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For those of you who know who I am (95% of you), hi there. Thanks for stopping by! These next several months are going to be an adventure for all of us, so hold on tight.

For those of you who do not know me directly (or need a refresher), here are the basics:
Name: Harlee
Age: 19 and three quarters and retaining my youth brilliantly
Schooling: my home school is Humboldt State University, this fall I will be at Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (in Senegal)
Major: International Studies with a concentration in Global Cultural Studies

What in the world are you going to do with a degree like that, Har?: Great question. Literally, anything. Everything. It’s a very versatile and self-driven degree. I’ve had career goals in mind since before I started college, they are extremely hard to articulate. Something regarding social justice, education, or book publishing in developing countries. But how am I to know, really? I have seen so little of the world. I have no idea how I can contribute best. Not yet.  


Imagine sitting down with a box full of puzzle pieces, but the box has no image of what you’re supposed to be creating. You open the box and turn it upside down. All the pieces land in a pile that has no rhyme or reason to it. With no guide, the first logical step would be to find all of the corner and edge pieces—together these give dimension to the image you are creating. Even with extra definition, these pieces take time to fit together. And we haven’t even got to the meat of the puzzle yet—the pieces that need to be linked on all four sides! As the puzzle begins to take shape you start to realize that the image is something unfamiliar to you. Not a celebrity or a landscape. It is a barrage of colors—every tint and hue of every color on your spectrum is represented. At some point, the inevitable moment of panic that always accompanies a puzzle arises. It looks as though you only have a few pieces left to configure, but there is only one piece left in your hand. WHAT PIECES ARE YOU MISSING? WHERE HAVE THEY GONE? THERE IS NOTHING ON THE FLOOR AROUND YOU. SERIOUSLY, WHAT HAPPENED? After a brief moment of sheer panic, it’s time to focus. Maybe this is what the puzzle maker had in mind! Maybe this is a test of innovation. Sure, you can put together a puzzle of pieces that were given to you. But what do you do when that’s not enough? Close your eyes. Think about the journey this has been. How close you are to the end. What the very beginning of your journey felt like. Literally. THAT’S IT. You run to the kitchen to grab a pen and scissors. The blank box this puzzle came in is now an empty vessel just waiting to be utilized. Trace the missing pieces from the puzzle onto the cardboard, cut them out, and push them into place. An electrifying display of color has been revealed. This puzzle makes you feel complete. It forces your eyes to move around it constantly; it evokes sadness and happiness and confusion; it is unpredictable but has dimension; and though it is finished, will it ever be complete?

What component of that metaphor am I?  A corner piece? An edge? A middle piece? A Missing piece? An innovative piece? Am I the person solving the puzzle? I have no idea. This trip is going to help me start figuring it out. About a year ago I attended Invisible Children’s Fourth Estate Leadership Summit at UCLA. The mantra of the entire experience was delivered by Jason Russel when he said: “Your life is bigger than your best dream for it.” Now’s my time to start living my dream.

This blog is going to be a window into what I’ve got going on. I’ll be posting as many pictures as I can, as well as text updates like this one! Beyond that, this site is still open for interpretation. Stay with me. Thank you so much for all of the love and support I’ve received so far.