First things first: it was incredible. It was delicious and loud and relaxing and stressful and smelly. I saw more new things in two weeks than I had in the previous year combined. I ate my face off. I shopped more than I ever thought I would. I learned that I can, in fact, enjoy myself just sitting on the beach with nothing to do.
There were some things I didn't do. I didn't deal well with feeling foreign, with standing out and being photographed everywhere I went. I didn't allow myself any empathy for the horrible conditions that many of the people I saw live in. I didn't like it when a child grabbed my leg and asked for change, but I also didn't break down and cry, and I didn't give them money. I don't know what that means.
I made some wonderful new friends, and I also spent some time feeling weird that I was attending an intimate event essentially as an outsider. The bride and groom (who couldn't have been more loving and welcoming) had dozens of wedding activities to attend to, which meant Mike and I spent our days with all their Austin friends. This meant quick affinities, real connections, and occasional hanger-on status.
I took a ton of photos. I photographed nature and palaces and people. Some of my photos could just as easily been taken at a bar in the US, and some I am very proud of, not because they're compositionally elegant or creative, but just because I thought about where I was and focused on how I best knew to present it. I got lucky a lot. Seriously, the NEX-5 is an incredible camera.
So there you go: I'm obviously still working through stuff. But I'm well-fed, exhausted but inspired, and appreciate both my home and the big wide world more than when I left three weeks ago.
More to come.