two whole years…

Yes, you heard that right. It’s been two entire years.

In the two years since I started this blog, I’ve been to Australia and back again. I went there all by myself, the first time I’ve ever flown halfway around the world on my own (I’ve flown halfway around the world with my dad and cousins, before). I’ve driven to Minnesota and back, and some of you know how that went. And now I’m back in my hometown of Clemson, for the time being.

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April ’11, before I left for AUS

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April ’11, before I left for AUS

My first few blog posts were about the joys and trials of packing for moving to the other side of the planet. I had just bought a new laptop computer, in order to keep in contact with my family more easily, to update my blog, and to Skype anyone who wanted to talk with me. It is still my go-to “vehicle” for all my blogging and communication needs. Even the headphones, which used to be for Skype, are used to block out the background noise of the household, and allow me to write.

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One of my first pics in Australia

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Yeppoon, QLD, Australia

I had just bought a new camera, a Nikon D3100, which allowed me to take beautiful photos of Australia, as well as the occasional video. With it, I was able to visually show everyone what I was seeing, while I did my best to describe it in words. In those two years, using my camera has become much more natural than it ever had before, and I’ve been using cameras since I became a teenager. I have always said that I like to take pictures, but only now do I consider myself a photographer. My DSLR taught me how to do more than just point-and-shoot… though I still love my Canon PowerShot for certain things.

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June ’11, one month after arriving in AUS

Also new to me was my Kindle, one of the older black-and-white versions, which allowed me to take a large number of books with me. It was an excellent supplement to my local library visits, and as much as I love real books, I like having the e-books handy, as well. I was NOT thrilled that it go broken, on the return trip to the U.S., but at least that allowed me to upgrade to a Kindle Fire.

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My bub, 11 mths old, June ’11

When I returned from Australia, I left behind all the friends and loved ones that I had made in the previous year. How had the year gone by so quickly? How had these friendships become so strong? The Lord truly blessed me with the friendships I made, and now, when I eventually return to visit all of them, I’ll be putting in some serious travel. Because instead of staying in Emerald, many of them have moved away! My friends are scattered from Queensland to Tasmania, and I have to see them all again, someday. I look forward to that trip.

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April ’12, right before leaving AUS

During my time back in the United States, I had to learn how to blog again. I didn’t really need to reinvent my blog, so much as reinvent how I looked at the everyday things, in my home country and my hometown. You can become blind to the things that surround you, the things that you take for granted. Now, I wanted to share the adventure of home with my friends in Australia, as well as remembering that life is interesting, you just have to know where to look.

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April ’12, right before leaving AUS. My bub’s almost 2 years old.

I have become fascinated by taking photos of everything from buildings to flowers. I have explored the town of Clemson and the Clemson University campus, and I’m still not finished yet. I look closely at the budding flowers and look straight up at the tops of the trees, looking for the interesting shapes of the branches. I want to see what will look good in black and white, and what only needs a touch of color to come to life in a photo.

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Botanical Gardens, Clemson, SC May ’12

Just thinking about my writing, photography, and life experiences, I’ve come a long way in two years. But if you’d told me back in the summer of 2012 that I would end up working on Clemson’s campus and actually enjoy being around the students, I would have thought you were on something. College students have always intimidated me, but I’ve come to enjoy them (ok, some of them), and actually like the campus. And when you take the time to get to know a place, looking through a camera lens, you’ll find you like it even better.

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Riggs Hall, Clemson University March ’13

Some of you have stood by as I tried to straighten out how to write about my work on campus and my life here in Clemson. Thanks for putting up with me, because I think I’m back on track. Again, the search for the interesting, the fascinating, and the adventures will continue. And when you’re looking for something, you often find it.

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GWH, March ’13

Yes, this blog and I have come a long way. Here’s to many more years of writing and photography, with a few road (and plane and cruise) trips scattered in between!

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Mom and I
Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013

P.S. I just realized that this is my 444th blog post! So, I’ve averaged 222 posts a year, though I know I blogged more when I was in Australia.

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