Tuesday, October 30, 2007


The saying goes, "once you travel to Africa, it never leaves your heart." It's absolutely more than true! I'm madly in love with this part of the world!

This summer I took a journey to South Africa for the third time to visit my friends. I cant stay away really, it's impossible. There is something about being there that makes me a better Holly. I dont know if it has something to do with it being dangerous, adventurous, rugged so different from the world I know here in Connecticut but getting lost amongst the children, the people of South Africa is where I come to find the truth, who I really am. The people of South Africa are the most charming, most charastmatic, and simply the most delicious people that I know. I am better just for having spent moments in their presence.

I believe true inspiration comes from taking a journey outside of the norm of who you are from day to day. Nelson Mandela (former President of South Africa) says,

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadaquate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure"

I love that quote! I often think of how much more succesful I could be if I'd overcome my own fears and live every part of my dreams, all the time. How much more powerful could I be if I let go of those fears and just let myself reach my potential. That's the hard part, when inadaquacy sets in. However, there is also another phrase used often in South Africa that says, "Nothing comes for Mahala", meaning, nothing comes for free. We must work for it!

Africa is majestic, and powerful, and enchanting! Africa takes my breath away!

I am so inspired by the children that I was privlaged to spend time with everyday. They cheat death from week to week, fighting AIDS/HIV but bring life to everyone who was blessed enough to interact with them. My African name is Mahlogonolo, it means "blessings". That name doesn't suit me, it suits them. Each day I spend with them I enter with the intention to visit, teach and nurture, but instead turn they shower me with thier gifts which are my greatest treasures: courage, optomism, hope, spirit. My heart aches to be with them again. I long to sing the ABC's with them over and over and Nkosi Sikeleli Afrika (South Africa's National Anthem)-I finally just learned the Afrikaans part so now I can sing the whole thing! To rock them to sleep. To drink Rooibos tea with them, to hear their sweet voices again. The Children of South Africa taught me how to smile, to sing and to love more deeply than I thought capable. How can I ever repay them for that? How can I ever forget them?

My favorite story amongst many: One afternoon I was sitting out under the sun on a platform with the orphans playing games. Innocent, a six year old boy carried an old tin can in his hand and as we were singing (I think I was teaching them some American rock songs-"Shake it up Baby Now" comes to mind-don't ask!), and he started beating on it with a stick, mimicking a drum. I thought it was a stellar idea! Several other children followed, digging rusty cans out of an old garbage pile. They started playing, syncopating with one another and I found myself encircled amongst one of the most sensational sounds I've ever heard. Children-laughing and singing in their language, and beating on rusty tin cans with sticks. That, is power. That is what inspires me. Simple, rugged, blessed. AFRICA!

To find out more about my South Africa addiction and what it is I do there, visit


I can't wait to go back and continue my journey!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


There is a plethora of reasons why fall is my most favorite season. As many of my friends have shared there is so much to appreciate about it, especially in Connecticut. I enjoy fall in Utah, but I have to say when it comes to the leaves and the apple farms the East Coast is your best bet. I am lucky to live here for now. In my ward we carved pumpkins for FHE. I decided not to carve through the entire pumpkin for fear there would be nothing left when I finsihed, but here's the picture of my creation, AKA..the Globe Pumpkin. And yes it DID take a long time. It was a stellar creative outlet at the begining of the week. Now I am enjoying the crisp air and blue skies along with the smell of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I am baking. You want the recipe?

Here it is. It's the easiest thing eva!

1 box Duncan Hines Spice Cake mix
1 15oz can pumpkin
2 cups chocolate chips (I usually sneak in some extra)

Mix together cake mix and pumkin with a spoon. Add chocolate chips. Drop spoonfulls onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

I make these atleast once a week in October and they are great for all my freinds who are mommies and don't have time to break out the measuring spoons and baking soda!

Enjoy the rest of the season...Halloween next week. YAY!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Vespa Sick!

I am not a person who get's attached to objects easily or considers myself sentimental. I am often living away from home or occupying a passengers seat on an airplane to various destinations around the world so I reckon that getting attached to anything would just stand in my way! However, I have dearly missed my little silver Vespa lately. I purchased her in summer 2006 from the Vespa Dealership in order to save on petrol and to get though a transition period between living in South Africa and moving to Connecticut. I paid her off over a year ago and while I am working in Connecticut, she sits in my sisters garage in Salt Lake City just waiting for the day I return. She represents a time where I was free...only working part time teaching cooking classes, spending endless nights talking with my roomates, the summer sun beating down on us and the wind in my hair as we rode fast along the streets of Salt Lake. (well, if you consider 55mph at maximum speed fast).

I first gained an appreciation for the Vespa when I visited Milan with Camille while backpacking through Europe. My love affair with Italy came intensly and fast and Vespa's were everywhere as we strolled the Italain streets. I marveled at the idea of being mobile in something so small. A new way to get from here to there! When I returned, I spoke with my father about purchasing one. I have always been sort of a "Daddy's" girl, but that day I found out something new. My father had also purchased a Vespa when he was my age...drove it into the ground. Finally rid himself of it in a trash yard when it just wouldn't ride any further. I was delighted to hear that this love for small vehicles was something we had in common. Like father like daughter hey! Naturally, out of his sentiment for his Vespa he thought it a smart idea that I purchase one instead of a car.

Nowadays, miles away in Connecticut I just wait...wait for the day when I will reunite with her and we can ride together and I can again feel the wind in my hair and freedom beneath my feet. I'm definatly Vespa Sick! I've been meaning to give her a name but nothing seems fit the title I feel she deserves. She's strong, classic, elegant and graceful. All the things I desire to be, but fall short of.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The 27 Year Old Menace!

So it's no news that if you are a single woman over the age of 25 in Salt Lake City, UT that you are officially deemed a menace...but I didn't think it was going to carry over to Connecticut. In fact, it's one of the reasons I chose the East Coast when I graduated. The pressure in Utah to get married was getting intense. People assured me that the average age for marriage was older here, something like 28 so I figured I was "safe" for a while. However, sure enough...the comments keep creeping thier way into my menaceful life.

By definition, a menace is: express a threat either by an utterance or a gesture, something that is a source of danger, or to act in a threatening manner.

So I am wondering...hmmm....is doing your job, paying your debts, travleing the world, and following your dreams really all that threatening? Apparantly so cause for some reason everyone seems to have an opinion these days on what is wrong with me or why I haven't found "the one". I realize it is out of concern and love, but I often find myself laughing at the oodles of comments I recieve each week. I thought I would share a few with you and those of you who are fellow menaces will empathize I am sure. This week alone I have recived these comments.

"Holly, roll up your sleeves and get crackin! A lump on a log is not a pretty site!
"I have no doubts Holly that Heavenly Father has a man in store for you-he doesn't pick favorites"
-friend in South Africa
"Holly you are going to to get a hunk!"
-fellow nanny in Connecticut
"You are a special girl and your reward will come"
-another friend in South Africa
"You are just so set upable!"
-My employer
"You'll find the one, It'll happen when you least expect it"

Now here is the thing...I didn't ask any one of these people if I would find the one or not or how to find the one...they all just volunteered the comments. That is what usually happens. Even the seven year old I nanny is playing matchmaker. On friday he told his 26 year old teacher Mr. Gilpin that I had a crush on him just cause I mentioned he was cute once. He is cute! But, imagine my embarrassment today as I march up to pick up Maxwell with Marshall in my arms and stains all over my shirt, cause that is what nannies look like by 3pm okay! Mr. Gilpin was all cutsie with Marshall and I was just thinking "get me outta here" as I blushed and walked away. On the way home, Maxwell proceeded to tell me in the car that he had a "talk" Mr. Gilpin today at school. He asked Mr. Gilpin if he was married, and his reply was "No, why? Does your Nanny want to marry me?". It gets worse. Maxwell copied my cell phone number off the emergency numbers list in the kitchen and handed it to his teacher and don't worry...at dinner I was being called Holly Gilpin. K...now I am totally mortified and I never want to go back to Rye Country Day School for pick up or drop offs again! Let alone the class performances. The pediatrician is also the matchmaking type. Today while taking Marshall in for a check up, he tells me I'm a nice girl and says he is going to get the yente's (Jewish Mother's) involved. Then, I tell him I'm LDS and he says, "Oh, well...I can't help you there then". Nice One! Came home and there was a message on my facebook from my friend saying that she wants to set me up with this guy who is also looking for a "nice LDS girl". We're ALL nice LDS girls!!! I want someone who wants ME!

My point being...I don't know how or when in the world I will find "the one" but I am convinced that it's more complicated than just being set up, or when I least expect it or that I deserve it. It's a matter of a miracle and one that I am willing to wait for and date for if the result is that I get life eternal out of it in the end. And if that is menaceful...I guess the whole world and those who are trying to fix Holly and her singlehood will just have to suffer the consequences. As for me...I'm just going to keep on being Holly cause I don't know how to be anyone else and eventually the guy I marry is going to find out who I really am anyways! As for Mr. Gilpin-I'll keep you updated!