I’m so grateful that I get to live in places where luxuries are still luxuries, and the essential elements of everyday life are simple person-to-person contact, over a fire or a candle’s light or the rising sun’s rays. Three months a year here in luxury land are more than rich enough for my blood right now, and I’m already beginning to long for what I’m sure will be a simpler life of conversations around a dinner table with colleagues with whom I work all day long. I know I’ll miss all the things I usually miss when I’m not here – bagels, tennis, Mexican food, canyon hikes or walks in parks with my US friends.

The second weekend back in LA my friends Howard & Gene treated me to a weekend at Ojai, in the mountains between LA and Santa Barbara sort of; it was Ojai Music Festival weekend and in three evenings and two days we heard five glorious concerts of truly wonderful music in this gorgeous town, in addition to going on a nice hike and having a wonderful breakfast by Lake Casitas with a group of good friends.

But there’s greater simplicity to that life, and I appreciate it. Here, it seems I rush around impatiently, just so I can spend more time in front of the computer answering emails and sitting in chat rooms. That’s not really what I need my life to be about, and watching more television is certainly not I want my life to be about. So I feel incredibly blessed: that so many of my pre-MSF friends remain in touch with me and spend time with me when I’m back here, and that with each new assignment I learn about some new part of the world and some new context of humanitarian intervention, meet new colleagues from the developed and developing worlds, and constantly expose myself to newness, variety and challenge that causes me to evaluate and reexamine what really matters to me in my life.

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