I’ve found that whenever my life gets particularly stressful, I dream of Paris. My mind transports me to the bustling streets of Montmartre, to the art-adorned walls of the Louvre, and to the quiet benches of the Jardin du Luxembourg. My heart aches for the carefree afternoons I spent in the corners of cafes and wandering each nook of the famous Grande Galerie. Until I can find my way back there for real, it seems my nighttime travels will have to do.
I’ve been examining my 26 before 26 list, trying to determine which items I will complete before my birthday on Tuesday. It was then I realized life had already helped me out with one of them. Joyfully, I am crossing off #12: Reconnect with an old friend.
I was introduced to Kate Farrar by a mutual friend in high school. Although we didn’t attend the same school, we saw each other all the time. We shared a love for pop-punk and could easily be found at the same shows or hanging out at the 92nd St. Starbucks/Chipotle. We worked at the same retirement home and she even permanently borrowed a pair of my Converse (even though she doesn’t remember).
I hadn’t talked to or seen her since high school, until earlier this year I discovered we had mutual friends in common still. She came to work at meltmedia and I’m so glad she did. We quickly and easily became friends again, and we discovered our mutual loves for HTML, Star Wars, and not wearing pants. Both of us searched through our old photos to find a picture of the two of us from high school. We each found pictures of the other from nights we know we were both in attendance. But sadly, none of the two of us surfaced. Here’s us now, coworkers and friends again.
I’ve recently been enjoying Young Me Now, a blog that posts photo recreations. I love how it shows the changes over time and also the creativity of the subjects. Then, I discovered Back to the Future, a photo project by artist Irina Werning. I was blown away. She takes the same concept, but adds a level of detail that is so impressive, I can’t stop looking. She not only recreates the pose, expression, and location, but also the exact clothing, lighting, color balance, and natural fading that occurs with older photos. So in love with these. Check out her site www.irinawerning.com to view the rest.
As wonderful and whimsical as they are, my previous 9 favorite places just aren’t the same as my hometown of Phoenix, Arizona. I hear a lot of criticism about our town: bad schools, unlivable weather, nothing to do, ignorant people. I’ve found exactly the opposite to be true. I’m a warm weather kind of gal so the dry heat of Phoenix suits me perfectly. I prefer sunshine to rain and flip flops to… well, any other kind of shoe. I’ve experienced and observed the passion and determination of Phoenix teachers. I’ve had the pleasure of attending inspiring and entertaining local events, dining in unique restaurants, and brushing elbows with amazingly talented and dedicated artists. I’ve had conversations with intellectuals, activists, and compassionate individuals who, even if we disagree on issues, want to leave our city better than when they arrived.
As fun and exciting as traveling can be, I’m always relieved to arrive back at Sky Harbor (the best named airport) and to drive the familiar curves of the 101 toward home. The sunsets are amazing, the swimming pools endless, and the cheesy Western gear is so much fun. I sometimes romanticize living elsewhere, but Phoenix really is my home. And there’s no place like it.