the pensieve

As I get older, it’s harder for me to distinguish one calendar year from the next. Unless, of course, it’s bad; 2004 sucked, for instance. On the other hand, 2008 was such an amazing year that I felt sad counting down its last seconds, as though saying goodbye to a friend who had been particularly kind to me. It felt wrong to let it pass without commemorating it in some way. So here goes:



  • The US and then global financial markets imploded, resulting in the destruction of trillions of dollars of wealth. I avoid opening my 401(k) statements now.
  • Shattered a glass shower door in my hotel room in Sao Paulo, resulting in stitches (& an upgrade to a VIP suite). Being surrounded by shards of glass without contacts or clothes makes one feel extremely vulnerable.
  • Got three fillings.


i’ve traveled more this year than i ever will again. places i’ve visited in 2008 (roughly chronological):

  • santiago, chile
  • pucon, chile
  • sao paolo, brazil
  • rio de janeiro, brazil
  • buenos aires, argentina
  • dar es salaam, tanzania
  • arusha, tanzania
  • kigali, rwanda
  • volcanoes national park, rwanda
  • zanzibar, tanzania
  • philadelphia, pennsylvania
  • st. thomas
  • british virgin islands
  • raleigh-durham, north carolina
  • los angeles, california
  • las vegas, nevada
  • venice, italy
  • split, croatia
  • crete, greece
  • santorini, greece
  • corfu, greece
  • kusadasi, turkey
  • florence, italy
  • siena, italy
  • cinque terre, italy
  • milan, italy
  • bay area, california
  • new york, new york
  • boston, ma

i have two more trips to toronto and la for weddings and then i’m retiring my frequent flyer card. 

Posted by email from jen’s posterous


this spring i went to tanzania. it is a beautiful, unspoiled country which relies largely on tourism to fuel its economy. we traveled in open-air jeeps and sat on the roofs to take in the scenery. as we passed small villages, children would run out to the road, shouting and waving hello. at times it felt like we were on a parade route.

these children had almost nothing materially.  their clothing was dirty, stained. most went barefoot. we saw one kid happily towing his “toy,”  an aluminum can tied to a rope. others asked to be photographed, then excitedly leaned in to see their images on our digital cameras. those we spoke with aspired to become tour guides when they grew up.

what struck me was not just the poverty, but how happy they seemed despite these circumstances, how delighted they were by the simplest things.