The First Days

It started with a phone call. Carly calls me from the airport in Istanbul

“I’m boarding now! See you soon!”

“Wait what?! You are coming in tonight?” I shouted

“Yeah Tuesday at 12:15 A.M”

Typical. Tuesday at midnight is not Tuesday night but Tuesday morning.

Yeah I went to College. No big deal.

I wrapped my head around the fact that I was about to see Carly for the first time in 7 months. Of course I would mess up the time. Imagine if she had landed and I wasn’t there to pick her up. No phone. Yikes.

I was about to send my parents to the airport in a cab. Instead I went with them. I would have to wait all night in the airport for Carly to land.

6 LONG hours later her plane landed. I had contracted some new friends to take pictures of when we first saw each other. The pictures turned out great. But these pictures were nothing compared to what was to come.

WeI had a day to kill in Addis Ababa. A city whose story I can’t presume to tell. It’s a gritty place; full of people, poverty, dust, and off-color tin fences. If you want to understand this city, you need only look at her photos. They blew me away. She’s become so good that her photographs are no longer just pretty. They are storytellers.

Our first adventure was to my host family’s house in Addis Alem. Culture Shock. The Ethiopian lifestyle is a great contrast to life in America. Lots of love. Ten minutes of greetings. Everything is shared. Every movement is watched, studied.

The sun sets in the small town and she gets her first glimpse of an Ethiopian sunset. This place is a photographers dream. The sun here is powerful. As it rises and sets it latches on to faces, streets, rivers and trees, the sides of houses. The sky turns into gold. It was the first time of many that she could not contain her excitement and bewilderment.

“Oh. MY” She would say.

Click click click. Click. Clickclickclickclickclick.

“This is not real. This lighting is AMAZING”

And we had no idea what was in store. Over the next three weeks, Carly and I would see the biggest crocodiles in the world, catch some unbelievable sunsets, and see life changing surgeries in Jimma. We would hang out with my kindergarten class, Hike through the rainforests in Bonga and enjoy being together in a country with less things, more happiness.

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