Visual Diary – Lonely Autumn Days

The past month has given me lots of alone time to reflect. Recently, two of my closest friends moved out of France, and in September, my husband Erik went to the US to await his Green Card, leaving me with just a single friend to hang out with, and lots of quiet evenings alone. It’s been interesting.

Without an extra person next to me when I sleep, or someone waiting for me when I come back from the grocery store, things have been a little bit strange. Yesterday I realized I had barely used my voice for the entire day, and I wondered jokingly if my vocal chords still worked. Even though I had been wandering around Paris for the entire day, surrounded by people on the street, I still felt isolated, simply because most of the people I love weren’t with me.

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Bringing Paris to my Hometown Coffee Shop


Just like most humans, I enjoy coffee, and just like tons of people my age, I LOVE coffee shops. A coffee shop is almost like a second home; a place where you go to spend hours studying or catching up with friends. We all have our favorite haunts, and for me, that was Sagebrush Café. It was the first coffee shop I ever visited before finding other favorites in other cities. Sagebrush is my coffee home.

I always had it in the back of my mind that I would love to show my photographs at Sagebrush – they’ve been featuring the work of local artists on their walls pretty much since they opened 7 years ago, and I’ve been interested in photography since high school. They’re part of a new culture that has arisen in the Antelope Valley, a refreshing and uplifting change that was much-needed in this sprawling desert suburb. Within the last few years, an art museum and community of local creatives has sprung up. The Antelope Valley is the kind of place that every high school kid wants to escape, to run away from the moment graduation is over. I was one of those kids, but I find myself drawn back not only because of my family who still live there, but also because of establishments like Sagebrush Café.

When they approached me, asking if I’d like to show some of my travel photographs, I immediately said yes.

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Christmas in Sweden

My 2015 holiday season was wonderful. I was so glad to be able to spend Thanksgiving in the US again, where I spent lots of time just hanging out, sewing pajama pants, making christmassy crafts and eating. After we got back to France, we had just a week’s rest before heading to Sweden for Christmas. I was excited to see how the Swedes do Christmas. We stayed for about 10 days and split our time between Stockholm and “the north,” as Erik calls it, where it’s rural and snowy, with endless trees and lots of quaint farmhouses.

We didn’t do a ton of sightseeing while in Stockholm, but I was totally ok with that. I hadn’t done one ounce of travel research before arriving, simply because I knew we’d mostly be spending quality time with Erik’s sister, with whom we were staying.  I was also traveling with a Swedish native, so I figured there was really no need to do much cultural research!

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New Year, New Me?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the New Year. I’ve also been thinking a lot about self-transformation. I love the idea of putting your old self to sleep and rising out of the ashes like a new being, with new habits, a new body, a new outlook and focus. There are many things about myself that I want to change, things like patterns of behavior and thought that usually function to bring me down. I’ve been living with them my whole life, but they’ve really outdone themselves in the past two years here in France. They’re the source of my insecurities and they prevent me from accomplishing my goals. I am positive that one of those things is called “Fear.” The other ones? I’m not so sure what they’re called, but I know for sure that they’re Fear’s best buddies. These bullies, they hang out together all the time, ganging up on me. It’s really quite hurtful, and the worst part is – I made them. I also continue to let them stay, firmly planted in my brain.

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Descanso Gardens

During the month of May, I was in California. This was the third time I’ve returned home after a long period of absence. I no longer seem to experience much reverse culture-shock, I just settle right in, easily and comfortably. As much as I love being with Erik, I also loved having those three weeks all to myself, to spend time in my family home like I used to, as a child and as a pre-married adult. Instead of feeling out of place and confused about my identity like I have in the past, this return felt secure, familiar, and calm.

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Bonne Année

2014 happened, and I lived through it. The time that has elapsed and the things that have occurred exist and will forever exist in the space-time continuum – or whatever else you want to call this strange thing called reality. One could even argue that this entire world is just an illusion or a dream, if you wanted to get really philosophical.

Whatever this is, I have been a small piece of it. Whatever effect my actions had on the world around me, I’ll never quite know, but they must matter, simply because they happened. Sometimes I have to stop and take notice of my existence. Sometimes I forget to see myself as a piece of the puzzle. Oftentimes I don’t realize how wonderful it is to be alive and 24 years young.

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