How I Landed My Dream Career at Holden Safaris

People kept telling me, "Sonia, you need to create your own career, your background doesn't fit the jobs listed on career sites." I knew that, but I continued taking classes in Excel, grant writing, and attending workshops, so that I could fit the traditional job slots. As the days turned into weeks, and then into three months, I put a ton of pressure on myself to "fit the mold." As my friend Sylvia said, "Sonia, I cannot see you sitting at a desk filling out Excel sheets, that's just not you." She was right, yet I didn't want to feel like a failure, nor did I want to use my age as an excuse Read more [...]
Category: Holden Safaris, Travel & Adventure  |  Tags:

I’m Going Back to Africa

  Yes, I'm going back to Africa in May, however, this time, I'm traveling as an independent affiliate of Holden Safaris; a boutique and exclusive safari operator located in Newport Beach, California. Our first stop is at the INDABA conference, one of the largest tourism marketing events held in Durban, South Africa. After INDABA, our team is driving along a special tour of the KwaZulu Natal province of South Africa. (The route is shown on the map below. Notice how close we are to Lesotho, where I served as a Peace Corps volunteer.)   Have you read The Elephant Read more [...]

Orchestrating Life

I believe in orchestrating life. I don't wait for things to happen; I try to make them happen. Sometimes I'm all over the place, spreading seeds in many locations hoping they will germinate, and show me the "right" direction for me. Do you do that? It doesn't matter whether I'm in Africa, Belize or in the U.S., I  take charge, plan ahead, hoping that all will fall into place, and the strange thing about this is that I put in the same amount of passion,no matter where I live in the world. For example, after I flew from Lesotho to Europe, and then the U.S. to visit family and friends Read more [...]

Too Many Distractions in the U.S.

Life in the U.S. is full of distractions; that's probably not news to you, but it does come as a shock after living in a rondavel in Lesotho, where my only distractions were the sounds of roosters crowing at 4 a.m., donkeys braying day and night, dogs defending their territories, and Basotho villagers yelling across the corn fields. I used to think the people were angry, but soon learned that shouting is a normal way of communicating in my host country. It's only been five weeks since I returned from Lesotho, but somehow it feels like six months. I'm so busy; my calendar is full, as Read more [...]
Category: Inspirational, Lesotho, People  |  Tags:

My Recent Dating Story You Won’t Want to Miss

It all started when I parked my car and noticed a skinny man pulling into the space across from mine in an old Buick. I picked up my pace thinking, I hope that’s not him. We agreed to meet at "Mother's Kitchen" and I entered through the sliding doors and pretended to look at the chocolates and candy and all the flowers  as it happened to be Valentine’s Day. I’d just finished a job meeting with the Director of International Student programs at a local university, and felt like I'd accomplished something, so I called Jon to say, "Let's meet for coffee." I could tell it was Jon, Read more [...]
Category: Inspirational, People  |  

“I’m Looking For a Job: Can You Please Help?”

Looking for a job in the U.S., after being a Peace Corps volunteer in Lesotho, has forced me to re-program my brain, which is why I'm asking for your help. (Photo of my first networking event the day after I landed in the U.S.) The minute I stepped off the plane at LAX, I realized I'd have to put on my Usain Bolt legs to keep up with the pace of my fellow passengers. Why does everyone sprint? In my rural village in Lesotho, I was known as the fast walker, but now my legs appeared to be letting me down. (No jokes about an aging body please.) The competitive spirit hit me as I accelerated Read more [...]
Category: People, Writing & Work  |  Tags:

Why I Left the Peace Corps in Lesotho

Many of you enjoyed following my daily life in Lesotho, so it's been a struggle for me to know what to continue writing about after the end of my service on January 7th, 2017. Therefore, I've decided to share a document I wrote in October 2016, about the pros and cons of my personal experience in my rural village. Please note that this is what I felt at the time, and may be completely different from what other Peace Volunteers go through. I thank the Peace Corps for letting me serve, and once again, this is not to "put down" the Basotho people I met, nor the Peace Corps; it's just Sonia Read more [...]
Category: Lesotho, Peace Corps, People  |  

Starting A New Chapter in My Life

After exactly 15 months in Lesotho, I decided after several months of reflection, to start a new chapter in my life. I'm returning to the U.S., and looking forward to seeing my sons more often, and being with so many supportive friends. Before I get into the reasons why I decided to start a new chapter, I want to thank the Peace Corps for giving me the opportunity to experience work and life in rural Lesotho, and to especially thank the Peace Corps Lesotho staff, including the wonderful Country Director, Wendy VanDamme. I loved practicing my French with, Dr. Olga and Dr. Alex, and Read more [...]

From Rice and Lentils to Salmon and Champagne

From rice and lentils to salmon and champagne, life is good in Paris. I left my rural village in Lesotho, last week, flew to Johannesburg with a stopover in Abu-Dhabi and finally Paris. It's amazing how fast I've adapted to nice showers, a washing machine, a clean gym, and good food. Jill, my Father's wife celebrated her 80th birthday with 48 relatives and friends who flew in from Denmark, Italy, Brazil, and me from Lesotho. We celebrated at "Le Fruit Defendu"  the perfect restaurant for a cozy evening with a delightful Christmas feel located on the banks of the river Seine, Read more [...]
Category: People, Travel & Adventure  |  Tags:

Last Minute Glitch in Completing My Peace Corps Project

The day before the completion date of my Lesotho school renovation project, I got a phone call from my counterpart at 7 a.m. “The contractor needs you to buy 115 meters of electrical wiring.” “Why didn’t he tell me this before? We are running out of money.” “He didn’t know,” my counterpart said. “How much does it cost?” “48 Rand a meter.” I quickly calculated a total of 5,520 Rand (almost $400.) This meant we were now 15,000 Rand ($1,065) over the contractor’s initial quotation for materials, and neither the contractor nor the teachers seemed concerned Read more [...]