Adventure

Miel & Adam are getting married!

Adam digging in the dirtI am delighted to share that Adam and I will be getting married in Eugene, Oregon on July 16th. We are over the moon and very thrilled about this. After some hinting, Adam proposed to me by somehow slipping an origami folded letter into a time capsule that he buried in his old backyard, in Paradise, California, back in 2000. (I still haven’t figured out how he pulled it off, but I’ll give him points for creativity and delivery both.) We are both delighted with the new life and family that we have created together. We look forward to celebrating this with friends and family this summer.

I also wanted to take a moment to share about our relationship. We are so fortunate to have found each other. We are so well suited for each other that it feels uncanny at some points. We complement each other and are truly incredible friends and lovers to boot. It is an excellent combination. And he says I have a “great sense of Catan.”

To take things to the next level, we got to know each other over clean cookstoves at the Oregon Country Fair. It was flirting over D’Frisco and thoughts of The Ritz. We fell in love over sharing the impact of InStove and exploring opportunities for the organization. Adam is looking forward to his first fair as Fair Family this summer, just before our wedding. It will be wonderful to share the experience with him, as we grow our family.IMG_3717[1]

We are excited to share our union with those people that inspire us, love us, and are part of our lives. It will be a beautiful InStove wedding. We will be sharing more details about our menu and other wedding plans as we finalize our website. Stay tuned for that.

Be well,

Miel

 

Man from Paradise

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Adam & Miel at Olivia Beach for the first time together.

I manifested a man from Paradise. Paradise, CA, that is. Just as with all of the adventures of my life thus far, I have manifested my path forward. I have found the partner and love of my life, Adam. We both come from small towns, have traveled the world, devoted ourselves to service and international development work, and found ourselves crossing paths in Oregon. In fact, he has most recently been living in Cottage Grove, the town where Darcy and I were born. What a small and incredibly fabulous world we live in.

Adam first reached out to me on LinkedIn and we connected initially on a professional basis, but I knew instantly that I liked Adam and wanted to befriend him in some way. We shared a passion for doing good in the world and enjoyed volunteering over the course of the weekend at the Oregon Country Fair. By the end of the weekend I was twitter-pated and wondering if I was feeling giddy at the possibility of him just because of his passion and enthusiasm (or his curls and gorgeous blue eyes). After an extended date of a “pic-luck” picnic, a waterfall hike, an evening at Sam’s Bonds with Eugene family, and playing cards at Sweet Life, we confirmed that we were both truly interested in one an other.

We knew right away that we weren’t interested in just messing around. Adam’s divorce from a four-year marriage had been finalized in March, and mine was signed off last week (see below). With Clark in the picture and the complexity that my life already entails, I had no interest in messing around with relationships that didn’t last. I wanted nothing but the real deal.

About a month before connecting with Adam I was working ridiculous hours and focused entirely on work. I paused for a moment and told myself, and my twin sister Darcy, that I felt I was ready for a real partner to come into my life. As I was driving along the coast, I dictated a 22 point “Manifesting my Mate” list that Darcy wrote out on my behalf.

Adam hit that check list and beyond. I now find myself shifting from beaming with delight for the first weeks of our relationship, to settling into an incredible new pattern of life with love of a kind that I have never known. I now have a partner who adores me, appreciates me for who I am, and is a joy to be around. I’ve never wanted to spend so much time with anyone outside of my own twin (which also coincidentally, Adam has a twin sister, Emily). He writes love poems for me, makes delicious and nutritious breakfasts with heart-shaped food at every meal. We love exploring and learning more about each other. I could not be happier.

As with many things in life, as one window opens, another closes. My divorce with James was finalized last week. We were married for 9 years, lived together for a dozen, and first dated 23 years ago. It has been a long and interesting journey together, but it is for the best that we follow our own passions. We largely lived parallel lives and were apart for much of our relationship. We do have the loveliest of fruits of our marriage though, the fabulous Clark. Such a sweet and studious boy. A born flirt. We both love him dearly and will continue to co-parent him together.

I will be sharing more here about the adventures that I’ve been neglectful to share in the midst of such transitions in my life.

Miel

Living in Uncertain Times

I find myself in a really interesting space in time. I’m one of those planner types. I like to plan things. It may look from afar that I’m spontaneous, but most often I’m pretty predictable (even if that includes far more adventures than your average person). Most years I don’t necessarily plan out all my trips (most of the time I have had nearly no idea about where I might end up in any given here). This year feels rather ambitious when it comes to potential life changes.

I’m in the moment of creating my life here in Portland. I’m living in a beautiful home that has incredible potential. I contemplate between dormers in the upper loft space, finishing the basement, or converting a backyard structure into a tiny home. All three would be ideal. Most likely I’ll be starting with the tiny house in 2016.

We are also cooking up numerous travel adventures in 2016. It looks like it is going to be a fun one. I can tell already. I am poised for it. Rather, we are poised for it.

For the first time in my life I have a partner who loves to travel nearly as much as I do. Adam is always up for an adventure. We’ve been together now for five months and already put on quiet a few travel miles together. I can see lots of travels in our future together. We already have a long list of places we will travel to.

We are discussing our plans for 2016 and figuring out how we can manage to go to both the Roskilde Festival in Denmark and Burning Man representing InStove. We are also very much looking forward to the next Oregon Country Fair. This is where our relationship began to develop as friends (and then beyond, shortly after). I can’t wait to share the real fair with Adam. He was such a cutie last year. I suddenly found myself lusting after him as we talked about development and mildly flirted over fair food and fun, with a little magic mixed in there.

What we aren’t discussing is anything about getting married. We established early on that we were interested in getting married at some point. Now as we plan for the future, it feels like the elephant in the room. He’ll be editing this shortly and see this bomb that I just dropped. What can I say? I’m a planner. We’ve already established that.

But more than that it is because I’m already in love. I feel that I’m bursting at the seams at wanting to share my life fully and completely with Adam. I’m already so far in love that there is no turning back. I have manifested my mate. Just like that. I look forward to seeing what develops in these uncertain times.

Alanna Miel (Creighton)

Back to My Village

Today is a big day! We are headed back to my village, Dorfor Adidome. I lived there for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer, from 1999-2001. Sometimes people chuckle at my reference to “my village.” This is the common terminology used by Ghanaians to refer to where they come from, and adopted by most volunteers. For me it has always felt like it is truly my village, though I say so more to convey my collective responsibility in being a part of the village rather than meaning it in a paternalistic way, or to imply any ownership.

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Dorfor Adidome is a very small village in the Volta region of Ghana. It is settled on the beautiful Volta River, just downriver from the Akosombo Dam (which creates the Lake Volta, one of the largest man lakes in the world). Prior to the dam coming in during the 60’s, the village was a thriving market town and trading hub, with an economy based on fresh water oysters. Unfortunately the dam’s environmental damage destroyed the oysters and eventually the market moved to areas along the main road. My village is still lined with oyster shell pathways in areas closer to the river, where you can see shells ten feet down when you dig for a latrine.

Adidome comes from the massive baobab trees that are still sprinkled around the village. There are a handle of gorgeous trees remaining, when there used to be forests of them. I was told that they would protect the trees that remain, and I hope that is the case. I also hope that some of the the 600 acacia, 1000 flamboyant, and 100 mango trees that we planted still remain as well.

I’ve looked forward to this day for many years. It has been 14 years since I left my village. Even though I have tried to remain in contact, I have received very little in terms of actual updates from the village. I don’t know how or what has changed during that period. Looking at Accra, and seeing that even it has changed less than I thought it might have, makes me think that even with electricity coming to the village shortly after I left, that things are very likely to have changed little.

I try to hold my expectations in check. The village itself may not have changed much, but the children that I once knew are now adults. I don’t expect that the work I did as a Peace Corps Volunteer to have changed my village as much as it has changed me, but I feel honored to have been a part of it.

-Ama Woetsa (the name I went by in the village, meaning Saturday born, second female twin), Mama Dorfor Nenyo I (my title as Queenmother)

Going Back to Ghana

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Finally. After 14 years, I will be returning to Ghana for a visit. It feels pretty incredible. I definitely have visions of Ghana going through my mind. Negotiating in Twi and Ewe in my head while I shower, wondering how much I will remember. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana and in the Volta region, from 1999-2001, and spoke Ewe very well and Twi well enough to negotiate and get around by public transportation with ease.

I will be going with Adam, Clark, and my mother-in-law Carol. It is exciting to see Clark return to Africa, nearly a year after his first trip to the continent. Now he will be running instead of nursing. I have dreamt of this trip for years. Carol and I have talked of going to Ghana for many years. Adam and I will be attending the biennial Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves Summit in Accra. We will also be celebrating our four month anniversary together. We spent our two month anniversary in Washington, DC.

The people are what Ghana is really all about. Ghanaians are known as being incredibly friendly, and they are. It has been nice already to be in better contact with folks from my village and start to hear updates. For instance, I now know that my counterpart, an old many named Akpabli, is still alive, and that the Queenmother asks after me.

I avidly journaled during my time as a Peace Corps Volunteer and will be pulling out my journal to see what adventures I can share about from my time as a Volunteer. Here are a few links to several stories I’ve written over the years as well. Like how I was stung by a scorpion, or the first female king in Ghana, how to avoid hazards in Africa, enjoy bucket baths and entertain yourself with Africian movie theatres, or about our ten year Peace Corps reunion.

I look forward to sharing about our travels.

Enjoy the journey,

Miel

End of An Era

Today marks the end of an era. After nearly six year, I’ve completed my work with International Medical Corps. It’s been really a tremendous experience. I’ve been very fortunate to have enjoyed a career where I both truly enjoy what I do while helping to make a difference in people’s lives.

 

During my time with IMC I’ve grown a great deal and look back at many incredible times. I’ve worked with incredible people from more countries than I could possibly list out. Thanks go out to all of my outstanding colleagues.

I’ve also traveled to DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Somalia, Somaliland, Ethiopia, Turkey, and the Philippines. As people who know me well already know, some of my times in DRC were my fondest with IMC.

Below is a pic from two years ago while I was on a business trip to Turkey. I was sent it recently reminding me of a new era presenting itself. I’m looking forward to this next phase as much as I have enjoyed the last.

miel turkey 2012Be well,

Miel