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

Day 12 of Love

Brotherly Love

Alex & John

I didn’t need to be in Philly, the city of brotherly love, to find a good example of brotherly love. I just needed to ride past a random group of three guys standing around talking at the corner of 37th and Park.

After a busy day, heading home on my bike last night, I wondered who I could meet today for the project. I passed these three youngish guys, and quickly calculated the odds of them being relative strangers to each other, great friends, or possibly brothers. In the end, I decided, it didn’t matter at all. It would be interesting to get their perspective on Love even if they were relative strangers to each other.

I asked what their relationship was to each other. John and Alex were brothers (yeah!) and the third guy was someone they met recently thru an interview process. I put my bike to the side and got my camera ready. John said that while he wanted to help with my project, it had already been a long day and could I just take photos of the other two… I hadn’t mentioned the love part of the project yet, mainly because I thought 3 guys who were strangers to each other may not want to answer questions on love in front of each other. But now that I had brothers, I had to try! I promised it would only take a few minutes. The third guy was relieved I wanted to focus on brothers and Alex said they could give the photo to mom–this was the clincher! You can’t say no to a photo with your brother for mom!

For love of mom. Thanks guys! ©Katarina Kojic

Name: Alex / John
Age: 26 / 24
Profession: Financial Analyst / Financial Analyst
Nationality / Origin: Virginians

Relationship to each other: Brothers
What is your favorite thing about Alex: His curiosity
What is your favorite thing about John: Very constructively critical in a way that makes you a better person.
I really love it when… Alex is on time
I really love it when… John passes the ball to me at the top of the key for an open 3 in a basketball game.
Why is Alex important to you: He’s one of the few people who would be there no matter what the situation.
Why is John important to you: He’s my brother and the best friend anyone could ask for.
(John) Love is…always fun (An update from John: “I’m not sure why I said love is always fun. That’s not what it is at all. To me, love is being happy b/c someone else is happy.”)
(Alex) Love is…happiness

Vintage Parents

I fell in love with photography and film thru my dad and my uncle Vipsy’s photographs and 8mm films. They both loved taking photographs and filming their families. And most of the evidence is from the 60s and early 70s. My Dad’s 8mm camera was stolen when I was about 5 or 6, and as the youngest, that means there aren’t very many films with me. Perhaps that is why I feel extra nostalgic toward the look of those early films and photographs. The colors, the clothes, the lifestyle photographs of our family and friends–I love it! I have a box of 8mm film reels I brought back to NY after the sale of my mom and dad’s house. We lost my dad several years ago, so these are truly special memories for us. Big reels in blue metal cylindrical containers and little yellow Kodak boxes which were short films only several minutes in length. Films of us at Christmas, of my sister coming home from the hospital as a baby, or my first time walking… We used to watch them as adults when we were home visiting. We’d put up the d-Lite Projector screen, my dad would thread the film and my mom would make tea and serve something delicious she baked. One of the reels labled “1977 Big Garden Our House”- has a shipping label addressed to my Grandmother (Oma) in Germany. That’s how my parents shared our lives with the family abroad. They would make a film and then send it overseas.  I imagine it went down like this: The film reel arrives in the mail at Oma’s. Instantly, a tea kettle is on the stove and a cake that just happened to be baked already, gets sliced up and put on nice china with small silver dessert forks. Meanwhile, my uncle sets up the projector, feeds the film thru the spool, and the family is called in to gather in the living room. Oma brings in the coffee and cake and there in the living room in Planegg, Germany, they watch my mom and my sisters and me frolicking and picnicking in a huge weedy garden that was the plot of land my parents bought and where my dad would build our house (the one we just sold). My earliest memories begin around that time.

Another box I brought back, is filled with boxes of slides. One of the boxes is of my parents before me and my sisters came along. I never saw, or remember seeing any of these photos. There was one photograph of my parents on their wedding day that sat on the dresser in my parent’s bedroom, old and faded, for as long as I could remember. It was exciting to discover the other photos taken from that day plus a few others. Last night my husband and I devised our own method of projecting them onto the wall so we could photograph them to share. We now have on our wish list, a carousel projector, but we were pretty delighted with how they came out. Other than a slight adjustment to the darkness or lightness of the photograph, these were not retouched and we didn’t blur out anyone on purpose.

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