“A picture says a thousand words”
I’ve never understood that. I love taking photos, looking through photos, trying to pick out stories from photos – but they will always have some shortcomings that words don’t have.
Coming into my last month in my community, I have occasionally felt stressed about all the photos I haven’t taken. I don’t have enough photos of my family, my dogs, my friends, the streets I walk by every day. I don’t have enough photos of the best moments of my experience here.
In my most stressed moments, I’ve felt this way. But I’ve come to realize that I don’t need those photos. The photos I take and post online may show some of my most relaxed moments, where the sun was setting and I was out and about with my friends, but they don’t show the day-to-day moments that make this experience real. My photos are of vacation, of the easiest, prettiest, best-lit moments.
My photos don’t include the time I spent hours sitting in a chair, my mom and sister picking out my lice and laughing at me.
My photos don’t include all the times my sister has come into my room while I was doing homework and forced me to watch hours of fail videos on Youtube.
My photos don’t include running around the streets dodging water balloons with my sisters during Carnaval.
My photos don’t include spending all day with my youngest sister and my parents at the thermal pools, staying far longer than anyone else and splashing around in the warm water in the perfect blue hour light.
My photos don’t include the time the electricity went out in the papipollo restaurant and we had a candle-lit chicken and french fry family dinner.
My photos don’t include all the beautiful bus rides and the quiet periods of reflection and gratitude after a long day.
My photos work for me because I’m not too good with words, so they’re the best I’ve got. But the best moments are often the ones you don’t have a camera for, and if they’re really so great, you’ll remember them without any photo.