Kristin is no stranger to this blog- she's a friend of mine who I've convinced to let me feature her a few times (here, here and here!), and I'm always, always blown away by her. She's a lot of wonderful things, but I think the most beautiful thing about her is her selflessness, which inspires everyone around her to do more. I love following along with Kristin on her adventures and journeys, and her IG is one of my absolute favorites. It's a welcome break from photos that can all tend to look the same (mine included), and a great reminder that there is a whole world out there outside of the little bubble we so comfortably live in. Kristin has the most beautiful heart and someone I look up to- she's incredibly sweet, gorgeous both in and out, and I'm beyond excited to have her on Sometimes Sweet once again. Thank you, Kristin!
Name: Kristin Lay of Time Won’t Wait For Me (honestly, this is a blog you'll want to add to your reading list NOW) and hey_kristin on Instagram
What should we know about you: I’m a fairly simple lady. Missouri born and California raised. I graduated from nursing school in 2008 and life was going exactly how I had planned. I had what was, at the time, my dream job, lived in a great area of Southern California, had awesome friends and an amazing boyfriend. Then in January 2011 everything changed suddenly and unexpectedly. I went on a short-term surgical mission to Guwahati, Assam, India with Operation Smile. What was supposed to be a two-week trip turned into me realizing that my life was meant to take a 180-degree turn, if I would let it. I did, and in May 2011 I moved for ‘six months’ to help open a comprehensive cleft care center for Operation Smile in Guwahati. Well, it is nearly two years later and somehow I am still here!!
How I fill my days: I start every morning with a cup of tea on my balcony. I find in a country that can be so overwhelming, it is really important to begin each day with this quiet moment to center myself. I then drive my scooter through the crazy traffic to the cleft care center. There, we repair cleft lips, palates and other facial deformities year round (free of cost) and just performed our 5,000th surgery since opening in May 2011! So awesome!! On any given work day you may find me recovering patients from surgery, leading nurse education, running the surgical schedule, teaching CPR and advanced life support, or just simply playing with patients before surgery with about a million other tasks in between. I have to admit, my job is pretty great.
After/outside of work I dedicate my time to a slum outreach project I started in October 2011 called Pratyasha Foundation. We cook food for and feed roughly 80 kids at our Sunday ‘picnics’ every week, have a healthcare partnership with a local hospital, hold girls days and every evening seven of our girls attend school. School is our biggest and most recent accomplishment and we could not be more excited for our girls who are taking this step! Thanks to support from friends like Dani, this project that started so simply has grown quite naturally.
Everything in between is just normal every day stuff for here. I bathe from a bucket (after heating up my water on the stove), buy fresh veggies from the open air market in the evenings, battle dehydration from the mass amounts of sweating during the summer, wade through the monsoon floods, wiggle my head back and forth to say ‘yes,' eat with my hands and pray for strong enough internet to be able to make Skype calls home!
What I'm currently working on: I NEVER thought I’d be saying this but I am currently elbow deep in officially incorporating Pratyasha Foundation and applying for 501(c)(3) status! I am a total science/medicine person and have exactly zero experience with all of this legal stuff but we are getting through it with some help. I spend too much time looking up the meaning of legal terms and worrying that we’re going to do something incorrectly but I know the actual work we are doing is good and necessary and will grow even more if we take this step to make everything official! Plus? We are planning our Pratyasha outreach center, which means I should also work on increasing the hours in my days and the days in my week!
Who or what inspires me: Sometimes I feel a bit like Ricky in American Beauty…. You could definitely find me exclaiming “That’s the most beautiful plastic bag I’ve ever seen!” I find inspiration in a lot of things because I choose to. Sometimes living in a developing country is extremely overwhelming but so much of that is in the way we choose to process our surroundings. Instead of being broken down by the widespread difficulty here, I find inspiration in the pulsing life and beauty that persists despite it. Working at the surgical center and in the slums has become a tangible way to put this inspiration to work. Also this simple and beautiful quote by Dr. Bill Magee: Love is a choice to make someone else’s problem your problem.
3 current favorite blogs to read:
No Model Lady- I wish my writing was as entertaining as hers! Plus, I literally dream of being in Japan!
Maggie Doyne’s journal on her website- She is practically my neighbor and I love keeping up with what she’s doing in Nepal.
A Beautiful Mess- Okay, so I can not utilize about 99% of their crafts/recipes/décor/fashion/beauty tutorials but can I just say…. GIRL CRUSH? What a couple of amazing ladies!! Bonus points for their shop being in the town I was born in.