hola heredia.

Hola from Costa Rica. I made it here safely and was welcomed by my host family with lots of hugs and the above sign. My host mom and dad speak no english, but my brother Carlo (age 20) does. I didn’t speak any English today and was pleasantly surprised that I could fully understand and communicate with my family! This afternoon, Carlo took me on a long run around the city. He showed me the university, the central plaza, the giant Catholic church, and several parks. I am obsessed with the colorful buildings, distressed doors, and rugged gates. I love the rush of spanish music and people that greet me everytime I step out of my bright green and orange house (made for me? i think yes.)! The little bit of english I did experience today came from the stereo, where my host mom played the epic Shania Twain greatest hits CD that i brought her. She sings or whistles along to whatever music is on, and i love it. I’m not so terrified anymore, but very excited to experience what is coming my way. Tomorrow is orientation, and Carlo and I are riding the bus there. Oh boy! ADIOS for now!

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May 25, 2010 - 2:26 pm

Lauren Armstrong - ahh this look SO fun. I am in the airport on my way to my adventure. Can’t wait to share stories like these! : )

born to fly.

Here ends my week of summer relaxation, my four photoshoots in four days, and my love affair with Nashville radio stations. Here ends everything that feels comfortable and regular. The journey begins tomorrow at 4 AM, and the first stop is the airport. I love airports because they are, in my opinion, the BEST venue for people watching. Heredia, Costa Rica is my next stop. In Costa Rica I’ll be taking classes, speaking nonstop Spanish, living with a family, and taking gazillions of colorful pictures. My family situation should be interesting, to say the least. Along with my host mother and father, I’ll be living with their 29 and 20 year old sons, Juan and Carlos.
I’m both excited and terrified for this five week adventure. I’m terrified of being in Costa Rica completely alone, having to find my way around, and meeting people using only Spanish, but I think that being so far out of my comfort zone is what always grows me the most. That growth, along with the adventure aspect of this trip excites me. I’ll be climbing volcanos, walking through colorful towns, exploring rainforests, eating delicious food (i hope) and getting to speak Spanish all the time!
As far as I know, I will have at least some internet access and I’ll try to give regular picture updates of my adventures!

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.”
-Psalm 139: 9-10

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sparkley eyes.

That sparkle in her big blue eyes has always been there. It comes with so many giggles, playful twirls, and beautiful blonde curls. Her joy and energy are just contagious enough that I don’t think you could be around Kayla and not have fun. Kayla you are seriously stunning!

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May 26, 2010 - 12:57 am

Nachbarin - I love her freckles!! and the one where the sunlight shines through her hair and gives her a halo.

whatever it is.

It’s always been there, this thing between them. Unlike most eighth grade flings, this one stuck. The old nicknames, the pre-cellphone emails, the concert tickets, the notes written in chocolate bar wrappers- he has them all. There are more than a few country song lyrics that remind him of her, and the first song lyrics that she ever wrote were about him. Her eyes light up when she talks about him, and even more when sings about him. And oh boy, can she sing. Megan and Sean, thanks for loving each other really well, and for giving my camera a glimpse of that love. : )

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May 20, 2010 - 12:41 am

Angela - Haley! AGAIN these are amazing! you are so good at what you do!

the dancer.

Of two sisters one is always the watcher, one the dancer. -Louise Glück

She’s the dancer. She’s the witty one, the loud one, the passionate one. She is beautiful, she is up for anything, and she is free. To the outside world, she and I are growing up; we’re changing. But to each other, we are just the same as always. Kathryn graduated from high school yesterday, and while that’s a milestone, I know her as she’s always been. I know her heart. I know her family jokes. I remember fights, and secrets, and long carrides, and staying up past bedtime. I remember the frappucinos on the way to school, the long days at the pool, the one-on-one backyard soccer. In our memories and in our experiences, Kathryn and I live outside the touch of time. She’s the dancer, and I love being able to watch the beautiful dance of her life.

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May 18, 2010 - 4:03 am

Anonymous - haley these are AWESOME.

May 18, 2010 - 4:06 am

Angela - These are GREAT Haley! Kathryn, you are beautiful! My favorite is this last one, sitting in front of that lone tree, precious! You are truly talented, Haley! Good job!

May 18, 2010 - 5:50 pm

Taylor Thomas - Haley,

I am continuously surprised and admiring of your heart, and it so shows through these pictures. Your commentary and photography of kathryn are some of your sweetest, truest yet. I’m proud of you!

May 19, 2010 - 5:46 pm

Lauren - I think my favorite part of this post was the writing at the beginning. So beautiful! (and the pictures are lovely too, as always)