Category: Getting it off my chest

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America is still great, or, thoughts on elections

I don’t write about politics on here because I can’t.  I work for the American government, and  I serve at the pleasure of the president no matter who he or she might be and no matter what his or her politics might be. I have spent my adult life learning from those who have less than I do.  From teaching basic computer skills as a Peace Corps Volunteer, fighting to get...

NOURISH 2

On nourishing what I love, and consuming less of what I don’t

This year, I chose “nourish” as my One Little Word. Like last year’s word, “breathe,” it feels a little bit out of character for me. I’m an excellent planner and project manager. I’m hyper-organized. I’m on top of everything. I am not a particularly warm and fuzzy person. You can tell when I’m starting to fall apart when I lose details, as when we were preparing to leave the States...

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On elections

Bertrand lost his mother a few weeks ago. She could have been saved had she had access to Western health care. Benin is a perfect example of a market driven health care system. Not enough patients have the money to pay for expensive treatments, so expensive treatments don’t exist. The more time I spend in the developing world, the more I’m convinced of three things: Citizens and business should pay...

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On loss. Again.

Last night, Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi. Several years ago, Kate Puzey, a Peace Corps Volunteer, was brutally murdered in Benin. I had long since finished my Peace Corps service, and was busily running a business with my husband in the capital. I didn’t know the volunteer, I was in a different part of the country, and there was no expectation of further violence in...

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On having it all. Or opting out of the debate.

Nobody in the whole goddamn world has it all. Everyone has to make choices. Ignore, for a moment, the institutionalized sexism that women face every day. As an Angry Militant Feminist, I’m telling you that the sexism doesn’t matter. Get angry about the sexism. Fight the sexism. But don’t let the fact that sexism exists blind you to the fact that everyone has to make choices. All grown-ups have to...

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On Freetown and well meaning State Department employees

Please stop saying, “I’m sorry,” when I say that I’m going to Freetown. Bertrand and I are thrilled for many reasons, among them the fact that, of the many challenges offered by the Foreign Service, the challenges that we’ll face in Freetown are among those we are very familiar with. Power? Water? Lack of availability of Western goods? Corruption? Cultural differences? Income inequalities? No roads? Flooded out roads? Does this...

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On motherhood, careers, and having it all

I only talk about gender, motherhood, and families in the Foreign Service with other women. Is that weird? While I certainly have male friends here, I find myself reluctant to complain about the inequalities and difficulties that we face to what I imagine will be an audience made unfriendly by its blind privilege. Maybe this isn’t the case! Maybe the men I know here at FSI would be thrilled to...

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On consuming and consumption

Coming home has been harder than I expected. As long as I continue to think of living in America as a short break from reality, I’m OK. The minute I remind myself that this is permanent, that even though we’ll be posted abroad, we’re back to living a life of comfort, consumption, and red-white-and-blue, I start to panic. Yes, of course I’ll be fine. Yes, of course I’ll get used...