The main differences between Thailand and San Francisco?
a) I can understand and have conversations with people on the street! It was like a sigh of relief when I realized I didn't have to use the 20 or so Thai words I know but can't really pronounce for all of my communications with strangers any more.
b) The food is not as spicy, and maybe not as delicious. When I came back I could eat anything spicy and not even notice. Now I'm back to my usual puny taste buds. Despite the 14 pounds of curry paste Evan and I brought back with us, we haven't cooked much Thai food since our return.
c) The weather is so much more livable. I can go for a walk during the day without being drenched in sweat, and at night without being attacked by wild dogs, and also without concerned Thai people pulling over to the side of the road to offer the crazy farang a lift. (very awkward to try to explain that I just like walking when they can't understand me, and culturally it's a bit taboo to just go for a walk).
d) No more beautiful beaches! Or gorgeous jungle. And certainly no more elephant rides.
Anyway, I love living in San Francisco. Cities get my blood moving, and I love public transportation and being able to walk places. Plus there's a vibe here that you just don't find anywhere else. And a kindness and generosity, a willingness to try to do the right thing that I find inspiring. Not a perfect city, by any means. But a pretty good one. Much easier to live in than Bangkok, certainly!
It's been a great year. And also a year where I really feel like I've improved my photography skills, and started branching out into a few different genres. Sure, I still have a ways to go, but I feel like I'm making progress. That's huge.
This year I:
-lived in New York City for 6 weeks
-spent waaaay too much money on new camera gear for
-the new photography business I've just started! (so exciting)
-lived in a construction zone pretty much the entire time . . . still waiting for real progress on that front
-made a book using Blurb, which was very satisfying
-started singing again, after a few year long break, which was great (I'm not a soloist, but a pretty good choral singer, if I do say so myself)
-made some great new friends, and reconnected with old ones after being out of the country for so long
-discovered an affinity for Goat's Milk Caramel in my coffee
-got a picture published in a newspaper
-learned how to use a tilt-shift lens (mostly. some more practice certainly couldn't hurt), and
-had a blast!
Anyway, here's a few greatest hits from the year. I tried to narrow it down to ten, but I just couldn't. So instead I arranged them by month. I can't tell if it's just attachment or progress, but I love the later photos so much more than the earlier ones. (I think I'm going to call it progress until someone stops me.)
To see my best photos of 2009, click here.