For most of my life, I’d wanted to live abroad. Perhaps it was my trip to Portugal to meet my extended family for the first time that gave me the bug. Perhaps it was having friends who were also first generation Americans and traveled with their parents as well. It’s likely that at least part of my wanderlust was inherited from my father, who was a bit of a vagabond himself.
My efforts started in earnest in college when I tried for a Rotary scholarship to study in France. I made it all the way to the final set of candidates but unfortunately ended up as the 2nd runner-up. I couldn’t afford the study-abroad program, so I would have to wait.
Graduate school proved itself to be startlingly enlightening in both good and bad ways, and I found myself with my chance to finally have my overseas experience. I got my degree and my TESOL Certificate and headed to Istanbul.
The first few months were gut-wrenching and I needed desperately to get my footing. The things I had to hold onto were few and precarious, but I clung to them with all my strength.
One of the these hand holds were pictures I’d brought along with me. They weren’t just snapshots of friends and family, but scenes from home that I had taken. They also happened to be some of the very first pictures I’d taken with my then-brand-new Pentax. They stayed taped to the wall for my first year. Today, they still remind me not only of learning what my camera could do, but also of finally learning what I could really do.
From an early morning on my way to work:
From a bright snowy day at home:
What things have helped you through hard times?