Ringing in 2017 (finally)

Hello World!

Those of you may remember the WordPress template greeting for your very first blog post, this is my first post in quite awhile. It seems when we last connected, I was lamenting over the pressure of the holidays and moving out of my lovely apartment in London for a field research trip to West Africa.

Thank you to those who responded with helpful advice about remembering to breathe and the real meaning of the season, but the dark fate of 2016 had struck me in its final hours and gave me pause to think about the importance of our lives and family.

My Christmas in London was absolutely lovely. I spent the weekend with a British family in Croydon, opening presents, eating, and drinking until I was blind. Really, its the stuff that movies are made of, to wake up and open wrapped presents (I got soo much stuff!) and have magnificent home-cooked meals and mixed cocktails at every meal and snack hour.

My move-out wasn’t too hectic, honestly the only thing that sucked is that I realized that I have way too much stuff. Like my personal effects quadrupled in the last year, despite me sending some books home earlier in the year, selling my major appliances, donating clothes, and giving away lots of household items, and throwing out stuff, including my favorite shampoo and conditioner because I had no where to pack them.

My trip to NYC started off with a 9 hour delay at Gatwick, followed by an overnight ride in an 1000 degrees Fahrenheit cabin on Norwegian airlines. I’m not shitting you when I say the flight crew didn’t even serve refreshments on this transatlantic flight. In fact, I had to get up and ask for a drink of water when I couldn’t bare it anymore.

My first day in NYC ended in a family medical emergency. My older brother, who had been sitting in the den watching TV, could not get up and walk upstairs without assistance. So I helped him up the stairs, where I noticed his sudden weakness and vertigo. The next morning I drove him to the hospital and my entire world crashed.

My brother is nonverbal because he was born with cerebral palsy (CP). However, he is friendly, smart, a sports jock, and a laid back guy. His only flaw is that he is a Leo and always has to be the center of attention. But what’s shocking about what happened, is that no one in my family could remember the last time he had a cold, let alone be taken to the ER.

The first 48 hours had dramatic highs and lows, after 45 minutes of being triage and sent to an ER bed, his vitals started to decline; his heart rate was at 32 and then the labored breathing started. By 8pm that evening, they supposedly had a bed in the cardiology unit, but he went into respiratory distressed and hypothermia. So he and our family spent the night in the ER room.

By the next morning when his body temperature went up to 92 degrees Fahrenheit, we noticed the heart rate improving too, but his breathing was still labored. Not only is this a difficult situation for anyone to watch a loved one, but having doctors talk to you about end-of-life decisions and aggressive treatments, like intubation, just builds on everything…Everything I took for granted. Everything that I missed or said. The times when I didn’t call home when I should have.

He did do better that day, and they made the decision to move him to a general floor instead of ICU, but the next day he downgraded a bit so the doctors said they felt better with him in the ICU so they could keep a closer eye on him. He didn’t get moved from this ward for another two days. While my brother did get better and came home last week, essentially as normal as before, we don’t have a real explanation for what happened as all the tests were negative, and after some antibiotics and steroids, he still continued to improve. So the professionals believe it was some sort of viral infection. In which, I responded by having the home professionally cleaned and offering to burn all his belongings.

He refused the latter.

So what does this mean? While I still have my brother, I actually lost a close friend the night I arrived. This New Year’s has given me a lot to reflect on. I have been so embedded in trying to “find myself” and “live life” because I felt tied down in New York, but none of that is important anymore. Not university, not my thesis, nor my trip. I was certain that night in the ER, that I would be emailing my professors to tell them I am not coming back this year. Because that is what I had to do, if it happened.

However, it didn’t, and I did not spend my brief time in the city going out for drinks and catching up with the latest gossip like I intended. I spent nearly two weeks shuffling between the hospital for 2-3 days and going home for a quick showers and food. I left for Manhattan twice: the first time for that funeral for my friend and again for dinner. I have been home making the most of my time with my relatives.

And you know, home is not a bad way to vacation. Its been rated 3 and half stars.

Happy New Year, everybody!


And onward to Geneva

achieving goals, inspiration, breaking barriers, empowered woman, reaching destination, IR blog, S.C. Rhyne

“It is the same with people as it is with riding a bike. Only when moving, can one comfortably maintain one’s balance.” — Albert Einstein, in a letter to his son.

With so much that happened this month, I missed writing to you all and wanted to check in. I had an annual review due on October 1st and became ill with the flu for nearly two weeks after working on this nail-biting deadline. However, I kept moving, the best I could, as I have so much to prepare for my trip in January.

I received feedback from my university about an application that I put in, to approve this field trip. I have been re-writing the paperwork for the last couple weeks. However, right now, I am spending my first morning in Switzerland, and I am so glad that I can get away from the noise.

People say when you’re sick or tired to rest or “take a break”. However, I feel that puts me off-balance and that I lose my momentum. So, this ode is for the movers and shakers, may we find peace while never standing still.

How do you keep moving, even when you feel that you’re made of lead?

3 Tips to Break Through Barriers and Achieve Your Goals

achieving goals, inspiration, breaking barriers, empowered woman, reaching destination, IR blog, S.C. Rhyne

If you’re like most people, you have probably set dozens of goals in your life. From trying to lose weight and getting rid of household clutter to wanting to get a better job and/or freeing yourself from credit card debt, it’s fairly easy to come up with at least one personal goal at any given time.

While thinking up goals you want to reach is pretty simple, achieving them is much more difficult. Why? Inevitably, a variety of issues will arise that prevent us from reaching them. But in order to finally break through these barriers, it’s important to identify some common obstacles and determine ways to overcome them.

Now, No More “Buts”

As soon as you set a goal, the word “but” may pop into your head, trying to undermine your efforts. If you want to eliminate credit card debt, you might think, “But I’m already working so hard, how can I make more money?” or “But I owe so much, it will take too long to pay off my cards.” The best way to get rid of the “buts,” notes Inc.com, is to acknowledge them and then ignore and move past them.

Bumps in the Road

In addition to the negative voices inside your head that discourage you from reaching your goal, you will also encounter figurative and literal roadblocks along the way that can be challenging to overcome. For example, if you are trying to be more punctual to both social and professional occasions — because you understand being on time is a telltale sign of being reliable and responsible — it can be extremely frustrating to be late due to a traffic jam or flat tire.

While some of these bumps in the road are unpredictable, anticipate them ahead of time by taking proactive steps to avoid them in the first place. Check traffic on Google Maps before heading to work or a party, and if you see an accident or realize construction activity will cause delays, give yourself more time or plan another route altogether. If you rely on public transportation like I do in London and New York City, always add on an extra 15 minutes to your journey. There’s not much more you can control once you’re underground in the subway or tube.

Avoid the Naysayers

As SelfGrowth.com notes, the people that we are closest to will sometimes sabotage our goals. If you’re trying to eat healthier and lose weight, your closest friend might repeatedly encourage you to join her for ice cream. Or your spouse might come up with different reasons why earning that awesome work promotion will interfere with your home life.

In some cases, these folks are afraid your dedication to achieving your goal will turn you into a different person, so they may consciously or subconsciously try to discourage you. Unfortunately, because you genuinely love these people and usually listen to their advice, you might end up being influenced by their negative attitudes. To prevent this from happening, you might not want to share your goals with certain people, or remind yourself to ignore them, as they are being naysayers due to their own underlying fears.

So my heroes and she-roes, what barriers are you working through right now? Is there anyway that I can help or advice that I give? Tweet me @ReporterandGirl or post it on Facebook.

Waiting for Tomorrow

procrastination, S.C. Rhyne, the reporter and the girl

I came to the realization this week that I’m not going to be able to solve the world’s problems, and that most problems are very complex.


I’ve worked in politics and grassroots advocacy for fairer housing, health, and education policies in New York City; but it’s nothing like doing so in developing countries. Silly me for even trying. So now I have a literature review due this week, and all the ideas in my head are roaming, but I lack the energy to put them into coherent sentences on paper.

In other words, I’m procrastinating.

I love and hate deadlines: they keep things on track, but I don’t necessarily get a rush having to do things under pressure at the eleventh hour, although I have to admit some bright ideas do come out at the eleventh hour.

So knowing me I set some early deadlines to get started this weekend, and I swear I’ll get started once I finish this post. I know I’m not the only one who seems to wait until the last minute for things, so I wanted to find out from other folks what their experiences are and how they cope.

New Attitude


If I can wake up every morning with this attitude, it would help me move forward items/projects. I mean hey, no one expected Rome to be built in a day — so it’s very feasible to take things one step at a time each day. But it has to be everyday, otherwise the night before the deadline will feel like running a marathon. So, I’m going to go back to list-making. I love writing things down and having a to-do list where I can cross-off items, helps me feel organize.

When I’m in my mindset — I can cross through an entire list within a couple hours– “Oh hey! Its lunchtime already”? This usually means that all the problems, worries, things to-do were not that big or time-consuming to deal with. I already started by adding key to-do things on my calendar this week. I live and die by my online calendar as it sends reminders to my phone/laptop/email. So once you adopt this new attitude, figure out a system that helps you to take baby steps everyday!

*Tip* Be specific. There’s a different between “I’ll start my report tomorrow” vs ” I’ll outline my three main points over lunch”.

Stuff Keeps Coming Up

The story of our lives. Even the most mundane life that is centered around Star Wars and and Comic Con will have something interrupt and demand for our precious time. Well procrastinators — let’s be honest, how much of these “really important things” are you looking rather than issues that come out of the blue? Don’t tell me you were about to sit down in front of the computer– when all of sudden– you noticed how dirty the top of your cupboards were and needed to take a half-hour to address that immediately.

The truth is, we all have things that come up: family, work, emergencies, friends, enemies, mini-crises, drama, terrors, and tragedies. Especially the later, sometimes when life hits you– it makes you feel like you just don’t want to “deal”. This weekend’s tragedy in Florida is a perfect example of this.

Unfortunately, everyone will have at least one problem/event everyday whether it is a single mother living in rural South Sudan or a wealthy banker living in London. All of our daily struggles are different but real; however we must persevere on! Deal, grieve, solve, or mediate with your family, tragedy, emergency, in-laws…then return to the drawing board.

I’m Not Good Enough

At the risk of sounding like a psychotherapist– this can be the crux of the matter for many procrastinators. We think, dwell, ponder, formulate, redraw, overthink, cry, breakdown, and manage to put something together at the final hour that everyone loves and applauds.

This is an emotionally taxing cycle to have to endure in any work/school lifestyle. We worry about the results not being perfect, and spend days or weeks stressing and feeling guilty for putting things off (I have even done this for months). Unfortunately, I don’t have any straight-forward advice about this except to say that we are all our own worst critics. So let’s be kinder to ourselves; the next time you start something or cross off an item on your list, congratulate yourself! Congratulate yourself everyday whether its with a little social media time, a drink at the pub, or even some ice cream (well, maybe not ice cream everyday…). The point is, you have adopted a new attitude and renewed your motivation to finish a project– today you laid the foundation and tomorrow you’ll be putting up the frame.

Hi, my name is S.C Rhyne and I am a procrastinator. About 1 in 5 people are chronic procrastinators, so I know I’m not alone. So how do you cope with the many things in life that you need to get done?

Tell me on Facebook or twitter, or you can even post it on my Google Plus page!



A Lost Boy

man child, immature boy, the reporter and the girl, video games, TV, smoking pot, unemployed, no life, loser

It is a few days left until I move into my apartment in London; an exciting, scary, and new stage I’ll enter. Although moving doesn’t sound exciting to everyone (the stress of carrying luggage, and transferring things to another address etc…), this is the first apartment that I acquired and will live on my own – so its a big deal that I get it “right”.  And maybe soon I’ll have a housewarming to show off the new digs once I paint and stuff.

However, I have been hesitant about this, as it shows how invested I am in staying in London — a two year lease and some intensive interior decorating. However, any doubts that I had about moving from my shared-house to my own place was wiped away last night.

I was very fortunate through a friend in New York to be introduced to a girl a year younger than me, but who had a room in her mother’s house that I could rent. I am staying with her mother and brother. They have been very welcoming and I always consider myself lucky that I found her; it helped with my transition and gave me someplace stable and affordable while I looked to step up.

The daughter lives on her own, not too far away with her own young family, and the mother is a nurse who is a workaholic. The son, who is 30, stays at home. When I talked to him, he told me he was out of work and had been for two years — it had gave me anxiety about how difficult it must be to find work, especially skilled work (administrative, professional etc..); and I expressed this to my landlady who is more like my UK  mom now, and she always told me not to worry, I will find something– a month later I did.

Now before ya’ll accuse me of being that immigrant that comes and steals local jobs; this job was asking for a specific language skill-set that I have, although they do have positions there for people without being fluent in another language.

Anyway, things have been fine. Really. I did noticed some things about him that really seem strange.

  • Like sleeping all day but up all night “watching TV”.
  • The strong smell of cannabis from his room and from whenever he returned from the garden.
  • As well as up to this point, there has been only two times that I’ve seen him leave the house.

The first time, he escorted me to the post office to exchange my money to GBP currency, and the second time he was on his way to the job center. I assume it is like the United States when you are receiving benefits, every once in a while you have to go and speak with the counselor and show them that you are looking for work etc… but I mean, even the average person wouldn’t want to stay in their house for weeks without leaving? As well as he tended to get “visitors” more often when his mom wasn’t home. Now these visitors never stayed, except for the 1 or 2 friends that he sits on the couch with; most often the doorbell rings, and he goes and gets it, says a few words to someone and they leave.

I guess these Jehovah Witnesses are really active in this neighborhood, and dedicated too! They will come to the door at all hours of the night.

He finally got a job about a month ago, a temporary rolling contract that seems all too common here; but he’s only working until they remove sanctions from him receiving the benefits. So if the job lets him go through no fault of his own, then he can go back on welfare.

What can I say? The benefits system is very strong here; I know there are people who abuse the system in the U.S. too, but I never had an inside knowledge of this.

On Friday, a family friend from France came to visit me for the weekend. I put her up in my room and slept on the floor of the living room. Friday night was fine, although my roommate had to come in two or three times to get to the garden to smoke. I was gone most of Saturday for a tournament, but my friend and him seem to get along very well, they even shared some wine together that she brought from France. So we went to dinner and came back very late – after midnight — and I was completely exhausted. Between playing five softball games and then having to “look alive” for a night in Camden Town I was dead.

**Good news is, my team went into the semi-finals and won the final tournament!!**

He was sitting in the living room, with one of his friend who actually comes to stay, and when I asked where all my belongings were so I could lay them out, he responded that he collected them and put them in my room. I asked him why, and he said he is using the living room and I needed to sleep upstairs. I was surprised, and then his friend — who seemed to understand what is happening — got up quickly to leave. I asked “where? In your room?” I was really confused what he wanted me to do. Because my guest was in my bedroom, and then there is his room and my landlady’s bedroom. So I explained that we have a guest sleeping in my room, and I was going to take the living room for just the next few days, he got very angry and said that it he didn’t know about this, and he didn’t care that there was a visitor here and I said. “Well, she’s here now and there’s nothing we can do…but I need somewhere to sleep – so if you won’t give me your room, and my landlady hasn’t said its OK to use her room, then I have sleep downstairs. He ended by saying I can sleep there, but he will continue to watch TV every night on, no matter what; and I know he watches until 4 or 5 a.m

So I’m wondering if this is cultural, where if I guess is invite over, you share the bedroom together, as oppose to American tradition when you “give” someone your room for his/her stay?

Or is this gentleman not normal?

So, I have been thinking about this and I feel that his behavior adds up to something abnormal. I mean if your entire life involves around sleeping, watching TV, and smoking — and you take away one of those things then the stable triad becomes an unstable being. To me, I thought it would be a minor inconvenience, but nothing to ever write about — but my life revolves around many different things that breaking a routine for a few days wouldn’t make me angry.

However, this isn’t just a “he”problem its a family problem. This morning I suspected that my landlady doesn’t want to talk about it, or maybe she is just tired. Even his sister seem nondescript when I texted her about how upset he became in front of everyone. So, it sounds like they know or its happened before; because I would have expected a stronger reaction — why is a grown man acting like this?

Its true what they say — that when you have nothing left your family will be here for you. And at one end you have to admire that, it takes a lot of patience to deal with someone who is “stuck” and based from what I was told, has been “stuck” or “lost” since he was teen. We have all been lost at one point, whether its for the 6 months you are looking for a new job, or the two years after that divorce. But how long is too long? Why can some people say its enough and try to find their own way, while others do not? And how do families/social network help with finding one’s way?

So what motivates you to do the things you want to do in life? What are your dreams, hopes, and aspirations? How will you attain them– basically whats the difference between sitting on the coach — waiting for things to happen versus pushing you to reach for them?

Tell me @ReporterandGirl or Facebook.