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Archive for the ‘events’ Category

Well, on Sunday it had been decided, rather suddenly, that on Tuesday I should go to Chacha to photograph cows.

Let me back up a minute. I’m not going to get into all of the details, because there isn’t a whole lot that I understand or that has really been figured out, and it stressed me out to think about it. BUT, suffice it to say that somehow it came about that I would be working with another team member on a long-term project: making a photobook about Project Mercy. Or…well, something like that. One of the myriad of off-shoot projects that Project Mercy is working on is a ranch in a town called Chacha. Chacha is a farming community on the other side of Addis Ababa – about a 4-5 hour drive from Project Mercy. There, they are attempting to breed hardy, disease-resistant Ethiopian cows with American cows. American cows (Jersey cows, I think) produce almost 10x as much milk as these Ethiopian cows. The goal here is to produce a hearty cow which is both resistant to Ethiopia diseases and produces more milk.  If successful, this project could help many families improve their nutritional intake.

At any ate, this would be a great thing for me to photograph for any potential book (which may or may not happen…?) so it was decided that I would go with Sean, Bete and David to Chacha on Tuesday. What this meant, then, is that Monday would be my last day to capture the goings-on with our group and Project Mercy. So I spent the first part of the day at the school clinic (in a new location for the new week) and the latter portion driving around with Marta and Deme, taking pictures of what they felt were significant parts of Project Mercy.

It was great to spend some time with Marta and Deme and hear their stories. The end of the day was sad for me as I was thinking about leaving. Leaving this beautiful place, and the new connections I had made – leaving the new way I felt about my place in the world. But all good things must end, and I was (and am) pretty sure that I will come back to Project Mercy.

 

I’m trying something new with the images – click on the first image to see the gallery.

 

 

 

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You know where is a good place to sit in silence? A new apartment. It’s quiet. There’s nothing gurgling on the stove, no computer fans whirring in the background. But it’s not too quiet – you can hear the clicking and shhhing of the rain falling on rooftops, the distant horn of a passing train, the occasional gust of wind shaking water off of the trees. It’s a good place to sit still and look out the window and ponder.

This is a strange transition time, when you know a new place is already yours, but it has none of your stuff in it yet. There are no fond memories of friends gathering for food and games, no paths dented into the carpet where you walk around the furniture every day. There’s just a feeling of something new about to happen, a new chapter, a new leaf – better even than the clock striking midnight on new year’s eve.

The living room in our new place is roughly the size of the entire old place. The giant window takes up most of one whole wall and looks over the rooftops of surrounding homes. There is so much light. Oh, the things I plan to do in this light – the ways I will be better. I will make stained glass windows again, I will edit photos. I will read and look out the window. I will ride my bike around town and hang out in the coffee shop around the corner. I will enjoy the city. I will be new again.

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When the snow doesn’t come to you, you must go to the snow. So the last day in Boise, we borrowed Sean’s Grandparents’ all wheel drive car and headed into the mountains. My absolute glee at the glory (the snowy, white, rich, freezing glory) which we encountered there can only be described in pictures. So here goes.

snow in Idaho

snow in Idaho
snow in Idaho

snow in Idaho

snow in Idaho

snow in Idaho

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Here I am , on another vacation. One may think that my whole life is just a series of vacations. Vacation from what, one may ask.

christmas in boise

Being in Boise, Idaho, at Sean’s grandparents’ house, is a very different experience from being at my parents’ house in san diego. For one thing, it’s winter, and you can tell. There’s snow on the ground, and iced-over puddles, and that steel-gray-colored sky that betrays how low the sun is. For another, it’s quiet. Like, really, really quiet. I mean, I talk about San Diego being quiet, but this is different. You can sleep as late as you want, stay up as late as you want, and no one expects or wants anything from you. There isn’t a whole lot to do, or a whole lot of anything planned – there’s an endless amount of things to eat, some movies to watch, some games to play, some errands to run. But if you felt like spending an entire day staring out the window and eating cookies, you could probably get away with it. All the benefits of childhood with none of the restrictions.

Also, it’s kind of a winter wonderland. There are santa clauses and snowmen and lights abounding. On the second floor, there’s an entire cabinet dedicated to one of those miniature christmasy town displays.

christmas in boise

It’s christmas eve. I’ve been here for two days. So far, I’ve watched 10 episodes of west wing (finally finished the series), knitted and un-knitted a first attempt at a complicated cowl, went to costco, played a game of cards at a coffee shop, and eaten an entire jar of home made cookies.

christmas in boise

Today is grandpa Veltrop’s (“pop’s”) birthday, as well as my brother’s. Sean’s grandparents (affectionately called “mom and pop” or more formally, the Veltrops) hosted a dinner for their local family members. In attendance were mom and pop, two aunts, two uncles, five cousins, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, and two adorable dogs. Oh, and Sean and I.

After all of that, here I sit, by myself, in the living room. It’s 11:45, quiet, dark. Sean has gone up to bed, and I am waiting for midnight. Because somebody should. Because it’s Christmas eve, and I want to be at Grace and Peace church in St. Louis, at the 11pm candlelight vigil. Because i miss the magic of santa claus. Because I miss the magic of Jesus.

christmas in boise

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Well…I am now 1.5 months behind, and it’s time catch up with my life before I forget everything. Thankfully, I have pictures :0)

I think our last full day in Tahoe was my favorite. Our plan initially was to go in search of some obscure tower Sean wanted to find. I won’t even try to remember what it was, but Sean is a fan of rare obscure towers, and I enjoy exploring, so off we went (Sean informs me its a “long lines” tower, which was an at&t project from late 40s-early 90s. Sean’s traveled far and wide looking for these things. He’s sort of a “collector”). It was supposed to be about an hour away from our hotel, through the beautiful hills and forests of the surrounding area. We went by Donner lake, (thus named after the Donner Party), up insanely beautiful windy (and windy) roads. The expanses are impossible to capture with a photograph, but of course that didn’t stop me from trying.

sillouette

sillouette

Sean and Donner lake

Sean and Donner lake

Sean is happy he gets to drive mountain roads

Sean is happy he gets to drive mountain roads

Donner lake in the distance

Donner lake in the distance

I was quite cold

I was quite cold

throwing a snowball

throwing a snowball

my shadow with Donner lake in the distance

my shadow with Donner lake in the distance

An hour or so later we arrived at the hill we were supposed to drive up to see the tower. Unfortunately, we were stopped by some (park rangers?) who informed us that not only do you need some sort of code to go up there (which, presumably and surprisingly, Sean seemed to have) but also, that the trail was already closed for the season. Which is silly, since there was no snow on the ground. disheartened but not defeated, we decided to take the opportunity to be out exploring and ventured off on an off-roading adventure. Well, it was really just a muddy fire trail, not anything particularly epic, except that the are had the distinctive feel of being completely and utterly uninhabited. It had been a long, long time since I had been in a place like that. Quiet, empty, unmanicured. I loved it.

We wandered down a trail for a while with no particular purpose, not knowing where it led or whether it was a loop. After a while of not coming across anything or anyone, we figured we should turn around (especially since the trail didn’t show up on the map and we had no idea where we’d end up if we kept going). We’d been going along one of the many lakes up there. Here’s us at the turn-around point:

middle of nowhere

middle of nowhere

middle of nowhere

middle of nowhere

After we got off that trail, we decided to go down another, this time into the stark landscape of a recent fire. The shapes and colors were incredible, as was that feeling of far far from civilization.

the great wide open

the great wide open

post apocalyptic

post apocalyptic

lone tree

lone tree

looking out

looking out

barren

barren

We spent a long, long time driving around and exploring dirt paths – just going down whatever road looked interesting. If you know me, you know I’m an adventurous sort, and I loved the feeling of seeing something new, experiencing something new, and even more the feeling that these places are not nearly as oft-experienced as most other places I encounter on a regular basis.

wilderness

wilderness

expanse

expanse

evening

evening

We wandered thusly until nightfall. As soon as we got back we went downstairs to the restaurant/bar which featured a “$10 burger+beer” deal on Thursdays. And considering this was the sort of place that had $15 burgers, that was a pretty good deal. We gorged ourselves on amazing burgers and beer and played cards. Because that’s just how we roll.

The following day, Friday the 19th (of November! Man, that was a while ago…) we had to pack up and leave. We were sad to go, and kind of dragged it out. We went back to Truckee and finally found a christmas ornament (a giant mouth-blown globe of swirly blues and pinks). There was a huge storm promised for the weekend, and while I really wanted to witness it, sean warned me that a storm in Tahoe is not the sort of thing I’m used to, and if we stayed too long we could get snowed in for the whole weekend. I thought that didn’t sound half bad, but our honeymoon funds were low, and it was just not going to happen. On our way out of town, it was starting to sprinkle just a tiny bit, the ittybitty little snowflakes. There was a general sense of foreboding as many people flocked grocery stores in case they got stuck at home for a while. Apparently, they did end up getting about 6 feet of snow that weekend. In, like, 48 hours. Which is insane.

our room

our room

gathering storm

gathering storm

Donner lake, on our way out

Donner lake, on our way out

train shed

train shed

(in the above photo, you can see a wooden structure along the side of the mountain – this is actually a shed built around train tracks to keep them from getting snowed in)

For the rest of the weekend, our friends the Strongs lent us their beautiful beach house in Aptos, so that’s where we went. We invited some friends over, made food, drank beer, played a brain-melting game of trivial pursuit, and had an overall lovely time. So lovely, in fact, that I don’t have a single picture from that evening. Nor from the following day, when Sean and I went to Santa Cruz to look for jeans (Sean’s been wanting to get me a pair of jeans….I could personally do without, but I’m not going to say no) and then saw Harry Potter. It was a cold rainy day, so it was nice to come back to the Aptos house, eat leftovers and watch movies.

aptos

aptos

Overall, we had a great honeymoon, and we couldn’t have had one at all without the generous gifts of our friends and family. So THANK YOU friends and family! Grandparents for the funds, Roots for lending us their car, and everyone who chipped into the honeyfund, which allowed us to eat delicious food all week. It was a trip we will remember forever :0)

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The second full day we had in Tahoe, we decided to go for a walk (translation, Sean wanted to stay in an do nothing, but I insisted on a walk). We didn’t end up finding the trail we were looking for, so after walking around for half an hour, we decided to call it done and go get Thai food. (Many thanks to Jess D. for honeyfund contributions which paid for our lunch!)

 

while walking

while walking

This is Sean having fun with long exposure shots, to get that fuzzy water look:

while walking
while walking

while walking

We weren’t quite ready to head home yet (since it was only about 2pm) so we decided to go on a drive. We just drove and drove and eventually drove around the whole lake! We stopped often to explore and take pictures.

North East side of the lake

North East side of the lake

North East side of the lake

North East side of the lake

lovin the birches

lovin the birches

thanks to the roots for lending us their car!

thanks to the roots for lending us their car!

sean

sean

this is one of the reasons I love our wide-angle lens

this is one of the reasons I love our wide-angle lens

reflection in the roof of the car

reflection in the roof of the car

the famous emerald bay with it's little island

the famous emerald bay with it's little island

the famous emerald bay with it's little island

the famous emerald bay with it's little island

sean's long arms are so useful

sean's long arms are so useful

By the time we made it back the sun had set, so it was time for food. This time, we went to the fancy restaurant’s counterpart bar and had snacks and beer and played cards.

sean while playing cards

sean while playing cards

sean while playing cards

sean while playing cards

I know I make it sound like we were doing stuff all day, but really….we spent a large portion of each day just not doing anything. It was such a shock after the hectic-ness of wedding planning that I had a very hard time getting into the concept of not having a schedule. I kept insisting that we make a plan of stuff to do, and asking what time it was, etc. I never did fully grasp the concept of “no schedule”, but I did get better at it as the week went along.

The next day we finally did manage to make it out on a real hike. The weather was perfect – brisk and sunny. Lots of people were out walking with their dogs. We picked a relatively easy hike on a fire trail in the forest. In spite of the ever-so-slight elevation change, we both found ourselves getting out of breath (presumably because of the altitude, but possibly because both of us had not exercised regularly for weeks). We walked until we hit a patch of snow, then turned around and headed back down.

hiking

hiking

snow!

snow!

sean in the snow

sean in the snow

snow lizard

snow lizard

in the snow

in the snow

In an effort to try something different, we went to a chinese place for dinner. I give it a meh. Plus, it made the car and room smell funny.

chinese food

chinese food

After that we just went back to the lodge and Sean had some more fun with long exposure shots:

view of the lodge from the lake

view of the lodge from the lake

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One month and one day ago, I got married.

I don’t remember waking up – what I thought or felt. Which is funny, because I used to tell myself “make sure you think or feel something when you wake up on your wedding day”. But no, I just woke up.

Jess came to pick me up at about 9:30,  along with my pile of stuff – dress, underdress, boots, overnight bag, etc, etc, etc. Our first stop was my hair and makeup appointment. It took over two hours, but I was very happy with the result – it was very close to what I had envisioned. And I still looked like me. We ended up running kind of late though, and by the time we ordered and picked up lunch for everyone at sweet pea’s, it was already almost 1pm (by which point we were supposed to be at the hotel already).

wedding hair

We hurried over to the hotel and were the third ones there – the photographer (Sarah) and bridesmaid Jenelle were already there. We started unpacking and the girls started getting ready, then my mom and sister showed up at about 2. Somehow, we just ran out of time. One minute I was trying to curl Jess’s hair, and the next the limo was there and I wasn’t even dressed yet. I wish we had scheduled more time. It all goes so fast, you know? I put on my epic dress and with some help got the thing zipped, and with little more than a glance in the mirror and a rushed gathering of necessary items, Jenelle, Jess and I were out the door. My mom, Anya, and the niece and nephew were to follow in a van.

limo

Driving up to the venue I was overwhelmed. I felt nervous and exhilarated, and also, I think, somewhat sad that everything was going so fast. Like I was missing it somehow, because it was going too fast. I read and re-read my vows to make sure I wouldn’t stutter, and I thought about how Sean must be feeling. He was already at the venue, directing last minute decorations.  I kept trying to remember what I used to feel about getting married – the significance, the overwhelming nature of the promises I was about to make. I kept trying to grasp those things and hold them in my mind, but they kept slipping away. Then I figured, I’ve had 4.5 years to decide to marry this guy – maybe I’ve thought about it enough. Maybe now it’s time to just do it, get the public display over with, and get on with the rest of our lives. It’s impossible to grasp in one moment what took years to decide, and what will take the rest of our lives to perfect.

But man, was I nervous.

When we arrived at the venue, someone made sure Sean was out of eyesight, and the girls and I snuck over to the bridal room. We ended up spending an awful long time in there, as people took forever to arrive and we started the ceremony half an hour late. I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I just stopped thinking about it.

bridal room

bridal room

When it was finally time to start, someone handed me my bouquet, and I walked out and grabbed my father’s arm. He seemed somewhat overwhelmed too, but I’m glad he was there to steady me. I held unto his arm as if it was my life raft. We had to walk very slowly, because my 4 inch heels sunk in the soft grass upon contact. Later I found out that people thought I was going to faint, when really, I was just trying not to trip.

walking down the aisle

Sean was serious and determined. He could tell how nervous I was, so he grabbed my hand and held it the entire time.

The ceremony went quickly, which is what we wanted. I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but I walked away from there someone’s wife.

The ensuing pictures were chaotic as usual, and since we started so late it was nearly dark, so we had to go fast. And then, the fun began.

Food! And friends and family. The toasts were lovely, and the mingling easy. The whole night was a blur of dancing and socializing. I wanted it to go on and on, but too soon it as over and people started heading home. I wish there had been more dancing, but we ran out of music, and the venue wouldn’t let us play it loud enough. Aside from that, it was a nearly perfect night. I was filled with sadness when all the lights and decorations started coming down and the tables folded up. We lingered until the last possible moment, making our car and driver wait for us for almost an hour. I didn’t want to say goodbye to my family, or my friends. Eventually, though, it was time to go, and I got to leave with my husband :0)

There’s some pretty significant symbolism in that simple act – saying goodbye to everyone, and going home with your husband. Not that you have to completely separate yourself from everyone, that would be unhealthy, but you have to acknowledge that you are part of a new unit now, separate somehow from all of the other units and partnerships you may have been a part of in the past. That is, and will be, the hardest part for me – pulling away, ever-so-slightly from the past life of relationships and entanglements in order to form a stronger bond with my new family, a family of two.

(courtesy of http://www.sarahandersonphotography.net/)

sean and liza

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