Day 28: Create a New Feature

Living in a country outside my own I often find myself marveling at the things that my neighbors barely notice. Gardens on the mountainside, dilapidated houses crumbling next to new apartments,  scooters driving on sidewalks, ajamas picking up trash, people tossing cigarette butts out car windows…everything is different from home.  I seek these things when I set out with my camera and make note of them on my mental lists of story ideas as I walk to work. I am fascinated by merely walking down the street.

It is with this in mind that I read the assignment for day 28: create a new feature. When I first read the assignment, I wasn’t really sure what to do, as I will be leaving Korea in less than five months. It seemed silly to start a feature about Korea only to have to change the focus when I move back to the States. And then, I started thinking. I realized that I see these mundane scenes as amazing simply because I am unaccustomed to them, but such day-to-day marvels can happen anywhere in the world, so long as I open my eyes and really see rather than skim over my surroundings. Beauty, monuments, adventure can all be found in my own backyard, my daily route to work, the town I’ve walked a million times, if I look with new eyes. This, finding the marvel in the mundane, will be the focus of my weekly writing/photography feature. I am still playing with names for the feature and would love any feedback. Right now I am considering Thursdays Around Town. This Thursday I will post my first feature.

Thank you for any comments!



Day 22: On the Move Photo Challenge

Alas, I am still catching up on posts from last week! For day twenty-two’s assignment I decided to do the new weekly photo challenge from Word Press. The theme this week is On the Move. With this idea in mind, I set off to shinae (d0wntown) which is a very popular destination on the weekends due to the big market. After  wandering around the stalls and my favorite shops I decided to stop to rejuvenate with some coffee. While sipping my cappuccino I had a great view of the street from the upstairs windows. Buses roared past, cars swerved here and there honking, and ajamas (elderly women) walked down the side of the road pulling and pushing various rickety carts. At the market using carts is very common. Vendors often push carts of their goods down the streets and through the narrow market aisles while customers tote smaller carts behind them, usually complete with buckets to carry their fish, fruits, vegetables and other purchases. Here is a small collection of photos taken with my iPad of some of these ladies on the move with their carts.

Day 24: Round up

One of the greatest strengths of photography is its ability to transport viewers to different places and times. As a kid, National Geographic was my favorite magazine for this reason. There was nothing like turning through those glossy pages and breathing in the colors, cultures, stories and lives captured in the images. This joy helped inspired my own love of taking pictures, for while they aren’t quite the professionalism of National Geographic, they capture my own stories and memories. For day twenty-four’s assignment, I decided to focus on photo galleries, particularly with a travel theme. Having just returned from a short trip to Hiroshima, Japan, where I experienced a devastating history through photographs and in turn took my own images of the city’s amazing ability to heal yet remember peacefully, I was curious to see where fellow bloggers have been visiting recently. My perusal of the Word Press reader gave to me some beautiful gems.

One gallery took me to an Abbey to explore the ancient stones and structure. In this post Katie shows us the beautiful Newstead Abbey. I especially love her close up shots that give a different perspective of the Abbey. Another gallery took me to new streets, new life, new people. In this post, Ron gets personal with his pictures from Zagreb which feature a variety of people doing their daily tasks. Taking pictures of people, especially strangers is something I am working on and I really admire the casual feel of his images. While the first two galleries featured beautiful color images, I stumbled across this gallery of images on Life in Pictures capturing some beautiful black and white images by Andre du Plessis. The images are stunning in their contrast, emotion and ability to turn the every day into a work of heart. The last gallery I found was a reminder that while great adventures happen far from home, sometimes the greatest travel happens right outside our own doors, as evidenced by Quotidian Diary’s recently post.

Thank you to these four bloggers for letting me share in their journeys. I loved seeing these new parts of the world through your eyes.




Day 19: New Posting Style

History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.

~Abba Eban, Israeli diplomat (1915-2002)


No weapon has ever settled a moral problem. It can impose a solution but it cannot guarantee it to be a just one.

~Ernest Hemingway



Day 16: Make a Prompt Personal

I’m slightly late, but here is my interpretation of the Daily Prompt Ring of Fire:

Do you love hot and spicy foods or do you avoid them for fear of what tomorrow might bring?



Our new boss holds out his chopsticks across the narrow table. Clamped between them is a slim, shiny green pepper, broken in half and drizzled with red, chunky sauce all rolled in a brilliant green lettuce leaf. A and I look at one another. I can smell the giant clove of garlic he has just eaten, upon Boss’s request, wafting off his breath in waves.

“Garlic,” Boss said. “It is good for men.”

A picks up his chopsticks. His hands are slightly shaky. The last 24 hours of travel from the our hometowns to our new home on the southern coast of South Korea are definitely catching up. His hair is tousled from sleeping on the bus from Seoul to Yeosu. Our skin is sticky from the recycled air and sweat of travel. Around us the cafeteria room is blurred around the edges, the voices of neighboring dinners a hum that moves like ocean waves coming in and out.

A takes the lettuce roll. The flat metal chopsticks slip slightly and he adjusts his grip quickly.

“Is it spicy?”

“Not spicy.” Boss smiles. It is not particularly pleasant, though he intends it to be. The smirking grin of the Grinch comes to mind. Perhaps it is only my motion sickness medication wearing off?

Next to Boss, his daughter’s eyes are wide. She shakes her head slightly and looks between her father and A.

Despite her silent warning, A brings the chopsticks to his mouth and places the wrap inside. He sets down the chopsticks and begins to chew. Chew. Chew. His face shifts from pink to cherry to fire engine red in a matter of moments. Chew. Chew. Beads of sweat burst across his forehead.

Boss begins to laugh, that smile working the muscles in his face. His daughter and I can’t help it. Laughter tumbles from our lips as A opens his mouth and all but breathes fire.

“Not spicy?” Boss says.

“I wouldn’t say that.” A gulps down his little tin cup of water followed by mine. Boss’s daughter jumps up to refill the cups at the grey metal water dispenser along the wall.

“Do you like spicy?” Boss asks.

“We aren’t used to it yet,” A says. “But was are looking forward to eating Korean food.”

He knocks back the two refilled cups.

Boss watches A careful. “Spicy,” he says. “It is good for men.”

Sweat trickles down A’s cheeks.

“First test of manliness,” Boss says.

Well, I think as heat radiates off A’s body and dances across my arms, I won’t be proving my manliness anytime soon.

Day 12: Be Inspired By the Community

Lately, my blog has been rather writing heavy. As I love to write, this is not really a problem. However, part of my desire to start this blog was to bring photography and words together, to have a space that they could share equally. So, for today’s challenge, I am passing by the stories waiting to be told through words (though they shall be told eventually) and instead I am moving into the photography realm.

Several of the blogs I admired in Day 11 had to do with a certain challenge posted by Sunday Stills in which bloggers alter the same image (what a cool idea and great image!). The variety of adaptions and their differing emotions, feelings and overall look was really interesting to see. So, for this post I’m throwing my hat in the ring and joining the fun. Without further ado, the Modify My Pic challenge.