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Self-Worth/Love can be ACHIEVED

Hello everyone! It’s 2018 and this is my first post of the year. Being a consistent writer is a lot harder than I had expected. I began the new year in a completely new and unknown state of mind. I no longer was heading off to college to start a heavy semester. There were no books or homework waiting for me. I was just heading back home to start a new chapter in my life.

For my New Year’s resolution, I decided to do something different. This year I decided I didn’t want to change anything about my body. I wanted 2018 to be the year of truly helping people and exploring/finding myself. These are two things I have slowly dipped my toes into in the past four years, yet truly haven’t committed my life to.

On January 1st, I waited in the immigration line in Miami for more than 2 hours. It was chaotic, haha, just as I felt my life was at that moment.  I had just returned to the U.S. from Mexico. That night I slept on the floor of Miami’s airport. It was freezing cold and I was not mentally prepared for the cold to dig deep into my soul. The night was long and tiring. As I laid on the airport floor, I remembered feeling anxious about my life and the person I was and who I wanted to be. I had spent my last few days in Mexico confused and trying to figure out why people do the things they do and what their motives are behind their actions. Through the amazing women and men I met, I was able to sort of grasp these confusions enough for me to realize, I too, had motives behind my actions. These motives were sometimes good and sometimes unclear. So, as I laid on the floor at the airport, I had to make a decision of what my motives would be this year.

Within the past 3 months, I finally understood what 2018 was about for me. My motives were changed from “how I can help” to “what do people need”. This made it clear to me that I needed to share my story about how I learned to love myself and how I saw my worth. So let the journey begin to where it all truly started:

AGE 11


It’s funny to me to look at this photo and think, “Wow she looks happy, energetic, and possibly even playful.” Although, what was behind the mask of that girl was different, I was sad. I had literally zero confidence in myself. In my mind, I was the ugliest and fattest girl you could have ever seen in this world (Let’s be honest those glasses were not helping the situation). Growing up, I had these two beautiful, younger, fashionable, athletic sisters. People were drawn to them, just as much as I was. I wanted to be them. As the older sister, I wished countless of times to change bodies with them. I wished to not feel fat or weird around them. I was the sister who was passed down clothing from her step-mother. It was just easier that way because my body was different. The clothes passed down were not being used. At the time, I never thought about how accepting these clothes would affect me mentally in the long run. Growing up, I was also told not take pictures by myself, but instead to include people. Therefore, literally, 2004 was one of the last few years you can find many photos of me by myself, at least looking like this. After that, things went downhill. I look awkward in all of them, haha.

I don’t think people realize how much actions and words can affect young children. If you are constantly hearing that your sister, who is half your size, needs to watch her weight and not eat that or this. I mean what do you think the others around them will feel? Yea, maybe it wasn’t me being told to watch my weight, but I sure understood what was going on. I understood that I must have been obese or something (which obviously from this photo and looking at other ones I WASN’T). In 2016, Dove came out with new research about women and girls and the beauty pressures and how their self-esteem has impacted them.  “Girls (79%) [said] they opt out of important life activities – such as trying out for a team or club, and engaging with family or loved ones – when they don’t feel good about the way they look” ( I can agree with this. I didn’t try hard enough or try at all in sports because I thought it wasn’t for me. I kept comparing myself to my sisters and I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t for me. For example, in 5th grade, there was a jump rope team at my elementary school and everyone wanted in, including me. I saw my sisters jump rope and I knew they were good. We have a home video of us three jump roping at the park. It was mainly focused on them and how well they did. I was there. I kept messing up. So at tryouts, I literally talked myself into believing that I was too fat to be a real jump roper. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t get in, but my sisters did. The coaches felt bad for me so I became the new team manager. Oh man, I hated this. I hated being left behind. I hated people feeling bad for me. Therefore, I pretended to be really happy. I eventually was given a group on the team. I didn’t earn it. I just got it out of pity. At home, I felt like everyone knew I was an impersonator. Sports just never became my thing. In middle school I dropped out of the cross country team even though I loved it. I did soccer and loved it but dropped as well. Finally, I tried swimming, I hated it but didn’t drop it (Yes, I was surprised as well). I tried cross country in college. I seriously loved it. I improved my mile time like crazy. I enjoyed running long-distances, but because I was afraid of failing, I thought better to quit while I’m ahead.

Israel 1434

My change began in High School. I wasn’t confident, but I definitely enjoyed figuring out who I was and what I wanted. When a guy liked me, I literally turned into the weirdest girl ever. Ask my friends they will tell you. I didn’t know how to interact with the opposite sex. I remember this one guy I liked, every time I was near him I did something stupid. I couldn’t even form a sentence. I was surprised to find out he liked me back. I somewhat became obsessive. I bet he knew. Everyone did. He still liked me. Man, maybe that’s why I may never be able to forget about him. Let me tell you, it took years before we had our first kiss. Anyways, the point is, I finally started to realize that I must have been attractive, for people to at least like me. I started to even question my thoughts on obesity. This was life-changing for me. Most of my life I thought I would die from my weight, just to finally start realizing I wasn’t really fat.

Then, things rapidly changed just after graduating from high school. I started to look at myself and not see that awkward 11-year-old. I remember looking at myself in the mirror and finally seeing something beautiful. It’s the weirdest feeling to have. I finally started to let go of that scared girl I once knew. My friends at the time were a huge help for me. I don’t think they realize it but I will always be indebted for their love and patience towards me. They always gave me compliments and they taught me how to dance. In general, they taught me how to be comfortable in my body. These wild girls gave me life, a sense of purpose in our group. They accepted me as a transfer student my freshmen year, and they still accept me today.

Now, time for the heavy stuff. Change doesn’t come easy. It’s a lot of work and you have to experience a lot of bad before the good. Or, at least see others go through the bad to make you feel the need for change. My change in how I saw myself took years and some awful experiences I had to go through. Many of you know, but some don’t, I was assaulted before I started college and then was raped my junior year in college. This part is the hardest for me to write. When I laid on that airport floor, I had to think about all my experiences. Everything connected in some way or form. I am not the woman I am today because my life has been all super good and happy. I am the woman I am today because of all the experiences I’ve gone through. Not growing up with my mother, living in a foreign country, feeling insecure about myself, not knowing my purpose in life, and not being good at particularly anything. These were things I had to think about. Just a few things I have personally been through. I know many other women who have gone through worst. Some wished to be able to read but never have owned a book or gone to school. To love myself, I had to accept my past and the decisions I choose. I chose to quit sports. I chose to compare myself to my sisters. I chose to go out that night that led me to be taken advantage of. I knew I had to accept that these were my choices but that they were not my fault. I had to take the actions away from who experienced those things to the person I could be. It’s hard. But, I knew to find my worth in myself I had to see my bigger purpose in life. Everything I have been through has led me to realize who I am. I advocate for women. I advocate for the most vulnerable.

My time in college I blossomed, just like many others. My best friends inspired me to be the change-maker I am today. My experiences led me to spread awareness on ending violence against women. Everyone super close to me saw that I was beautiful, confident, vibrant, outspoken, adventurous, intelligent, and yes a runner. I then soon started to see all of this for myself. Now I have many pictures of myself. I love to dance by myself. I finally like being by myself. I finally understood that accepting my body meant accepting all of me.

I have made it my goal in 2018 to continue to explore who I am and most of all to see what are the needs of the people around me (physically and virtually).

To the readers, you are capable of anything. You are worthy to live the life you want and desire. Make the choice to love yourself.

And finally, to my 11-year-old self. You were always worthy.



Travels and Self-Discoveries

It’s time to write about women building each other up and not breaking each other apart. This summer women from around the world have helped shape me as the person I am today.


I want to apologize to everyone who had expected a blog post every week but saw that I didn’t continue after week 4. I’m sorry that I allowed myself to neglect my blog and from keeping things from you all. I hope that this post makes up for it. I wont be talking about my internship or how it ended, but about something deeper that made a huge impact in my life.

But before that I’d like to let you know that my internship was filled with mistakes and disappointments on my end and the organization’s. Although this is true, I gained new friends, a deeper love for children and affirmation that I want to empower women. Not only did my summer entail of an internship that taught me a lot and the value of hard work, but of amazing new friendships, some dancing, exploring, hiking, learning to be more self-aware, summer romances and maybe even love. It was filled with a little of everything and I would not change anything. Not even the tears and frustrations. Everything was meant to happen the way it did.

With all that being said, this summer exposed me to some incredible women. It was as if God wanted to show me that women are incredbile creatures. That women are capable of doing amazing things independently and can work together. Some of the women I met really struck a cord with me. It was like I didn’t know that women could do certain things. Each person taught me something, even if they didn’t know it. Below will be a picture and a blurb about each stunning woman who impacted me in some way.



Brilliant.  I can’t express how much this person has impacted my life. She was my roommate and partner in crime, while I was in Kolkata. I grew with her intellecutally and matured so much! This incredible human being mentally pushed me to the point of me crying, but she told me something that I have kept “Nohemy, I am like this with you because I know you can handle it. You have unique experience that you have been through and can use it to understand both sides.” Ok so this is not an exact quote, but it is super close. She empowered me to speak my mind and not hold back. I thought I was confident before, but when I met Sol, thats when I truly met a woman who was so confident in her beliefs. Today, I consider her to be my best friend, an older sister. She continues to encourage me to be myself and to explore the world. She has faith in me and my capabilites and she reminds me of this daily. Thank you Didi.



Assertive. Jessica is another incredbile person I met while interning for New Light. This human being found herself in a stressful situation, as I did, but she found creative ways to move past the “drama”. She only spoke kindly about the children and saw things in a positive way about her situation with the organization. I never heard her say she wanted to give up. She was determine to to get done what she wanted. I was awed with how assertive she was with everyone in the organization. She didn’t hold her tongue but held her ground. I kept thinking that I wanted that quailty. To be so assertive because of how confident I was in myself and what I stood for.



Self-less. My new Canadian friend! I didn’t get to know her super well, but the small time that I did I was so impressed by her. She is much younger than me but I never realized that till she told me her age. This young woman was traveling around India by herself, while volunteering to different organizations each time. She told me her stories of being in New Dehli and then volunteering at different schools. Her passion would glow around her when she spoke. We went to the movies and then even went dancing together…which was an interesting night on its own. Anyways, this summer I realized that women of all ages were going out to this world, exploring, helping others, and finding meaning in their own lives.



Resilient. Tereze and I met at our first couch-surfing host place. We shared a room and bed together, so our acquaintance was rather quick. I mean we had to trust one another since our stuff would be in the same room and we had to be comfortable sharing the same bed. Seriously, Tereze was just super cool. She just did everything she felt compelled to do, even if she was nervous. When she thought of doing something, she just did it. We rode all around Southern Bali together on a motocycle looking for cool beach spots, ate cheap food, and went dancing. Her strong personaility just kept me wanting to know more about her and I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to meet this person. Tereze unknowingly inspired me to take chances.



Adventurous. Jakie and I met in the most oddest way possible. We met before traveling through a travel forum. She wanted to travel with someone for a bit in Bali and well we somehow made it work. This girl is seriously one of the most FEARLESS and ADVENTURE SEEKING person  I have ever met. She literally jumped off a 15 meter (about 49 ft) cliff, while it took me like 30 minutes to jump off a 5 meter (about 16 ft) cliff.  She trusted me enough to pick her up in a different city and then drive on a motorcycle 3 hours north. We almost had two crazy accidents and yet she was still trying to get on that bike with me. She has been independent since high school, earning her way through life and school. This inspired me so much. Women work so hard to move ahead in this world. I can’t wait to see what amazing things this girl will be up to next. I already know she will be in South America seeking another adventure very soon.



Caring. Juliet was the second couch surfer I stayed with. I was supposed to be at her home a few days earlier than I arrived. I was barely recovering from a massive motocycle accident and missed my flight because I couldn’t walk. Momma Juliet was seriously the most caring person I met during my trip. She treated me like a daughter. She would constantly ask me if I was ok and if I needed anything. She would feed me and talk to me. She has a daughter, who she takes care of on her own. She constantly works to improve her and her daughter lives. Juliet took care of me when I needed someone the most. She helped clean my scabs and wanted me to feel comfortable. Just thinking about her hospitality brings a warm fuzzy feeling in me.

Carolina (3rd girl)


Gregarious. Caro is the definition of a social butterfly. Her smile and laugh could light up a dark room. I met her towards the end of my trip in Kolkata and I’m so grateful I did. It was a group of Colombians I randomly connected with at a Latin club. I felt a wash of a homey feeling come across me. “WOW”, I remember thinking. I need to learn this from her. I want to feel connected when I speak to people and make them feel like they are the only ones in the room. The places we went together, everyone wanted to be next to her. This was incredible. Yet another trait I learned from an amazing woman.



Determination. There is so much to say about Nareth, I could probably write a book about her life and everything she has overcome. She was born missing half her left arm, but this did not hinder her growth and her love for life. I met an interesting man who had connections with almost everyone in Siem Reap. He was extrememly energetic about empowering women and seemed to enjoy every aspect of life. This man sent me a video and then connected me to Nareth. It was one of the most humbling moments of my trip. Nareth was so thrilled to show me what she was working on. She was thrilled to get to know me and wanted me to feel comfortable. She gave me a water bottle and a banana and I was blessed enough to see her smile. Her passion is sewing. Sewing has empowered her and given her hope for a bright future. She is determine to fight against her physical barriers. And for what I saw, she already has/is. Thank you Nareth for demonstrating to me that when you have hope and determination anything is possible.

Here is a link of a mini-documentary about Nareth:

The Women of Mukti 



Persistent. These are the women I was able to get to know from my internship. They were working on a project called Mukti, which means liberation/freedom. This was a women empowerment project that focused on creating an alternative method of income and was a way for women to escape the sex industry and abuse that came with it. These incredible women make 80-100 sanitary naptkins every 2 hours. I helped on multiple occassions so I could get to know them. I still have all their names memorized and things they like to do. At first they were shy around me, but the more I came and the more I showed interest in their lives as women, they allowed me to be part of that sisterhood. Leaving these women was hard. When I looked at them, Ino longer saw women with a tough past nor did I pitied them. They were strong, independent, loving, self-less, beautiful women. They now and forever will be my friends.


This post wasn’t necessarily about what happened exactly during my summer abroad, but about shining a light to the women that made an impact on me. There were more people that did impact my trip, but honestly I could write a short book on it. We can all take a second in our lives to think of the women and men that have placed a puzzle in our lives. We become the people we want by being inspired. We can only be inspired when the flame inside is lit by the people we surround ourselves with. I am committed to light the flame in every women I come across. Sometimes it can be hard, but if these women didn’t give me a chance, I would have not learned such valuable lessons of what true womanhood sysmbolized. Lets committ to empowering and loving each other, rather than gossiping and pulling each other down.

Much love and till next time!

Week 4 and my recharge

This past week was seriously a blur. Of course I know you are all expecting me to be sick once again…and you were right. I was. I got a crazy allergic reaction to something I don’t even know. Seriously the weirdest thing ever. Last week was not really exciting. It felt like I was going through some routine that I didn’t even know I had. 
Luckily I have a roommate that keeps me going. I mean I can survive on my own, which I was, but finally someone to debate with. Someone to challenge me, my views, and values. One thing India has brought to me is a lot of self-discovery. Being around other interns and their lives is an incredible feeling. It makes you feel more connected to them. I’ve gotten to know some of these girls pretty well. One shared some personal stories that made me reflect on my own life. Getting to know people is a remarkable feeling. 

 I also ran across a girl from New Zealand who is interning for a hospital. We already even planned a mini trip to the coast. I’m finding it thrilling that I’m meeting people I would have never done so if I was back home. I wouldn’t be discovering new things about myself and breaking limits I didn’t know I had. 

I need to share with you a new place I was able to visit this past weekend. It was a random trip to Dubai! I know super crazy. A friend invited me to figure some stuff out and to get help for my allergic reaction. I’m telling you I looked puffy and red in the face and some random rashes on my legs. Well anyways I somehow found myself on a 9am flight Friday.  Dubai is extravagant and luxurious. It’s super clean and shiny. Massive hotels and resorts. Every car I saw seemed too expensive to even look at. It was a bit uncomfortable. How can people in this world be starving to death and homeless when there are so many wealthy people in this world that could change it in a blink of an eye. 

Even with that discomfort I was able to find joy of the place. There is no “true” Dubai traditions or cultures that I was able to see. Dubai is still a young country, with new things being added everyday. It’s growing and now more people are vacationing there. There isn’t only food and shopping. There are now water parks, spas, theme parks, camel riding and surfing in the desert. 

I just did the classic thing of eating, sight seeing, swimming, and an amazing spa treatment. 

Finally, I was away from the noise and chaos. It was just me. My time was mine to think about me for a day and to really ask myself what I was even doing in India. I feel like so much has occurred to me in the one month I’ve been in India that in the past year. I was able to sit and just go back and think what was my original purpose of this internship, how did I lose my vision, and i needed to get myself reorganized. Plus the weather and the pampering cleared my allergic reaction in a day. 

I was able to lay in bed and just ponder the existence of life and think about my own journey. What this weekend was, was a privilege that most people will never have. That’s why it was at first uncomfortable for me, knowing that I was there relaxing, so many are out there searching for food. These thoughts never leave me. They always find there way in my head. 

Even though I’m constantly thinking of this I do take time to be grateful and enjoy the moment. From my room I had the perfect view of the sunset. It made me get emotional.

See I told you that the sunset was spectacular. 

The weekend was a luxury that allowed me to rethink everything in my life. I might not needed to go to Dubai for this recharge but I’m grateful I did. Now my project proposal has been written and approved and I start today. I have a month to make this internship count.  To prove to myself that I am capable of anything. I refuse to get sick again or to have anything pull me back, even myself. We never give ourselves enough credit of our capabilities. I’m now all in, no reservations or judgments. 

Week 4 was more about reflection and sharing pictures and even some videos. Next week you will hear about my project! Below a little more pictures, not of Dubai, but of Kolkata. 

Week 3 and so many new friends

Hello everyone, things are slowly improving here in Kolkata for me. The process of getting comfortable in a new country, that speak a language you seriously don’t know,  and a culture that is much different then anything I’ve ever experienced has started to all grow on me. I’m still not okay with everyone staring at me. I mean people in particular the men, just stare bluntly at you and sometimes they are not staring at your face..

I’m starting to see a pattern. It’s so normal to repress people of sexual sentiments here and maybe all of India. Which this has and is causing people to behave here a bit more “crazy”. Like talk to you as they stare at your breast or try to slide their hand over your behind in a metro by “accident”. I’m not trying to criticize, but just state an observation from my personal experience here. I’m just noticing that bollywood dancing is super sexual,  but men and women are not allowed in some places to talk to each other. Or women are looked down at wearing shorts even though the mall sells many shorts. Women here seem to be paranoid of attracting sexual attention of any kind because it might be taken as advances towards men. India has many wonderful traits and yes the people here are super kind and nice,  but my observation I stated above is an issue I have found. My friend from Kolkata has told me things are slowly improving. He did tell me young people are starting to understand the concept of dating. He further discussed with me that as a society the concept of consent really needs to be discussed and practiced. India isn’t the only country facing crucial problems with concent or rape culture in general. It’s sad to be reminded that 1 in 3 women are raped. So far, I’ve met plenty of women and young girls that have. There is obviously more to this, not just sexual repression but the idea of manhood and womanhood. Again this is something the world is facing. 

Ok enough of this sad but so true talk, let’s now start getting into my week three! My project for my internship is starting to be fully developed, which is super exciting. Today (Sunday my time), I’ll be getting my first of my project on paper with another intern. We will be combining our project for the young teens. We will mix body image and health together by doing activities with the young girls. 

So us interns were able to visit the final homes and one of the main projects New Light has. I’ll start with the project. So this is is one of the women empowerment projects. 

Mukti Project

To empower women sometimes can be hard but New Light has found creative avenues for women in Kolkata to have alternative means of having an income. These are women who have decided to leave the sex trafficking industry or are trying to protect themselves from being persuaded to join. The women here don’t make anywhere near what they could in the sex industry, which just makes this even more powerful. I want to seriously get to know this group of women. I want to know their stories and their ambitions. 

Now you are probably wondering what in the world do these women do. These women make biodegradable sanitary napkins (pads). It’s a fascinating process to watch. The project is fairly new, maybe a year old if that. The new women work/train for 2 hours a day while the women with more experience work 4 hour shifts. Every 2 hours the women can make from 80 to 100 sanitary napkins (pads). The women training were on the floor tearing what felt and looked like poster board materiel into small pieces. These pieces would eventually be used to make the pads. The pictures below just give a small glimpse of the process. 

Now you have an overview of what these women do on a daily basis. It’s incredible that there are organizations such as New Light that are trying to find alternative methods of helping women become financially independent. They don’t just rescue the girls and give them money and bam let them free, but they treat each girl and women like a seed. They nourish each seed with the right amount of water and sunlight so when they are ready to become beautiful flowers, New Light let’s them go. Of course not just a “bye I’ll never see you again” but a “see you later” kind of way. 

Two other homes and more new faces

To finish out the week us interns were taken to the final two homes that New Light has. One was a hostel like home that was offered for young adults who were now out of the child system but still needing guidance. This home has girls from the ages 18 to 23. They are all in college with a goal in mind.  Each girl accomplishing their goals and aiming for high ambitions. One girl spoke and out her dream,  of being a fashion designer/stylist. As she shared her dream she kept smiling. This is what organizations need to be aiming for. To help the vulnerable achieve a dream that seemed so far away. An intern and now friend told me that it’s not the institution that makes the change, but the people who have the power to make the change. She further told me that people see the potential in others that allow both people to grow and progress. At first I argues with her on this. I thought there needs to be institutions for change to occur, but she is right an institution or an organization is nothing for not the people in them.  

The other homes where for girls finishing up what I would consider middle school and high school. In this home we really weren’t there long enough to actually speak with the girls. We were there for maybe 15 minutes. I can understand that these girls need to be more protected then the I wasn’t really expecting much at this shelter. 

This week hasn’t only been about intense situations that normal people don’t see in a daily basis, but about personal growth and getting to know others. And just as an inside scope on my health I did get sick again, which was quick and not so painful haha. Anyways, this past week I told myself, even though I’m low on money and my account is frozen I need figure out ways of being more independent and not relying on everyone for help. I started to ride the busses, regardless if there is AC or not. I know I need to put on my big girl pants and try. So I’ve learned the bus system from my apartment to the main shelter. It’s great! I get to see Kolkata in a different way. The ticket men are helpful and the bus is so cheap! Less than a dollar. I’ve taken pictures of the traffic from the bus, riding the bus is a completely different experience. Also the buses don’t stop for anyone but a red light, so watch out and they will squeeze into any small space to move around the cars or tuk tuks. 

Friday night, I went out with two interns (jessica and Zoë) who I’ve come to respect and enjoy their company and I went out with my friend from Kolkata, Nil. (The one who helped out last weekend at the police station…check last week’s post to understand) He took us to a bar/restaurant. We were there for several hours discussing politics to movies and even discussing books. The conversation never got dull. To be honest the best part of this was the hot brownie and ice cream I ate. Wow it was amazing. I’m not really a drinker nor was one of the interns so we devoured our ice creams. 

Probably the best thing about this week was the new intern that now lives with me. She (Sol) isn’t in the photo. It’s only been two days but I feel like she has already helped broaden my thinking. Sol’s from Australia so of course she has an awesome accent. But the coolest part is she has a little of so many ethnicities and cultures in her. She has challenged my thinking and giving me many issues to think about. No wonder she is about to be a human rights lawyer. She was the intern/now friend who gave me the wise words I shared about change and institutions earlier in my blog. It’s amazing the people God continues to put in my life. I’m a already feeling emotional and physical shifts/change about myself and the way I see the world. (Dr. Miller would really like this intern, seriously they think so much alike)
Oh and one last thing. I am taking Zumba classes that have been kicking my butt. 

Well I think this week there was a lot to say. I hope you enjoyed reading, till next time. 

Week 2 and where do I begin

Hello everyone reading this not so boring blog! Welcome and enjoy this bumpy ride of week two. 

This past week has been a whirl wind. There have been lots of crying mostly because this heat has taken my emotions on an all time high. So the week started out good. I visited two new locations New Light has. 


This is the first new location that I visited. Getting to Starfish was a lot of fun. I was able to take a metro with AC! I also had good conversations with the teacher I went with. People in the metro just stared at me. I would stare back. I felt like I was having staring contests with everyone. I was even getting hit on, people where just real forward with me (sorry guys I gave fake number to).

At Starfish, the children there were just super cute. I taught them an American game I payed in elementary school. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure I butchered that game. I called it the “vowel frog” game. Before I got to India I expected to be with more women, not so much with children, so I didn’t come mentally prepared with hand games. Everything is from my memory…. at least I have something, right? 

Below are just three bad quality photos of some of the sweetest, cutest and intelligent children I have ever met. (No I did not help any of them make those tall tower things😎)

Let’s just say starfish was a successful time. 

New Light Shelter II

This one was very different from the rest I visited that week. Not only could the children have thoughtful English conversations, they wanted to know everything about me and my life (which wasn’t as exciting as they thought it would be haha). They had expected that I met John Cena or at least Seth Rogen,  I mean come on now right,  who hasn’t met any of those. I had to crush their hearts and say no. I did mention that I met Hillary Duff and even had an awkward meet and greet with her. None of the kids had ever heard of her!!!!! Not even of Lizzie McGuire. Now that’s a whole other issue on its own. I must be old. 

To get to this shelter, it was walking distance from the main shelter I’m normally at. I thought it would be in a random home or another separate building next to other homes. But nope. We had to go through a cremation place. I’m not going to lie, it was freaky. The shelter was next to a river and dead people. Talk about some real protection. I didn’t take pictures of this place, but next time I will. 

Besides talking to the children about my life, they begged me to teach them to dance. The teachers told them I was good dancer! Now that was a first for me. Me? A good dancer? So for like an hour I taught them salsa and made up a routine to the song chandelier by Sia. The girls and even some guys were super bump they now too knew how to dance. To end my time there we all gathered around me and I shared my pre-studying techniques and my studying techniques. I mean everyone was REALLY listening to me. There was even a 7 year-old who I believe was taking mental notes. The kid was super smart. He was a math wiz at 7!!!! He definitely has a bright future. 

Other things 

You are probably wondering where the teachers have seen me dance…? Well at the main shelter I’ve gotten the children there to become addicted to dancing. I seriously never realized how much I knew nor how much I love to dance. These kids laugh, giggle, and dance their little hearts out. It’s such a blessing experience to see children who have gone through so much have a smile on their faces. It’s beyond humbling. 

I still really haven’t started my project nor what I expected to be doing at New Light. It’s been frustrating to say the least. I might have been more frustrated then because of a big cold I got. I mean I couldn’t breath at times and I was coughing like a dog. I big crazy dog. I even had to leave the main shelter early because I was getting light-headed and weak. There was a slow high fever involved but that got in control real quick. #thankyouChristianScience 

Now not only was I frustrated with that, but this past Saturday my wallet was stolen. Now don’t get alarm, I am fine and nothing happen to me. Things like this have become too normal for me. It seems everywhere I travel something is stolen from me. Luckily, I had a couple of hundred dollars I was able to convert to the Indian Currency. But I am staying calm and now my account is frozen and I have no way of getting any other type of money out. My dad is working really hard with my very too secure bank. Thank you dad for your patience!! Saturday I spent 3-4 hours at the police station. If it weren’t for my police officer in charge I might have gone blostic with everyone else. Someone even implied I was lying!! I mean hello who wants to spend their evening with a bunch of men who seriously have no idea what to do. It drove me crazy. I even started crying like crazy. At that moment they literally had no idea what to do with me. They took me to a room with AC and told me “please calm down, now there is AC”. Like AC was about to solve all my problems. Anyways at the end I wrote a report and they gave me some number and told me that’s all they could do for me. The end. 

Even when I found out my wallet was stolen I had a friend there who seriously was amazing to me. He showed me around, calmed me down, and bought me endless bottle waters to keep me hydrated. He even paid for me to get to the police station and translated for me. Thanks bro! 

Below are a few shoots taken right before leaving to the police station. 

My final thoughts of the day are to the men who work for New Light media center. They knew I wasn’t eating and was feeling sick so they took it upon themselves (of course with my advisor approval) to cook for me a few meals. They were all cooking and trying to be 5 star chefs. It was a great sight to see. Three men cooking for me. They put the food on the table nicely, and even served me. It was great. One of them is a total goof ball, to make me laugh he put a towel on his head. They wanted me to feel better and to eat. I sincerely thank each of the three men who did this for me. There were more watersheds that day because of them. Didn’t I tell you my emotions have been on an all time high. 

Hahaha well I can definitely say week two has had its ups and downs. All that has happened have been part of my experience. Today I am doing well and I am happy. That’s the main thing to know. 

Preview of next blog: new friends and yes two are American interns, dancing with local children on a stage, teaching Spanish, realizing I don’t like Indian sweets, and new shelters. 

Thank you for taking time to read this, till next time. ADIOS! 

Week One completed and still going strong

The few days leading to the day I departed from Nashville were full of butterflies. I began to be a nervous wreck. Who allowed me to do this trip? I kept going back to this thought. Then on the day I left and had my 9 hour layover in Newark International Airport, I became fast friends with a young girl and her sister. My 9 hour went by so quickly, I didn’t have time to contemplate the reasoning of my trip.

That’s Magadhi and her little brother.

So that photo was taken in New Delhi near the baggage lane. I was seriously sleep deprived and lacked a good shower haha. I really connected with this family. Maybe because I missed my own, but it also had a lot to do with little Magadhi. Even though we don’t look it now, but when I was her age we resembled in looks and personality. 

At the New Delhi airport I met more women my age. I even got the number of a girl who lives in Kuala  Lumpur. I have a layover there for like 14 hours, when my India trip ends. She kindly offered to show me around for that time. As the night went on I met this really cool girl who is from Kolkata! She was going to school in Illinois  (2 hours from Principia). We bonded quickly, took down our info and will be meet up soon!

The flight to Kolkata felt super long even though it wasn’t compared to the other two flights. Once I landed, got my bags, and found my driver things moved rather quickly.  Maybe too quick for me. Kolkata is amazing, chaotic, colorful, loud, busy…the list can go on and on. 

I thought my time riding a taxi in Yopal, Colombia or NYC would kill me, I was wrong. Kolkata has nothing on those other cities. Drivers here are crazy. Everyone cutting everyone.  I was tired one day from all my walking that I was slowly falling asleep, until my driver jerked the car and did some fast and furious shizzz. I couldn’t tell if I should have thought that was sick or if  I should hold on for dear life because my short 23 years was about to come to an end. Hahaha people, me being dramatic isn’t just to give some humor to this piece but because it’s reality haha. 

I didn’t technically start my internship till the 26, which was on a Friday.  My advisor just gave me a quick intro of New Light and how things run, then she gave me directions of the shopping mall and a coffee shop. She saw that I was falling asleep. She understood that I was lacking sleep. I mean I was still wearing the same clothes I left my house…which of course was 3 days ago. Which much gratitude I ran out went to the grocery store, and had to convince people I was not Indian.  I mean till this day people keep thinking I’m Indian. This will come in my favor later on in my blog post. 

That night I realized that I couldn’t just buy things that looked like American food, like milk. The milk I had with my cereal that night was a bit creamy, crunchy… let’s just say it wasn’t the milk I was used to. I found out the next day it was supposed to be boiled because I actually I forgot why but I learned my lesson. I needed to ask my advisor to go with me on my next shopping  adventure. 

My advisor is pretty amazing, her name is Avantika. That name for some reason gives her some spice to her, a back story. I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because it’s the only Indian name I can actually pronounce and remember. Anyways, while we were looking for some salsa dancing we came across a night tour. Of course she seems to know my interest and 5 seconds later I signed up.

My night tour buddies (please excuse my outer appearance, I’m drenched in my own sweat) 
 Let Us Go was the tour company I went with. The night tour began at 10:40pm and went till 5am. There was A LOT of walking involved and some very short van rides. Even though temperatures were high 90s with lots of humidity, I enjoyed every bit of the tour. The guides were amazing, friendly, and funny. We even  had the pleasure of having a famous blogger name Rangan Datta ( The group I had were all so kind and took me in under the wing. The couple standing next to  invited me for tea at their place, which happened to be like a few blocks from my place. So about the photo above, it was taken around 3am at a local famous tea place see pic below:

To the right with the white shirt is Rangan and to the left with a white shirt is Alinda (Tour Guides)

Finally, my internship is already making me feel so happy I took a flight to this hot weather. The children really make you smile. Sometimes the heat tries to wear me down and make me feel odd, but when I’m with the children I realize it’s all worth it. Yesterday, 5/30 we went to a science museum (note their was no air conditioning). When we got there I was told by the team leaders to not speak as we were going inside. This was because I look Indian and we were able to get local prices rather then they pay for the foreign price. My looks finally came to play. I was grateful they didn’t have to pay double for me. As the tour went on I was starting to get light headed and frustrated with myself. The heat makes me think negative. It’s like this error that tries to suckered your life away. But staring at the kids and watching them laugh and play, all my problems would melt away. We all have all other  be grateful for and at that moment things came to perspective. Not many people have the opportunity to help others that are in need, especially in a foreign country. I realized I’m not their to change or make the lives of all this kids better. I’m there to learn, observe, listen, and help make them smile. 

They are why I choose this type of internship. 

Ok thanks for taking time to read over my first week of adventures! Till next time ❤

My Summer Awaits

Image result for traveling

So after you finished reading my last post, you are probably anxious/curious to know where and what I am doing this summer!

My summer will pretty much consist of me trying new food, lots of walking, meeting new people, laughing, crying, more laughing, jumping off a cliff (to the ocean of course), research, filming, photo taking, more research, learning about new cultures, adapting to the environment, learning, growing, becoming an even more INDEPENDT WOMAN and yes finally more research.

Here is my itinerary (a simplified version):

May 23-July 19 (Kolkata, India)

On May 23, I will be flying off to Kolkata, India! This internship will take place till July 19. While interning for New Light, I will be focusing on development, learn more about their empowerment programs, and be a part of their gender-based violence advocacy team. This is going to be such an AMAZING experience. I know that it’s going to be really HOT and HUMID, plus it’s their monsoon season…so I am expecting lots and lots of rain. BUT this will not kill my joy and gratitude!

Check out New Light

July 20-July23 (Kolkata, India)

Hopefully staying with a family till I head out.

July 23-July 29 (Bali, Indonesia)

Yes, you read it correctly, I will be in Bali. The land of the beaches and summer fun! This is the first country I will be conducting my research on manhood. It’s going to be interesting, because this is my first time doing anything like this. I have a nice professional to film and take pics and I also have a set questions. This is pretty much what I’ll be doing in the next countries below.

July 29-August 7 (Jakarta, Indonesia)

Besides my research, I will be hopefully hanging out with some friends from school who live in or around Jakarta! I will also be traveling with someone to the rainforest that holds the Orangutans. Sleeping on a boat meant for 2-3, under the stars will definitely be a moment to cherish!

August 7-August 13 (Bangkok, Thailand)

I will then fly on over and continue the research.

 August 13-August 20 (Siem Reap, Cambodia)

Getting to Siem Reap will definitely be a journey. Instead of flying I will be on a 11-hour bus ride. Once I get to the border of Cambodia, I will have to walk through a 2-hour security check and receive my tourist visa. Yes, I know what you are thinking “why on earth would she do this to herself…” Besides the fact the bus ticket was only 29 dollars, I decided to do this for the experience. I’ll let you know after this long journey if it was worth it.

August 20- 25 (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam)

And this is where my summer ends.


Here is some important info to know about:

I will not be taking my phone with me or my laptop. I will just have a camera and a tablet. The tablet will only have my blog app, and FB messenger (NOT FB). To reach me, please feel free to comment on my blog, send me a quick message via messenger, or email me at I repeat I WILL NOT HAVE MY PHONE. So that means no snapchat, no Facebook, no insta, no twitter, no tumblr, no skype, literally nothing.

Yes, I will bring sunscreen and mosquito spray. I will also have a mini first-aid kit.

Ok guys, now you all know. Please keep good thoughts/prayers for me while I’m abroad.

So much love to you all ❤

I want to give a quick  shout out to a few people:

THANK YOU SO MUCH: Dr. Billy Miller, Dr. Karen Haire, Dr. Sally Steindorf, my Dad, my mom, anyone who donated to the cause, Principia College, to my all my close friends (you know who you are), to myself (haha), and MOST importantly to God.