Greetings Family and Friends,
I started writing a yearly Christmas Letter some years back. It is certainly a “highlights reel” of the year, which of course doesn’t mean that there were no moments of despair, melancholy, etc. But more of a reminder that at the end of the day (and year), it is important to focus on the good with gratitude and thankfulness.
When 2016 began, I had two main goals (outside of traveling) for the year. One was to move my blog from BlogSpot to WordPress. I finished that with help from my friend, Meaghan. The second was to finish the second anthology. The anthology is in the final stage with the publisher, and it will be done at the beginning of the year. It is called The Outpouring. I am very proud of it. Prepare yourself for lots of spam from me. I also joined the world of Instagram and Twitter. I love Instagram. I have closed my Twitter account because I spent way too much time being distracted on it.
For my yearly “big” trip, I went to Cape Town and Gaborone. I was in Cape Town for eight nights and Gaborone for four nights. The weather was super nice in Cape Town but a little on the hot side for me in Gaborone. I loved the beauty and vibe of Cape Town. It’s on the list of places I could live in or will at least go back to visit. If you want to read about my trip, it is in my blog. In case you missed it, here is the first entry.
- The best part of any trip is the wonderful people you encounter along the way.
- I stayed at an Airbnb in Cape Town and enjoyed meeting my host, Gideon, and some of his friends. All very good people. I enjoyed the open conversations. It’s always nice to hear fresh perspectives because we often view life from our lens only. I also met a very nice woman named Jasmin, who I saw for at least a few minutes most of the days I was there.
- It was awesome to visit Rachel in Gaborone and have conversations with her about life and relationships. It was also splendid meeting some of her friends who are all very good people. We had some great conversations, specifically around relationships and being single black women in this strange world and handling what society expects vs. where we are.
- Each trip has a song that connects to it. This trip the song is “Hello” by Adele. I heard the album every day in Gaborone. Often with a request from me to play “Hello” again.
- I loved the location of the Airbnb. It was in the Bo-Kaap district. I loved the colorful homes and the Muslim call to prayer that I would hear throughout the day (and early in the morning). I actually missed it the first few days in Gaborone.
- Cape Town was so beautiful. I loved Table Mountain and the ocean. The city just had a really great heartbeat/pulse and vibe. It was interesting to see how neighborhoods are changing at such a fast rate worldwide.
- Table Mountain was awesome. It was so peaceful there, and it would make a great retreat place to just journal and be at one with your thoughts. I spent hours on Table Mountain just journaling and walking around. I also met a woman, Nic, who was also by herself.
- Visiting the Cape of Good Hope was so awesome. It was at the top of my list of things I wanted to do this trip.
- I hadn’t planned a trip in a few years (I’ve been lazy and last minute and joining tours), so it was fun doing research for this particular adventure.
- I enjoyed going to places like Slave Lodge and Robben Island to learn more of the history. It’s interesting that the more things change, the more things stay the same. One day we will learn from history or always be doomed to repeat it.
- I loved going out to listen to music in Gaborone. Oh. And dancing. Every time I have a chance to dance, it reminds me how much I love it. I especially loved the Summer of 79 concert, which was complete with a Prince tribute. Snaps fingers at the Purple Rain memory.
- I loved the stars in Gaborone (they were nice in Cape Town too). It reminded me of my summers stargazing as a child. I must get a telescope. If you have an old one laying around, think of me.
- I was also inspired to write a short story. I haven’t been inspired to write in a long time so it was great getting it out.
I remain grateful for the gift of traveling. It is a reminder that regardless of race, politics, religion, etc. people pretty much want the same thing.
Clockwise from top left: Some of the colorful homes in the Bo-Kaap, view of Cape Town from Table Mountain, with my host Gideon, walking around the city
Clockwise from top left: The beautiful sunset my first night there, with Rachel before a night on the town, there were tons of goats and cows in Gaborone, at a wonderful market
For more pictures: https://latonjab.shutterfly.com/
Password is: italia
In March, I took a quick trip to Long Beach for my job. I got to see my buddies from other port cities, so it is a very enjoyable business trip. Long days and exhausting but fun and a great time to catch up with some of the amazing people I have met in the port industry. I also had a chance to hang out with Samarah and Mary for a minute.
Clockwise from top left: with Samarah, PNW ports unite (Northwest Seaport Alliance, Prince Rupert, Portland, Vancouver (terminal operator)), with my buddy Randy, with (there is something about) Mary
In September, I took a trip to Houston for my job. It was another chance to catch up with port buddies. I even ran into some colleagues I had not seen in many years. There were some great after hour events like bowling and dancing/music at a blues club. The Mariners were in Houston, so I was able to go to a baseball game. I also raced an armadillo. I can cross that off the bucket list.
Clockwise from top left: with my buddy Randy after the armadillo race, watching the Mariners play the Astros, a church I loved, with my teammate Andre
The fitness journey I began in January 2014 continues. I am at the point where I am trying to maintain. I was able to get off of my blood pressure meds this year. In March, I did my fifth St. Patrick’s Day Dash, which is a 5K, with Kim and Steve. In June, I walked my fourth half-marathon (the Rock N Roll Seattle) with Crystal and Demetrius, and in November, I walked my fifth (the Seattle Marathon). I would still love to do the Rock N Roll in Lisbon, Madrid, Dublin, or Las Vegas. I also did a four mile business run (that I walked) while in Houston.
Clockwise from top left, me at the beginning of the Seattle Marathon, with Kim and Steve at the end of the St. Patrick’s Day Dash, me somewhere in the middle of the Houston business run walk, with Crystal and Demetrius at the beginning of the Rock n Roll Seattle
I did a lot of classes in 2017. I did four paint nights (one with Sherise, one with Dreeny Paine, and one with Crystal, and one solo), two pasta making classes (one with Diane and one solo), made a bowl at a glass blowing class, took a photography class with Tiffany, and an Italian cooking class with Linda. There are still a few things I want to do on my bucket list like going horseback riding (mainly to conquer a fear), go on a helicopter ride, and take a ride in a hot air balloon. I need to check out Groupon.
Clockwise from top left: Paint night with Crystal for her birthday, Italian cooking class with Linda for her birthday, me blowing glass, finished paint night project, paint night with Dreeny Paine for her birthday, pasta making class with Di for her birthday.
It’s hard to believe my church newsletter is entering its 16th year! Where did the time go? As I mentioned before, I am so excited to announce the second anthology is just about done. Writing is something I need to do more of. Writing has always helped me focus. It is something I am passionate about, and it is something that I have been gifted in. The time is there, I just need to use it. It just seems like there is always something there to distract me. I need to focus. I have some writing goals for 2017. It’s time to lay down the groundwork for where I want to go in the future. In 2016, I did start the year off strongly by posting some travel articles that I wrote.
2016 really brought up a lot of issues to me around social justice. I will keep saying that the rise of the far right concerns me. I will not be quiet on this.
I general, my prayer for 2017 is that something unexpected and lovely happens. I am not even sure what that would be. Insert lyrics fom Green Day’s Good Riddance, “It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right, I hope you had the time of your life.” I am going to try living in a state of expectancy.
I did have a moment of melancholy this month. As most of you know, my job at the Port of Seattle was “seconded” into The Northwest Seaport Alliance. They expect to know the location of the headquarters for that organization by the end of 2017, and I have continued to work at P69, primarily. I attended the Port of Seattle employee party because I am still in the building. I was sitting there realizing that this could be my last employee party in the building. Then I thought how I have worked at P69 for 20+ years (October 1 was 20 years since I went there as a temp). So I had to remind myself that looking back can sometimes keep you from being open to good times and things that could be before you. I am sure there is a message there somewhere.
Like I said in opening, it is always good to reflect on the good. 2016 was a good year.
I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, and I wish you a Happy New Year!
love. hug. xoxo.