Monday, March 4, 2013

5-year blog-aversary

What do you do to celebrate talking about yourself for five years? I'm not sure. I can say that this blog began as my sister insisting that I post all the doodles and comics I drew when I started college.

Abby and I were living apart and living our different lives so this is how I started to keep in contact with her. Still today I write it with only Abby in mind. I am happy as a clam that all of you read it too, and the more people I meet as I travel I am thrilled to keep with with through here too.

For all five years, I tried to choose my favs. Out of the 70-80 I write a year, these explain what was going through my head at the time:

2008 - the beginning of photography

I started drawing comics because Abby and her friends were doing. And I couldn't stop. As I have learned, just because I'm not good at it doesn't mean I should keep doing it:

Then I moved on from crappy (but lovely) comics to crappy photos. I transferred to Creighton and took a film photography class at the same time I started working for the paper and shot digitally. I crashed and burned in film. I could light, frame and find great content for a photo. I cannot develop film. I cannot make a photo acceptable without taking 300 and seeing what I take. Call me a fraud. 

In this post, you'll see my first film assignment. You'll see me getting stabbed to death in the shower, dressed as the Joker and Rod Serling from the Twilight Zone and lots of photos of the Mass of the Holy Spirit.

In this post you'll see the photos that I liked in concept but weren't good. Cowboys at the diner, kids at the diner... I hung out at a lot of diners at the time.

While I was taking my film class, I was also taking my photojournalism class with Fr Doll, where it was all digital, baby. I was not then, nor am I now a good photographer. But this is where I started learning what's what. Here are photos from my first semester at my Creighton paper. Here I went with Creighton to the School of the Americas protest and photographed priests telling the US government what's what.

Then I made a little camera with a scanner and a magnifying glass, and I felt better about myself.

2009 - life on the rez

I moved to the Rosebud Reservation January of my junior year, for some reason. I was doing communications for the Jesuit mission there and teaching catechism to you Native students. Sometimes I even got to DJ on the radio. Mostly Bruce Springsteen and Harry Belafonte. Here was my room and all my possessions. Here is my first trip to a cemetery full of victims of teens suicide, one of the many things I had to come to terms with living up there. Here is our house in a snowstorm. And here is what me and my roommate did with our snow day. These are my students. And this is my backyard.

While I was writing and teaching, my roommate was busy painting the church by hand. One crazy moment of my seven months up there was covering the trial of a family suing the mission.

2010 - life on the road

In 2010 I graduated from college and hit the road with my best friend. We drove Route 66, lost some money in Las Vegas, Couchsurfed up the West Coast, and made it to Alaska. 

Ricky and I were meant to spend our summer in Alaska. We ended up staying around 8 weeks before Fr Doll called me up about this whole Jesuit Refugee Service thing. In Alaska, I learned how to use a chainsaw, how to de-worm blueberries, how prolong hot tub time, how to reel in a salmon, and how to use a woodchipper. More importantly, I met Rick and Karen. I'll need to get it together enough one day to write about how truly blessed I am to have met them and how they changed my perspective. For now, watch Rick sing to you.

We left Alaska early because I got the opportunity to come to Rome to begin an internship with JRS, where I still work. I had never planned on using my passport other than to get to and from Alaska. Boy was I wrong. In this blog post, I explain going to Rome, being abroad for the first time and letting God touch my life.

Then I got to Thailand. Whoa. What a trip. My 2012 ended with my mom visiting. We spent Christmas Eve on an island and she watched me crash a motorbike. She guest-blogged and wrote about it. 

2011 - Thailand, what the hell?

I don't write too much about work here. Suffice it to say that I worked way longer hours in Thailand than I did anywhere else. Not a lot of friends, fascinated by the new things I was seeing in terms of displacement and refugees and the law. So when I did blog, it was always about the outstanding stuff I was learning outside of work. One thing I will never forget in 2012 was my trip to Koh Payam to swim with the bioluminescent plankton on an empty beach.

What else happened? I got dengue fever whilst standing next to a pig pen in the rain in a rice field on the Thai border... pretty much exactly where you would assume one would get it. I went to Indonesia for work, and as usual, only wrote about non-work feelings and discoveries. I also made my list of 25 things to do before I turned 25. I've done a handful. I still can't believe Ricky missed Mardi Gras or I could have crossed that off. I'll add going to Mardi Gras with Ricky on my 30 before 30 list. I made best friends at work and in Bangkok itself. And while I suck and keeping in touch with everyone, I hope you all read this and know I'm thinking of you all the time.

2012 - heart on my sleeve

I won't write too much about 2012 here, because I just reviewed it at New Year's and you probably already saw it. Suffice it to say, I learned more about myself in 2012 than the last three blogging years combined.

2013 - who knows?

I can't say a lot about this year either. I can sum up my year so far as reverse culture shock in a big way. My year started on a rooftop in Delhi continued on to a last trip to Rishikesh, a great going away party and big goodbyes to people I loved. I got to see one of my closest friends in Thailand and we rode motorbikes around an island and swam under a waterfall. I made it to New Orleans just in time to be sick and jet lagged for Mardi Gras. But we still costumed and danced and sang. And now I'm back in to Omaha, trying to get settled and figure out how I am supposed to be here.

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