#HOPARKCOLLAB 1

In an effort to practice our photography and graphic design skills and do something collective while we are far apart, Esther and I have decided to start a series called Ho Park Collab. We have a hope that every week, I’ll send her a photo from my travels, and she’ll overlay typography with quotes/words or hand-drawn graphics that are line with things we are walking through, even if we are walking through them on opposite sides of the world.

A question that people always ask me is why I chose Bordeaux, and I tell them it’s because it’s by the ocean. It’s a different kind of west coast and a different kind of ocean, but it’s a cure for homesickness. My roommate describes the ocean as “infinite,” but I know that somewhere my eyes can’t reach, Vancouver is on the other side of it.

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Saint Emilion

Not far from Bordeaux in the middle of wine country, there is a quaint little town called Saint Emilion. It’s surrounded by vineyards, so it’s a really great place to do wine tasting tours, (and do a bit of exercise, because the streets are all very steep). 90% of the stores there are wine shops. The other 10% sell wine-related things and ice cream (so basically, I was thrilled today). Here are some photos from our day trip:

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Moments in Bordeaux

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1. I had my first day of orientation yesterday, and I felt incredibly lucky that I already had friends going into it. It was an exciting and tiring day, and here is a photo of some of my favourite people that I’ve met so far! They seriously look like they came straight out of a magazine

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2. If you Google a picture of Bordeaux, you’ll probably see the quintessential photo of the Miroir D’eau, which is a reflecting pool that mirrors the Place De La Bourse. Last night, a bunch of us exchange students gathered by the pool and soaked in the full moon over the river. It was an occasion to drink straight from the bottle, wander the city centre, and wonder how September can still feel like summer nights.

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3. Since school hasn’t started yet, we are taking every opportunity we can to hit the beach. Today we went to Lacanau Ocean, which is a surfer beach with higher waves, so we swam out until our bodies were just bobbing heads against the horizon and let the tide carry us back to the beach.

“What is the English work for ‘it never ends’?”

Infinite.”

Yeah, I think the ocean is infinite.”

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4. My lovely German friends have a garden in front of their flat, so they hosted us this evening with plenty of drinks and snacks to go around. The conversation was so warm that we missed the last bus home (whoops) and all the candles melted. We kept going around the table talking about how things are like in our home countries and translating words in English, Swedish, and German, and I kept thinking about what Isabelle said to me before:

“If there is one thing that is beautiful in this entire world, it is that everyone is different.” 

Wine Party

Natasha, Isabelle, and I are blessed to have such a huge place to ourselves (seriously, who the heck needs two living rooms?), so we decided to open it up and host a wine tasting party for our new friends. Our home was warm (with red, with white, and with chattering bodies), so we moved onto the balcony and wished for more summer nights. It’s hard to believe that orientation starts tomorrow, and there will be more things that are full – full houses, full glasses, and full hearts.

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Beach Day

Today was 30 degrees, so 3 Germans, 2 Swedes, an Austrian, a Russian, and a Canadian drove along the French shoreline and explored the beaches of the coastal towns. The first place we went was the Dune De Pyla, which had mountains of sand as far as our eyes could see. On one side was a forest, and the other was the sea. We were disappointed when some locals told us that the dune was too steep to go down to the water, so drove on the countryside to some of the other beaches in Arcachon, which had the cutest old buildings and way overpriced food (haha).

We dove into the Atlantic Ocean, tip-toeing at first because of the cold, but then after – headfirst, with eyes closed, because it’s painless that way. When we sunbathed, the water kept crawling closer and closer to us, until it tickled our toes.

“Look,” Osker said, “The ocean is inviting us to come back for a swim.”

We talked about the way water is where we’re from, and I thought about how home often feels like sand in between our toes and salt in our hair.

“I’m used to the cold ocean, because the water is always freezing in Swedan.”

In Munich, there is no ocean, but there is a huge river where people can surf.”

At the beginning, we were strangers, but at the end of the day, we parted ways like the French do: cheek-to-cheek on summer skin and kisses that smell like saltwater and ice cream.

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Home

A skype call with JJ and SK – “Sometimes when you’re away and alone, you forget what community is like – what Jesus looks like in the midst of everything, and how important it is. But when you return, you will be overwhelmed and you will be filled again.”

Currently in the process of learning:

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1. “You are enough. This was enough – no more, no less.”

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2. How to receive when I do not feel ready to receive; when I feel guilty about receiving.

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3. That intimacy and control are incompatible.

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4. What to do when I ask for peace and am asked to trust in return.

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5. How to thank a home that loves me deeply even when I am rarely around long enough to indent the soil around my doorstep.

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6. How to say, “I love you,” without making it sound like an apology.

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7. “You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.” – Wild Geese, by Mary Oliver

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I guess I have more photos than things I’m learning (haha, yeah right), so scroll on.

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Portland Photo Set Part 2

After 7 hours in a cramped car (because Abraham decided to buy a television while we were in Oregon, so our new friend Samsung hung out with us in the back), we finally made it home last night! For our final day in Portland, we only had the best – the best coffee, the best doughnuts, and the best view in the Oregon coast. As we were driving down to Cannon Beach, everyone in the car had only one response: “Woah.” And it took everything within us to tear ourselves away from the beach and head home.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get much video footage this, because I was really sick for one of the days I was in Portland (I know, of all places to fall ill), but here’s one of the songs I was thinking about using for video I would have made:

I’m really glad the boys let me tag along for this road trip to the chillest city on earth. There is something about big cities that feel small that always get to me, and I’m 100% convinced that the west coast is the best coast. 2 weeks left in Vancouver, and then I’m off to a different kind of west coast!

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