Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Anticipation and Fear

Early Sunday morning, I will carry my luggage out into the cold, scrape off the car, and head for the airport. There, I will wait in line (having thrown out my hummus and toothpaste at security if I've forgotten and left them in my carry-on) to board a plane for Phoenix, transferring to a tiny plane headed to Hermosillo, Mexico. In Mexico, I will drag my enormous luggage (loaded with donations of school and dental supplies) awkwardly through the unpaved, dusty streets of a town that looks not-so-different from the side streets of LA, Las Vegas, or even parts of Logan. From there, myself and two female traveling companions climb aboard an enormous bus for a 3 hour drive to the headquarters of our Mexican volunteer counterparts, where (finally), I will begin to feel like I'm actually in Mexico.

I know -- and don't know -- what awaits me; I've done this trip before, but there are always surprises. Hence the anticipation. And the fear.

My heart longs for these journeys in a way never imagined (by me, anyway). Others used to tell me that I was a traveler: meant for other places and other things. But I thought that was only because they saw the surface -- the clothes that never quite fit the norm, the foreign films and music, the bohemian way I decorate my spaces -- and failed to see what lay underneath: a timid person afraid of change, afraid of too much possibility, afraid of the unfamiliar and unknown. How could a person like that travel anywhere?

Yet I did. And through these trips, I tapped into a self I'd never known before - not to mention sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and most of all, people I'd never known before and grew to love.

I miss India the most. But I'm excited to return to Mexico as well. I love the children and the sun and the food and the Spanish language. Strangely, I love the bad night's sleep on the cement floor with the incessant sounds of the chickens and dogs and the blaring of the truck selling food in the morning, the mud and the horrible bathrooms, and even the excruciating pain in my hands after a long day of mixing adobe. I guess I like the fact that I survive it, and survive it well.

So why am I so afraid? I'm terrified to go. It's as if I think that it can't be repeated: the love I feel for the people, for the experience. What if I've become colder and more selfish? What if the people hate me? What if I've become lazier, being at home, and I won't be able to handle the work? What if I'm so homesick for all I've left behind that I won't extend myself to the people I'm with? In the past, I've bonded with the people because I needed them so desperately. But now I'm content. Will that make me distant from them -- because my heart is here instead of there?

I wonder if this will happen every time. Even though the fear is inevitably swallowed up in the work, and forgotten soon after. Yet, every single time I go - always the same fear: will I connect with the people? Will I work hard? Will I give of myself? Will they receive me?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Recent Still Lifes

Forgive me that I keep posting pictures. I'm recovering from the last few months, which have been tougher than I sometimes let on. However, things are looking up...and by my next real blog, I may actually have some thoughts to share instead of just my photos. For now, let this series speak to you of how I was feeling at the time: terrified - wanting to limit my world to something small and manageable, a microcosm of life that I could study without feeling overwhelmed. And, simultaneously, the frustration of being trapped by my fears - longing to again learn, discover, explore, create... (P.S. the pics enlarge when clicked)

Weddings, Weddings, Weddings

If you want to know what I've been doing lately, this is one: wedding photography. I've even started traveling this last year: once to South Carolina, and once to Hawaii. Here are a few pics from this last wedding season (June - Dec):

Mural Pics

Here are the requested pictures of the finished mural. If anyone needs a reminder, it was for LDS Family Services, for their adoption center.

They also asked me to design their new t-shirts (in the same style as the mural).

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Be back soon...

I leave in about 5 hours for Hawaii to photograph a wedding for my neighbor. They're getting married on the beach (actually on Kauai). My "pay" for the wedding is airfare, room & board. I'll share some pictures when I get back.

I love you all -- especially you, Dan -- and I'll write again soon.

P.S. The mural is finished, and it went well.