On my way through the Midwest in the Fall of 2007, I spent some time with my brother in Detroit since I thought it would be the last time it would be just him and me before he got married. We had a couple sister-brother outings and, as we do, took lots of pictures of whatever was around us. I had never been to Belle Isle before, and he took me out there to explore an old yacht club. As with so much of Detroit, the beauty and character is in the neglect. The forgotten, disintegrating buildings allow you to creatively imagine what it once was, what it could some day be. Detroit is truly a gritty city. (Stay tuned: I will explore this topic further in the coming months.)
Photos #53 May 21, 2011
I have to post two pictures today, only because they’re of equally fun Halloween costumes. I don’t usually do a whole lot for Halloween, but the Fall between England and Mozambique, I was making my way up north from Houston to the Midwest and happened to celebrate Halloween twice: once in Cincinnati with Zach and Renee because they were having their small group over for a Halloween party, and once in Detroit with Mike because it was actually Halloween. The theme of the evening in Cincinnati was “famous duos” since they’re in a couples small group. Famous duos plus famous single? I’m used to being the third, fifth, seventh, ninth, or any other odd-numbered wheel, but I was not looking forward to that party. Zach and Renee were very sympathetic to my feelings (note: they did not plan the party) and decided ahead of time that we would be a famous trio.
The costume in Detroit was less creative since it was actually one I stole from one of the “famous duos” in Cincinnati. It’s also less obvious. Can you figure out what we are? Note the color we’re wearing.
Photo #51 May 17, 2011
Before I first moved to Houston in 2003, I flew down for two weeks to look for a job since the job I originally had lined up fell through. Zach and Renee were gone for the summer, so I stayed in their apartment and used their car. Each day I would map out a route, dropping my resume off at as many schools as I could in any given school district. It was stressful. I didn’t know the freeways or the major roads so relied entirely on my maps. I spent all day every day in the car and thought Houston was made up of nothing but freeways, strip malls, and apartment complexes. Concrete and glass everywhere. I longed for something natural.
That weekend in between the two weeks of job-hunting, I decided to explore the museum district. I headed for the Menil Collection and was surprised to find an open grassy area beside it. Even though it was close to 100 degrees with high humidity, and even though I was dripping in sweat and constantly swatting mosquitoes, I sat on a bench near the Menil and relished the peace around me. It was green and natural and open and pretty, and I couldn’t hear the sound of any freeway. I knew then that Houston would be okay since I had a sanctuary in the middle of the city.
The Menil continues to be my sanctuary. Except for one year, I have always lived within walking distance and love my Sunday afternoon strolls over there with a blanket and a book in my bag, sometimes with a companion and bubble tea, sometimes alone. I have discovered many more gems in Houston over the years, but that park is still my favorite spot in the city.
Photo #49 May 14, 2011
It’s funny going through a folder entitled “Random Houston” of photos I took thinking I was never going to live here again because, well, now I live here again. The photos are all daily images of life here: several food shots, a city sunset, traffic on 59, my church’s courtyard in a downpour, a ginormous Texas flag at an auto dealer, and various shots of the downtown skyline.
This is the inside of my church. The middle painting with the three-dimensional hands and feet is still there. I like that despite all the changes and comings and goings I’ve experienced in the past several years, my church has remained consistent.