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somewhere over the rainbow (and other stories)

  Exactly two years ago I found myself flying through a corner of a rainbow, and landed in Oaxaca, Mexico. It was the last film festival I traveled to, a brutal and sweet experience in the harshest of realities, trying to wrap my arms around the slipperiest industry and failing magnificently. Surrounded by fresh faces and eager eyes I ran from the rooms and into the street time and again, wandering off with the camera in my bag as a companion. I took pictures of a blind man that sang on the same corner every day, of wedding parades, of an old woman waiting to see the dentist.  Literally somewhere over the rainbow, I met the ugliest answers to questions I had been dragging my feet towards for years. Cramming the most delicious food into my mouth, joking at the nightly rooftop cocktail parties, grinning like the Cheshire Cat it was all coming to an end. Actually, it had ended before it even started though - and on the plane back to New York and finally Moscow the bone-crunching undertow

patience (blowing bubbles)


It was an in-between summer. High school was over, a half-hearted break-up with my prom date felt more like a deflating balloon than a hard split. College was hanging in the distance, inching closer each day. Playing in a band and singing for the first time in little places packed with sweaty faces on the weekends. And then a job appears, to help teach swimming to kids at a lake a good ten miles from home. I am not a trained lifeguard but no one cares. I’m just there to help, an extra set of hands and eyes as long as I wake up and pedal my bike there by eight, I’ll get a paycheck every two weeks. 

The classes began with the youngest children, many not even five. We spent weeks getting them to walk into the water up to their knees and then their waist. Next, gulping for air, slapping their faces into the water and blowing bubbles until there was nothing left inside. After this, some kicking and gliding. Maybe because the water was murky, some days more green some days more brown, maybe because of the muddy bottom squishing between their toes, their fears got the best of them. A boy named Leon, who had constant line of snot under his nose. A girl named Samantha, who always wore leopard spot bathing suits. They shivered in the cold, shoulders tall as they poked their toes at the edge, as we nudged them in, as we showed them how to blow those bubbles over and over and they shook their heads no. I began to understood it was just fear, nothing special that was stopping them. Just a vague sense that something bad would happen if they tried. Better to stand at the edge and make excuses. 

Some days it rained, but the kids were dropped off all the same and we had to entertain them. There were buildings with tall ceilings where they taught dance classes, and we were let in - to play duck duck goose or red light green light. It was good medicine, to be part of the shouting and running around in circles, that sense that we were safe and sound and could just play another round until someone came to pick us up. Time stretched into a zero. Nothing behind me, nothing in front of me, nothing to do tonight - just counting heads and yes, the bathroom is over there but come right back when you are done and hey, Timmy is back from vacation! 

At one point, they all took the plunge and blew those bubbles. It just took some patience.


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