Finding Light in the Darkness of 2016

2016 was a rough year.

For me, it was a year filled with personal life changes, some good and some not so good, alongside global changes and uncertainty and violence. This year has forced me to think more deeply about what I want my life to be like, and how best to use my skills and privilege to make the world better for others. At many times it has made me despair of ever being able to live in the type of world I dream of.

However, even in the depths of that despair, I know there is really is still so much good in the world. I may have to look a little harder to find it these days, but I don't want the bad parts of 2016 to eclipse all the wonderful things that happened. So - mostly for the sake of my own sanity - here's a little look back at some of my brightest memories from 2016.

  • Waking up to the sound of the ocean in Sao Tome. 

  • Getting caught by intermittent rain showers on a beach walk in Roatan, and running for shelter under a palm tree along the beach, giggling beneath the fronds while the rain passed.
  • Running down the Craggy Gardens trail with Miles, zooming around like airplanes in an attempt to slow him down and keep him (or me) from face-planting. Happy kid giggles and rosy cheeks and fresh air. 
  • Sitting with Rachel in front of the (tissue paper and paper bag) fireplace in our office, with all but the Christmas lights turned off, sipping mugs of Haitian rum, and listening to Christmas carols while watching YouTube videos of snow falling in the forest. (Seriously, if you're ever stressed - watch these videos.)

  • An autumn Thursday afternoon spent hiking and catching up with Joseph on the Virginia side of Great Falls, and a Sunday morning a few weeks later hiking the Maryland side with Samantha. 

  • A perfect, and unexpected, Saturday morning in Queens with Isabel. 
  • Getting to reconnect with my Peace Corps host family in Honduras, and feeling as if no time had passed. 
  • Deep conversations, deep blue skies, and lots of cheese in Tillamook with Joseph and Judith. 

  • Strolling the Tidal Basin loop with my mom and June. 
  • An incredible and very fancy cocktail flight at Barmini with Iz followed by Shake Shack for dinner.
  • Re-learning to let go and feel the rhythm in Afro-Brazilian dance class with Allison.
  • Baby toes, breweries, City Park hikes, early morning snuggles with O, side-eye from Amelia, and lots of quality friend time on my June trip to New Orleans

  • Spontaneously volunteering at a wine tasting event in Cincinnati with Anna and Danae, complete with free tastings - which inevitably led to margaritas, dancing, and a drag show. 
  • Silly post-happy hour Target trips with Laura. 
  • Embracing the January blizzard with bourbon, baths, baking, and lots of books. 

  • Finding a lovely group of DC ladies to drink champagne with in my living room. 
  • Returning to Portland in July for lunchtime river walking, evening barbecuing, many happy hours, and a mountain wedding. 
  • Enjoying the fall colors in DC.

Thank you to all of you for being the bright spots in a tough year, and for constantly reminding me of all the good and wonder that exists in the world. 


  1. Glad to hear you made the most out of 2016. Here's to more exciting adventures for you in the New Year ahead!

  2. I am glad I got the chance to meet you during your trip to Cape Coast! I will have to sign up for notifications of your posts.


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