It's almost the end of the first week. We've been in Croatia now since Monday. Feels like forever ago that we were dying for some sleep and practically crawling into my grandmothers house with red eyes with delirium setting in.
We had a straight 13 hours of travel. We were lucky on our first flight from Toronto to London. We had an empty seat next to us and took advantage by taking turns laying across the seats and sleeping...well trying to sleep. I can never sleep on planes.
We arrived in London and I could smell that fresh "England" smell. It was as though every tree was in bloom and the scent was creeping over to the outdoor airport. We will be making our way back to London in a few weeks time. There we will meet with my sister and her family but first we head to France.
The first full day in Croatia and I was already asking my cousin Petra to shoot with me. She has never had professional photos of her taken and I was amazed at how at ease she was in front of the camera. It was a joyful day walking around the Croatian island of Betina. Finding little places to shoot and asking her to do strange things for the photos.
My Croatian is rusty but I try to speak it anyway. Petra understands English so when I spoke in English she would respond in Croatian mostly. It became a fun little experience of translation. We seemed to make it work though because we did have quite a lot to talk about during our walk/shoot.
I leave one of my lenses on a table that isn't quite stable and it rolls off as I walk away. I turn to hear my lens hitting the floor and cracking. Sort of in a daze I picked it up. I knew it was stupid but I am so clumsy on this day.
I managed to knock over a glass of coke and smash my lens all in one day. I guess I am not used to the fresh European air yet.
'A' uses a few tools to try to get the now cracked filter off of my lens but the lens and filter are now so dented that it refuses to unlatch itself. He finally smashes the cracked filter into a million little pieces and cleans around the filter rim. I try the lens out and by some holy ghost it's working.
The entire day is eventful. I find myself making friends with the feral cats of the island streets. I name one Minnie and give her milk. She comes by now everyday waiting for me. I pet her fur and she purrs excitedly. Some days I feed her chicken and she loves it.
The same night I find a lizard in a bucket. I think it's dead as it has been sitting in the bucket for hours now. I start to pester the lizard and I see it's head bob up and down. So I set the bucket down and leave it in peace.
'A' and I explore the stone streets and take pictures. I never intend to be in so many photos. I am camera conscious. I guess I am starting to get over it a bit. Someone has to be in the images at some point. I'd like to prove the I really was there I guess.
'A' and I really only have each other to shoot most times. Especially when we are traveling. It's such a relief when someone offers to model for me or when my niece is around. Then we don't have to constantly aim the camera at each other.
I find roses everywhere. Garden's bursting, roses climbing walls, fallen pedals along paths. I stop to take pictures. I'm in awe of their beauty and tell 'A' that one day we will have a rose garden just like the ones I keep seeing here.
My grandmother takes me to her cousins house. I sit in a room with 3 elder people. My grandmother, a woman who has just had her throat cancer removed and speaks through a tube of some sort and her husband who sits in a wheelchair.
So many stories I bet they all have to tell. They offer me all sorts of foods and drink even candy and straight brandy. My grandmother gossips with her cousin. Then her husband and cousin joke about who has it worse. The one who just had her cancer operated on or the man in the wheel chair.
She then asks my grandmother which of her teeth are real and my grandmother tells her all except two. This is the funniest conversation I have ever sat through. I find it intriguing listening to the chatter of these elders.
I look around the room at relics from their past. Family photos, statues of Jesus with thorns pierced through his head. The virgin Mary plastered in many images around the room. Even the calendar is Virgin Mary themed. I'm not religious but I can appreciate other people's spirituality. This island's main attraction is a very old church so I can understand.
There's a clear view of the church from where I sit and my grandmother remarks on how lucky her cousin is to get such a view of it. I chew on a lollipop and drink apple juice. I feel like a child.
My grandmothers cousin takes us to her gardens. The first is filled with glorious flowers and the second is a vegetable garden. She gives my grandmother salad and strawberries. She then calls me over and starts cutting flowers from her garden.
Earlier I explained how I love flowers and only care for gardens with them. So she cuts white roses and some other tropical flower I have never seen before and give me a small bouquet.
She tells me she planted one of her rose bushes 36 years ago and that she wants to give me a bulb from the other flowers to plant before I leave. I walk home with my little bouquet and I am pleasantly happy and intrigued by the experience I just had.
Today we come home from a near by busy city. My grandmother had errands to run and 'A' needed to buy a sim card. When we arrive home my grandmother calls over one of the local girls.
I remarked on how beautiful I thought she was a few days ago and how I would love to get a picture of the girl with the piercing blue eyes so my grandma tells her that I want to take a photo of her. She shyly looks at me. She smiles a bit I know she is confused as to why this crazy lady wants to take her photo but she lets me take it anyhow.
The weekend in roaring in and I am amazed at how time flies by so quickly. Soon we'll be prancing around France taking pictures of my friend Angela who is also my model extraordinaire. Then my sister, my niece, and I will be frolicking in London visiting gardens and the Harry Potter studio. Afterwards we'll be heading to Wales. Watching the sea on cliffs and running through lavender fields.