The Charm of Vermont

I had a day in Vermont with a colleague-turned-friend, who graciously gave me a tour of the area's charming towns and countryside.  These places and spaces were dreamy, even in the wintertime, and we had a great time together on our whirlwind winter tour.

The words 'quaint' and 'charming' describe almost every place we visited, from her own wood-heated cabin to the tavern across the street, the covered bridges, the diner, the farm, and the yarn shop.  It was small town America at its best, with local shops lining the streets, neighbors chatting it up wherever they run into each other, and the beauty of the countryside always accessible.


The last couple of weeks have been full of great people - so many great people!  We've hosted friends from Africa, connected with friends from the Middle East and India, and caught up with friends from across America.  We heard inspirational speakers, met new people, and I've had deeply touching one-on-one conversations with many.  These people have energized my spirit and I find myself jotting notes of wisdom I garner from them as I go.

As much as I've been energized inwardly, I came to the end of my time in Washington, DC physically drained and exhausted.  My body, often the wiser one, has told me to stop with the onset of a cold.

So now, hibernation.

I found my way up to Maine in between winter storms and I'm now staying in a cozy home, looking out my window at over 3 feet of snow.  I'm doing a training in Conscious Social Change with a partner organization, Global Grassroots.  The home of Gretchen, the founder, is filled with handmade furniture, plants, books, and memorabilia from her travels around the world, all making it feel like a semblance of my own home.  Our training involves, among other things, elements of self-care and mindfulness, bringing me back to a sense of balance and rest, both of which I badly need.  I now let myself tune in to the winter season, shut myself into this comfort, and hibernate from the world for a bit.

Here are some photos and bits of wisdom I've collected from all those lovely people over the last couple of weeks:

Sharing achievements creates competition, but sharing vulnerabilities creates relationships.
Prayer is great for bringing inner peace and strength, but it doesn’t change anything outside. It is up to us to act and make change from that inner place.
— The Dalai Lama
The word ‘agree’ comes from the same word as ‘symphony.’ It is not the same instruments that are playing, or even the same notes, but they are still making something beautiful.
You can do more than you think you can, but it’s not always wise. (In regards to pregnancy, parenting, and balance with other areas of life.)
We should not develop an attachment to one’s own faith...we think we only need one truth, but we need a concept of several truths.
— The Dalai Lama

Snippets of NYC

We had no agenda for our time in New York City, except to visit people we don't get to see enough. Living in Uganda brings friends into our lives who live all over the world and coming to a city like New York lets us reconnect with so many.

We arrived just in time for the Snowstorm of the Century that wasn't, but we still had to bundle up walking the chilly streets of the city. We walked through Prospect Park to see all the families playing in the newly-fallen snow and I visited the Museum of Modern Art, thanks to the hook-up from a friend who works there. But mostly, we ate food and took time with people, not bothering to explore much. This time, New York gave us rest and friendship, and we are grateful.

Empire state building
Street musician
Prospect Park
snowball fight
snow storm
tea room