Full of Gratitude

Today is Thanksgiving (well, not where I live, but American Thanksgiving as a way of seeping into my reality every year, no matter where I am). I don’t usually do this, but I feel this need to express my gratitude – and not just as we go around a dinner table, but I wanted to write it so that when I’m feeling down or frustrated I can come back to these words.

We live in difficult times – sure, there are fewer wars today then they’re used to be, but there is growing inequality and protracted, low-level conflict all over the world. Poverty and exclusion, injustice and pain. I wonder how (and why, really) I was lucky enough to be born on the “right” side of these issues. I never in my life have experienced true poverty, or true injustice. I’m privileged, and unbelievably lucky. I want to acknowledge a few things that make my heart feel full:

– I’m grateful for the love, support, understanding and companionship of the people in my life. My parents, my husband-to-be, friends near and far. I’ve been blessed with strong, deep friendships and relationships, and these people carry me through life.

– I’m grateful for my health, and for the health of those around me. Some people close to me are going through very challenging times health-wise at the moment, and seeing them go through these ordeals makes me appreciate good health even more. (Remember: one glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away)

– I’m grateful for living in a peaceful country, where I am free to speak my mind, where women are treated as equals (well, in theory at least), where people have rights and democracy prevails. Billions of people across the world can’t say this – and in spite of all the money or good health they might have, individual and collective potential can only be fulfilled where there is freedom, actual space for people to be creative, bold, daring, controversial. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be who I am.

– I’m grateful for all the things that make my life feel full: a job that is fulfilling, volunteer opportunities that bring meaning to my life, a (new!!) roof over my head that is truly my own, a little feline companion who brightens my day.

I am brimming with thankfulness and gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Seat at the Table: a Twitter-ful list of women crucial to foreign policy

Elmira Bayrasli gave “Levo her (expansive) list of women who are deeply ingrained in critical foreign policy issues, and how to follow their travails and their progress.” Among the women in that list, you will find some (if not most) of my all-time favorite lady tweeters: @texasinafrica, @scarlettlion, @meowtree, @bonniekoenig, @saundra_s, @nancymbirdsall….

That Elmira included in me in her list is such an honor; I’m truly grateful for that “tip of the hat” from her, and really pleased to be associated – if only through this list – with some of today’s leading female thinkers, journalists, politicians, artists, activists and generally awesome women.

You can find the full list here, on the Levo League website, or click the image below

EABJM Winter Concert Presentation

On January 21st, the Ecole Active Bilingue Jeannine Manuel (my former high school in Paris) held a Winter Concert to benefit The Niapele Project. Special thanks to Mme. Bosc, Virginie, Delphine and the 1ere IB Niapele team for raising a little over $1000 that night.

Here is a video of the presentation I made presenting the organization (in french, unfortunately for all of you who don’t speak Gerard Depardieu’s tongue)