15 Years ago today...

15 years ago today my life changed forever.  15 years ago today I was walking through the streets of Central Havana and photographing whoever was nice enough to look past my sloppy Spanish and spend a few minutes of their time with me.  15 years ago today I first became aware that there was an international holiday for celebrating the women in our lives.  Why had I never heard of this holiday?  Everywhere we went strangers, friends and family were recognizing the mothers, sisters, wives and female friends who made a difference in their lives.  Several people gave me flowers in recognition of this holiday.  On this day, 15 years ago, I took this photo (right) of a little boy buying flowers for International Women's Day.

 Jesse and I, exactly 15 years ago in Havana, Cuba

Jesse and I, exactly 15 years ago in Havana, Cuba

15 years ago I became a photographer.  I have to thank so many people who helped me find my path.  My (now) husband, Jesse Ruff, who suggested I go on a mission trip to Cuba with him over Spring Break.  Alisun Donovan (now my mother-in-law) who allowed me to tag along on the trip she had organized.  And my photography teacher, Ray Hale, at Santa Fe College who was pleasantly surprised by the pictures on the 10 rolls of black-and-white film I brought back from Cuba, and who encouraged me to keep making photographs.

 La Maestra

La Maestra

La Mujer Bella

 Buying Flowers on International Women's Day

Buying Flowers on International Women's Day

 La Familia

La Familia

 Perrito

Perrito

 Amigas

Amigas

I have so many fond memories of that week in my life.  It completely opened my eyes as a photographer and as a human being.  I hope some day to return to Cuba.  What a thrill it would be to track down some of these people and give them a copy of the photo I took so many years ago.