Latitude: 39.21 N; Longitude: 85.91 W

I don’t have a choice but to like where I am so I might as well know where I am.

Making this photograph, I was standing next to the Cleo Rogers Memorial Library, designed by I. M. Pei in 1969, at twilight. I was failing to photograph a massive thunderhead whose side was lit up fluorescent pink by the setting sun. The sculpture is Henry Moore’s Large Arch. Across from it is the First Christian Church, which was the first contemporary building in Columbus, Indiana. It was designed by Eliel Saarinen in 1949. (Eliel’s son Eero eventually designed  Columbus’ North Christian Church and the St. Louis Arch). Columbus has a history of employing contemporary architects to design its public buildings.

I am in Columbus, Indiana, where my parents moved last summer. It’s strange to move in with your parents in your mid-twenties, though from the number of friends I have living at home, it’s becoming a rite of passage for our generation. It’s strange to return from living overseas. It’s strange for this bonafide City Girl to live in a small town.

I need consistency, so I’ll continue to blog. Religiously, I photographed and posted on Fish Sauce, Motorbikes and the Golden Tortoise throughout the last year in Hanoi. I never want to use a blog to complain–you probably don’t want to hear about my angst–so it helped me focus on the positive side of living in Hanoi. The blog helped me keep my eyes peeled for beauty in that chaotic, challenging city, and it reminded me constantly that I was lucky to be in a place where everything was so different that I learned 10 new things a second.


As I was saying, I need consistency. So, I’ll continue to blog as I deal with the reverse culture shock of settling back into an American rhythm; watch the presidential election drama unfold from inside the country for the first time since I’ve been able to vote; find a job and apply to graduate school; and plan my next move abroad.

My hopes for this blog is the same as for the previous one: To document this chapter; to have a space for my photography to improve; to remind myself to see the positive side of living in Columbus, where the people are friendly and the architecture is beautiful.

NPR: Columbus, Ind.: A Midwestern Mecca of Architecture (Saturday, 4 August)

3 thoughts on “Latitude: 39.21 N; Longitude: 85.91 W

  1. A nice start to this new part of your journey! I am still in HCMC and will not be back to the US for another 2 years … who knows? We still are not sure. Coincidentally, we just went to Indiana! My parents are in Bloomington! Small VN to IN connection we have! Cheers to living in the USA! My relatives asked what I missed most about the US. I thought about it for 3 seconds and said “Freedom of the Press.” Of all things. Enjoy the onslaught of presidential election commercials. hehehe 🙂 Oh, how’s your Canon for holding your shots in focus? I have trouble with blurry shots and when it’s brighter in the background than foreground.

    • What a funny coincidence! People are really nice in Indiana-they look you in the eye and say, “How y’all doing today?” when you pass them on the sidewalk. It’s a stark change from Minnesota, where people actually look away from you. I missed the Freedom of the Press as well; I never felt I could trust anything I read while I was in Vietnam.

      I like the Canon a lot and it does a pretty good job of keeping focus but it does become a little more difficult when the background is brighter. I try to take pictures in the morning (before about 10 am) or in the evening (after 3 pm, depending on where in the world I am) because the light is less direct. Eventually, I’d like a camera that will allow me to control that a bit more but I’m happy with the Canon.

      Have fun in HCMC! I won’t pretend I’m not a little jealous. That’s such a cool city.

  2. Pingback: A Last Look at Columbus « Someone told me there'd be wild things.

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