An anniversary

By gregebersole

January 28, 2016

Category: Travel

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Today is an anniversary for me. Six years ago today, I was laid off from my newspaper photographer job in Longview, Wa. It was a shock, but I had seen the writing on the wall. Many colleagues were losing their jobs too as newspapers downsized and even shrinking the physical size of the newspaper. After initially being a little stunned, I decided to take this news as a blessing. It was an opportunity to do something completely different. I knew my chances of finding another newspaper job were slim. So, I decided to take a course in teaching English as a second language. I thought maybe I could live abroad and teach English. I’d always wanted to live abroad anyway. The course was extremely hard for me. I hadn’t done anything as hard since graduate school, but I passed and received my teaching certificate. My good friend, Pat, who was also taking the class, had to often pressure and encourage me to stick with it. Afterwards, the local college in Longview offered me a position teaching to Spanish speaking people in Woodland, Wa. I did well and received great evaluations, but deep down, I didn’t enjoy it. I was a lifelong photographer and would always be a photographer. I stuck with it and taught for about 6 months. By December of that year, I had emptied out my house, rented it out and moved to Cali, Colombia. I taught some private English lessons for awhile, but, eventually, started working on some photography projects. I put a lot of work into them and had two large photo exhibitions. They were well attended and the newspaper, El País, even ran a full page story on me with some photos of my work and one of me taken my a staff photographer. Even after being laid off, I had always continued to photograph. It has been my life and will always be. I’m am happiest when I am photographing. The projects I did in Colombia were extremely satisfying for me, providing me with adventures and opportunities to meet people, make friends and to learn about their lives. I lived in Cali for about 5 1/2 years. Then, recently, I made some changes. I finally was able to sell my Longview home and soon bought a place in Mesa, Arizona. I have spent a lot of time going through boxes of my remaining stuff, and getting rid of dumpster loads of trash and taking loads of other stuff to Goodwill. Recently, I was able to spend 2 weeks in Havana, Cuba, photographing every day. It was so much fun. An adventure every day. I loved it. Now, I’m making plans to go back to Colombia in April for a couple of months. I plan to teach a photo workshop in street photography and taking photos of people. So far, in the past several months, I’ve been trying to get used to living in my own home again and trying to adjust to living in the states, particularly in Mesa, Arizona. I’m often restless and wondering what I’m doing here. One good thing about life here is the weather and getting to hike in the desert. Also, it’s great living close to my son, his wife and two sons. That has been fun. I enjoy spending time with them. Yet, I keep thinking of new adventures that I could take. Where could I go next? What can I do? Can I afford it and pay for it? I’m always running by possibilities in my mind. It’s been an interesting 6 years and it has passed so quickly. It will be interesting to see where the next 6 years take me. The photo above was taken of me at a sporting event while taking photos for the Daily News in Longview. Back in those days, I often used three cameras with different lens to photograph sports. Now, I mainly walk the streets and photography with a small point and shoot camera that fits in my front jeans pocket. Times have changed!

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