Thursday, January 27, 2011

4 corners.

In case you haven't heard, it snowed last night.

After spending a little over two hours shoveling today, I headed outside to take some photos.  Most of the better ones are from my Nikon, but ye olde iPhone did the trick for these four corners of my snowy backyard.

1.  our trellis (and last year's Christmas tree!)
2.  the fire pit and teak bench
3.  Mum's gardening corner, and
4.  The Red Wheelbarrow.

All photos taken via for iPhone

Thursday, January 20, 2011

the potential story of my life.

Note: There was a video posted here about the joys of applying for jobs as an "aid worker"... but it seems that Global Poverty Project has taken it down.  Le sigh.

At least it's good to have a sense of humor about these things.
Thanks to friend and fellow former SA volunteer, Emma, for sharing this one. It gave me a good chuckle on the heels of my first really disappointing employment rejection.

Video via Texas in Africa


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thursday, January 13, 2011

they're worth a thousand words anyway.

Since I've had some trouble thus far putting my year in South Africa into words, I've decided to share some photos instead.  I held off on uploading a ton while I was away, not really on purpose, but because our internet was limited and there were more important things to do.  So, if you'd like to see some of my year as a volunteer in KwaZulu Natal, head on over to dispatches from kzn.  I'll try to be good about putting up one a day.  But that is not a resolution.

nou bouke.

While flicking through the TV channels tonight after dinner (and let's be honest, we don't have cable Chez Cloughley so there isn't much choice in the first place), we stumbled upon a documentary about Haiti.  There's been a lot of coverage on public television about the earthquake and the state of Haiti and its people a year later, but this particular program was really incredible.  It's called Nou Bouke, and was made by a team from The Miami Herald.  "Nou bouke" is a Creole term meaning, "We're tired."  What an apt title.

Though I enjoyed the entire piece, I really loved a feature on a man named Jerry Rosembert, a graffiti artist who uses street art to spread a message from Haiti, and for Haiti.  Watching the documentary led to some internet searching, and I found these to share.

From Voices of Haiti: A Daily Photoessay by Jeremy Cowart.  See more of his beautiful photography here

From Repeating Islands: News and commentary on Caribbean culture, literature, and the arts

From the Haiti Photo Library, which you can find here

The recovery effort in Haiti is complicated, because the quality of life for the majority of Haitians prior to January 12, 2010 was abysmal.  And now, cholera has sunk its ugly teeth into an already decimated population; to rebuild a nation on a foundation that is already full of holes seems an insurmountable task.
But as it is with Jerry, so it can be with others.  Paired with a little help and a lot of hope, Haiti's people will retain what makes them whole.

Just something to keep in mind when you're booking your next cruise to the Caribbean.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

4 corners.

The four corners of my bedroom.

It's strange to be in a transitional phase-- looking for jobs, applying to graduate school, making moves to take the next step.  Among countless conversations with friends in a similar phase of life, I can't really complain, or feel "left behind".  I feel excited.  I could find something in Philadelphia or in New York.  I could be working full-time, I could be going to school for my Masters.  I could even be back in Dublin, for goodness' sake.
Then there are the questions like, "Should I paint my bedroom?"  I can't decide what's worth my time or not.  I have no idea how long I'll be here or where I'll be next.

It's all rather exciting (that is, until the excitement wears off and I can't stand to look at my résumé for one more second).

As a sidenote, there's nothing like Downton Abbey, Olive Kitteridge, and a little amoxicillin to make a bout of strep throat bearable.

All photos taken via for iPhone

Monday, January 10, 2011

South Africa, I miss you.


Monday, January 3, 2011

geez, you're something to see

I'm a big fan of this song by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, but when I saw that they had posted this link on their Twitter, I think I may have a new favorite version.  You can hear the original here.

Something to make you smile on a Monday night... or cry, depending on your mood.

(via @EdwardSharpe)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

out with the old, in with the new.

Hi!  I'm back!
After my year in South Africa , and three weeks of joyful reunions, slow readjustment, and holiday cheer, I have decided it's time to return to this little blog.  My post-volunteering job hunt has just begun and may take some time, so in the meantime, I can share a bit of my life here on SFS.

I rang in 2011 with a weekend in New York.

2010 was the most exciting, interesting, challenging, eye-opening year of my life yet... but I have high hopes for 2011.  With my best friends from college, I welcomed January 1st at Brooklyn Brewery, and spent the surrounding days soaking up all that New York has to offer.  There were a couple of stressful trips to Trader Joe's in Union Square (is that place ever not crowded?), a few too many strong margaritas at happy hour(s), beer-drinking adventures in the Village with a good friend I hadn't seen in way too long, and a tough morning curled up in Diana's bed, watching wedding shows and attempting to rehydrate (unsuccessfully).
And after a very lovely few days, I've decided that although my job search is widespread in the hopes of finding something sooner rather than later, I would really love to find something in New York.  So here's to the hunt...

I read this poem here last night, and thought it was really beautiful.  And so, to start off this year and to bring this blog back to life, here it is.  Happy New Year!

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "In Memoriam (Ring Out, Wild Bells!)"