I had been thinking about starting a blog for five years, but it is only until recently that I have found the courage and dedication to go into it full force. This newfound ability to leap into this endeavor could be a result of several failures over the past few months. I applied to PhD programs in Political Science and got rejected from all six of them. The worst-case scenario of the situation happened; I tried something and completely failed. It was an awful few months when I got a constant stream of rejections. The emails always came around lunchtime, which led to several uncomfortable lunch plans when I glanced at my phone in between bites only to learn that I was not accepted for admission. In some cases I gracefully pretended I didn’t see it, in others I ungracefully pretended it didn’t bother me, but after all of the rejection I have come to accept that it really wasn’t the end of the world. The worst-case scenario might not actually be all that bad. In fact, this experience led me to no longer be petrified of failure. If anything there is something to be said about owning failure and being able to joke openly about it. Everyone from J.K. Rowling to the motivational business writers my Dad reads, claim that failure is the key to success, so maybe this means I am on the right track!
In those months where I felt rejected and lost I found comfort and inspiration from reading other blogs. Whether they were blogs about fashion, family, or about the career fields I hoped to enter I would check obsessively to see if they had new posts (perhaps a sign I currently have too much time on my hands). When they did it felt like such a treat, like the joy from getting your favorite magazine in the mail. I hope my blog can contribute to that type of comfort, pleasure, and perhaps provocation.
I am also starting the blog at this time because I am about to embark on a six-week professional opportunity in Nairobi, Kenya. I want to reflect on the challenges, beauty, and quirks I experience during this time period. The last large adventure I took was when I studied abroad in South America in 2007. I carry those little memories with me and gain immense pleasure from recounting the stories of the challenging, silly, fascinating, and ridiculous moments that happened along the way. This is my chance to update my anecdotes and reflections.
Blogging is tricky because it can be a self-indulgent endeavor, but perhaps that is something all bloggers come to accept. I could not decide on one topic for this blog because I am passionate about what I study and want to do for a living (research on gender and security issues), but I know I also gain pure joy from blogs that show me pictures of what a blogger cooked or wore that day. This blog combines all of these pleasures into one place and I hope to honestly accept that diversity and not feel that I have to fit into one mold. This is my attempt to embrace those different parts of myself gracefully as well as be honest and accepting of the very ungraceful moments that will most certainly occur along the way.
Below are some images of what my past few weeks since Graduate school have looked like. Including delving into blogging, cooking, and reading about the adventures I will have in Kenya. I tried two amazing Barefoot Contessa recipes for salmon and brussels sprouts with pancetta. They turned out excellent and I was so proud, but I learned a valuable cooking lesson. Cooking an elaborate meal in the oven when you don’t have air conditioning and it is ninety degrees out is a miserable experience.