Home for the Holidays

Writing from 3.387° S, 36.683° E

I’m a firm believer that home is not necessarily a place, but rather where your people are. While I certainly miss certain aspects of my home in the US, what I miss more than anything are my friends and family.

Enter Alex.

My brother is two and a half years older than me, and we had a rough go of things for the first 16 years I was alive. When he held me, his infant sister, for the first time after I was born, I started crying and he asked my parents to “take me back.” My mom used to have panic attacks because she thought her only two children would hate each other forever.


They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, and clearly distance was just what we needed.

As soon as Alex left for college, we got super close, and have been ever since. He is one of my favorite people on this earth, and I look up to him more than anyone. Considering our polar opposite life paths, sometimes it surprises even me that we get along so well.

Alex is a finance and litigation consultant in Chicago. He lives in a high rise. He goes to Crossfit approximately 47 million times per week.

Meanwhile, I… well, you know me. We’re different.

Like I said before, that doesn’t change the fact that we’re close. For my first three months in Arusha, I was counting down the days until he came to visit. (I should mention that Alex is the only person who will have visited me during my time in Tanzania. He is very proud of this fact and would like some public brownie points.)

Now, back to the topic of “home.” I spent Thanksgiving in Arusha with no other Americans in sight, and because it was my first holiday away from everyone, I obviously felt a bit lonely. Although I still missed the rest of my family on Christmas and New Years, having Alex here made it feel like every other year that I had been “at home.”

Although Alex was a bit sick the whole time he was here, we had a blast. Our first three days were spent in Arusha, showing him my day-to-day life and introducing him to my friends. Next, we went on safari to the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, having near-death experiences with hyenas one night and two giant buffalo the next. Finally, we ended the trip with four days on Zanzibar, ringing in the new year with a full moon party in Kendwa where Alex ripped his shorts in half from dancing too hard.

It was our first time traveling just the two of us, and it definitely won’t be the last.


Home is where your people are. As long as I can find new and interesting places where I can meet up with my friends and family, I know home will follow me wherever I go.



A huge thank you to my brother for spending the ungodly amount of money it took to come see me over the holidays. I hope I did Tanzania justice as your tour guide. See you soon!

3 thoughts on “Home for the Holidays

  1. Betty Thomas says:

    That story of you and Alex just touched my heart! Siblings are so much fun…it’s amazing how we mature and change in our life. It takes us all to a whole new level. (((Hugs)))) to you and Alex ❤️


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