My dad underwent surgery yesterday to insert rods to stabilize his fractured vertebrae. If you know him please have him in your thoughts and prayers.

So it is about time to give some perspective on my life.

I will be beginning a 4 year dual degree program in law and urban planning/environmental science in the fall. Since graduating from Pomona in 2006 I lived in New York working for the NYC Parks Dept and then NYC Global Partners (non-profit affiliated with the NYC mayor’s office and housed at the UN). The last several months of my life in New York also included ample prep for the GRE and LSAT – both of which I love dearly. In December I completed applications for graduate schools. Finishing my applications after countless coffees and pacing I finished packing, applying, and backing up my laptop’s hard drive moments before I left for the airport with my family (sans John) for Egypt.

I left for Egypt with a one way ticket into Cairo. I had accepted an internship with the Earth Institute of Columbia University to work in the Kenyan town of Kisumu on the shores of Lake Victoria. In Kisumu, I was to work with the city’s Department of the Environment and the Earth Institute/United Nation’s Millennium Development Group to address the challenges facing a rapidly growing African city of nearly half a million people. through community needs assessments, GIS environmental modeling, educational programs and profiling the regulatory environment for foreign direct investment.

Unfortunately, Kenya had more difficulty than anticipated moving from its 3rd president in its 45 year history to its 4th. With violence mostly along ethnic lines Kisumu and the surrounding rift valley region was the hardest hit as it is the home of the opposition leader and the Luo tribe. In Egypt I continued to follow the reports of escalating violence. It was time to look for another position. Feeling like a displaced person I cast a wide net and started making contacts in Africa.

Luck had her way with me and The Earth Institute launched its project in Ethiopia in the city of Mekelle in the middle of January. While I will still work on profiling the regulatory environment for FDI the rest of my work would focus more on energy and sanitation issues. I will also still be working from the municipal offices but given the newness of the project I am left to define the nature of my work far more than would have been the case in Kenya.

And tomorrow I start.