Wednesday, August 29, 2012


It's been a while, and I've missed you.

I miss the golden days of blogging from Maputo. I realize how special it was to feel like writing most of the time, and to be connected to a larger community through that writing.

Being in Mozambique called my inner narrator to action, but the best part was doing it in a public forum. Sharing my impressions with others made me really stop and THINK about what I was feeling and what my motivations were. Most times my desire was to be a good multilateral cultural ambassador  and take a neutral view that invited the opportunity for further consideration. (See there, I haven't forgotten my development proposal-writing talents!)

But other times I just needed to vent. Blogging got me through Chimoio. It made me feel less lonely in 2006 after Rico went to Brazil and I stayed in Maputo. Writing made me feel less desperate about the fact that I had no friends in town and was afraid to go to the bank by myself. Blogging helped me understand why I hated my job and what I wanted to do about it.

Writing here has brought me great joy too, of course. I've made many, many friends and contacts (my maid of honor at my wedding was a blog friend originally!) and it's been fantastic to come here and share over the years, respond to your emails about potential moves to Mozambique, follow your blogs, meet you in person for a beer or a coffee.

It is comforting to know that some of you are still reading, even if just occasionally (which is totally fine, because it's more often than I blog these days.) I have a narrator in my head here in California, too, but it's the type of stuff that sounds very adolescent and dramatic when put in writing so it mostly goes in the sketchbook. It's all very art school, you know?

Speaking of which, I am finally in my senior year and have only two semesters remaining until I graduate. My senior show reception will be May 1st and I will receive another bachelor's degree two weeks thereafter. I feel equal parts self-congratulatory and in need of therapy.

Becoming a jeweler has been a transformative and unbelievably positive experience, but it's also broken me down a bit. I am often insecure and struggle to place appropriate value on my work, even though I am *the best* at giving people pep talks and encouraging them to be confident and stand proud behind their talents. I am moody, hangry, tired, and I cry all the freaking time. And I make myself sick with stress, literally dry-heaving over the possibility that my engagement ring client won't like my work or that my sketches for a custom design are misleading because I'm not that good at drawing.

But despite the crisis periods, I feel happy and challenged. I have made good friends, I have learned serious new skills, and I keep coming back to jewelry (although I have undeniable love for fabric design, too) so I figure something must be right. Rico and my mom are awesome. The rest of our family is right up there, too. As are our neighbors, my dancing girls at Hipline, my school friends, my blog friends, my AFS friends, our cats... I could go on, and on, and on. :)

Miss y'all. I hope good things are in store para todos.


_+*Ælitis in Angola*+_ said...
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_+*Ælitis in Angola*+_ said...

Dear Ali,

I think it takes a lot of guts to write such a post. I can only but imagine what you are and have been going through, as I dunno what it is to change careers but I know a little bit about changing your life in a 180 degrees turn.
I always tend to think that happily married people are NOT allowed to even remotely feel the need to cry. I dunno why, I always tend to think that being married is the key to happiness. But there are just so many other layers of what we are in life, of what we need, feel, try and fail, try and suceede that are beyond marriage. You are connecting the dots with the person that you are meant to be: artsy, organised, in charge of yourself in a creative way, a new you. And that is like a (re)birth. And all births are scary and painful. But usually. they bring out joy.
All the best from this far far away friend. Beijinho.

Safiya Outlines said...


It's still lovely to hear from you and it's amazing, really amazing, how far you've come while I've been following your work.

I wish you all the best for the future. I've "liked" you on your jewellery Fb page if you'd like to keep in touch that way.

Love Safiya xxxxx

Jody said...

Hey Ali,

I have not touched my blog that I loved so much in Austria since I moved to Mozambique. I often wonder why, but think you have summed up well some of the reasons. I came here and am finally embarking on my own new career and finishing up grad school (after 3 school transfers thanks to my hubby's job). Changing careers/countries/consultant life is no easy task and can be downright frustrating!

I appreciated all those years you were able to write because it was often summarized perfectly how I felt, and therefore I felt less alone (or less crazy) :).

Anyway, thought about you this past week. We celebrated our 10 year anniversary in Inhambane Province and stayed two nights at Casa de Capitao. At low tide my husband went out and found 12 trade beads!

xo Jody

Masd said...

I was one of your blog's ardent follower when you used to write it from Maputo. I found Indian Ocean a common connection between Mozambique and Pakistan. Then I also reduced my posts on my blog and you also moved from Maputo. I occasionally come to your blog and see beautiful art work.
God bless you.