My Year in Photos

Well, I was planning to do it anyway, so when I saw the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures, I couldn’t resist joining in the fun.

2012 started with a month-long escape from the bitter cold of Korea to the warmth and beauty of SouthEast Asia. Malaysia, Thailand and Laos, to be exact.

After an amazing month traveling, it was time to go back to Jeju and enjoy my last few weeks before moving away from Korea.

Next, I spent a week traveling solo in Japan and saw some truly amazing things!

I then escaped the bitter cold of Japan and headed back to Thailand for six weeks–four of which were spent getting my CELTA certification. Somehow, I still managed to fit in plenty of fun.


Finally, it was time to head home to America to see my family and friends and take care of some business … like emptying out my storage unit after four years.

It took the better part of a week to sort through and sell or donate everything. Ugh. Never again.

After a month back in the States, it was time to head off on my next adventure … a year in Bangladesh.

Oh 2012! What a year it was! Let’s see what 2013 has in store.

Happy New Year!


Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

This week’s photo challenge from the the Daily Post, focuses on urban photography. From the challenge description:

“Unlike the photoshopped pictures to which we are accustomed nowadays, urban photography presents a more direct, unaltered view of life. It is about documenting urban living space and how people adapt their environment to certain needs and vice versa. Urban photography shots provide cultural, social, economical, and ecological context all at once, and can capture social tension.”

Well, ok. I’d say this is the perfect opportunity to share some shots of my new city.

Jessore is incredibly vibrant and interesting. Everywhere I look, the camera in my head sees amazing photos. Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to capture them on the camera in my hands.

Like this rickshaw driver — just chilling out, having a smoke, counting his cash.

These men caught my eye, so I stopped and asked if I could take a photo. The man on the right gave me that ambiguous head motion that’s so popular in this part of the world. Was that a “no” shake or a “yes” nod? I couldn’t tell, so I asked again. Apparently, it was a “yes.”

The other day, the office assistant and I were riding in a rickshaw after one of my diet coke excursions. He noticed the empty ice cream wrapper in my hand and told me to throw it in the street. (I refused.) I wonder if the cows would have liked it.

Yes, Jessore is far from pristine, but it’s still an incredibly photogenic city. To see more, check out this gallery.

New Kid in Town

Yesterday, this pathetic little creature joined our bustling household. Today, I tried to share some food with him her it. It promptly repaid me by placing two holes in my finger with its little teeth.

That little guy girl bugger is gonna have a hard time fitting in around here if it keeps this up. (And yes, I realize I should know better than to feed a stray animal by hand.)

The World in Five Colors

Travel Supermarket is hosting a supercool photo contest. The mission is to write a blog post featuring five photos that capture five colors: Blue, green, yellow, white and red.

I’ve been scanning the latest submissions and, wow, there are SO MANY talented photographers out there. It’s pretty intimidating. The judges said they’re looking for originality, something unusual, something that tells a story, something clever. Well, I don’t know if I have succeeded, but at least I have tried. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wrong

Hmmm. Something just isn’t quite right. My interpretation of this week’s photo challenge from around the world: The Golden Temple in Kyoto, Japan. Lake huts in Khao Sok National Park, Thailand. Sailboats in Sausalito, California.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Growth

When you look at this photo, what do you see? A boy who will one day become a man? An aging woman who once was a young girl?

Bangladesh Poverty2

For me, this photo represents both those ideas — but more than that, it conjures up complicated concepts, like personal growth and the growth of opportunity.

For example, on two different occasions, the woman in this photo has asked me (with actions, not words) to take two children from her family. The first time, she literally tried to put a baby in my backpack. I thought she was kidding. The second time, she pushed this little boy toward me and motioned for me to keep him. That’s when I realized she wasn’t joking. I guess she thinks I can offer them a better life than her family can, but I can’t imagine separating them from their loved ones.

In moments like these, my world view both crumbles and expands.

Growth indeed.

Learn more about the weekly photo challenge at the Daily Post.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

Bangladesh is kaleidoscopic. Everywhere you look, there are vibrant buildings, trucks, rickshaws, clothing, shoes, jewelry in every color of the rainbow … except purple. Continue reading

Weekly Photo Challenge: Inside


When I saw this Post a Day challenge, I started brainstorming. Maybe a shot taken from inside my mosquito net would be cool? But I decided this photo captures my current feelings about “inside” better than anything else I could think up.

At first glance, it might look like the boys are locked in, trying to get out, but actually, it’s the opposite. Everyday during my lunch break, I lock myself inside my classroom in an attempt to get a few moments of much-needed privacy. On this day, my attempt was futile, so I gave up on eating and picked up my camera to capture the crazy, silly boys in action.

Classroom or Cage?

It’s amazing what you can do with just a few key resources. My classroom is a testament to that. We don’t have a proper training space yet, so we’re renting a large room at the village’s Union Council. Judicial hearings were supposedly held there back in the colonial days, so I’m guessing it’s pretty old. It’s definitely basic … and a far cry from the wired classrooms I enjoyed in Korea. Continue reading