I realize I open every one of these updates with a list of places I've been to or assignments I've run away to do since I last sat down. This time is no different. September and October brought me to D.C., New York, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and zig-zagging across Myanmar's roads and regions.
D.C. was an absolute dream. I spent nearly every day sitting on the metro doing the Express crossword, walking across town to art galleries and coffee shops, and seeing some of the people I love most in this world. I didn't sleep more than five hours a night, never ate less than three times my body weight a meal, and didn't have a smile leave my face for nearly two straight weeks. I barely took any photos outside of a few professional shoots, but I filled 16 pages of my Moleskine with loopy cursive letters waxing poetic about my home, and everyone in it.
I also spent one day in New York, working the Women Photograph container at Photoville and catching up with friends and family that had come from across the world for the event. My Dad even came by, reminding me where my stubborn tendencies come from.
But soon I was on a plane again, this time touching back down in Yangon, where I was greeted by the Yay Kyaw festival for Thadingyut. Sassy boys, blushing girls, and blaring EDM beats filling my street. The first morning I woke up in my own bed it took me a few minutes to realize where I was, but it took me no time at all to realize I was right where I was meant to be.
Sean Gleeson wrote a great piece for Southeast Asia Globe that you can read here. I tagged along during his interview with Ah Moon, who served a perfect combination of attitude, intelligence, and sass during our quick shoot.
Frontier Myanmar launched the Doh Athan (meaning "Our Voice" in Burmese) podcast series this month. The weekly episodes will focus on human rights in Myanmar, and will be broadcast in Burmese language. The podcast is the first of its kind in Myanmar and is being produced by two local women. You can follow along here.
The fine folks at National Public Radio picked up one of my stories this month, focusing on the trials and tribulations of the blind community across the globe. I spent three days talking to blind activists in Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Canada, Sierra Leone, and right here in Myanmar. You can read a full version of the story here.
I came home from a work trip to find that Frontier had decided to put my story about Face of Indawgyi on the cover of this week's magazine. A digital version of the story should be out in the next few weeks, but then again you can always subscribe to get instant access.
I spent most of the day yesterday trudging through abandoned train stations in the Irrawaddy Region. Sometimes I was thigh-deep in mud in the middle of a water buffalo field- other times I was sitting next to a stream eating fried field mice. Every time I was amazed at the lingering effects of military rule... and how people have adapted to said effects.
I'm back off to Thailand next week, continuing to work on a story that sent me to the country last week. There might be better wifi, sweeter coffee, and air-conditioned public transportation in Thailand... but nothing beats coming back home to Yangon.