Day 316

I’m not usually one to get verbal online about my opinions, but this project is more about writing down my thoughts for myself than for other people, so here goes.

What scares me a hundred times more than Trump being our president-elect is the rhetoric that I see being spread around on social networks and in the media. It’s not a language of compassion or understanding, and it’s not driven by a desire to seek unity and healing in our country. It’s driven by hate, anger and bigotry.

I’m an American. I love my country. Having lived abroad for 5 years and traveled the world, I see that the US has its faults and could learn a lot from other countries, for example Norway, which has an excellent standard of living and quality of life for all its citizens. People are happy there. I wish we would take more cues from how they do things in Scandinavia and a few other European countries.

But America is not Europe and it has very special and endearing things about it too. I am heartbroken that everyone seems to have forgotten that we have not become the country we are because of what presidents we had in office. America is great because of our people and our culture. I won’t forget that.

Today I saw where someone said that people who voted for Trump do not deserve our understanding and we shouldn’t bother to reach out to them, because they never bothered to reach out to us when John McCain and Mitt Romney lost against President Obama. I could not disagree with this more.

Compassion and understanding are every individual’s responsibility, nobody needs to earn it from you and no one is undeserving of it because they didn’t offer the same. There will never be progress in our society if everyone sits on opposite sides in their little camps with a chasm between them and points fingers about who should be doing what. We won’t find a way together by judging how other people ought to behave but not behaving that way ourselves. Nobody should wait for someone else to take the first step towards the middle ground.

I didn’t vote for Trump and I am very disappointed that he even made it as far as he did before the election. But as Johnny so aptly said today, he is a symptom of a problem, he’s not the problem.

I saw a tweet from a college student yesterday: I’m not a Trump fan but I still want him to succeed. I’m not going to hope for the failure of my country. That comes as close as I’ve seen to how I feel at this point in time, and it came from an 18 year old, not from opinion leaders or writers for the New York Times.

As disheartened as I am about what is happening in America, that gives me hope for our future.


Day 315

Maybe the desire to make something beautiful is the piece of God that is inside each of us.

– Mary Oliver


Day 314

I arrived home last night around 11pm, very tired and happy to be back with Johnny in Maine. Now that I have experienced a full year of seasons here, the end of autumn in midcoast Maine is, I think, my favorite time.

Trump won the election yesterday. It was hard for me to let that sink in, I felt physically sick about it. I had followed the political process closely this year, but I don’t think I had completely prepared myself for the reality that he might win.

Johnny and I had a long talk over breakfast about it. We agreed that what is important now is not finger-pointing or blame, and the answer isn’t in moving to Canada either. The elections are a democratic process and the results reflect the will of the majority of Americans. As much as I disagree with them, I need to accept that and see what I can do to help our country moving forward.

I read a lot of horrible things on social media today about people who voted for Trump. Honestly I see a lot of hatred and bigotry in both camps. Understandable that there is anger on both sides, but it makes me sad. I think the only thing that will fix the deep divide in our country now is reaching out and trying to understand each other and then doing something about it together – and with that I mean you and me, in our communities, actively doing something about it. What drove over half of Americans to cast their vote for Donald Trump? Do we really understand their frustrations? What are we doing about it? How can we reach out and help make this better? The government won’t fix these problems. Change won’t be solely brought about by any president, good or bad. Change starts with you and I.


Day 313

Today is Election Day in the United States. I voted last week because I’ll be arriving back from overseas late tonight, after the polls close.

The travel today went ok. I went to the airport a bit early to have some time to sit down in a quiet corner, reflect and write Donna back. As I was writing her, I had a realization. I realized that I have a hard time expressing feelings without diminishing them somehow. I couldn’t state the fact that the 365 is difficult for me without feeling guilty and listing reasons for myself why I shouldn’t feel that way.

This was something I learned in childhood. Displays of emotion were discouraged. I was brought up not to think so much of myself as to value what I feel, either good or bad. There were reasons outside of myself why anything good happened, so I shouldn’t feel proud as if I had earned them, and anything bad that happened was my fault, so I shouldn’t complain.

I guess I was wrong in what I thought about the 365. I do have a lot more to work on, and to learn. There is so much more to this project than taking pictures.


Day 312

We had breakfast out together at Rock City, a slow morning at home and then a flurry of kisses and goodbyes. I have a long journey ahead of me today and tomorrow.

I got an email from my friend Donna today with some encouraging words about the 365. I am thinking a lot about it since then, but I can’t quite make sense of my thoughts yet. Maybe tomorrow.


Day 311

Brutal honesty, since that’s what this project is about: I am tired of doing this. I don’t have motivation to shoot, I don’t see pictures and I find it a chore to upload and write. It won’t deter me from finishing – because I will – but I’m disappointed that I have, at least temporarily, lost the enjoyment for the 365.

I give myself pep talks along the following lines:

+ I signed up for this, and life is hard, nobody promised a bed of roses. (Hmm, that actually sounds more like my dad talking.)
+ I can’t expect of my creative output to be on supercharge mode every single day. It needs to ebb and flow.
+ The 95% pictures I dislike are worth the 5% I like and that I would never have otherwise taken.
+ Johnny did it, and lots of other photographers can do it, so can I.
+ Maybe I’m about to get the picture of a lifetime… tomorrow.
+ Imagine the memories I’ll have documented when the year is over.
+ This project is like a marathon, not a sprint. Dragging yourself over the finish line is a victory no matter how tired and beat up you feel.

And last but not least:

+ Stop feeling sorry for yourself and finish the last 55 days.


Day 310

Johnny finished his 365 today. It feels almost surreal to think that he’s done, after it being a part of our daily lives and the topic of so many of our conversations for a whole year. I’m very proud of his accomplishment and excited to see the rest of his images when he gets his film back from the lab. That was quite a journey. Congratulations, Johnny.

Tomorrow is the 1-year anniversary of our move to the United States. The landscape looks identical to how it looked when we first drove up to Maine from Boston. It brings back very good memories.


Day 309

Today was good, we had cream of wheat and eggs for breakfast at home and then went ice skating at an indoor rink. Afterwards we stopped for a warm drink and cake at Rock City and talked for awhile. Tonight we’re going out for Mexican.

I’m enjoying being with family this week, it’s been a lot of fun. Sometimes I wish these times were just a little more frequent, but then I wonder if we wouldn’t appreciate togetherness the same. The anticipation is a joyful thing.


Day 308

It was cold and rainy today. The leaves have almost all fallen, and the skies get more gloomy. The light loses its rich warmth and becomes pale and frosty. I love deep autumn.


Day 307

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect.

– Alice Walker