I'm not going to lie, this blog has no direction! It's got a bit of art work, a bit of reflection, a bit of my life events and a hint of depth. Hopefully one day it will culminate into a mini diary for me to look back at.
|Posted by ashlybauserman on October 16, 2012 at 12:30 AM||comments (18387)|
I just found this sketch that I made of my apartment the day that I saw it for the first time and where I imagined to put the furniture if it happened to become mine. The first moment I walked in I got that crazy "gut feeling" that only comes so often in your life which was telling me that this place was "the one." It took years of building credit and constantly working out my finances, a crazy amount of preparation to get everything in order to qualify for a loan, tons of research to find the right location and real estate agent, and tons of patience to work through the insanity that is buying a short sale. It's incredible to find this drawing and see that almost 100% of placement of furniture and what I ended up buying matches and even more so that I could see myself in this place so much. Today marks 6 months since I walked in the door and 3 months and 3 days since the keys were handed over to me and it was officially mine. It was so worth it.
I still have so much to do with the place, but things are coming together. As the rooms get nicer, I will post more picture
“Never ignore a gut feeling, but never believe that it's enough.” - Robert Heller
|Posted by ashlybauserman on September 13, 2012 at 1:50 PM||comments (3307)|
I finally got an I-mac again (thanks to my wonderful Christopher) and things have settled down now that I have fully purchased and moved into my apartment. I now have time to actually start uploading and creating albums for so many trips I have taken.
Upcoming albums will be:
A new set from the Dominican Republic
Guatemala and El Salvador (from 2 years ago)
I will also have some upcoming blogs on what has been going on this last year. I want to touch upon what it's like to live in a city vs. the suburbs (living alone vs. with my family), what being in a long distance relationship is like and share some of the great memories and a few of the strifes I've had with my dear Christopher (if he doesn't mind), would love to talk a ton about all the different trips I've taken and what they have meant to me/ what I've learned, foods I'm cooking for the first time with spices I'm using for the first time from different countries, tips on budgeting/ financing for those of us in our twenties that have really worked for me (believe it or not, I've become a lot of my friends' financial advisor over the last year), what it's like to be a homeowner at 25 (even if it is only a one bedroom apartment) and what I had to go through to be able to put myself in a situation where I could buy, what I have come to value in my friendships and relationships since I graduated from college, moved back to the US and have been leading a more stable/ centered life, and last but not least, I would love to share more personal stories about a period in my life where I battled with anxiety and depression and how I actually got through it.
Keep tuning in for more updates
|Posted by ashlybauserman on April 5, 2012 at 8:05 PM||comments (0)|
I haven't written at all for the past few months as I've thought further about how much to share. There is a difference between being very open and being open minded and I've had to consider what I'm comfortable with.
I'm pretty sured I've decided what direction to take. Stay tuned
|Posted by ashlybauserman on January 26, 2012 at 1:00 PM||comments (2873)|
I've had the great fortune of having lived in 4 continents by the time I was 16 in environments that were completely unique from one another. I'm also lucky to have been able to travel more than the average person as well as spend an extensive amount of time in several locations. My parents did an amazing job choosing the right country during the right age range.
I was actually born in Alexandria, VA in the same house that I currently live in. Phil was brought to this world about a year and a half later and we ended up moving to Guatemala right after. Guate was a great place to spend the first part of my childhood as we had my mom's family living there, El Salvador where she's from was right next door and more than anything, our latin side was very much instilled in us. We then moved to Africa; first to Zambia for 5 years and then Ghana for 2 where we learned what it really meant to live "organically." Playing meant playing outside - always. We made our own soccer balls out of plastic bags and string, we made games up by digging holes in the ground and using little pebbles, we made golf courses near the trash area, we climbed trees, ran a whole lot, found insects and gecko's and took care of them and just used overall used our imaginations to entertain ourselves. It really was a beautiful way to grow up. No pretences and very little interest in the material world, but instead in the secrets of nature.
By 12 we had moved to Germany for the next 4 years allowing my teenage mind to be shaped by art, creativity, different European cuisines, languages and more than anything it provided the greatest platform for an open mind. People in Europe grow up and mature faster than anywhere else in the world - that's for sure!
The first time I actually have a memory of living in the U.S. didn't come until the age of almost 17. It was incredibly strange to pick a bedroom in the house I had been born in and go to school in a country that I had always considered myself a huge part of and realize that I didn't fit in AT ALL. There's something really mind-boggling about being the child of a diplomat and experiencing more comfort in foreign countries than you do in what is supposed to be your own. It has taken me a good 8 years (even though I studied abroad in Italy, did a summer internship in Guate, visited my Dad in Prague several times for extended periods of time and even lived in Guatemala in 2010) to finally feel at home here in Virginia.
People ask me all the time where I'm from and ironically I always feel like I'm lying or short-changing myself by saying I'm from Virginia. I've thought about this a lot the last few years. I think I would say I consider myself a citizen of the world at this point. You know that saying, "Home is where the heart is?" What if pieces of my heart are scattered everywhere? That's a huge part of the reason why I travel so much; it gives me access to so many parts of myself that I need to continue to nurture and feed or else I end up feeling like something is missing. That's another reason I tend to gravitate so much towards people that have a deep appreciation for cultures other than their own; that's what I connect to.
So, I've been thinking of where I'd love to go next in the next few years to keep expanding on what my parents instilled in me - deep curiousity for what else is out there. I made a list of the top 10 places I'd like to go and hopefully one day I'll have a photo album for each
8. Papua New Guinea
If any of you have been to any of these locations, I'd love to hear about your experiences and recomendations
|Posted by ashlybauserman on January 18, 2012 at 6:30 PM||comments (1)|
If you don't like a good projectile vomitting story, I'd recommend that you stop reading right about now!
GOD - I wish I had pulled out my i-phone today to film the insanity that happened on my way to work, but I was too busy trying to make sure that I didn't join in during the hurling game and crash into someone else.
This morning Phil (my brother and best friend) was complaining that he didn't feel well and spent a little extra time in the toilet. When we got into my car to drive to work I thought I was helping him out by giving him a few of those colorful Tums that help settle your stomach. Boy, that was the first mistake.
About 20 minutes later, I could see Phillip was struggling and tried to drive a little bit slower to see if that would help him at all. I heard him cough up some phlegm and scramble to find somewhere to spit it out in. My car is basically a haven for empty bottles so that wasn't too difficult and luckily he reached out for a bottle that had a greater diameter (thank God Chris drinks gatorade!). All of a sudden I heard the hurling noise that is all too familiar to us college students! I look over and there is Phil trying desperately to puke into this bottle meanwhile obviously managing to spray it all around as well. And he keeps trying to make it into that poor bottle as it keeps filling up more and more and the sprays get worse and worse. I scream "MY PURSE" which was by his feet and he bigns to projectile vomit like a true warrior seemingly using every muscle in his body and this loud grunting followed by sprays of disgustingness. Pure chaos. Do you look? Do you breathe through your mouth? Do you roll down the windows? Do you just focus on getting to the.... BLEEEEEEARRRRRRREHHHH=. I'm on auto pilot just thinking, "Ashly, you can do it - you can make it to the closest gas station!" You have to imagine that I couldn't look to my right really because I knew I would witness this dude just covered in tums, old pizza, rice and chicken. That's the thing about living with someone, you even know what they're throwing up! Out of the corner of my eye I see the next "intelligent" thing that Phillip does which is use his jacket as a shield! He covers his head and as much as he can to make sure to contain all the puke even though that just makes him puke even more as the nastiness is all over him!
Finally on my rearview mirror I caught a glimpse of an emptier highway and went straight to the gas station. As soon as I parked the car I heard Phil get out and the sound of puddles of vomit drip from him to the ground and make that final plopping sound. The poor thing went to the bathroom to keep up the momentum and then to wash himself off meanwhile I did what I do best, made friends with the guys working at the station and smoked one of their cigarettes. I was so caught off guard and confused by what happened that I just found myself laughing hysterically as I played everything back in my mind. I couldn't help but die of laughter when Phil came out with his winter jacket bundled up, his shirt and pants covered with stains of the evidence and a look on his face like he had been through the battle of all battles. He just smiles and knows everything is fine. The first thing he says is.... "Ashly, I hope I didn't devalue your car." It still makes me crack up just remembering the look on his face and the fact that that's the first thing he thinks about! He's a sweetheart.
Needless to say I had to drop him off at home and go get my car totally shampood. It cost $80 and 3 hours of my time, but it was totally a bonding moment for Phil and I! The best part of it all was when I told my Dad what happened and he just responds with..... "alrighty, yup" and that's it.
Every day I literally fall more and more in love with my family and give thanks to God for putting us all together again so that we could have so many unique experiences together. So the moral of the story is that even moments that seemingly are more difficult can be filled with tons of love and make for a great bonding story For anyone who knows Phil, wish him well as he's still in bed at the moment!
Phil, I love you buddy!
|Posted by ashlybauserman on January 10, 2012 at 5:50 PM||comments (0)|
The number question I keep getting ever since I began updating my website and am now blogging is:
How did you start doing photography?
The number 2 question is:
Which is your favorite photograph that you've taken and why?
Well, I started photography when I was in college during my 3rd year and then really became obsessed during the last year. I guess I was always "artistically" inclined and enjoyed drawing, dancing, music and well... beautiful photographs. The first person I did portraits of was of an absolutely beautiful Nigerian classmate of mine at UVa and at the time coworker. We worked at the movie rentals place at UVa in Clemons library on the 3rd floor and I remember sitting next to her day after day having this crazy desire to just photograph her. I started seeing her in different lightings and colors in my head and finally one day got up the courage to ask her. I told her exactly what state I was in.... I had been photographing inanimate objects and was especially interested in macro photography- I wasn't very good and didn't have much experience yet, but I was REALLY curious about specifically taking her portrait. The deep chocolate color of her skin, her incredible facial features, her infectuous smile and spirit inspired me in a way that I can't explain.
Luckily, she was as crazy and brave as I was and together we decided to do a series called "7 Colors." The first time we used the color red, the second it was this bright neon/teal green that she really loved. It was actually a piece of satin cloth that she had that she brought along and we just worked with it. What was amazing was that she let me actually draw on her with eye liner and that her Nigerian heritage allowed for me to attempt an African theme in all of her photographs.
One of my favorite pictures (of which true to form I have 7 of and will share the other 6 as the year goes on) is the one below.
Til this day, what I am most interested in doing when I shoot portraits is primarily accomplishing a cultural sense of identity for the person I am photographing.
|Posted by ashlybauserman on January 7, 2012 at 3:55 PM||comments (0)|
A few months ago I was lucky enough to go watch this documentary at George Washington University and get to meet the Director, Phil Grabsky. This documentary follows the life of a simple boy named Mir who's entire life is devastated and changed forever because of the war(s) in Afghanistan. It follows 10 years of his life from the age of 8 to that of 18. Not only is this film cinematographically breathtaking, but the lack of any commentary and only subtitles while he follows Mir's life and family really allows you to come to your own conclusions. He is a boy who spends the first half of his life living in a cave to survive and the second half struggling between the decision of whether or not he should continue school or help his family farm. All I can tell you is that Mir has the most beautiful soul.
Unforuntately we are fed so much by the media which only provides a Western perspective on the war in Afghanistan and we are depersonalized to their true struggles. I would like to encourage people to have more conversations with Afghan's who are now living in the United States, to listen to their music which is unbelievable and learn the Atan (sp?), to eat their amazing rice and eggplant and to most importantly hear each of their sides of the story and how their lives have been changed forever. Come to Diplomatic Language Services and have lunch with us if you're in the Rosslyn area There are Dari and Pashto instructors who are more than willing to share everything they have wtih you including their honest opinions!
I want to thank Nasrat from DLS for constantly setting up amazing events like going to watch this documentary for us all to get to know more about Afghan culture and its people. If any of you can, please go ahead and buy the documentary when it comes out as you won't regret it.
|Posted by ashlybauserman on January 6, 2012 at 12:00 AM||comments (21)|
Growing up with a father who's job is to consantly travel the world definitely leads you to having what I call "the itch." My genetic make up definitely doesn't help either as I definitely inherited the curiousity and drive from my father and the artistic and dedicated side from my mother. They are both in their 50's and still wake up extremely early and have rediculously productive days.
I have always been somebody who just couldn't sit still for too long thanks to both nature and nurture. I needed to be active in as many classes as my schedule would allow, I had two majors and a minor in college, took dance classes, art classes, piano classes, had an active social life, had significant others, traveled endlessly, taught four languages both in college and in Guatemala, wrote and patented a grammer book by 22, got obsessed with photogrpahy and the list goes on and on. I was and have been a classic "over-achiever." What they don't go on to tell you is that the classic over-achievers also tend to suffer from some amount of anxiety and are so competitive with themselves that nothing is ever really good enough. My question is, is there enough energy to be both an over-achiever and be happy?
In 2011 I was determined to discover what "balance" and being "happy" really meant. I decided to go to work and spend my 8-10 hours there working hard. I was lucky enough to get a job in a Language Company called Diplomatic Language Services where I could get my fix for all things international and still feel productive. The only other thing I focused on was traveling (both because it's an integral part of who I am and also I am in a long distance relationship). If I wasn't traveling or working I decided that I was determined to learn what it meant to be STILL.
For the first time in my life I watched TV for hours, took showers until the water went cold, didn't do laundry until my underwear ran out, didn't make my bed for months at a time until my sheets needed to be washed, went on walks to absolutely nowhere and listened to my ipod on shuffle, stayed in bed for 3 extra hours as often as I could to transition between sleeping and thinking and just didn't force myself to do anything I didn't really want to. I released myself from the pressure I had previously put on myself. You have no idea how amazing it is to do absolutely NOTHING for 365 days if I wanted to!
The biggest outcome for me has been a growing sense of appreciation for what I have versus what I haven't achieved. I have an amazing brother, two dysfunctional yet very loving parents, a too good to be true boyfriend, an incredible job that gives me the ability to travel - and more than anything I have learned that I don't need to do absolutely anything to be "worth it" like I had convinced myself. All I need to do is be greatful and have enough energy to give and receive love in order to find the type of happiness and balance that isn't fleeting.
I photographed the tree below while exploring Great Falls last year. It managed to have so much charachter while maintaining it's simplicity. The tree represented to me the type of -growth- I would like to continue to achieve.
|Posted by ashlybauserman on January 4, 2012 at 5:05 PM||comments (0)|
The last time I wrote (and only time on this blog) was back in 2009. I was about to embark on an amazing and extremely difficult journey. It has been way over a year and so many things have changed, just as they should when you're in your early twenties and on a mission to discover who you are and take risks.
I moved to Guatemala for two reasons: 1) Desire to discover a part of myself (the hispanic part which had also experienced the first 5 years of her life there) and 2) I loved him.
I moved in order to realize what was important. Family/community and Money. I know that everyone always tells you that money isn't anything that we should aspire to have, but when you live without it- you realize how important it is. It isn't that money itself is essential, but more the power is. It isn't just any type of power, but it is the power to choose.
I choose to travel, to try something new, to help, to save. I love having the ability to do the following and for no one to take it away from me.
Guatemala is truly beautiful - but it is one of the most dangerous places to live in.
I am thankful for what I learned - for how thankful and appreciative I have become - for how centered I have become - for how much I value family and a good and productive life.
We are always evolving and I just happen to be someone who is absolutely curious about most things in life. I am curious about love, love lost, taking risks, finding happiness, following my heart, being passionate, meeting new people and most importantly I am curious about what it means to live a full life.
I will write again tomorrow as I have so much more to catch up on -
Hope you are all enjoying your new years!
|Posted by ashlybauserman on December 12, 2009 at 4:47 PM||comments (1)|
It is now official. I am moving to Guatemala January 7th 2009 to begin living the life I want to live.
I am going to be working on two things-
the first is developing myself as a "business woman" and focusing on languages. I will be teaching Spanish, English, French, German and Italian in the corporate world of Guatemala. I am officially going to be the Language Program Director in Universal Language, an English Academy started by Adriano (the guy I'm dating).
I will be focusing on developing methods and am now in the half way stages of writing a Spanish to English grammar book for his company.
Once I am more established in the "language" world... I will venture more into photography. There isn't a large market there for photographers, but I do believe that at some point I will be able to start small doing personal artistic portraits.
This is all I want to do in life...... work with languages and photography. This sums up my being.