This past Monday I celebrated my 25th birthday – and my third in Mali – and now I have a whole ¼ of a century under my pagne! When I tell American friends I have turned 25 they wave their hand as though brushing away a concern – how young! But what are you doing with your life, they ask? When I tell Malians I have turned 25 they shake their heads as though bemoaning the passing of time – unmarried and without children?! But what are you doing with your life, they insist?
Thanks to Jamie for hosting a killer birthday bash this past weekend!
While the tone of the question seems to ask for different responses – I get the feeling my American friends are looking for more of a career road map whereas my Malian friends are looking for more of a wedding or delivery date – the answer is still the same. On verra! I say, we will see!
oooh! All locked up so we'll never know the secret of 'the beautiful women'
Most of the Peace Corps Volunteers I meet in Mali apologize when they ask what I am doing when I COS (close-of-service) because they cringe when someone else asks the same of them. Birthdays are lovely times to reflect on the question though and so I have been doing a fair share of it lately. However, the question just seems to beg (for me) more questions… Questions like could I see myself living abroad in the long term? Would I enjoy working in development? Would I want to live in West Africa after my time with Peace Corps Mali comes to a close? I yi yi, je ne sais pas!
Jamie generously hosted a party for his Feb/Mar birthday buddies (l-r) Fletcher - March 3, Laura - March 1 and me - February 28
If you’re curious though, my latest obsession has been with the Trans-siberian railway and maybe, after Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s 2012, making a somewhat around the world trip for a few months. Consider this my official ‘putting out the feelers announcement’ for those interested in joining me on pieces of the journey (or if you’ve got a lot of time off, all of it!) or if you know someone along the way with whom I could stay! Wouldn’t it be great to celebrate my 26th birthday together on the rails of Russia passing through a frozen tundra with the spires of Moscow in the distance??
Brunch at the Comme Chez Soi with Monica and Sara
Turning 25, and maybe I am saying this more for myself than for anyone else, wasn’t scary or emotional in terms of a pivotal time in my life (maybe 26 is??...) but I think that is thanks to liking where I live and enjoying the work I do. I am so thankful for the thoughtful friends and family in my life who make every day a new adventure and something to look forward to. Thanks also to all of my parents who made this 25th birthday a possibility – I really couldn’t have done it without you J Oh, and as for what I am doing with my life…well, on verra!
a sunset not far from my house in Bamako
See more pictures from the festivites here!