// house series pt. 1

well hello there!

these past couple of months have been extremely busy for me so it’s been hard to find the time to update my portfolio .. since returning from Spain, I have photographed a wedding, traveled to Michigan & to Maryland. Tomorrow I embark on my fourth — and last — adventure of the summer!

last week I was given the privilege to document a couple’s house before they moved! here are some favourites of the kitchen.

 

// washington D.C

// a little update

.. and a big upgrade.

I made a significant purchase about a week ago–I bought a new camera to replace my Canon 70D. It is a Canon 6D, my first full frame DSLR.

It was kind of like buying a new car. Your car doesn’t have to be nice to get you to where you need to go–but of course the better it is, the easier it can be. The same applies to cameras. It’s not really about how “professional” your camera is. An true artist can capture a breathtaking photo with any decent camera, including most phones nowadays (I use my iphone 5s all the time). However, the process can certainly become a lot smoother if you invest in a nice camera.

That being said, I’m excited to have this new tool in my tool belt and I can’t wait to make some good art in the coming days.

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Flying

Thankful.

Thankful for friends

old and new;

discovering, rediscovering

and laughing, laughing, laughing.

Thankful for half-empty ..

half-empty flights

half-empty wallets

half-empty coffee cups.

For memories as precious as the gold trinkets of Toledo

stored in shiny new spaces

in dusty corners

in hearts;

For Art because it allows humanity

to feel despite age differences

religious disagreements

language barriers.

I have absorbed much

learned much

slowed down and cherished much ..

Yet

I am lighter than I have been in a long while.

Spain // day 7

I’m pretty tired so this won’t be a very long post ..

Today was a good day! Workshops went well — the students learned very quickly — in fact, I was able to teach them a slightly more advanced game that can be played at an improv show! At the end of class I told them that they now have all the tools to be good at improv, they just need to practice a lot!

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After class, we all went to a television studio and performed The Descent Lifted Me. It was quite the adventure! We couldn’t bring all of our props, so we had to improvise a little bit but overall I think it went well.

Tomorrow is our last day. Of course it is bittersweet — I am thankful for all of the experiences and memories that have been made on this trip.

Spain // day 6

I am searching for beauty .. I found it in Toledo, Spain.

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Toledo, Spain

Today we journeyed to Toledo, and I must say that it is my favourite city of this trip — from the ancient churches, to the quaint markets — it was amazing. Although I don’t really like spending great amounts of time looking at old buildings (I haven’t quite figured out to appreciate history as much as others) I had a fabulous time! We went to five notable sites, but I especially loved the monastery. The hallways were huge with enormous arched ceilings, and a lovely tiled floor. The best part, however, was the courtyard. It probably helped that it was golden hour, but that courtyard looked like The Garden of Eden; colorful flowers occupied the various flower beds, and trees bearing ripe oranges were scattered all around; a small well was at the center of it all with shelled paths surrounding and snaking their way through.

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I also had the privilege of teaching my first improv class today. It wasn’t very long since the time was also shared by a voice workshop and a dance workshop, but it was a class nonetheless! It went so well — of course the students are eighteen or older so that probably helped, but it was still very encouraging! I successfully lead a few warmups, explained the rules of improv, and guided them through a couple games. They are all very talented, super excited and willing to participate.

Tomorrow will be a little bit more complicated but fingers crossed it goes well!

Spain // the weekend update

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Almagro, Spain

It has been a very busy weekend!

On Saturday we performed The Descent Lifted Me for the Ramirez family, their friends, and some people who go to the school. It went very well. It lifted a lot of the stress the team had been feeling .. AND our small audience loved it! In fact, Hector loved it so much that he requested we have another show this Wednesday (the night before we leave to return to The States). I am so full of happiness that The Descent was so well received — one of the women who saw it said, “Even though I didn’t understand every word, this show still spoke to me .. I was connected the whole time.”

Sunday was packed full! Although we didn’t end up going to church, we did journey to Almagro, Spain — a small medieval city! We saw several theaters, an old church, and wandered through the shops. It was such a pleasant experience, one that I enjoyed immensely. It is so crazy that many of the sights we see in Spain are older than the whole country of The United States!

Almagro is about two hours away from Madrid, and along almost the entire highway there is graffiti. The graffiti is usually of people’s names. However, right outside of Almagro there was a large wall with “Remember Our Names” boldly scrawled across it — so when one is traveling between Almagro and Madrid, their journey will either start or end with “Remember Our Names”. And I was struck by this, my heart burdened. The names along the highway are at least twelve, over and over. Often times, people are so obsessed with being remembered — searching for significance, fame, starving for attention, demanding glory. How empty is a life when one is not sure if they mean anything. How marvelous is our Saviour for giving us a label that we can be proud of, a definition — His.

I think this trip can be summed up by the phrase, “Remember His Name”. Sometimes it can be hard to place Him as first, yourself as last. But this week, it feels right — and I think that’s pretty dang cool.

Spain // day three

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Today we rehearsed The Descent Lifted Me and wandered around Sól, Madrid’s city center. The show is tomorrow (5/14) in the evening. It will be a small audience, 40 people at the most — I believe people from the school are invited to attend.

Rehearsal time has been hard to find, and we have had to adapt or change some elements based on space and available props. There is definitely some nervousness among the team. We believe that a Christian’s art should be excellent. Here we are proclaiming the glory of God through a craft we all love, so shouldn’t it at least be of equal quality to the secular world? True, we are performing for God — not for ourselves or the viewers — but we are representing the body of Christ so of course we want to do our best.

That being said, please pray that God will speak to the people who see The Descent tomorrow night, that He will soften their hearts. Please pray that we will not get caught up in the logistics of the play but have fun and find the joy.

Spain // day two

Hola! 

I am starting to understand and speak a little more Spanish, which is of course very nice. My new favourite thing is walking back and forth from Hector and Lilli’s flat to Aslan Performing Arts Centre — the school where we will perform and teach workshops. It’s especially fun when we are carrying groceries — there’s so much fresh food here. Every day we get fresh fruit, bread, and meat from the stores.

The coffee here is also amazing. I found a wonderful little coffee shop yesterday while wandering the streets of Madrid. I don’t remember the shop’s name, but I did succeed in ordering myself a mocha cappuccino (in Spanish)!

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// una taza de café con el chocolate

On a more serious note, Hector has been educating us on the culture and worldview of Spain. It is a complete post modern society (which could be summarized in one word as “irrationality”). He explained that usually people support their beliefs with outside sources or an experience, but in Spain, one defends what they believe by simply stating “it is true because said so!” .. This is the mindset that Christians in Spain have to work with — it’s quite the challenge, no?

Hector also lectured about Pride and Conceit (or as he put it, haughtiness). He clarified that pride would be something like “my car is better than yours” where as haughtiness has no base .. it is irrational (are you sensing a trend?)

Hector emphasized that our job as Christians is to prepare the way. 

It is not our job to convert people, or shove our beliefs in their faces. In fact, any mention of Christianity in Spain immediately shuts most people down. In addition, it does not help to be proud or haughty about being a Christian. Hector said that their ministry is not blatantly Christian in name or even in daily conversation. They simply try to reflect Christ’s love through every action and interaction. Hector happily remarked that people have noticed that they are different and that they have mentioned that there seems to be a different “spirit” at the Aslan Performing Arts Centre.

Something that Hector said that really stood out to me was: the Gospel preached without Love and Truth hardens people’s hearts. As I’ve been reflecting on that statement throughout the day, it occurred to me that perhaps quite a few Christians deal with our western version of persecution in the wrong way. The early Church did not get defensive or try to “fight back” — they accepted any persecution with love, and grace, and prayer. Hector ended the meeting by challenging us to let God work through us so that we may do what we wouldn’t ever do ourselves.

Please pray that all of the people whom Hector and Lilli have been interacting with will eventually not only see Christ’s but also come to accept who He is and what He has done for them.

Spain // day one

Well, here we are! We made it! Most of us are over any jet-lag and are wholeheartedly throwing ourselves into the culture and life of Spain.

Our hosts Hector and Lilli are SO kind and are constantly asking us if there is anything we need, to make ourselves at home .. they are also providing us with homemade lunch and dinner every day! So far I have not been surprised by much .. however the meal times have taken some getting used to — lunch happens around 2 or 3 pm and dinner around midnight.

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mornings // part 1

My favourite experience so far has been “teaching” a small group of 12 year olds (at Hector and Lilli’s Aslan Performing Arts Centre) how to speak English. It wasn’t so much teaching as it was just talking to them and playing games for a couple hours. They were so lively, it was so much fun.

Please pray for the preparation of our performance and that we also may be as much of a blessing to the people of Spain as they have been to us.

Spain has been wonderful .. I can’t wait for the days to come!

seven days from now

Seven days from now, I will be landing in Madrid. 

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For the past three months, I have been raising money to go to Spain with eight other people from my department. Three days ago, we were able to buy tickets! It is official .. and it is starting to sink in.

First of all, I want to say a giant THANK YOU. It means so much to all of us.

We have a very exciting schedule planned. We will be performing one of my favourite plays The Descent Lifted Me, leading several workshops — I will hopefully be teaching an improv workshop which is really great considering that is what I would like to do after I graduate — and (obviously) exploring the city of Madrid as well as the surrounding areas.

I wouldn’t say that I am nervous .. of course, I am slightly anxious about a few things such as if the liquids in my carryon are the correct size, or if we will make all of our connecting flights in time, or if everyone will still be alive (and friends) at the end of the ten day trip.

Although I have minimal concerns, I do have a few prayer requests:

  1. that we all continue to have the correct mindset — we are not here to save anyone, but to assist our hosts Hector & Lilli Ramirez in their mission to the best of our ability
  2. that any language barrier will not be a hindrance
  3. that we will all remain healthy and safe
  4. that whatever we showcase (either the play or the workshops) will be excellent and pleasing to God — glorifying Him, and not ourselves

Again .. THANK YOU if you have supported me financially or in prayer. My team and I are truly grateful.