Wednesday, June 25, 2014

CHICABRAVA Surf Camp in Nicaragua

I'm proud to say, this is my 100th blog post. Yay me!

So, I'm reluctantly getting back in to the flow of city life after attempting to be a surfer in Nicaragua at a week long camp at ChicaBrava. I have a million words to say, and somehow, I'm going to squeeze it down into a short, poorly written essay.

Are any of you travelers? As long as I can remember, I was interested in maps and other people. I used to cry as a child because I wished I was born an Indian girl because they got to wear such flashy, shiny clothes and sparkly bangles. I was stuck with white Keds and uni-outfits from Wiener's. Bummer.

As soon as I was smart enough to get a passport, I was off to explore the world! Europe, Asia, Central America. I was a travel girl, broadening my horizons more and more with each trip. I consider myself a seasoned traveller now, and plan to keep it going despite the typical 'anti-traveller' comments. The 'IIIIII wouldn't go down there' or 'I hope you come back' and a favorite 'Don't get abducted!' Being a smart traveler is absolutely key, of course, but once you get to where you are going, you see that people everywhere else are just like us. Just. Like. Us. There are definitely places as an American, I might not go right now, but for the places that I will, everywhere has their shameful drunks, hooligans and criminals; just be smart, educated about where you are going and aware, and you will be fine.

The ultimate travel experience is what I am looking for, and there are two things that happen when I am abroad. I meet and connect with other amazing people! Even if only for a week, the people you are around become your closest ties. They are your guides, people you would call for help, people you share your secrets with. People that you hug every time you see them. You get drunk together, make future plans together. Learn about where they are from and how they ended up sitting there with you. And as the days pass by, and the vacation fun comes to an end, you realize how much your heart will ache when you will leave the friends that you met. Tears come. And you wonder when you will have this time with them again, if ever. More tears.

This is what happened to me at ChicaBrava. Lauren, Noelani, Elsi, Dani, Johnny, Yadira, Candice, Colleen, Jerson (He took all the surfing pictures) and Norman; all became these people to me. I wished that I got to meet Ashley, the owner of it all, but she was in the States! Some of these people didn't even speak English, but there were tiny, mindful deeds done that showed that I had good people around me. My surf instructors (Lauren, Noelani, Elsi and Dani), went beyond what I've seen any other person do for me to see that I succeeded. When I was tired and wanted to go to the shore, I got a polite, 'We've still got ten minutes, Brittany.' I've never had someone use so much of their own physical strength to push me off in to each wave, and then tell me 'GET UP!' They pushed me and I did it. I stood up on the first day, and every day after that. Each of them opened up, we learned about them, and they taught us everything they possibly could about surfing.

My intent on this verbal rampage was to talk the entire time about ChicaBrava, and things you should know, before you go. And, for the love of all that is holy, please go. Do it for yourself. So, I'll go ahead and post some pictures, but I'M NOT DONE YET. There will be another post, less emotional and hopefully very helpful for future little ChicaBravas.

Here it is. Witness the miracle of a girl with scoliosis and a broken toe standing up in on a surfboard! (I'll build it up with pretty Cloud Farm and boat photos.)

 Little Ashley, at 6:30 am.
Maderas Beach
This is where surfer dudes stay.

We spent an afternoon after surfing on a huge catamaran. Suuuuuper funzies.
Dani (surfer girl badass), Stephanie and Ashley

We sailed to a deserted beach and there was a piggy sunning in the sand! We immediately swam to it and took fashion-y turn inappropriate pig photos.

Viktoria (from Norway) and Dani eating awesome ceviche made from Mahi-Mahi.

Lauren. Very grounded. Very fun. Very good at shredding waves.

We should of stopped with the rum and Coke hours ago.

SURF TIME (Photos by Jerson Berboza)
Chicas gotta check out the waves at Coco Beach, yo!
I am the master of surfing whitewash. Don't care either!
Heading out to Maderas Beach to paddle in via a boat.
This didn't end well. (click: Washing Machine)
Screaming because the wind is blowing us away. (Elsi, Ashley, Stephanie, Lauren, Emily, Me and Dani)
Romanso Beach

The baby sloth we sought out with Johnny, our cook! We took a two hour hike one evening in search of this mysterious baby and were able to see two! I got this photo because Johnny, our cook/sloth hunter climbed up into a largely thorny tree on the side of a cliff with my camera, shook the damn branch to wake the baby up (again, above and beyond), and took this picture for me. We all stood screaming into our hands on the ground. 

I'm going to be keeping it real.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Stephanie & Michael - Backyard Wedding

I really adored this quaint, backyard wedding that turned super jazzy as the night went on! This couple did it right with a gathering of the immediate family for the ceremony, and then the bride changed as guests arrived for the after party. The children were also a big party of this ceremony, as they were meshing families. It was lighthearted and sweet, and the kids each designed a cake! Look below at this great event!

Laid back pre-ceremony photos
So busted...

What a pleasure it was to shoot this wedding. I enjoyed every moment.