This was written on my 37th birthday but I’m just getting around to sharing 

On the day before my last year as a 36 year-old, I spent just under 5 hours in a Toyota Land Cruiser with almost as many miles in hundred thousands miles as I had in years. We drove through the many landscapes of Ethiopia – some lush and green, others as dry as if rain never knew they existed. 
By midday we’d arrived in Turmi, an Ethiopian town that I can only describe as old and new at once. I relieved myself in a outhouse, in a hole in the ground. The door held together by a piece of string and a bent nail, the light shining sneakily through the cracks of warped wood. This is (part of) Ethiopia. 
I could blame the heat or the hours in the car but truthfully – my Americcaness  got the best of me and I spent several hours blinking back tears so that no one would think I was ungrateful. Later, behind closed doors and thin curtains – I cried. For about 10 minutes I let my frustrations with this Ethiopia go into a tissue. 
I turned 37 laying quietly in a sparse room – a place to rest your head more than anything else, with the sounds of donkeys, chickens, wild dogs. 
The first day of this new year finds  more hours in a car that my knees hate and stopping on the side of the road while our driver haggles with a beautiful woman over a chicken who is now tied up in the back of our SUV. 
This last year of my life has been like all the others that I can recall – ups, downs and the in-between. If there is something exceeding gratitude for what I feel about this last year – that’s what I feel.