52 Week Project Blog

Week 17/52 - A Difference of Joy

I am pleased to welcome you my god mother, Anna, as my 17th portrait of the Week! Initially, we were set for Sunday April 23rd, but I was sick and moved it to Tuesday April 25th. It worked out perfectly. The photo shoot is set at two locations. First at Alki beach and the second at West Seattle Barnes and Noble. You will read about our photo shoot experience, learn about Anna's extraordinary story of how she came to be, and our relationship. Sit back and enjoy!

Alki is a special place to Anna because of her childhood experience. At any time anyone is with her, the first place to stop at is Spuds. True, we were starving, however, the restaurant holds sentimental value. Growing up, she worked next door at Taco Time (rest in peace that is now Tully's coffee) and used to be an eccentric entrepreneur selling each other's food. It was fascinating to listen about her childhood and hear how much Alki has transformed from her perspective. 

Anna works for the Seattle School district. She's been a teacher for over 30 years now a different position. She dedicated her life making an impact to the ones who are unfortunate to receive adequate education. Before being a teacher, what she went for in college was beyond different. She went for Veterinary. That was a shocker to me! The idea never crossed my mind I couldn't stop laughing. As great as it sound, her switch to education happened during her senior year in college. Her choice forever transformed her life. She noticed how much people needed help in their difficulty to pass their courses. She continued striving into making differences into her people's lives. As it stands, the students who felt her impact are still in her life and are set to transform everyone else following her footstep. 

Our time at Alki was splendid. The weather wasn't the brightest or color saturated, however, Anna's blue dress and bright smile made the surrounding vibrant. We brought an umbrella just in case the sky wanted to cry. As it turned out, it was no longer needed. We played around with the umbrella and pretended she was Mary Poppin. Small moments like this felt authentic and it allowed her to ease up. I am sure am decent at cracking jokes to get her laughing. 

I brought up the idea of visiting Barnes and Noble because Anna loves reading. The book she was holding titled "One Hundred Years of Solitude" from her favorite author Gabriel Garcia Marquez. To listen how much the book transcend an importance for her, it astonished me to discover her connection with the Gabriel. She continues to develop her Spanish literacy with reading the language and speaking to further enhance and embrace her culture. 

A funny moment to share. Once we stepped foot into the store, we went to the manager to get permission to do a photo shoot inside the store. It's highly important to get their awareness of what's about to happen and make your intention clear. Other than that, we had a blast. It was my first time ever doing a photo shoot inside a book store. Anna was spectacular as a model. As you can see, the lighting inside the store is harsh because there is no shade to cover to soften its intensity. Despite that difficulty, the mood felt empowering to photograph her reading casually. Throughout the shoot, she loves to show her fun side. 

On an intimate note, Anna has made an impact to me and Vanny's, my sister, life. During Vanny's senior year at Rainier Beach in 2001, Anna took Vanny into her home and raised her like her own daughter. It was incredible to see their relationship flourished into a parental figure for Vanny.

Between 2009 - 2012, it was the darkest time of my life. I was in an abusive relationship that ended by leaving, homeless, jobless, and had PTSD. It was to the point of attempting suicide. I wanted to end my life because I wasn't worth it. The reason why I'm sharing this because the moment I shared my darkest secret to Anna about surviving two rape attack, she took me in to stay with her because of my safety. She helped me through the process of getting professional help. I went through 5 months of therapy to heal completely and move on. She saved my life. Since then, she's been a major part of my life and continues to show support for me and Vanny. If it wasn't for her genuine care, we wouldn't have been here. Thank you for taking us in and raising us as your daughters. 

Finally, thank you for being in my project. It was an amazing experience to spend quality time with you and learn a different part of your life which wasn't visited previously. I am excited for what you are setting your life for me, especially for the ones you love. Continue to impact people's live. I'm proud to be your daughter. 

Thank you to those who stuck around. I appreciate your time. Week 18 is set to be a hilarious experience. Keep your eye out for that!