all over Gauteng in search of game parks and then traversed the country by car to Cape Town where we stayed for over two weeks.

I will follow-up with a photo blog this week.

In the meantime, check out this link and listen to Ana’s story of being a migrant woman living with HIV.  Ana participated in the photo project that I conducted last year and was selected to participate in a radio documentary project.

Back soon.


All smiles in Cape Town