warm weather, relaxation, and the penultimate holiday before total world annihilation

Hey folks –

I’m in Atlanta now (feel like I’m somewhere new every time I update this thing), nearing the end of a 24-hour layover and about to board my plane to Johannesburg. The holidays are over, and it’s time to dive back into the experiences, friendships, and stress of IB and Swaziland. As is typical, I’m feeling a range of emotions right now, but on the whole I’m incredibly excited to get back and see old friends, as well as make new friends, and slightly apprehensive, but determined, for what the coming year holds. Indeed, while I’ve finished half of my TIME at Waterford, I’ve only finished about 20% of my WORK.

Challenge accepted.

The holidays were an amalgam of wonderful times with friends and family, and less-than-wonderful times, following the removal of my tonsils. As I came down with tonsillitis three times in 2011, we saw it as a good idea for me to get them removed during the holiday. I thought it would be a piece of cake – after all, I powered through my wisdom teeth procedure with relatively little pain or inconvenience. Unfortunately, this proved to be much more painful and aggravating than many of my other procedures, and after a few days I became rather cranky. This was in part due to the pain, but also in part due to my inability to eat solid food. This drove me up a tree for a number of reasons:
-       One of the highlights of coming home from Swaziland is getting to experience the amazing and diverse food once again
-       It was difficult for me to concentrate with my pain medication, so I found myself watching TV a lot. As a consequence, I saw a LOT of commercials for food.
-       I missed the opportunity to go snowboarding, which I enjoy greatly and have missed out on for the past few years.

For many days I wouldn’t eat hardly anything at all – just water, mostly, as I had no appetite. No fretting though – I got my Western bacon cheeseburger, my Lil Ceasars Pizza, my tamales and burritos. Looking back, it seems much more bearable.. but surely, at the time, I was NOT in a good place.

Fortunately enough, I healed in time to enjoy Christmas Eve dinner with the family, and boy.. Christmas at home was exactly how I envisioned it, centered around family and togetherness and relaxation. The end of December and the beginning of January was filled with lots of a. family stuff and b. work stuff (I got rehired at Bluefin). As some examples:
-       Starting a new tradition with the Kleins, our close family friends, of making pasta from scratch. This involved the whole family, and while it was a lot of work, it was the best damn pasta I’ve ever tasted
-       Hiking with the brother et al., as the weather was absolutely phenomenal. I wanted to brag to my European friends every day (in fact, I probably did) about short sleeve weather in Tucson. Nick and I went hiking in Sabino Canyon and passed more hikers without shirts than with. We also went to  Mount Lemmon, where I tried (fruitlessly) to find some of the bolted climbing routes. Unfortunately, we were held back, as we had dogs with us.
-       The family went to see ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ in theatres… three of the four of us fell asleep for parts of the movie, which was already damned confusing. So we basically just took a pricey nap:)
-       I worked the busiest night of my life on New Years Eve – while most would complain about having to work, I’m incredibly lucky in that I love the place I work and the people I work with. The night was horrendously busy, but we all still made it down to the bar at midnight to watch the ball drop.

If I haven’t already mentioned, this holiday went remarkably quickly, and I’m amazed that I’m already going back to Swaziland. We’ve had discussions as a family about what I want to gain from my experience this year in Southern Africa, and I’ve been pondering it as I travel back. Part of me realizes that I can’t necessarily force an ‘experience’ onto my time in SD.. but at the same time, there are steps I can take that will help me to have meaningful experiences and benefit from my time in the small kingdom (or, at the very least, steps I can take that will help me realize what I can do in the future to benefit from similar opportunities). It’s all very difficult to articulate, what I want from my time in SD, in part because I don’t know fully for myself. I guess the important thing is to never forget that I did go for a reason, a reason that I fulfill to the best of my ability, if not just address.

A short update for today as I am boarding soon – Some pictures, before I part, though:

Cheers, everyone - you'll be hearing from me soon:)



  1. I like your pictures Eli Of You & Sarah Together! & Your other pictures too!

  2. Hi Eli !
    I just want to say to you, that I really love your blog and I read it through only in few days :) You don't know me (I come from northern Europe), but I found this blog when I was looking for information about Waterford Kamhlaba. And I was looking for it because I'm also trying to get in to some of the UWC schools and WK is the school that I've dreamed about for three years !

    I wish everything good for you and keep my fingers crossed, so that my dream would come true and I'd be chosen to get the same amazing opportunity that you have been lucky to have :)
    Ps. sorry if my English isn't so good !