By now, so many of you have caught my HHI episode when it first aired last fall!!! But JUST IN CASE you wanted to check it out (again!)…… I’m finally making it available! 🙂 Here I am with my friends from Brooklyn, Spain and Dubai on one of the greatest adventures I’ve had to date!!! ★♥★
So! I’m pleased to announce that my first article with The New Context, The Journal of International Affairs at The New School// Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy, was published today!!!!!!!!!!!!! Check it out!! ★♥★
“After Two Fine Arts Degrees, Why International Affairs?”
Last Thursday, one of my dear friends who works in PR, texted me around 4:30 in the afternoon like, “Hey, do you want to be on GMA in the morning?” and went on to explain that Alexa Von Tobel of Learn Vest financial services was doing a segment and looking for people to advise. Once I realized that my friend was going to recommend me, I hightailed it into gear like, “I need to do my hair! I need get my nails done, I need to get a new outfit……” though I only ended up getting my favorite two-toned gel manicure done at the last minute! When I showed up at Good Morning America studios Friday morning, passing both George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts on my way to the green room (unfortunately I didn’t get to say hello), I met with the producers and other segment participants and got ready for my big close up! The segment, it turns out, put the spotlight on Americans’ poor spending habits so that the financial expert could advise on how to spend and save more efficiently in the new year. They also wanted to hear about our saving habits while Alexa gave tips for these as well. As it turns out, the clip aired today! I got a text from a friend who who got a text from her girl asking if I had been on GMA this morning! I said that I was supposed to be on at some point, but hadn’t heard anything. Long story short, I later came to realize the segment had indeed aired but that my short interview made the cutting room floor. I did, however, manage to get a five second cameo appearance, which I’m perfectly fine with! Here’s to the unexpected moments in life and to saying YES! to whatever opportunities come my way……! ★♥★
Just a reminder to myself, and anyone else who daydreams about the unknown and what it has the potential of bringing you (in relation to a current reality that you desire to change)….. In January of 2012, I had NO IDEA that I would actually be applying for a job abroad, getting said job (and other international job offers), and leaving the country for a year’s journey across the globe. Nor did I realize that I would be visiting seven countries within that year of living abroad, most significantly, two nations in the Motherland, Rwanda and South Africa, (something that I thought was not capable of happening in my then-current 2012 life). It wasn’t until the end of March 2012 that I even applied for the job on a whim. In January of 2013, I had no idea that I would be enrolled in a Graduate Program in International Affairs by the end of the year, nor did I have any inclination that I’d be selected to go to Hong Kong in the next year (God-willing all goes as planned and WHATEVER I do when I get there this summer will be fruitful enough to springboard me even further along). I’m a firm believer in the UNKNOWN being your best ally. Things that have yet to unfold are in their best stages because ANYTHING is possible when you start to shape that NEW reality. For me, it all started with a daydream, a bit of wanderlust, and a few hours/days/weeks/months of internet researches of ALL THINGS of interest. And, you know…….by the grace of God, my reality begins to reshape and take form. Now it’s the third of January 2014. I’m pleased with this leg of the journey, but I CAN’T CALL what will have transpired in my life by December ’14. But I’m READY for it…….. #KeepTheFaith
I can’t believe Labor Day is here, which officially signifies the end of the summer season in the US! June, July and August have literally been a whirlwind of globetrotting moments, reconnecting with friends and family, and resettling into my favorite city on the planet! Between Dubai, Switzerland, Spain, Los Angeles, and NYC there is MUCH to tell!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here’s a quick recap of some of the adventures I’ve taken over the last two months!
The Emirates: I’m fortunate enough to have gotten to see all seven of the Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah! A day before my flight to Europe, I spent a few hours hitting up the last of the seven I had yet to see: Fujairah! From my understanding, it is the only one of the seven Emirates to border the Gulf of Oman. (A few weeks before, a couple of friends and I took a day trip and flew to Oman!) So, in essence, when I drove to the shore and got out to prance around in the water, I fulfilled my goal of getting into the Persian Gulf and also the Gulf of Oman! A day or so before, friends and I rented a yacht and took a sunset cruise in the Persian Gulf in Dubai aka the Arabian Sea. Around 8:30pm, I stripped down to my bathing suit and dove into the pitch black waters!!! I hear it’s more than twenty feet deep where we were, but…. I just had to jump in! Total adventure-crave!
Zurich: BEAUTIFUL architecture! During my long layover to Spain, I decided to leave the airport and really give myself a walking tour of the city centre! Well, as much as I could see in a few hours. I actually took TONS of photos of the buildings, the river, my tasty breakfast including Swiss hot chocolate… but unfortunately, the phone that I snapped most of the photos with was stolen in Spain!! More about that later! ….Back to that breakfast, though. It didn’t really seem like it was going to be all that special, but between these yummy Swiss oats in the oatmeal, and the hot chocolate (yes, I actually did consider ordering Swiss Miss, but refrained!!), it was the most delightful breakfast I’d had in a long time!!!
Valencia: It was a really wonderful experience visiting Spain because I got to not only spend time there, but managed to celebrate my dear friend, Rogiers’ graduation from Berklee Valencia School of Music! An incredible professional entertainer for the past ten years, Ro decided to complete his Masters in International Music Business! So visiting Valencia was a double treat because he showed me around the second home he’s come to love over the course of the year! I had about a week of walking around, eating great food, sunbathing on the Mediterranean and spending time with some of my favorite folks on the planet! The Agua de Valencia at Maria de la O changed my life! Incredibly tasty! And regarding my phone getting swiped! So, the night of graduation, a group of Ro’s friends from the program headed to the beach for a midnight beach party on the water! It was a magical moments of singing and dancing and dipping into the sea late into the early morning! What we didn’t realize, though, was that someone infiltrated the group, the midnight marauders I called them, and grabbed people’s cash, phones and other valuables while purses and bags laid on the sand! (Cosby Show reference alert: It felt very “Going to down to Baltimore to be with the Wretched and have BIGGGGG FUNNNN!!!!” but got ganked instead!) It was pretty audacious of whoever came in and got the goods, but at least they left our actual purses and keys….. But I totally lost one (of my two) phones with the most pictures! Thank God my other phone was at the hotel! Valencia has really been a life changing experience for Ro, and I’m so thankful I got to be a part of that moment with him!
Los Angeles: From Valencia I hopped back on a plane, had a four hour layover in Zurich again, and then landed in NYC for 12 hours (where I caught up with a couple of friends) before heading to my hometown, The City of Angels! A day or so after arriving, my folks hosted a Welcome Home party where friends and family gathered to show me all kinds of love! It was great to be on home turf, and regroup in a major way! I got to lay out on my folk’s backyard patio and read, went downtown to party a couple of times, celebrated the upcoming birth of my friends Spencer and Kimmie’s little Sophie, and, most importantly, spend quality time with my mom and dad! I really missed them while I was abroad!! But the trip was cut short and a week later, I was on another plane back to NYC!
Since arriving in New York City, I’ve been surrounded by my second family, my family of friends and loved ones on the East Coast! To my amazement, many of my closest friends are expecting or have recently become new mothers and fathers! So I feel like it’s a great time to be here to actually witness a new generation of loved ones emerging! It feels, literally, like Spring with these births and all! So far, I’ve met three new little ones and expect to meet three or four more before the year is out! (In my Rosalind Russell Auntie Mame voice) Auntie Mai is in the BUILDING, dahhhlings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But of course, I’ve also fallen back into my fast paced lifestyle with block parties and concerts and Broadway shows and cookouts galore! I went down to the “urea” to check out my big Bro and cousin in Maryland, who I haven’t seen in a year, and caught up with good friends down that way! It feels soooo good to be home, but REST is on the agenda now that Labor Day is here! The most exciting thing coming up is the debut of my House Hunters International episode tomorrow night! I really cannot wait to see how the whole thing unfolds! I’m a bit nervous, honestly, but, HEY! THIS is is my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
With today being Easter worldwide, I couldn’t help but feel a bit homesick considering this is my first time being abroad for the Resurrection Sunday celebration. The whole weekend, actually, I’d been a bit melancholy with missing friends and family, moreso than I have been in recent weeks. I can say that for the month of March, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on how much I appreciate being here and what I have to experience in my current chapter. Having said that, I’d made up in my mind that I was going to attend an Easter Sunday Sunrise Service at Kite Surf Beach in Dubai. (Nevermind I’ve never attended a sunrise service in my life!) It sounded so appealing; service on the shore with baptisms in the morning waves and worship slated to begin between 5:30a – 6:30a Sunday (as opposed to Friday), which is generally too early for me to wake up and do anything most days. But I was committed to the idea and wanted to finally experience “going to church” in the middle east. Notice I said “committed to the IDEA”! lol…. The reality is that I stayed up much too late last night, Saturday, to actually wake up in time to be in Dubai by 6:30 in the morning for a worship service, let alone 5:30a! Nevertheless, I still look forward to visiting the church I looked up one of these coming Friday mornings….
The reality is that I’m missing what I consider to be the quintessential Easter Sunday church service, the great flair and conviction, pomp and circumstance involved with celebrating the resurrection of the crucified Savior which is found in the Baptist, Pentecostal, COGIC, Holiness and Non-Demoninational tradition. The grand Easter Services of my life. The familiar A & B selections by the choir. The liturgical praise dance and flag teams that have rehearsed graceful interpretations of gospel classics. The endless announcements and recognitions. The holiests of communions. The clapping and shouting. The feel of a big Bible on lap, thumbing through familiar scripture. The word being brought forth from the revered man of God. The comraderie of churchgoers. Looking good, Sista so-and-so in your fierce Easter suit; love the big hat and matching pocketbook! Brotha so-and-so, you better gon’ ahead in your pastel colored Easter threads and matching shoes! The kids are so cute in their Easter outfits this year and brand new patent leathers… I know their feet ache from all that running around! Then when service is over all of them head to buffet brunch and an Easter egg hunt where they’ll see extended friends and family.
Honestly, I’m not entirely sure I wanted my first church experience in Dubai to be on Easter Sunday. Call me closed-minded (I’m not) or sentimental (I am), and I realize that what I’m about to say has nothing to do with a group of unified believers meeting together for the edification of their minds, spirits and souls, but I love the Easter Sunday of the Black American experience. There is nothing quite like it IN THE WORLD. And, because of that, perhaps it would be in my best socioreligicultural interest to visit the regular standard Friday morning church service here in the Middle East at some point when I’m not momentarily homesick for Black America and won’t be inclined to make unfair and pointless comparisons. Nevertheless, I’d like to meet some people out here who share my faith as I realize that it will expand my worldview even more by meeting so many believers from around the globe who’s distinct cultural and religious experiences can only add to my own frame of reference.