Winter Storm Stella


It snowed!


Stella was a good snowstorm that didn’t melt in a few hours. A bit icy, not super fluffy and easy to dig out of, but wonderful nonetheless.

I’ve been wanting one good snowstorm this winter since November. Just when I decided that Spring was sounding nice, it snowed. A lot.

There is a poem that always floats through my head when I’m walking through the snow. I usually only remember a few lines – “Let us walk through the white snow / In a soundless space / with footsteps quiet and slow / under veils of white lace”. I looked it up (see below) and found I mis-remembered it a bit.


The stillness of winter, the way the snow muffles all sound…it feels inherently magical. Perhaps it’s the association with Chrismas, or my birthday, or the childhood excitement of a snow day off from school.

Whatever it is, I’m glad I got to see one more snowstorm before possibly moving to the desert.




Velvet Shoes

winter countryside view


Let us walk in the white snow

In a soundless space;

With footsteps quiet and slow,

At a tranquil pace,

Under veils of white lace.


I shall go shod in silk,

And you in wool,

White as white cow’s milk,

More beautiful

Than the breast of a gull.


We shall walk through the still town

winter forest viewIn a windless peace;

We shall step upon white down,

Upon silver fleece,

Upon softer than these.


We shall walk in velvet shoes:

Wherever we go

Silence will fall like dews

On white silence below.

We shall walk in the snow.

– Elinor Wylie


Of Med Clearance and Vaccines

Two posts in a month? What is this madness?

Six doctor’s visits, eight vials of blood, a new pair of glasses, full dental ex-rays and over 130 pages of paper later…and my medical paperwork is finally in.

A month late.


Having a nurse for a mother is helpful for understanding medical things, but knowledge dissuades fear. Since I wasn’t scared of it, I thought it would be easier and quicker than it was. Oops.

I headed into my PCP appointment thinking that I would be walking out of that appointment with my paperwork completed. I was wrong. Very, very wrong. Even though I told my doctor the appointment was for Peace Corps medical clearance and a physical….she was still completely blindsided. (She clearly had never completed a Peace Corps medical clearance packet before.) I was blindsided because I thought I had an appointment with a doctor I knew…so it was uncomfortable all around.

As a nice contrast, getting my Yellow Fever vaccine was WONDERFUL. The woman who gave it had helped many people going into the Peace Corps before. Even better, the general fee ($135) was waived. If you’re in the Philadelphia/Main Line – ish Area looking for travel vaccines – I highly recommend the U Penn travel clinic. Parking was tough, but everything else was great.


If you’re working on your medical clearance for Peace Corps and somehow found my blog – things I wish I knew:

  1. You need your passport to get your Yellow Fever Vaccine. A photo copy of it works.
  2. Book your doctor’s appointment in advance. Wayyyy in advance. At least a month before everything is due.          -_-
  3. If your health insurance covers lab tests, you’re set. Don’t even worry about trying to find your childhood vaccine records. Just get the blood tests.
  4. It is worth it to call around asking dentist’s offices whether they give people discounts if they’re headed into the Peace Corps. But again, book appointments early.
  5. The amount of paperwork is OVERWHELMING, and fairly redundant. Take a breath, a few hours, and pour a glass of wine. Then try and figure everything out.
  6. PDFsam Basic – a free .pdf editing software. Super helpful for pulling together all the scans into one document to submit everything.



Happy International Women’s Day!

Only one day feels so inadequate; just like only a month for Black History??

Today has been a good day to sit and think. (And write.) And as always, drink copious amounts of coffee.

This past year I had an epiphany/realization/re commitment to being unapologetically intersectional feminist. I’ve always been a self-labeled feminist, but my idea of what that means has become clearer, and more inclusive over the years. (When I was seven, I simply wanted all the women to win at jeopardy, and all the princesses to slay dragons a la The Hero and the Crown – Robin McKinley; or even save the princes like in Ella Enchanted – Gail Carson Levine.)

Sometimes even I am questioning why I’ve just signed up for 2.5ish years in a country that will ask me to give up some of my freedoms as an unmarried woman. The only answer I have is that “it’s worth it”. Whatever “it” is – this experience I’m on the edge of.

It feels like I’m about to jump out of an airplane for the first time, hoping that the parachute in my bag is packed correctly. I know I’ll be able to pull the handle to open the chute,  but I’m hoping I have the guts to jump out of the plane with my eyes open, enjoying the ride. I’ve read stories of other people’s experiences, I’ve heard about the common challenges, I’ve visited places without running water or electricity for a few weeks; but there’s really nothing that can prepare me for what this transition is going to be like. I’m coming to terms with that. I’ve mostly made peace with that.

I’m really trying.

Anyway, in honor of International Women’s Day, to celebrate small victories, here are some women breaking ceilings that I didn’t hear enough about.


Catherine Cortez Masto is in the Senate representing Nevada. She’s the first Latina senator, and she’s the granddughter of a Mexican immigrant.

(photo credit: NBC)


Tammi Duckworth, in the Senate for Illinois – she’s the first female senator who has seen combat, and the first Thai-American woman ever elected to Congress.


Kamala Harris – She is only the second African-American woman ever elected to the Senate. Representing California, she’s also the first Indian-American senator. Before being elected to the Senate, she served as Attorney-General for CA.

01222016-Pramila Jayapal

Pramila Jayapal is representing Washington State, and she’s the first Indian American in the House. She immigrated to the US at 16.

(photo credit – Seattle Times)


Stephanie Murphy is the first Vietnamese-American woman in the House of Representatives, representing Florida.

Other notable women I enjoy following:

Samantha Bee, because everything.

Ana Navarro, Republican Strategist, because she’s a fearless leader in calling Trump on his bullsh*t. Almost everyone else I follow, I follow because I agree with them on policy. She is very clear about what are policy disagreements between political parties, and what are human rights, civil rights, basic common decency and constitutional rights being trampled.

Valarie Kaur – powerful, powerful speaker. If you are ever feeling hopeless, watch her on YouTube.

There are so many more – from Audre Lourde to Roxane Gay; Linda Sarsour to Caitlin Moran. And Jenny Lawson. (The book Let’s Pretend This Never Happened made me sob from laughter. Sobbing. Tears running down my cheeks, clutching my stomach from laughter. Reading that book is some serious self-care.)

The list is endless. So I’ll leave you with a playlist of inspiring TED Talks, if you’re interested.