Blogged it to the White House pre-trump Era. #win

I am sitting on the floor in my room chewing on sugarcane trying to recall all that has happened in the past month. A soft, light rain is coming down and the juices from the sugarcane are flowing straight to my brain. I am finally home in Ethiopia. 

It’s been a few months since I wrote anything worth writing, I have my reasons, but for now I have to tell you the highlights from my crazy blog it home trip that you guys sent me to. 

About a month ago, in my usual state, confused, awkward, yet excited, I walked into the Peace Corps building.

This is the story of how I met 7 hardworking, funny, inspiring bloggers, Peace Corps super chill staff, seriously important people in the white house, and an adorable 3rd grade Ethiopian student who moved to the US a week before I met her. 

Peace Corp volunteers are usually easy to talk to. I think its because they have a story for any and every situation. I met zack sitting in the hotel lobby early morning. He spoke about Samoa, his country of service with such enthusiasm, it made me rethink all my life choices. Why wasn’t I living in samoa watching people dancing with fire and drinking cocoa samoa? And then I met the other 6 volunteers, each one with their own bold personalities, voices, and stories. A group that bonded over missed food, culture and blogging. 

Another brilliant blogger, Gabriella, taught us these hilarious sayings from Guyana. I know you know what I am taking about because I have been saying them non-stop. I will just link you to her blog so you can go and read for yourself. because ‘Me Na Able’ at the moment. 

 

I am just really excited about having a group of super creative blogger friends. 

 

There was a day in the week when one of the winners, Brittany, couldn’t make it and it just didn’t feel right. I missed her maybe too much for knowing her only a few days, but that happens sometimes. 

Of course I am grateful for the whole week and all the activities, but in the end, it’s really about these people I met. Its like Newton said, you will be going a certain way and then you meet people and they exert a force on you and help you see a little clearer. They will push you past your own limits. I think it’s one of the basic laws of physics, I am pretty sure….

Moving on. 

On the second day of our trip the Peace Corps third goal staff had organized a trip to the White House for us. Let me just say how grateful I am that this happened pre-trump era. I am really grateful. (Good luck to to the blog winners for next year.)

 

There still isn’t a place where I don’t feel at-least a little awkward, expect maybe deep, deep in the forest, and the White House. These are the few places where I know I belong. Jokes aside, our trip to the White House was more than inspiring, it was life changing. It wasn’t the old classy building, or the big bowl in the middle of the table that should have had candy, but didn’t. It wasn’t even the scary pictures of dead people on the wall, it was the warmth from the people in the room. The women we were introduced to gave us their so much of their time for absolutely nothing in return. They made us feel welcome, and inspired us to do more with ourselves.

Amanda, Michelle Obama’s personal photographer, was the first to speak to us. I know that I didn’t win that blog contest based on my writing, it had so much to do with the pictures and (votes of course). She gave us some real tips on how to improve our photography and went through her own photos with us. As if this wasn’t enough, Hope Hall comes in and throws some deep stuff at us. She talked about having an authentic voice in our work. To be ourselves 100%. She had no clue how badly I needed to hear that. I hadn’t been writing publicly for sometime because I was afraid of being something other than genuine. (I will probably tell you more about this on another post.)

Then Sarada Peri, Obama’s Indian, female, speech writer breaks down good writing down for us. You know I had to add her identity in there because, well, brown girls rock. Fact.

So, ya it was a lot. The whole three hours I was trying to absorb all the knowledge from these women, that I didn’t even have time to be awkward. 

On our third day, we went to schools and gave presentations on our host country. Did you know schools now have more security than airports. Mind blown, but I guess it makes sense after all the school shootings.

In one of the classes I presented in, there was a little Ethiopian girl that just came to America a week prior. I remembered being in her shoes once, new to a country to people who knew nothing about where I was coming from. It was such an honor to share small parts of her culture to her classmates. 

In all honesty I didn’t really belong in that group of incredible bloggers and story tellers. I often end up places far too good for me. I know this. People tell me they like my photos, but it’s because Ethiopians are so easy to photograph. They radiate joy and good energy. After all, Ethiopia does win the blog contest every year. It says more about the people in this country than the actual bloggers. 

Nonetheless, I will continue to gratefully accept whatever life throws at me. I am so grateful for all that the Peace Corps staff did for us that week. The potluck, the prep talks, the candy, coffee, and everything else. 

Shout out to Meleia for holding it down when I was a complete mess, Stacey for helping me in my presentations, and Katie for finding me a room to nap in between presentations when I just couldn’t anymore. 

I really don’t like saying thank you, they are such empty words, completely meaningless.

Just know that I keep you all in my prayers. 
Pictures stolen/borrowed from other bloggers. 

The bloggerss!!!!

The bloggerss!!!!

Tina Chen!

Tina Chen!

 

Taken from Gabriella, Guyana https://lettersfromguyana.wordpress.com/about/
Mark, Kyrgyz Republic http://mondaybazaar.wordpress.com/
Olivia, Madagascar http://www.oliviaprentzel.com/
Jennifer, Mongolia http://www.jennifermyung.wordpress.com/
Brooklynn, Peru http://nosleeptillpeace.com/
Brittany, Peru http://siyahenperu.wordpress.com/
Zack, Samoa http://zigzaglifeblog.wordpress.com/ 

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