look back: the thunder of month 8

stephanie may photography
stephanie may photography


Perversion. Corruption. Trickery. Lies. Immorality. Lust. Sex. Darkness. Death.

It all hung in the air as I walked along the main strip of Phuket, Thailand known as Bangla Road, smiling politely as the words “no thank you” escaped from my lips and my eyes stared into the person holding a border line explicit graphic flyer in front of my face to advertise a show named after the game I played growing up with my family in the room above our garage; ping pong will never be the same for me. As I looked down the street through the herd of cattle walking ahead, around and behind me, all waiting to follow the leader to the next big thing or the quickest path off the cliff to their destruction, I accepted the reality that one “no thank you” might not be enough.

I had just stepped out of the taxi.

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look back: red fences and new lessons

red fence

I had always liked the color red. Never for a particular reason. It was just a good solid color, strong and feminine but not girly. It was as if it were the grown up version of pink. And I never did like pink.

But right now with legs splattered and hands dripping with the color, I was quite content never seeing it again. We had painted nearly everything in the bright and bold tint; the fence, the shutters, the merry-go-round, and even part of the play ground if I remembered correctly. We ourselves were nearly completely covered in it; a mixture of water and turpentine making any hopes of cleanliness worthless. I let it sink in though, feeling the comfort of being an empty canvas, the beauty of being messy and veiled in paint brought me back to my artist roots and cluttered studio. I feel a bit more complete smothered in colors.

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look back: the beginning

A squad worshipping in the JFK airport before beginning the race

At long last, here we were.

After almost a week of eating tacos from little Mexico and sleeping in a strip mall church in Gainesville, one crowded bus ride to Atlanta, one night in a very colorful homeless shelter located smack dab in the heart of the city, an easily forgettable flight to New York City with the obvious 11 hour layover, a long, semi-awkward and shy nine hour flight to Warsaw, Poland including a nine hour layover adventure and another hour and half flight we had finally arrived on the awfully early morning of September 13 without sleep in Bucharest, Romania; home of our first month on the Race.

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look back: the truth was a dead end

It was already after three, our day off campus was quickly approaching an end and yet I couldn’t make myself move. We couldn’t be late and I knew that, but how could I pull myself off the cluttered porch when I was sitting at the feet of Bessy Lynn; the most beautiful 90 year old woman, sitting in a porch chair on what was supposed to be a typical Saturday afternoon. Her shaking hands were kept busy while she tried to fix and straighten her long blue skirt or push back the grey hair that was already pulled back in a ponytail. Her light blue eyes held the emotions of confusion, fear and apprehension to the unexplainable visit of six girls to her pre-Beverly hillbilly home. It was only her dog and rooster that seemed kept her company on this dead end back-country road and even the dog was unsure of how to act around so many strangers.

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