January 13, 2017

It was cold out and started to rain.  He made the 4 flights of stairs back up to collect our hats.   We walk slow because it’s wet and the steepness of the hill could be a tricky combo.   The sign on the door promised live music.   We snuggled into the corner booth with all the pillows and opted for the wine flight.  We talked and laughed and talked and laughed.  The wine kept up with us.  The music did not.

 

Favorite things party –

New Year’s day hike, 2016 reflections and so much to be grateful for. Goat hill swing. Twin Peaks picnic. Frozen to the bones. Hot toddy’s and irish coffees. Time to go home.

I love this man and his heart.  His face and kisses and hands.

I feel stronger, capable and unstoppable with him.

and now, which direction do I go?

 

January 3, 2017

30 day notice and the shift of new is upon me.  New home, new career, new love.   I’ve ignored my fears and jumped in.

Because that is what I’ve always done.

Word of the year is “New”.  Last year’s was transition.  The year before, balance.  and before that, Intention.

Time to seek new balance.  The next few months will possibly be uncomfortable during that shift.   I shall try to maintain my sanity.  I can do this.

December 10, 2016

I have enough money for rent.

My back itches.  I really enjoy hot showers.

It’s been raining for three days straight.  My engagement session is rescheduled until tomorrow. Promises of sun just around the corner.

A nightmare that woke me.  My kids crying.  Me unable to help them even though I was fighting to do so.

Mexico is 4 days away.  I need some sun on my skin and unknown adventure at my fingertips.

We’ve talked about moving in together.  I struggle with articulating my needs.  My need for space, light, and peace.  Space that is just mine and no one else’s.

I struggle with scaring him away, with forcing him to realize his mistake, and losing my one final hold on the bay area I can afford.

I struggle.

I need a good long run.  In the rain.

But I have a wedding I need to edit and finish today.

Today.

November 25, 2016

struggling.

restless beast.

May our choices reflect our hopes, not our fears. – Nelson Mandela

Struggling to decipher which way to lay my steps and intentions.   Away from but towards what?  How what is next?

Portraits. Business shoots. Crossing my fingers to survive the slow season.

How did I get here?  I can drive myself mad with the roundabout thinking.

If I don’t believe in devine design, than what does chaos have in store for me?

Suddenly I feel lost.

I feel his absence after he leaves.  Turns out I’m quite attached and perhaps fully smitten.  Care, support, consistency, depth of character.  This is the good man I have so long searched for.   I am myself completely, that freedom too is a uniquely beautiful thing.

There is no half way, or sort of’s.  I am 100 percent.  Now if only I can keep the restless beast away.  The beast needs it’s space, to be ignored, and just allowed the time to process.  All will be fine in the end.

November 22, 2016

home and all the restlessness I can muster.

You cannot measure the impact you have one someones life.  You cannot anticipate the difference you make in someones path.

flowers at the welcome home gate and snuggles and kisses I’ve anticipated for 4 weeks.

this program could potentially be my new path. It all starts somewhere right?  Teaching photography, giving value, giving love.  I can do these things.  Financially things are a complete mess.  I need to figure out what is next.

November 18, 2016

The photos are hung.  We’re expecting around 300 people.  It could be less, it could be more.  I’m really in aw.  This started with a small intention… and now its a living program, first ever gallery exhibition of its kind, and know the world over.

The roller coaster ride is complete.  The tears and heartbreak have been shed, but not over with just yet.  I know as I begin to process over the next few weeks it will come in waves.

Things I want to remember.

  • Sweet, shy, insecure, ADD Isha, who sleeps on the cement floor with just a blanket.
  • Giggling Versha and her red twirling dress.
  • Priyanshu’s strut.
  • Compassionate Uzma.
  • SK, 13 years old, father has passed.  Sews buttons on a shirt for 8 hours everyday after school. He makes 8 rupees (11 cents ) per shirt.
  • Reshma and Sryiansh, natural leaders, takes care of the younger kids.
  • Riya, Priya, Sumatra – lost their mothers and are on the brink of finding a new path other than what they’ve always known.

the three week mark was the straining point for Chris and I.  I could tell on our facetime that It dreaminess of it all was wearing off.   He missed me and was ready for this all to be over with.  He was less smiley then before and anxious about the coming days.  I felt that at week two for myself, as the program was at it’s longest days, and routine and close quarters were taking its toll.  As a team, the guys and I  survived though and our sprits are once again positive and uplifted as we are set to fly home in less than 48 hours.

His letter arrived, 3 weeks later.  A hug from home and a squeeze from that amazing man that I am so grateful for and lucky to have.

I struggle with the images or The Parveen family of 5 who’s father has passed and they are struggling to keep their home.  Their home that is half the size of my room and all 5 share one bed.  Two of those kids are our best photography students.  Sweet Saba, and hardworking SK.

November 12, 2016

Sapna – Hindi for dream

the realization that there is only 8 days left.  the realization that I’m going to miss these kids, but also asking, have I really done them good?

 

This week left me an emotional basket case.  Unexpected new president and the continued challenges of being here.  Food, health, safety, freedom.  Mirrored a world away but not so different overall.

November 11, 2016

I’ve cried more in the last 30 days than I have all year.  I underestimated how challenging this trip would be.  Not just the part where I’m in India, there is so much more to it than that.    I miss fresh vegetables, being able to go places by myself, and most of all, the beauty that is silence. haha..     The best part of my day is hanging out with my students and talking photography with them.  They can’t get enough.  Our theme one week was “love”.  We asked them what they loved and all of their answers were family, god and friends.   We talked about how that is expressed and photographed.   When we sent the camera’s home with them, most of them brought back images of their moms, grandmothers and siblings.  I’ve really loved getting to know their personalities and quirks, to see what they respond to and laugh at, and how they love and care for their families and friends.

This place is chaos, this place is dirty, it is confusing, it’s noisy (think fireworks and car horns even through the night)

November 8, 2016

I have to allow myself the space to believe in “magic”.  Things don’t just happen.  Whoever or whatever is behind it, my life theme continues…  **serendipity**

we went to the printer’s to say hello again and follow up with the talk of promised sponsorship and prints.  Turns out the owner wasn’t in yet, so we waited in the alley next door.  This poor woman who’s family was living in the alley came up to us and gave us a bag of cut of fruit and said “Chau Puji” I realized she was giving us a gift, as I had read that is what most of these holidays are about, bowed as we took it.  I remembered I had my polaroid printer with me as well as some candies so we went over and offered some gifts in thanks.  The kids were so elated about the candy that the little girl bowed and touched my feet in gratitude.  I took a few photos and printed them up for them and watched their beaming faces as look their photos.  We head inside as the boss had arrived and were not sure what to do with the fruit.  We offered it to one of the workers and she put it on the desk.  The boss man walks in and said a few prayers to his gods, then turned to the bag of fruit and immediately grabbed it and put it to his forehead in prayer.  Afterwards he asked his assistant where it came from and she pointed to us.  He was shocked (as were we) and thanked us for our holy gift.

The things you just don’t know!!!!

It launches us into a great discussion about the purpose and intentions of our program, the importance of photography, and his involvement.  It was an incredibly uplifting meeting, and we all reveled in the chance that we had stumbled upon this print shop out of all the shops here in Kolkata.

October 31, 2016

and so it begins

30 minutes to summarize the core element of photography – composition.  Jumping in and not know what is the best way to teach it, language barrier as well as the challenge of having to learn this “new” language of photography and “seeing”.  3 hours of total time spent in instruction including shooting time and image review.  It took a while, but slowly and surely, the lights started to turn on and we were seeing that most of them were getting it.

We are adapting as we go, adjusting the lesson plan to their pace of learning.  But they are getting it.  We told them about the exhibition and instantly their eyes lit up and smiles were on their faces.  They are so excited.

Processing my own emotions :: feelings like, inadequate, inarticulate, not fun/funny, not friendly enough.

Questions like:: will this work? will we fail? will we disappoint people?, Am I being all the things above? am I being egotistical? am I being outgoing enough? Am I listening? am I being kind to locals?

My fears are:: I don’t want to devalue anyone, offend anyone, or be a burden.

Thoughts moving forward ::

I have just as much to contribute as any of the other teachers here.  I am so grateful to be here, to have this experience and to be able to share time and space and love with these kids.  My affect will never be known to me, but it is worth it non the less.