How does an ant eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Big problems are composed of smaller, albeit interconnected, problems. Solving the smaller problems will have an implication on the larger problems.

27 May 2010

True Citizen of the WORLD?

I came across this article not long ago, as I was sifting through the unread items on my Google Reader. I love it! I would have to say, after going through each of these 25 signs to see if you are a true citizen of the world, I would definitely consider myself to be at least somewhat of a true citizen of the world and an active, seasoned traveler! Ahhh, I love our world! What a beautiful thing travel is!

25 Signs that You’re a True Citizen of the World

Are you one of these people? Test yourself on these 25 signs that you’re a true citizen of the world!
1. You know about global disasters within minutes - YES! I am a world news junkie, especially with disasters (comes with MPH title, I guess).
2. Your National Geographic collection is taking on a life of its own - It's small, but got its own box (along with the rest of my life that is boxed up at the moment).
3. You never enter a country without at least 5 phrases in the native tongue - Not entirely true, but I usually know at least 5 phrases within a day of being in the country!
4. You have a good friend on every continent - Absolutely, minus Antarctica! All my close friends tease me for having more friends with "weird" names than I do with American names! 
5. You’ve eaten the same animal you once had as a pet - Close enough. Cui (aka Guinea Pig), but never had one as a child. And if I could have ever owned Alpaca, then we could add that to the list, too!
6. You rarely stay in any one country for more than 3 months straight - I WISH! I get out 1-3 times a year.
7. You don’t use guide books but just figure it out when you get there - I like to do SOME planning, so minimal guide book. Definitely better to explore and ask the locals their recommendations once you get there...that makes for the best adventures and fantastic stories later! :)
8. You make friends in the street - Yes, yes, yes! I love talking to people. Duh. haha
9. You make friends in the sea - Not entirely sure what this is supposed to mean. No, I don't generally make friends with the dolphins and fish when I swim in the ocean. However, I definitely make friends with humans at the beach, or with Sailors on the boats (Joni...bring back memories of Cyprus??)
10. You make friends on top of mountains - Hmmm....good question. Probably? I would hope it was a yodeling friend though, by all means! I honestly would love to yodel for just half a second in the Alps!
11. You’ve worked for at least one international NGO - Yuppers :) In the Andes of Urubamba, Peru...and loved every second of it!
12. You’ve taught English to kids somewhere in the world at some point - Nope, thought about it...not quite my thing.
13. When you see tourists from your native country abroad, you hide - Funny this should come up. One of my top goals when I travel is to try and be as discrete as possible. I actually do a really good job! Rarely do I get "American" (until I open my mouth and talk!)...I love it! It's such a compliment to me when I am asked if I am from somewhere else in the world (I frequently get German, French, Argentinian, and Australian). I feel like it means I am doing a decent job at blending in. However, blending in places like Western Africa is absolutely entirely impossible! I definitely got American there; there was NO way of going around that one! So the long way around to answering this questions, sometimes yes, I like to hide!
14. You’ve been bitten/stung by at least one scary insect/animal - Got stung by something in Ghana, not sure what it was and bitten by a billion fleas throughout my travels....otherwise no. THANK GOODNESS!
15. You’ve feared for your life on several occasions - Maybe just once or twice. Moldova 2005 - dark, back room of a police station. Definitely feared for my life in that moment! We were lucky! Ghana 2006 - the moment the police officer got in our taxi and told us we were getting arrested (and none of us had our passports or contact information for our professor on us). Definitely feared for a short period in that situation, too.
16. You’ve never been to the Hamptons - Negative ghost writer!
17. Your lucky sandals have holes in the soles - They would if I wouldn't have left them in the stupid Platypus Hotel in Bogota last summer :( I'm still upset about it, can you tell?
18. You’ve been invited for dinner in families’ homes all over the world - I have had dinner and slept in many random homes in a variety of to love host families!
19. You sleep best under the stars - I like sleeping under the stars, but by all means is not where I sleep best.
20. You know that couch surfing has nothing to do with waves - Bah! This is how I lived for about a month when I picked up and moved to Washington, D.C. with 1.5 weeks notice! Thank you Cam, Lisa and Antonio!
21. Your iPod has songs on it from every UN member state - Very possible. I love foreign music and I love the Putumayo music!
22. Your favorite author is not from your native country - Don't have a favorite author, but my hero lives in Haiti, if that counts.
23. You take photos… and print them - Occasionally I will print...
24. When people talk about celebrities you feel dazed and confused - WOW ! Story of my life!! I am not a celebrity stalker at all.
25. You sometimes forget where you came from - Never. Love my country! I may not care to live in my country all my life, but for good reasons (i.e. work), but I sure am grateful to be from where I am (even if I occasionally wish I was a Latina!).
Why is it so natural (or maybe it isn't?) for humans to get offended so easily or to care too much about certain things!? Maybe it is just me. I have had such a ridiculous week and just can't quite get past my own thoughts. I get so wrapped up in the smallest, most insignificant decisions that other people make that may or may not affect me, but yet still get so bent out of shape and anxiety-ridden by it. How do you make that stop!?!  How do you truly quit caring what all the other people around you think? And even more, how do you do that when the people that you are trying to quit caring what they think, are your friends? It's hard, because you think your friends will always be open and honest with you. Those that are not, are they truly your friends? Is it ever worth cutting these people out of your life? Argh! So many questions floating around in my brains! My open thought process of the evening...I'm not really necessarily asking, more just venting...

26 May 2010


Hi, I was wondering, if any of my blogging queens (or kings) out there can help me out! I have asked a few of my friends that are big bloggers and they have NO idea how to help me out! If you can help me, please please let me know! I would love your help.

Here's the scoop:  I am totally stumped about this! I messed my entire blog up the other day trying to change the background (which by the way, if I lost your link on my side bar, please leave your blog address so I can add it and keep up with you!) and finally got it how I like, minus these two features that I can't figure out how to get off or change! So the first, is the links at the bottom of each post - it looks like this:

  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • RSS

I don't know how to get it off. Secondly, there is this thing at the top of each post that looks a little like this:  Posted in |  I am not sure where it came from, but is on every post, right under the title. What the!?!

Can anyone help me? Or know of any other blogging pros that can help a sista out?

25 May 2010

"Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life."

Eckhart Tolle

10 May 2010

A shout out to all mothers!

I would like to pay a special tribute to my wonderful mother that does not give herself enough credit! She is an amazing woman that I truly admire. I am grateful to have a mother that has taught me the value of hard work and supports me in all that I strive to accomplish. She is one of the greatest, most selfless people I know! 
While I do not want to detract from my own mother and how much I care for her and wish to celebrate her, I would also like to take some time to pay tribute to all mothers around the globe. Let’s think about moving the apostrophe so that it becomes not just Mother’s Day, honoring a single mother, but Mothers’ Day — an occasion to try to help other mothers around the globe.
I faithfully follow Nicholas Kristof, who is a writer for the New York Times. He writes about a variety of global [conflict] issues. His article in lieu of Mother's Day is beautiful! I have pulled a few interesting stats from this article, but you may also link to the article in its entirety here.
Some $14 billion will be spent in the United States for Mother’s Day this year, according to the National Retail Federation. That includes $2.9 billion in meals, $2.5 billion in jewelry and $1.9 billion in flowers.
To put that sum in context, it’s enough to pay for a primary school education for all 60 million girls around the world who aren’t attending school. That would pretty much end female illiteracy.
These numbers are fuzzy and uncertain, but it appears that there would be enough money left over for programs to reduce deaths in childbirth by about three-quarters, saving perhaps 260,000 women’s lives a year. There would probably even be enough remaining to treat tens of thousands of young women suffering from one of the most terrible things that can happen to a person, a childbirth injury called an obstetric fistula.

These numbers blow me away! Haven't hear enough statistics yet? Check this out:
  • The United States’ rate for maternal mortality is 1 in 4,800 – one of the highest in the developed world.”
  • A woman in the Unites States is more than five times as likely as a woman in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece or Italy to die from pregnancy-related causes in her lifetime and her risk of maternal death is nearly 10-fold that of a woman in Ireland. (2010 State of the World's Mothers)
  • 50 million women in the developing world give birth without professional help and 8.8 million children and newborns die from easily preventable or treatable causes.
  • The risk of a woman dying from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes in Niger is 1 in 7.  The risk is 1 in 8 in Afghanistan and Sierra Leone.  Compared to Ireland, that risk was 1 in 47,600.
 Every minute, a mother dies from complications during pregnancy or childbirth. In fact, in many countries, a girl is more likely to die in pregnancy than to finish secondary school. Mothers should be remembered and honored today, on Mother's Day, but I hope tha
Publish Post
t we can see a turn in some of the frightening statistics and see women’s lives become more of a priority!

09 May 2010


Despite how much I wish I was working on an international level right now, I have to say, that I work with a pretty cool group of people and have a pretty great job! I am learning so much and am so grateful to have a great group of people that I can constantly be learning from and a boss that encourages me to step it up. Just wanted to post a few pics from our different events.


Edwin and his "Sister-Wives"

Program Birthday lunch for me and Heather

Mmmm! Indian food!!

We are able to work a lot of fun and interesting events. During April, we did HIV and STD testing at the Queer Prom, which was a lot of fun! This last week, we did outreach at USANA Amphitheater. Those are just a few of the events, but we get to do a lot of education and outreach in the community, which I love!

Queer Prom 2010 - HIV/STD Testing/Counseling

My UDOH ladies!

Me and Kristen running the HIV table

Catch The Answers - our social campaign at UDOH

Can you tell it was the end of a long night??

08 May 2010

I am always amazed at how quickly time passes by. I get so nostalgic occasionally as I think how quickly this time passes. Sometimes I love it, other times I hate the emotions it can bring back. Another year has passed and today, my little brother and his beautiful wife are celebrating their 2nd Anniversary! I can't believe it has been 2 years already. Although their wedding day was one of the hardest days for me, as my engagement had recently failed, in addition, their wedding date fell on the same day my ex and I had initially talked about getting married. It was so hard to divert my mind and energy to the present and not feel sorry for myself. I am grateful now how things turned out, however I hope Jason and Niki know that I am so happy that they were married. Niki makes my brother, who I am overly protective of and is my best friend, so happy; I couldn't ask for anyone better for him (even if I did think they were both too young to get married at the time....haha love you both, if either of you read this!). J, thanks for adding Niki to our family!

Wow, I just found my new motivation to hit the gym twice a day!

Congrats to the happy lovers, who are on a cruise (I'm slightly jealous), on this day; love you both like crazy!

07 May 2010

Ahhh...I feel so renewed, so happy, so fulfilled! I attended the University of Utah's Global Health Conference yesterday, BYU's Global Family Health Conference two weeks ago, and my RESULTS meeting today! It is so invigorating sitting in a room full of people that are equally, or more, passionate about the same things that I am. I love it! Honestly, there are few things that give me that much happiness; being involved makes my heart smile :)

Yesterday's conference had an amazing line up of speakers, including one of the doctors that I had the privileged of working with 3 summers ago while I was in Ghana.

The Global Health Conference at BYU, included one of my dearest and sweetest acquaintances, Dr Socorro Gross, who I had the honor of working with when I worked with PAHO. It was fun to see her here in Utah and spend my lunch talking with her and trying to figure out how we were going to get me back out to DC! 

It's been so great to catch up with old friends that are so inspiring. Also so stimulating to sit and listen to other people that are so passionate about Global Health. Sir Michael Marmont was one of those people. What an inspiring and motivating man. It was great to meet him, in person, as he doesn't often speak at conference outside of UN Summit Meetings.
I learned a lot through the conferences and look forward to learning more and the upcoming conferences that I will be attending (in the near future - UPHA {Utah Public Health Association} Conference and then in June, the Global Health Conference in Washington, D.C.).
Yay! I feel like such a nerd right now that I feel so fulfilled by stuff like this. I love it though! haha

05 May 2010

Spring Madness!

Here is my SPRING madness update!

MARCH was full of loads of fun, as it should be! I love the spring time, although, being in Utah at this time of year, generally means a taste of spring, followed by my spring fever being smashed by a few big snow storms. I can't wait to live somewhere where spring actually happens when it is supposed to. None of this winter during the spring nonsense!

Well, my little sister left on her mission, so the beginning of March was spent with family. The weekend before Karen left, we did a girl's night with just my mom, me and my two sisters. We went to dinner at the Pizza Factory, followed by a little shopping at the Gateway and a movie, Valentine's Day. We never do anything like that, so it was fun to spend time with just the girls!

The following Tuesday evening, Karen was set apart as a missionary after we ate dinner and we all then said our goodbyes. I wasn't overly sad she was leaving, because I am in DC so often, so I feel like I will be seeing her in a few short months. Is that horrible? It sounds terrible, but isn't meant to be! I will miss her, most definitely, but again, am sure I can take her to lunch next time I make a stop in DC.

Then there was St Patty's Day. I decked myself out in green, as much as I could last minute and ran to meet up with friends. We had a great time celebrating in our green, but had even more fun people watching and observing all the crazy green outfits!

I have such great family and friends that threw me all sorts of great parties! My good friend from high school, Angie, came over and had dinner on my birthday with my family. Ang has yet to miss a birthday since we were 16 years old! We only see each other about twice a year - our birthdays are exactly 6 months apart, so that is always are excuse to make sure we see each other at least the 2 times a year. I then was able to meet up with a few other good friends following dinner. What a grand day! That weekend, my good friend, Marina, threw me a happening birthday party! We had such a great time and even had a pinata! Unfortunately, my camera was stolen or somehow misplaced during all of this and I lost all the pictures :(

I'm so happy to have such a great birthday helper!

In addition to the birthday parties and birthday frenzy, I purchased myself an expensive birthday gift. I wish I could say it was a cool trip or something like that. Unfortunately, I made a trip to my annual eye apt, just to find out that my left eye is slowly beginning to fail me...just enough that I had to purchase my first pair of glasses - EVER! Had I known this was going to happen, I would have added an optical plan into my insurance! Oh well, at least my new specs are cute and I only have to wear them on occasion!

Happy Birthday to my Grandma Staley! If she was still alive, she would have turned 90 years old on the 1st! I thought about her a lot that day. Her birthday is quite easy to remember, seeing how it is on April Fool's Day. As I drove to work on Apr 1, I was thinking about how someone can be gone for so long, yet you can still miss them SO much from time to time. Today (and while I was thinking of her on her bday), I miss Grandma a lot. I had such a personal relationship with her. I was her oldest Granddaughter and feel lucky to be one of only five grand-kids, because I was able to have a lot of quality, one-on-one time with her. I sure do love her and sure do miss her so much!!
EARTH DAY 2010 fell into the month of April. I was going to do a posting about this, but completely ran out of time! So, you may link to my posting from 2009 instead :) Happy Earth Day!!

April was a month full of some fun concerts! I took Jessica to her first concert, ever! The tickets were cheap, so last minute, Heather, Jessica and I grabbed some and decided to go! We went for a quick dinner, missing half of the show, but made it just in time for TRAIN to perform! It was kind of funny, cause Train was popular when Heather and I were in high school, but then dropped out of the loop for awhile. They recently have made a comeback and now are popular again. So Jessica knew all their new music, while Heather and I jammed out to all the old music.

Train was a lot of fun...and followed by another fun night: Michael Faranti! Woot woot! This man is incredible! I met him last year at the CARE International Conference. I only recently made the connection that the song I was loving on the radio was from the man I met at the conference. Anyway, he played at the University of Utah a week or two ago and it was SO fun!