Friday, June 26, 2015


I've been ruminating for a week and a half on how I feel about Charleston and what happened there last Wednesday.  I have started writing this post several times, only to be overcome by complicated feelings so intense, I had to literally get up and walk away from my computer. 

As a journalist and proud South Carolinian, my emotions have truly been all over the place.

After getting the call Wednesday and the instruction to drive all night to be ready to report Thursday morning, I thought only of the editorial job I had to do, the logistics of where to park and making sure the correspondent I was producing for was prepped and ready to be on television.  For the first few hours of the day, I thought only about getting the story and all of its horrible details.

But when the sun came up on Calhoun Street in a city I love so dearly, I couldn't help but notice that the stately and gorgeous Emanuel AME church looked different.  Or, I wondered, was it I that was different, knowing that I'd have to add "church" to a list of other places (elementary school, movie theater, grocery store) where our safety from evil is no longer guaranteed? 

To the families of the Charleston 9 - There are no words to express the grief I feel for your extraordinary loss.  The stories I've heard about your loved ones who lost their lives will stay with me forever and I remain profoundly disappointed that the world will no longer benefit from their exceptional gifts.  May you find peace and feel love from a nation that grieves with you.

To Charleston - I'll never stop singing your praises and you have made me so very proud to have lived there and to be from South Carolina.  Thank you for showing your compassion and your hospitality and for showing America how a community grieving can come together in ways that have made my heart swell at least a thousand times.  I'll never stop lobbying to become CNN's first and only Lowcountry Bureau Chief, but I hope the next time I'm in town covering a story, it's one highlighting your beautiful spirit.  

To the rest of the world looking at South Carolina - This state is special.  The people here are special.  We are not perfect, and there are a few bad apples that still remain walking our streets, but that's no more or less than any other place on earth.  We've made some mistakes in our past that thankfully we seem to be on the path to correcting.  We'd love for you to come visit and we'll show you a real good time, but spare us your lectures or the assumption that we're lesser than you.


Have a great, peaceful weekend.  Choose love, my friends. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

south africa, part four: the main event.

After a week and a half of experiencing new things in an exotic country full of gorgeous views (Part One, Part Two, Part Three), the time had come for the real reason we'd traveled so far - Emily and Justin's wedding weekend. 

Because this is the kind of (amazing) couple they are, the duo didn't just arrange for transportation to take us to Morgansvlei Country Estate for their wedding, they also arranged wine and cheese-tasting at Fairview winery on the way.

I've been known to get excited at wine tastings and have confused my taste buds into thinking I should purchase a lot of wine that I didn't actually like.   Yakima Valley, anyone?  But Fairview was different.   I bought a case and have enjoyed every bottle of it and if I could've shipped the cheese home, I would've done it.


Then, we were all invited to a traditional South African braai, held poolside next to mountainside views, because of course it was.

And then, it was Emily and Justin's wedding day.  The Main Event. 


I'm not sure how Emily managed to look so beautiful, so at ease after having entertained her American guests for several days, shuttling us from one tourist attraction to the next and making sure we were having a good time.  She was flawlessly stunning and glamorous, while still looking like her laid-back self.  Justin looked pretty handsome too. 


Nor do I understand how Mo pulled off officiating their nuptials in such an appropriately humorous and completely meaningful way - especially after planning the entire trip and enduring one of the most vicious sunburns I've ever seen.


The wedding was, in a word, gorgeous.  In two words, gorgeous and HOT.  I'll spare you the sweaty face dancing pictures.  Yikes.   

I don't think I'll offend Justin or Emily when I say as sweet and fun as their wedding was, it was just another great day among all of the truly spectacular days we had in South Africa.  A beautiful highlight in an already very crowded highlight reel, for which I am extremely grateful.  

In that regard, I hope their wedding is a metaphor for the life that they will have together - one that is full of laughs, new experiences, beautiful views, gin drinks and sweaty dancing.  One perfect day among many to come.  

Cheers and Congrats Justin and Emily!