Day 22 of Love- Love of Commitment

Name: Daniel
Age: 67
Profession: Security Analyst
Nationality / Origin: Irish American

Status: Married 47 years

What is your favorite thing about your wife: She is very caring, but has a hard time showing it. She used to be shy and naïve and now she thinks she’s strong and somewhat independent. She is not flexible. She thinks she’s helping herself and doesn’t see anything I do.

Why is she important to you: “…you make a commitment…”

What does love mean to you? Love is… “Finding the right partner.”

©KatarinaKojic_9098-ReQ77

Daniel in Downtown Brooklyn.

©KatarinaKojic_9103-ReQ77

He makes sure that terrorists don’t photograph his building. (above right)

http://katarinakojic.com/

Day 21 of Love- Love of coincidence

I met up with Leslie and Rikki in Bryant Park. In two days they would be boarding the Queen Mary II on their way to London and a few weeks later flying to Istanbul. A few things will get checked off their bucket list, they said.

Leslie and Rikki stop in NYC before boarding the Queen Mary 2 to London and then on to Istanbul.

Leslie and Rikki in Bryant Park, a huge square dancing party is taking place behind them, they weren’t really into it.

Name: Leslie / Rikki
Age: 67 / 54

Profession: Retired Educator / Retired Customer Service Director for Air Canada, now a part-time care aid in a hospital dementia facility.

Nationality / Origin: Canadian from the northern Climes, Eastern/Western Viking, aka Scandinavian, some Eastern Russian / Born in Germany.

What is your Relationship to each other: Good friends

How did you meet each other:
Rikki: “Boy that’s a story. In a little aerobics studio in Sechelt, British Columbia when I was moving there to finish building a house and went to a little aerobics class and I signed my name in… and Leslie can take the story over from here, because she is the one who read my name.”

Leslie: “I had just lost my best friend, whose name was Rikki, that week– within 3 days.
I thought I’d never have a Rikki in my life again, and in the door she came. I was taking the attendance and her name was Rikki. And she came from exactly the same place in BC that my friend had been living. And my best friend’s brother’s name was Harold and this lady’s last name was Harold. And it became a crazy coincidence that we really don’t yet get. That was 1992.

What is your favorite thing about Leslie: “Oh, she is so… generous spirit, generosity, non-judgmental and totally accepting of people and also a very interesting person to talk to, very interesting. Always stimulating and always ready to get going and do things. I mean this big trip we’ve got planned there aren’t a lot of people who can enjoy or want to go away that long and don’t feel that they have to be attached to their families but can really, you know have that adventurous streak. And STILL be very nurturing and family oriented at the same time.”

What is your favorite thing about Rikki: “Oh well… Rikki is an extremely hard-working woman, it so impresses me. She never ever takes the easy way out. Most generous, most tolerant. Tolerant in a good way not meaning “I’m putting up with you” but really tolerant in her assessment of people and always looks for the good side. And there’s many, many more things, but I don’t want to upstage this girl.”

I really love it when Rikki… “I really love it when she’s at aerobics and I can get to talk to her, because she takes too much time off sometimes, because she’s working. I just want her there every day… but she’s not, she’s still working and I’m not.”

I really love it when Leslie… “Can come for a coffee, we go to Starbucks, for an hour or whatever time we have in the day and we can have a really great gab, a great conversation in that time.”

Why is Rikki important to you: “She constitutes a sort of thread of continuity thru that period that I met her and I don’t have a lot of friends from that period anymore, I’ve lost quite a few of them, so it’s continuity I think, and it’s not having to explain myself. I don’t have to fill in all the background. I love to talk, I talk too much, and it’s a really good thing not to have to say everything when you’re with someone.”

Why is Leslie important to you: “Because even if I don’t see her everyday, she’s just such a solid personality and such a good friend that I know she’s there and accepts me and is a good sounding board and the confidence I’ve given her, I know only stays with her.”

What does love mean to you Leslie? Love is… “A quality of mind that indicates caring and as I’ve observed this in NY, because it does come to mind here, I’m finding that people, even if they’re rough, to have a very, very deep courtesy. Like a caring——courtesy is of the heart, and I really see it in this city, despite a lot of grittiness and other things that are a little foreign to me, and I really appreciate that. I think it’s far more important than having good manners, to have courtesy.”

What does love mean to you Rikki? “Genuine respect for all life. And it doesn’t have to be extraordinarily demonstrative, it’s just acknowledging other living beings and things and caring for them in your own certain way, in your own little realm that you can nurture one another.”

How did your trip come about?
(Rikki) “Leslie talked about her great travels, and I’ve been wanting to go to Turkey and she said, that sounds great. This was planned over a year ago. So we started with the Turkey trip and then Leslie said what about the Cunard Queen Mary from New York to London, and I said, why not… And then why not a few days in New York, one night, two nights, now three nights.” (Leslie) “Then we can stay in London, with my Daughter in South Hampton and it just kept going and going and going. It’s actually a fairly ambitious trip for one haul.”

Bon Voyage, Leslie and Rikki!

http://katarinakojic.com/

Day 20 of Love- Peace Corps Love

Several Weeks ago I went out on my bike, searching for examples of love. I was pulled toward Washington Square Park and rode toward the top of the park where a guy played banjo under the finally renovated Washington Square Arch. The light beautifully bounced off the white marble of the arch and back into the ever darkening park at dusk. I stopped on my bike to listen to the music and found myself distracted by this large group of friends standing and listening on bikes. I watched their body language with each other, their energy was so light and fun, along with the two little babies who were helmeted and seated on their bikes, trying to clap along with the music. The laugher, kindness and joy they expressed with each other was that of a family of friends. I hadn’t photographed a group for this project yet…Group Love… Not quite what it sounds like… They were all in the Peace Corps together for 2 years, well all of them except for 2 new additions to the group.

Everyone gets into the music. ©Katarina Kojic

Name: Tara
Age: 28
Profession: Domestic Engineer aka. Stay-at-home mom.

Name: Jerod
Age: 28
Profession: Account executive at Adobe

Name: Tyler
Age: 1

Name: Nia
Age: 27
Profession: Professional Traveller (looking for travel writing job)

Name: James
Age: 26
Profession: Medical Student

Name: Alyssa
Age: 29
Profession: CEO of the household

Name: Caetano
Age: 1 year 9 months

Name: Andrea
Age: 27
Profession: Teacher

Relationship to each other: We were all in the Peace Corps together. Peace Corps Family and friends
For those who might not be familiar, what is the Peace Corps: It’s a program of the US government where people go as ambassadors of America and help developing countries in a variety of ways.
How / where did you meet: In Mozambique- we were all teachers.
What were you teaching: English, Biology, other sciences, we did a lot of youth development…
Did you know each other before: Tara- “We (Tara & Jerod) were married before. (still married)

Tara, Tyler, Jerod, Nia, Caetano, Andrea, James, Alyssa ©Katarina Kojic

When did you all meet: September 2007
How long have you been together: We were there for 27 months. 2 Years. And at the end of 2009 we all came back and we’ve been like best friends.
What is your favorite thing about each other:
Tara- I would say sense of humor, and just fun. Certainly the funnest people ever.
Nia- Everyone is so like minded and adventurous.
What’s been your best adventure? Click to hear The $100 Bill Story Video.
I really love it we…
Jerod- Get together and have a fun party.
James- I really love it when Jerod wears a 1-piece unitard.
Jerod- Who doesn’t love that?

Why are you important to each other:
Tara- We shared the most amazing experience together . 2 Years together in a foreign country. Where we learned so much about ourselves and each other and a whole new culture.
What does love mean to you? Love is…
Tara- love is patient, love is kind– laughs (it’s the words commonly heard at weddings)
Nia- Love is laughing and having fun. I think that’s the most important thing and there’s lots of that.
Andrea- Love is now.
Tara- Love is Jerod riding the bike all thru NY city.
Jerod- How do you describe love? You just have to experience it. When you have love you know what it is.

Thanks everyone for your time and your beautiful Peace Corps family.

 

katarinakojic.com

Deep thoughts from a weekend of photoshoots

A few years ago, my best friend moved out of New York, leaving her apt empty for the remaining two weeks of the month. To grieve her departure, I turned her apartment into a studio for a weekend to test out new lighting set ups and a medium format camera on loan from another friend. I invited people from the school of Improvolution to come by and be my model in exchange for a photo. Each person was slated for a 15-20 minute session and as I knew some people would come early, or a session may run long I wanted to make waiting more interesting. There just happened to be sheets of packing paper lying around just asking to be used for a creative project.

On the top of one sheet of packing paper I wrote:

What’s your definition of success? Have you achieved it? What do you have to do to achieve it?

Brendan ©Katarina Kojic

Elaine ©Katarina Kojic

Ken ©Katarina Kojic

Jen ©Katarina Kojic

Vicki ©Katarina Kojic

Meredith ©Katarina Kojic

What’s your definition of success? Have you achieved it? What do you have to do to achieve it?

These are their answers in a random order.

1. Being Happy with yourself and the world around you. I have my “successful” moments. Still not complete. Looking at “the glass half-full” is something I have to do.

2. That you come up with a very distinct version of yourself. Getting there but a lot of diversions and distractions & people always want to bend you to their will.

3. Being happy. Do I look happy? The less I define it, the more I achieve it–I ask for what I want–when I let the universe play its part, it’s given me success beyond my wildest dreams.

4. Being true to myself allows me a level of success beyond my wildest dreams. And I’m getting there -it’s been a rough journey– but I’m making progress-baby steps.

5. I used to think it was money, then I found myself with none and found happiness, fulfillment and confidence instead. Success is being able o do what you want, when you want and not care what anyone has to say about it.

6. My Oscar! But living everyday in truth and using every minute wisely. Making a contribution to the world. And on my death-bed being able to say “I at least tried.”

7. Success has many variations… Re: personal life, health, money…etc! Success is being honest with myself, staying in the moment and working towards goals. It’s a process.

8. There is not one single definition, guess being successful is when you feel like you have a purpose and you have or are in the process of serving that purpose.

9. If what you do brings you joy. Even more so if it brings joy to others as well.

10. To find work that does not feel like an effort. Not yet. Search. Commit. Fail. Get back up. Search. Commit…

On the top of the second piece of paper I wrote:

“What’s the one piece of advice you got that has been put to use in your life the most?”

Joy ©Katarina Kojic

Miguel ©Katarina Kojic

Brock ©Katarina Kojic

John ©Katarina Kojic

“What’s the one piece of advice you got that has been put to use in your life the most?”

1. Life is not a dress rehearsal. Go after what you want even if it takes time.

2. You’ll be dead long enough. And nobody, nobody, nobody wants to hear your “if onlys”

3. Take you shoes with you when you go.

4. Be on the lookout for the spirit snipers, trying to steal your light.

5. Stay positive-surround yourself with positive people for they will push you to achieve.

6. Knowledge is power 🙂 (And have fun!)

7. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.

8. It’s not just what you know but who you know. Relationships are everything.

9. When you’re on your deathbed looking back on your life, what will be the things that you cherish? ie. don’t worry about the small stuff.

10. Be realistic, not afraid.

And on the top of the third page:

Seems it may have been a hot and rainy kind of day.

30 Days of Love will be returning shortly.

Day 19 of Love

I met Vernard and Bradley around the corner from the Producer’s Club, during my 15 minute break between warm up and last night’s improv show. As I was choosing a spot (in front of Chipotle on 9th and 44th), these two guys walked by. Full of joy and clear affection for each other, I stopped them and asked if they would take part in my 30 days of Love.

Both Dancers and Choreographers, they met at Alvin Ailey. ©Katarina Kojic

Name: Vernard / Bradley
Age: 36 / 32
Profession: Dancer slash Choreographer / Dancer slash Choreographer
Nationality / Origin: Native African American (Grandfather was Cherokee) / South African -Greek, Dutch and British

Relationship to each other: Very close friends and getting closer
How / where did you meet: At Alvin Ailey when I (Vernard) hit on him. And I (Bradley) let him.
When did you meet: 1998
How long have you been together: Since then
What is your favorite thing about Bradley: Wonderful spirit, always joyful and optimistic
What is your favorite thing about your Vernard: His Smile. Actually just everything.
I really love it when… Bradley smiles
I really love it when… Vernard holds my hand.
Why is Bradley important to you: It’s very rare you find good people and he’s just a good person.
Why is Vernard important to you: He keeps me balanced.
What does love mean to you Vernard? Love is… Love.
What does love mean to you Bradley? Love is… Everything.

…Katarinakojic.com

Day 18 of Love

Love of Travel

Many years ago, Nina and Darryl went on a trip around the world, on a shoe string budget. Around the world for $4000. About 3 months into the trip, they were in a rickshaw in front of the Taj Mahal, and with the moonlight shining down, Darryl asked Nina to marry him. She said yes.

I asked if he had planned it before the trip. Nope. “Yeah right,” says Nina. After spending so much time together, day and night for months and months, and still wanting to be around each other… well he knew he had found the right person.

Nina asked if he wanted to tell what happened the next morning. “No,” replied Darryl. The next morning, he offered that they didn’t have to tell anyone yet, in case by the end of the trip, they changed their minds. Seems he was a little rattled by his spontaneous question.

They obviously didn’t change their minds and after 37 years, you can see they still adore each other.

Darryl and Nina tell me the story of the morning after their engagement. ©Katarina Kojic

Name: Darryl / Nina
Age: 70 / 67
Profession: Retired High School Social Studies Teacher / Retired School District Librarian (aka. Media Specialist)
Nationality / Origin: Born in Delaware -Mother German, Dad Polish / Italian born in NYC

Relationship to each other: Husband and Wife
How / where did you meet: Working in the same school district
When did you meet: 1969
How long have you been together: Married for 37 years.
What is your favorite thing about Nina: She is good at everything she attempts and is full of surprises
What is your favorite thing about your Darryl: He’s a WONDERFUL father. (and as a husband) He loves me despite all of my faults.
I really love it when… she stands up for herself, (which is frequently)- She does not suffer fools lightly.
I really love it when… he tries to tell a joke.
Why is Nina important to you: She is like my guiding star. She’s very supportive and has total faith in me, I think.
Why is Darryl important to you: Because he’s my soul.
What does love mean to you Darryl? Love is… Pain upon separation.
What does love mean to you Nina? Love is… Having no bounds. Unconditional love.

…Katarinakojic.com

Day 17 of Love

Sitting on in the park near the courthouse in lower Manhattan. ©Katarina Kojic

Name: Sabir
Profession: Garment / Textile Importer and former cigarette and soap model.
Nationality / Origin: Indian

Are you in a relationship? Yes I have a wife.
How did you meet her? At a party, my friend took me to a party. She was starting med school. After seeing her for 7-8 years, with the permission of our parents, we got married in 1987.

Let’s go back to the party when you met her, the first time that you saw her. Do you remember what she was wearing? “Yes she was wearing an Indian dress in light green color. And that light green color is very favorite to me. She was beautiful when I saw her. Right now she’s not that… But at that time she was most beautiful woman.”

So what was your first date? Did you have a first date? “No we don’t do dates, we don’t do that in India, you know that. We always met thru somebody, in somebody’s house in a party or something like that. And after 6- 7 years, we get close, close, close and then I wrote my parents, that I have a girl, been seeing a girl. And she also wrote her parents. Then I go and met her father, mother and after that both the parents met together and said ok.”

What is your favorite thing about her: She’s a very care-taking person. For me, my kids, my daughter, my son, she always take care of everybody. And one more thing. She’s an extraordinary clean lady.

I really love it when… she smiles.
Why is she important to you? Because she’s my second half. In Indian culture we have a different concept. Once we get married. Our life divided in two parts. One part is wife. One part is husband. Same for her also. We both share half of our soul, half of our body together. We never ever think about getting divorced or anything like that in our life. Different culture. You must know about India. In my case at least I saw my wife and dated her for 7-6 years. All my brothers and sisters they never even saw their wife before they got married. And you know the divorce ratio in India is .001. Not even 1 percent. 100 times not even 1 person. That’s the way we grow up.

What does love mean to you? Love is… How can I explain love. In my opinion, love is everything but soul. Everything is love except the soul. (Can you explain more?) In your real life, everybody, whether me or somebody else, only love one person in their whole life. THe other all you can say, you can name anything, but you have anybody have only attraction, affection, great richness, everything is just for one person, that is called love. My opinion right there. I don’t know about anybody else.

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