The Long Way Home


Lost Monday
September 19, 2013, 10:19 PM
Filed under: Florida, Georgia, Virginia | Tags: , , ,
The shot of this neighborhood never gets old. Ocala, FL

This neighborhood’s symmetry never gets old. Ocala, FL

Six states, seven days,  over 1800 miles and little sleep: our annual trip to Florida to visit Jeff’s family. This year was especially rough because it rained the entire way down there. What should have taken us 10 hours on the second day’s drive took over 15 because of torrential downpours. I’ve braved snowstorms in Croatia and West Virginia, and I’m still deciding what has been the hardest trip: it might be this one. There was one point where we hydroplaned on the Georgia border and ended up on the other side of an overpass on I-95: safe, but with spirits evaporated and the life sucked out of us. We decided to take the back roads the rest of our journey. If the near-accident didn’t happen, we would not have heard a frog chorus in a pond next to a CVS parking lot outside Starke, Florida, which sounded like a hundred voices talking at once. Or seen dusty, faded motels, and low-hanging clouds, a peek of sunset before it rained again. Lightening flashed across the skies intensifying the darkness. It’s the first time in a long while where I lost all sense of time. I didn’t think about work or being back here at home because the only thing that mattered was getting through the challenging weather, to the next state, the next city, the next temporary home. That second day of our trip, while you were at home settling in for the evening, we were lost on US 301 in rural Florida, following a hazy yellow moon to our destination.

Closed for the season. Citra, Florida

Closed for the season. Citra, Florida

Nahunta, Georgia, on our way to Savannah.

On our way to Savannah. Nahunta, GA

The hottest day of our trip: 95 degrees and plenty of mosquitoes biting. Cross Creek, Florida

The hottest day of our trip: 95 degrees and plenty of mosquitoes biting. Cross Creek, Florida

The Blue Ridge Mountains. Wytheville, VA.

Where we started: the Blue Ridge Mountains. Wytheville, VA

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Osijek Winter
January 21, 2013, 11:42 AM
Filed under: Croatia | Tags: , , , ,
drava river

drava river

Before I married or became an artist, I quit my job of seven years, cashed out my 401K and took off to Croatia to do volunteer work at the Center for Peace. People thought I was brave, stupid or crazy and looking back, I’d have to agree with everyone. Most people turning 30 were planning weddings and buying baby strollers and there I was, giving up everything. I had spent time visiting my pen pal in Slovenia years before, and taught English to Bosnian refugees in Pittsburgh, so I had developed an interest in former-Yugoslavia and its politics. I wanted to give up everything because I felt burdened with the usual 9 to 5 routine. I was also having difficulty with my mother, whose mental state was becoming so painful to deal with, I felt I had to move thousands of miles away from home to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. My plan was no plan: I’d go, find teaching work, see what it’s like to live day-to-day instead of with routine, a challenge for someone like me who plans everything.  I mostly experienced solitude, peppered with surreal interactions and relationships  – it’s been hard for me to write about. Indeed, it took me years to even look through the photos I had taken with my Canon. I spent a lot of time documenting my everyday world there, and in some of these shots, I see my eye just beginning to show signs of a photographer emerging through the lens. These photos were taken during a snowstorm in January 2005; I’m sure I was on my way to one of the kinos (for some reason Osijek had two movie theaters flanking each end of one block, playing the same movie for weeks), my lunch of kulen and grain-bread wrapped in a napkin in my bag, the finger tips cut off my gloves so my hands were free to shoot or write. These prints are the only copies since I lost the negatives somewhere  along my journey.

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waiting for the train to pecs, hungary. it never arrived because of the storm.

waiting for the train to pecs, hungary. it never arrived because of the storm.

the number 2 train

the number 2 train heading west

i walked everywhere in this city with a giant skeleton key to my apartment tucked away in my bag.

i walked around in this city carrying a giant skeleton key to my apartment in my bag.

outside the national theater

outside the national theater

snow-ladened grapevines

snow-ladened grapevines



I <3 Buffalo
November 8, 2012, 8:16 PM
Filed under: New York | Tags: , , , , ,

cold, windy sunday

Curious about our northern sister-city, we drove to Buffalo: sprawling, flat land running east-west like a city should (unlike Pittsburgh, land of winding hills and one-way mazes – I still love you). We stayed at the Lord Amherst Motor Hotel in a tiny room that smelled like smoke and Charlie perfume, and Jeff and I got into a little tiff because I forgot the toothpaste and deodorant. What happens when you haphazardly throw the first things you see into a suitcase and bolt out the door after a long work week? Inevitably you forget things and end up at a local Wal-Mart around 1 A.M. in unfamiliar territory, getting a taste of local culture while shopping for Crest. We never got to eat ‘real’ Buffalo-wings, but we did eat sponge candy which Buffalonians claim as theirs: a chocolate confection with an airy middle like Cadbury Crunchies, but fancier and beef on weck: salty roll flecked with caraway seeds, stuffed with tender, rare roast beef and horseradish. I still dream about that sandwich. Like most rust belt towns, it felt like time stopped in the 70s; it rained most of the weekend, the sky so intensely overcast it turned the world around us blue.

prudential guaranty building, 1894

central terminal

church and pearl streets

allentown neighborhood




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