In a Country not your Own ...

I think, if you have lived through a war
or have made your home in a country
not your own, or if you’ve learned
to love one man,
then your life is a story.

Anne Michaels, extract from Blue Vigour

I think, that when you have made your home in a country not your own, you never take the good people you find, out there in this new land, forgranted.

A few weeks ago, I photographed a family and met a woman who has the sweetest soul I’ve experienced in a long time.  Since then, she has quietly opened doors into her world, determined to connect the people she is leaving behind when she finishes her time here in Brussels.  She’s another world wanderer.

Spending time with her has felt like time spent around the warmth of a small sun.  And I’m writing of it here because I think, sometimes, we forget to thank the people who are like this.  And honestly ...I know more than a few really good people.

As I waded into the reality that is being a professional photographer, I had to shift my focus from the passion I feel for photography and people, and deal with the fact that I had I market myself and play a little bit of hardball to get paid.  I have had to learn so many hard lessons along the way about things like contracts.

I’m not like that.  I love photography, I love people.  To price everything was deadly but every 3 months I had a minimum social security payment of 600euro to make.  Just one of many many bills.

Lately, I’ve gone back to just being me and my photography, chasing the passion again, instead of turning myself inside out about paying all the bills. 
And lately, the magic I had been missing has returned.

First there was Karla, then she introduced me to Marcia and these two, they’re just so absolutely lovely. 
Yesterday, they invited me into their circle of friends.  I should have known not to worry about meeting new people ... it was the sweetest few hours.

It turns out, our host Doug, is one of those special people who just knows how to be with people and he delighted me with a small taste of the stories from his life.  We have both lived in Turkey and share a love for Italy.  He’s a writer.

There were babies involved, 3 of the most beautiful roly-poly baby boys and I left with the badge of motherhood imprinted on my black top ... banana fingerprints.  Champagne and most incredible food.  Quiches like I haven’t tasted since New Zealand.  A chocolate mousse by Felix, one so good that Doug got goosebumps from tasting it.

I was lulled into a sense of a forever afternoon ... you know?  Where time feels like it has stopped fora while?  I guess it’s the mind’s way of protecting you from the idea of it all ending.

So yes, that’s what I did with my afternoon.

Oh, and I’ve found somewhere so perfect to hold my photography workshops.  Details and dates to be announced by the end of August.

Hmmm, I think that’s all.  Now to pack for Ireland.  Dublin tomorrow ... first time driving in seven years.  Just a couple of hundred kilometres ...