I finished exams just a few hours ago. Now that my mind is free to wander outside of the scope of constitutional and corporate law, I find myself reflecting on the past year. 2017 has been a difficult year for a few reasons, but I can’t help but think back on the last 12 months with gratitude and wonder. I am so grateful for the beautiful souls I’ve encountered on this year’s journeys, and I have been reminded of an important lesson–family isn’t limited to relation by blood or marriage, but it’s who we choose and who choose us back.
Like 2016, 2017 took me all around the world (on a strict travel budget, of course)–to Costa Rica and Mexico in January, to Israel and Palestine over spring break, and to Egypt and Uganda–a country I now consider a second home because of the amazing people I came to know there–during the summer. I am so thankful for another year of adventure, and for those of you who have followed along with the blog and sent your encouragement and kind words along the way!
Here are my top posts from the year:
I wandered through some rainforests in the greenest place on earth with my head in the clouds. (Monteverde, Costa Rica)
I learned about keeping my heart light like a feather while exploring one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. (Cairo, Egypt)
I spent three weekends soaking in Uganda’s rural beauty through safari rides, hikes, animal-watching, and camping. I saw a napping leopard in Queen Elizabeth Park, felt the might of the Nile at Murchison Falls, and hiked to the most secluded waterfalls at Sipi Falls. (Uganda)
I witnessed for myself the history, pain, and complexity of modern Israel. I visited Jesus’s empty tomb in Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, walked the Via Dolorosa, and offered a prayer at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. I also visited Yad Vashem and met a Holocaust survivor, and recommitted myself to working to make sure human beings never “other” each other again. I also learned first-hand about the injustice in the West Bank while meeting with entrepreneurs and activists during a visit to Ramallah, and I know that I have a responsibility to share what the experience taught me. (Israel/Palestine)
I was able to connect with and learn about Yimba, an amazing NGO in Uganda that is empowering women with job skills training while addressing the crisis of women’s health in rural Uganda. I shopped for fabric in the central market of Kampala, and have some beautiful clothing that will always be a reminder of my time spent living in Uganda! (Kampala, Uganda)
I recommitted myself to seeking justice for the oppressed and learned an incredible amount from some of the strongest human rights defenders in the world while working as an intern with Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda. (Lira, Uganda)
It took a near death experience to remind me to be grateful for each day I am given and the adventures that come along…(Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica)
…and another almost near death experience to show me how strong I actually am. (La Fortuna, Costa Rica)
A night in the Judean desert reminded me of the importance of being still and listening in the midst of chaos. (Israel)
My grandmother passed away in February. I was reminded that, while we have too many tears here on this earth, there are no tears in heaven, and I have a special guardian angel looking out for me. (NYC/Memphis)
Thank you, 2017! ❤ Japan and China (and who knows where else!), I will see you in 2018!