Saturday, July 13, 2013

just a small town girl

It certainly isn't every day that a lovely young lady from Australia comes to live with you for a week and photograph your life.  But when Elize announced her project on her blog and I found a link to it by chance, I left a casual comment saying it was too bad she wasn't coming my way.  Next thing I know, I found an email in my inbox from Elize saying she'd be more than happy to come my way!  And, well, you know what they say...the rest is history.

So what is her project?  She calls it "small town girl" and she's done it with a handful of girls in Australia, and now she's doing the same thing in the USofA.  Basically, she lives with a girl in a small town and follows her around for a week, taking candid photos of her everyday life, and she plans on exhibiting her work and creating a book eventually.  So for a week...I was Elize's small town girl.

The week she was here was insaaanely busy--rarely a free moment.  I worked during the day and had play rehearsals in the evenings, and my show opened that weekend (don't worry guys, you will hear about Music Man. our last show is tomorrow...sniff).  Cassie got back from Guatemala the day after Elize arrived and in between times in my spare hours I squeezed in spending time with Cass, and my friend Caitlin who just got back from Thailand, and showing Elize around the city, this lovely place I call home.  I used to hate the city, but it has grown on me so much (especially going to the university right in the area I think) and it's grown into a cool artsy area and it made me proud to show her around even just a little bit.  After sitting through numerous rehearsals, she came to Music Man opening night, and I got to take her to the theatre downtown, aka myfavoriteplaceintheworld, for an old Gene Kelly movie (they show oldies during the summer!).

So here are some photos of our adventures in the city.  Huge indoor markets are my favorite.

Oh, and of course there were many iPhone photos taken.  At one point Elize had four cameras out at once--film, vintage, iPhone...she came prepared, baby.  (Some of these are hers, some mine. Go stalk her instagram.)

Uh, so we ate lots of ice cream when she was here.  Absurd amounts.  It was fantastic.

She was also here for the Fourth of July, which was siiimply lovely.  Especially because it was my first day off both work and rehearsal in...forever.  We chilled at a friend's annual gathering and she got to meet lots of the people I know and possibly confirm her stereotypes about American pride, and we of course went to fireworks as well.

See?  Yay iPhones.  Also yay baklava hmmmm.

We went browsing in some boutiques and antique shops in the Short North, which is the kinda artsy area downtown (also right by campus yay! love that place).  Elize was surprised by big fish hanging on the walls, ya know.  But seriously she's so adorable.

It's probably a relatively rare experience, but beforehand it was kind of a funny thing, especially explaining it to people.  "Yeah so this photographer I don't really know except over the internet is coming to stay with me for a week to take pictures of my life."  During the week, people would ask me, "So is it weird?"  And you know, I'll admit.  Before she came I had a few moments of trepidation.  What if we just don't get along at all?  What if it's awkward?  What am I going to do with her?  But you know what?  It wasn't like that at all.  Heck, the first day she was here, I took her on a two hour car ride down to visit my extended family.  And every day I had a forty minute drive to and from rehearsal.  And ya know, we never ran out of things to talk about.  It was so sweet and I never felt like I was just her subject.  I felt like she was my friend, and a friend I'm so very glad to have made.

We joked a lot about cultural stereotypes and differences, especially with Cassie and Caitlin (so much comparison of American vs. Australian vs. New Zealand vs. Guatemalan vs. Thai vs. French vs. British culture...I love talking to people who have traveled).  I teased her because she always said, "far out!" and she imitated an American accent for all my relatives.  We had adventures on the side of the road finding the perfect bicentennial barn and she let me borrow and play around with one of her lenses and I sneaked her backstage during rehearsals so it looked like I had my own paparazzi following me.  We talked about friends and relationships and books and faith and wanderlust and work and passions and changing and life and Jesus.  And she basically became my adopted older sister for the week.  It was so, so sweet.

Someday I'm going to make the trip "down under" to go visit this lovely lady again.  What an unforeseen blessing of a week.  Full on and far out.


  1. That's amazing! Where I live, the only few places that are actually worth seeing are probably in downtown. But then again, I've lived here my whole life, so it's kind of hard to say that.

    Yours Truly,

    Your outfits are just perfect Jenn. I love the pink dress. :)

  3. Oh Wow! That's so awesome! Yes, come to Australia!! :)

  4. That is so incredibly amazing...what a cool idea! I'm so jealous, but YES, you MUST come visit Australia sometime soon! It's a pretty awesome country to live in. :)

  5. this is seriously the coolest thing. ever.
    what a cool experience! and what a rad project she is doing, too!
    the pictures are awesome.:)
    oh! and I'm kinda lovin' your pink dress.

  6. A. Markets are my favorite.. so quaint and lovely.. B. These shots are ROCKIN.

  7. AHHH! That is just soooo awesome! It looks like you guys had so much fun. Be sure to note that I'll be swinging by the area someday. ;)

  8. this is seriously one of the coolest projects ever.
    seriously, it's genius. and i'm kinda (maybe a lot) in love with your dress.

  9. That's one of the specialest (that a word? it is now) things I've ever heard of, Jenn! •-• Such a rare opportunity, you know. Of course you do. Tell me, what experience in that experience was the one that stuck out more than the rest??

    Oh yes, quite enrapturing photos/words. <3


    1. oh gee, hmm. I'd say there were times when we were just sitting there talking about friends and life and God and I was like "whoa this is really cool"--those moments were the most special. :)

    2. Those are some of the best moments... ones you never forget. <3

  10. This is just lovely and Elize seems delightful and I can't wait to meet her. As always, beautiful story telling here and I'm so glad you're part of this project. <3

  11. Aw, Jenn, you're the sweetest; truly a remarkable and inspiring young woman. What an uplifting, encouraging and fun week it was for me. Thanks for taking a chance on some random gal from Australia and I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it, too ;) Far out, I can't wait to develop the photos! xx

  12. Awh love the photos, glad I was home for that week! I'm coming to Australia to visit you too Elize! :)


Sweet comments are the best thing since sliced bread. Unkind comments are the worst thing since hamsters.

But really. Comments make me happy.