My Photography

Thursday, June 16, 2016

More painting fun

A few months ago I sat down for a Saturday of painting and this came out (but I only decided on the layout and finished it last week). The peacock and flower designs came from an art book Othman gave me a while back, and I had fun playing with acrylic paint, paint markers, permanent markers, and watercolors to make it (as well as extra paper and scissors!). Most of it is metallic and shiny so it doesn't show well in photos, but it's a fun piece! 

This one I painted for the lovely Brooke, and gave it to her as  gift before she left for the US last week. I forgot to take a picture of it before I gave it to her, and when I asked her to send me one I got this perfect photo. The dark background makes it look really nice!

Then last Friday my friend Ingrid invited me over for a painting afternoon at her photography studio with a couple friends of hers. I had these four little canvases that I didn't know what to do with, and had fun making this simple design on them. The colors don't show very accurately here (again the silver is shiny), but I had fun playing with the colors she had at her placemuch brighter than the ones I own!

Ingrid is in fact the one that started this all, back in December 2013. Thank you dear friend for helping me fall in love with painting!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


Othman's grandpa died this morning.

"Bassidi", as Othman and his siblings call him, was one of the first people I felt comfortable around here in Morocco. He was a kind and supremely gentle man, whose eyes and whole being emanated wisdom and love. As the oldest of 14, he was in large part the glue that held the numerous and sprawling Berrada clan together. He is already greatly missed and will be for a long time to come.

As I looked through the pictures on my computer to illustrate this post I felt a deep sense of sadness as I realized I don't have any pictures of he, Othman, and I. I know some have been taken over the years but don't know where to find any. However, I do love these sweet moments that I captured last fall of him with his granddaughter (Othman's cousin) and great-grandson.

And this one, by Alli, of father and son at our wedding, which he hosted at his home. It makes me smileBassidi was always after something sweet to eat.

Today I feel torn; heartbroken for Othman and his family who are grieving deeply today at the loss of the family's beloved patriarch, grateful that Bassidi passed in his sleep and is free from the pain he had been in for the past few days, and thankful that I was given the chance to know and love such a beautiful soul.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The latest greatest news!

Lil sis Isa and her bf Matt are pretty cute.

The whole fam is a fan of Matt. He's all sorts of good (plus he's tall enough for the leggy sister). So when THIS HAPPENED yesterday,

our smiles were almost as big as these two!

Congrats both of you! Super excited and happy for you!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

To a dear friend on her wedding day

Dearest Urszula,

Today you get married! I welcome you into the club of globe-trotting, mixed heritage married couples. 

It's club filled with people who decided that their love outweighed the challenges they'd face: differing expectations, ever-present communication problems, hard decisions about places (where to live? who to visit?), names (change it or not? baby names that everyone is happy with?), and so much more. You've met with some of those challenges already, but trust me, more are on their way. Mixed couples have it hard, and many things that wouldn't be a struggle if you married the boy down the street will crop up as major speed bumps to get over. 

So why do we do it? Why are there ever more people joining this club full of arguments and tears and misunderstandings? Why are you doing so today?


Because the love that drew you to this man, so different from you in so many ways (yet so alike in others), feels stronger than any you could have for anyone else.

Because the struggles that we face as mixed couples truly only do make us stronger, and solidify the bonds that we started forging years ago.

Because mixed couples go into marriage with their eyes wide open, knowing they'll have to fight for their love. And sometimes that makes all the difference.

Because the richness that your partner will bring to your life (yes it will increase!) will come in many forms: new places and foods, new languages to conquer, new points of view to understand, new realizations and greater empathy. He will be by your side through those experiences and help you make sense of them and see the beauty in them. 

Because you'll get to do the same for him.

Because your table will be filled with foods from differing corners of the earth (and I know you like to eat).

Because like attracts like, and the other mixed couples you'll meet in upcoming years will be among the most interesting and compassionate people you'll ever know. And you'll immediately be drawn to them, and they to you, and you'll be able to discuss all those struggles and hardships with your new friends, and they will understand like no one else can. They are the rocks you'll learn to lean on. Because couples need couple friends. And again, the richness of your life will multiply.

Because mixed couples make beautiful babies, who grow up with empathy and a unique perspective, who grow up multilingual, multicultural, and as true citizens of the world.

There are so many reasons that this club is a good place to be. I've only been in it for three years and have seen what incredible joy it has brought me. I'm so happy that, starting today, it will bring you the same. Welcome.

Hey Jude!

My friend Brooke came over a couple weeks ago with a super thoughtful birthday card and gift, and took this beautiful photo of me cuddling with her sweet little boy:

During that visit she and I tried to schedule a family photoshoot, but sadly it fell through, and now she's off to the States next week. So when she came to visit yesterday I couldn't help but take a few more pictures of her and Jude! It was hardly a photoshoot but just some quick photos as we chatted over tea. The little faces Jude makes just crack me up, and I was happy to see him in such a good mood, cooing away and drooling on everything in sight! (And I LOVE the bandanna bibs he's always sporting.)

The ubiquitous orange of my living room (the second-hand orange couches we bought before moving in years ago happened to be the exact shade our landlady had just repainted the walls) doesn't make the best background for portraits, but I got some nice ones nonetheless!

Plus yay for black and white!

I love this sweet moment,

and this picture is my absolute favorite of the day:

Thanks Brooke for letting me try to capture in photographs the love between you and your son! Have safe travels and a wonderful time in California!