photography

My Heart Wants Roots. My Mind Wants Wings. I Cannot bear Their Bickerings.

Everyday I thirst to see more, to do more and to experience more. And everyday, I miss my family, I miss familiarity and I miss home.
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Italy, shmitaly.
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Sometimes when uploading or sending via messenger, Facebook flips photos. Turns out it ain’t a bad look!
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This is Château De Coudrée a 12th-century castle now a 4 star hotel.
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These last pictures are from Yvoire; officially one of ‘The Most Beautiful Villages of France’, a former fishing village, fortified in the early 14th century, it’s a riot of turrets, towers and old stone houses.
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I feel really silly writing this with all of the terrible terrible adversary happening in the world and how incredibly lucky I am compared to it all but one of the “troubles” of travelling is being unable to buy the big beautiful things to take home.
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Can someone romance me already?!
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An all-wooden toy-store. “Very German,” according to Auntie.
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Do It. Throw Yourselves.

Dear ones,
I am experiencing a transition. My life is changing. So. I am excited and of course, scared. As some of you may know, I had planned to go to India but after being unable to get the correct visa, I’ve had to amend my plans. There’s also something else – something which I can’t tell you about (just yet). It’s overwhelming but good (I think). For the time being, please bear with me. Or is it bare? I don’t know.

So. As always, I have taken solace in literature. C. JoyBell C comforts me with this:

“The only way that we can live, is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.”

I am throwing myself. I am taking a leap of faith and letting life happen.

Travelling is amazing but it is getting harder. I have a few plans. Next, I will visit my auntie (whom I have never met but talked to several times over the internet and who seems like the most incredible woman) and her family in Geneva (Switzerland). From there, I might visit my friend Anita(a beautiful Italian girl who I worked in NZ at Cafe Valentino with)’s mother at their holiday home in Antibes (France), and hopefully, Laura (my WordPress friend who visited me in Mimasaka) in Brussels (Belgium).

I am struggling to live in the moment. I must practice mindfulness. I keep thinking of the future. What will I be doing after my travels are over? Will I settle down in NZ or some other place? What will I do for work? Can I make it as a real writer? So many unanswered questions. Sarah Dessen comes to help: “It was amazing how you could get so far from where you’d planned, and yet find it was exactly were you needed to be.”

I will be patient. I will be positive. I will be joyous. I will expect good and I will throw myself.

Lastly, my blog has turned two. So I want to say thank you. From the bottom of my heart, from the mountains of rural Japan and the rivers in Galicia. Merci (farsi not french), gracias, thank you and arigato for flying with me. For being a listening ear, an understanding heart and the best travel companion a solo girl could wish for.

At each step I have longed to share my life with you. This I hope I have achieved and will continue to achieve, in the truest way possible. And, I hope that at the same time, I have given and will continue to give, some sunshine too.
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Santiago (part two)

I may or may not have sneaked into the world’s oldest (and one of the most luxurious) hotels in the world to take these pictures for you. And, look! The third picture. It’s a bride having her wedding photos! How wonderful!
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And, they put on a full-blown traditional Galician parade just for me!
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image1image2image5image7image4image8image9image7In my friend Soroosh’s words, that went from idyllic to creepy real quickly.

I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.

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Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? (Mary Oliver)
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Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. (Mary Oliver)
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Listen–are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life? (Mary Oliver)
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Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.(Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)
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You must not ever stop being whimsical. And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life. (Mary Oliver)
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You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. (Mae West)

A Bride

“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”
― Mary Oliver
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Everything in Spain is at the Table

This is Betanzos, one of the best preserved old quarters in Galicia.image-101image-90image-91image-89Meson Pote is known as one of the best places in the whole of SPAIN to have Spanish potato tortilla, a sort of Spanish omelette with thin potato slices. What makes Meson Pote’s tortilla stand out, is its juiciness. We also ate fried squid, a green peppers side dish and a tomato salad. For dessert, Jose’s friend, a renowned Spanish chef (whose restaurant I will be visiting) and her son, shared a cheesecake. I was given a teaspoonful to try and it was DELICIOUS.image-98image-97image-94

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Food is always served with bread here. Good bread. In this restaurant, its plate cleaning abilities are utilised best.image-96
Are you salivating, yet?
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Typical Spain: tapas.
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Jose pointed out these boats to me. They’re interesting because they have a large dinner table in the middle of them. “Look, most of the ship is a table,” he says laughing. Then, “everything in spain is at the table.”image-99
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This little cutie is Jose’s friend’s daughter and, my new favorite! That face!
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Here she is singing some international song with the word “konnichiwa”in it (Japan is with me). Too cute!

A Day In Central Madrid (Part One)

I have arrived and I am in heaven. I shared some pictures on my personal Facebook account telling my family and friends how much I love it here and how different to Japan it is (the fruit are not wrapped in plastic, the people are happy and care-free, there’s much colour and diversity). Then my dad told me off. He said, I shouldn’t be comparing countries because each flower has its own beauty. You’re right papa! That was not my intention. Just, I can’t believe I’m actually here. It’s so damn romantic and it looks just like its pictures.
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More delicious than expected. According to Jose (my new host-father), the chocolate sauce/drink must be so thick that when dipped, your churro sticks up-right in it. Oh mama!
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A real espresso.
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I found this man and his chess board alone in the park. I asked him (well, gestured) if I could play and he said, “SI” (yes). Of course I lost because he was an expert but wow what an experience. We had no idea what the other was saying.
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Sorry dad but I have to compare. I mean, look at this! No plastic and so fresh and cheap and organic. Ugly but delicious. No gigantic plasticky apples here.
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A for Anisa.
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Tokyo Had Everything But You

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A rainy summer festival.
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Senso-ji temple.
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My lucky fortune – now ain’t that the truth? I had a really hard time living in the Japanese country side and working in their education system but now, apparently (hopefully) all that’s gone.
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A pancake/pikelete thingy majig filled with anko (sweet red bean paste) and matcha (green tea) ice-cream.
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A maid cafe waitress hoping for business.
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This is Akihabara. A popular Tokyo district mostly famous for its many electronic stores.
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Ramen. image[4]image[5]image[6]image[4]image[3]
image[2]image[3]I really enjoyed this colourful district and I kept thinking how much my father (the ex electrician) would also.

Mom Was Right

Dear Ones:

I’ve realised my mom was right. I have been blogging too much, working too much, exploring too much, thinking too much, exercising too much and plain pushing myself to exhaustion. When she first said it, of course I disagreed with her. “You don’t understand, I’m FINE,” I said. And we all know what that “fine” means. But a simple comment by Yuka today on how I’d mistakingly written “orange” in place of “apple” in a previous post,  finally touched the right nerve.

Believe me, I’ve had the best of intentions. I’ve blogged everyday because I enjoy doing it but also because I believe it will one day, some way or another, make me a real writer. For the past two years, I have not stopped. Even now, on holiday! I am walking, thinking, over-thinking, exploring, photographing, blogging, and freelancing. Then I write a post about holiday blues. I am so silly.

I don’t want to be like this anymore.

So, I have made a choice. The great Bahai leader, Abdu’l-Baha says:

“One cannot obtain the full force of the sunlight when it is cast on a flat mirror, but once the sun shineth upon a concave mirror, or on a lens that is convex, all its heat will be concentrated on a single point, and that one point will burn the hottest. Thus is it necessary to focus one’s thinking on a single point so that it will become an effective force.”

In short, I am finally going to take that overdue holiday. I am going to enjoy my upcoming travels to their fullest and I am going to live in the moment. This means photographing less, blogging less, hopefully thinking less and overall, chilling the F out. I guess my only concern is losing followers but I know that my health comes first and that this way, contrary to my previous thinking, I can become a better writer. Something to do with quality over quantity, I guess.

In the words of Anne Lamott:  “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you”.

Again, thank you for being there.

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