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gros malin

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I had a pretty mellow birthday. I can't believe I have entered the last year of my 40s. I don't feel any wiser or more mature, quite frankly. I'm confirmed for Haiti in a couple of weeks - very excited.

I gave a talk at a conference at the National Institutes of Health on menstrual hygiene management.

I volunteered for Arts on the Horizon's inaugural 5k run, dominated by a high school track team whose meet had been cancelled.

Z and I went to see a production of "A Fairy Tale Day in Court" in Georgetown. (Mother Goose was the judge.)


Followed by ice cream at Thomas Sweet's.

Then playing on the George Washington University campus.

We attended the Blessing of the Animals at the local Episcopal church, followed by a visit to Blind Whino, our local arts center.

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Crazy Rich Asians
Loooooved it. Yeah, so it’s problematic. So are most films. But most films don’t feature people who look like me or reflect my own experience. (My cousin is a former beauty queen turned wedding planner and she was definitely part of the CRA world.)

Exponent II retreat
My annual excursion into the civilized wilderness with my fellow Mormon feminists. This year there were - count’em - three other women of color! Woo-hoo!
with the lovely K

Z’s surgery
My poor Z was diagnosed with hydrocele (excess fluid in his scrotum) and had minor surgery to drain the fluid while I was in Malawi. He has twin scars on his lower abdomen and is super-disappointed to be barred from sports for two weeks.

Family photos
Normally we’ve taken them in the spring around birthday time (Mo’s and Z’s) or in the Philippines. This time we (I) procrastinated. Oh well. This time we worked with a lovely local momtographer in our neighborhood park.

Soul Rebels
Another friend/neighbor/mom gifted her tickets to Soul Rebels because she had a family event - it was our first time to Union Stage. It was so much fun to see a live concert and right up next to the stage in an intimate club setting.

It’s been raining.

Mo has been car-shopping since our SUV was in an accident a few months ago. We can technically live car-less in our neighborhood except perhaps for Z’s swim lessons (in an obscure corner of Gaullaudet University) and his French class in Bethesda.

Naila Kabeer at the World Bank
Naila Kabeer was one of my grad school heroines and I saw her at a recent World Bank event on women’s empowerment. Her talk was actually a little disappointing but I got to see a lot of colleagues turned friends whom I don’t see often enough. Yes, I do refer to the World Bank as “the death star.”
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So if I go to Haiti next month I'll have been to every continent between July and November. I guess I am back to pre-Z travel intensity.

I wish I flew JetBlue more often. The very few times I've taken them it's always been a pleasant experience. Thankfully I was able to navigate JFK without any problems, and the South African Airways flight was not too crowded, though (disappointingly) the entertainment was very limited. Good thing I had my overstocked iPad with me. I also managed to get in some sleep. A group from an African-American church was on board and the flight crew made a special announcement to them when we landed: "Welcome to Mother Africa." They clapped and cheered wildly in response.

I was part of the team that accompanied the Ambassador to open a school dorm for girls. The day felt like one of those memes of "what people think I do/what I actually do." So people think I spend most of time at events like this one, though it happens too rarely, and with all my travel I spend most of my time in an office or conference room.

The Ambassador with her security detail/village elder dance group.
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I think I might have mentioned that Z's summer camp sells all of its equipment at the end of the summer so I managed to score an iPad. It's been pretty revolutionary. In light of my trip to Malawi next week, I've downloaded:
* about 20 "books" (i.e. fanfics) on iBooks
* a bazillion articles on Instapaper
* 5 library books on Overdrive
* Season 1 of Parks & Rec, the first two seasons of The Office (original British version), Season 1 of Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan, and Paterson, on Amazon Prime
I'm sure there will be plenty of entertainment choices on South African Airways, but I can't tell, since both the app and the website suck.

I managed to visit Heurich House and the Textile Museum, both of which had been on my list for ages now. I had been to the Textile Museum's former building, an old mansion near Dupont Circle, and the "new" location on the George Washington University campus was impressive if clinical.

This gentleman greets visitors and possibly interlopers to Heurich House.

Mudcloth, far from the dust and sun of West Africa.

The Textile Museum shares the building with the GWU Museum, which currently exhibits a delightful display of postcards of Washington DC. I actually have this postcard, since I was living in Adams Morgan at the time (where the Marilyn Monroe mural is) and is one of the few postcards of DC that doesn't show the usual sites.

Even though Z is in Morocco, I still went to the children's section of the National Book Festival.

Our coop organized an international potluck and the kids made luggage tags.

When I need a break from my cubicle I hike up to the rooftop to enjoy the view. (Yes, that's the White House on the lower left)

I made a portable playscape with some leftover felt.

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An array of salwar kameez (the comfortable pants outfits).

The elephant standing guard.

My elegant colleague in front of the chicken place.
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I need to get better at documenting my trips. I bring my journal with me and I actually end up writing more when I'm traveling (all the down time and lack of distraction by Little People) but I don't consistently record everything on LJ.

Because of summer vacations and the Eid holiday I wasn't able to change my itinerary. I went from Dhaka to Istanbul to London on Turkish Airways, and then British Airways to Washington. There's a directly flight between Istanbul and Washington but it was completely booked, as were the flights on Emirates, which is what I took to Dhaka. It was my first time on Turkish Airways. The planes were very nice with some lovely touches (flowers around the plane including the lavatories), and one of the lavatories actually was positioned over a window so natural light! and everyone got a pretty substantial travel kit. The safety movie was a Lego animation and the entertainment selection was extensive - I enjoyed watching "Rush Hour" the TV show - but the flight attendants were So Surly. Such a contrast with the cheery BA flight attendants. Also this time I had a female taxi driver take me to Washington-Dulles airport, for the first time ever.

I never think through my planning enough to actual take advantage of the layovers. I hadn't been to London or Istanbul in years. I actually have friends in London! I fly through Paris all the time and know the airport better than the city. (Granted, I also know Lyon better than Paris, but still.) My last trip when I was pregnant was to Penang, Malaysia. I spent the night in Hong Kong both ways and just...slept.
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This is my fourth visit to Bangladesh. Since my visit last year the security perimeter has been expanded so I might actually get some real photos. I was lucky to get a bulkhead seat on the DC-Dubai segment and then upgraded to business class for Dubai-Dhaka. While waiting to board in Dubai I chatted with two young sisters from England who were visiting their family in Bangladesh. I felt like we could hang out if we'd met under other circumstances.

MoBob and Z are still in Morocco. In September I will be headed to New Hampshire for the annual Exponent retreat, then Malawi. I was originally scheduled for a meeting in Geneva next week but with some relief my trip was cancelled.

otherwise my lips are sealed

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Did I mention that I went to Armenia for a week? No? It was like a dream.

One of the many delightful meals.

My two new friends from the UN and our adorbs waiter.

Every night there was a light and music show at the fountain in the main square.
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