Friday, August 23, 2013

At times, it feels like this never even happened...

I recently returned home after the most fulfilling three months of my life to date. I was lucky enough to have my Canon with me along the way, and not only was I able to document the most memorable moments of the experience, but I feel like I really grew as a photographer. My techniques and skills still leave quite a lot to be desired, but what I did learn is how to fully experience the moments I'm capturing through my lens in that moment, which I honestly believe translate in the photos I got. I used to use my camera as a way to remember everything and realized that in doing that, I was missing out on the experiences themselves. It was an obsessive thing rather than a joyful one. This summer, rather than scramble for my camera every waking moment, I let the moments happen and captured the ones that felt right.

I don't know where this blog will go, but I know that I have a lot of pictures to share, and some that I want to paint the backstory for. Perhaps more will be posted along the way.... And maybe not. In a nutshell, this summer I interned with Invisible Children, a non-profit I've been dedicated to since my freshman year of high school. Working at IC was always the dream, and this year timing fell into place and I finally had the guts to apply and thankfully things worked out. To many, my summer looked incredible (and it was) but a lot of the growing pains I experienced likely didn't translate. Living in a house with 37 people (turned 65 at the end of July) presented a number of challenges. As someone who's always had her own bedroom and lived in a single dorm the majority of my college experience, the idea of living with 4 girls in one room (later 8 girls in one bedroom) was overwhelming. I'm an extrovert with a lot of introvert tendencies, meaning alone time is a must for me. I, as well as ever individual in that house, made a lot of personal sacrifices to dedicate our summer to IC, but the beautiful thing is that our struggles always paled in comparison to the stories of why we were all there in the first place. When you remind yourself that people continue being abducted, killed, raped, and mutilated by the LRA, you realize that a few dirty dishes and someone taking too long in the shower really aren't problems at all... 

I think a part of me is still in denial about my summer being over... At times, it feels like it never even happened. I miss living with my friends. I miss the daily hugs and words of affirmation from the 65 most loving people I know. I miss the corny jokes that only a person at IC would understand. I miss Monday night house meetings where suddenly every member of the house comes together to review the week and clean the entire house. (Lord knows that house needs all the cleaning it can get!) I miss the red vans in the driveway and the stairs behind the house. I miss our view from the balcony and the sound of our trusty guitar. I miss the noise, the chaos, the love, the enthusiasm, and the excitement. They always say that in retrospect things seem better than they actually were, but I knew days before leaving that it was exactly as good as I would later perceive it to be. I intentionally took note of the little things so that I wouldn't forget them later on. I miss the mountains, the lack of humidity, but most of all I miss the people. A lot... 

So, with that, I'll jump into the photos. Because I can't write & cry at the same time. These photos are more or less the beginning and the end because I'm still trying to process what happened in the middle. Stand-by for that blog post...

La Mesa, truly the Jewel of the Hills.

Something about photographing other photographers at Sunset Cliffs...

Friends + coffee shops + newly purchased used books = the most exquisite equation for the soul.

My heart personified. 



Hikes and walks. Anything and everything outside. 

Spontaneous night swimming...

New friends who make you forget what life was like before they came around...

Birthdays...

Reuniting with best friends...

Laughs.

"Co-workers" who became family.

Epic grafitti.

Art...

Superheros.


Nights that were food for the soul.

Actual food... For my soul. #Chipotle

Office puppies who melt your heart.

A most incredible office.

Balboa Park.

Coffee shops in OB. I'll never forget how good this day was.

Sometimes you meet your heroes in front of the whole world...

The cliche photos...

And a few heartfelt ones.

And the final goodbyes that aren't so final....

I can't wait to see you all soon.