Sure, its been months since I last posted. I've received many a prompt from my fellow bloggers to start posting again. But the inspiration has to be intrinsic you see. Truth be told, I did miss posting a great deal even though I wouldn't have had the time this summer to do much of it.
Since my last post nearly 4 (!) months ago, a great deal has happened. Big stuff first.
My mother went through cancer therapy and has been pronounced "cured". Although there is never really a "cure" to cancer, the scans say that there are no malignant cells left in her body. She will of course continue to have regular scans and checkups, but my family and I are thrilled and looking forward to having her around for the foreseeable future. She is, in every sense of the word, the glue that holds us together. Many thanks to all of you for your support, it helped get me through a very dark period.
Next, the gig. I spent about 10 weeks this summer as a consultant. It was very much the consultant lifestyle. Worked long hours and traveled every week, M-Th. Back in the home office on Friday. I won't go into detail about the clients or firm in order to preserve confidentiality and anonymity. Suffice it to say that I really enjoyed the work and thought the people at the firm were smart and enjoyable to work with. Apparently, they thought the same of me since I did receive a full-time offer. :) I have to evaluate some personal and professional goals before I decide on the offer, but it sure is nice to have the option!
Onwards to travel. Now I'm definitely no Olivier
, but I do enjoy traveling (um...check out the moniker) and have accomplished my very short-term goal of "20 by 30". Translation, make it to 20 different countries by the time I turn 30. For those that traveled for work, this is probably nothing exciting. But I never traveled for work (SoCal doesn't officially count as another country, though sometimes I swear it is...) and really started my international travel about 6 years ago. So I've visited about 16 countries in the last 6 years, not half bad IMHO. Anyhoo, 20 by 30 - Check! I haven't turned 30 yet (though its not too far off so it may be time to start shopping for the black armband), but I made it to the 19th and 20th countries in the last several months.
Number 19 was Japan. Intriguing and gorgeous - history, politics, religion, culture, landscape. It was a trip organized through the Asian-Pacific student club on campus, and a big group of students went. The article for ChiBus
gives a decent description.
Number 20 was South Africa. Finally made it to the African continent. Only Antarctica to go (no guarantees I'll make it here). South Africa has a complex history and diverse ethnic makeup. Apartheid was not just about white vs. black - so much more complex than that. The 4 major ethnicities that were categorized during Apartheid - black (native African), coloured (mixed race), Indian (from the Indian subcontinent), and white (also referred to as Afrikaaner, mostly Dutch). There were many ethnic minorities as well that didn't fit "cleanly" into these categories (such as Chinese and Taiwanese). We were able to visit several spots that focused on the Apartheid struggle, such as Robben Island in Cape Town (where Mandela and many other prisoners were held), and Soweto, the Hector Pieterson museum, and the Apartheid museum in Johannesburg.
We spent time in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Pilanesburg on a safari. Yes, I saw wild animals and it was amazing!! I won't go into much more detail now, but will post a link to the ChiBus article when its printed. So what's next on the travel hit list? Dunno, we'll see if I get to the next place on my list... I'll share once I know for sure.
This post has now become way too long. I'll stop here for now. Like I said, no promises. Blogging takes up more time than I often have, but I'll see if I can start posting more regularly. Ciao for now!