Marielle
V
Chua

Marrakech

A week in Marrakech left me with blistered feet and some dust in my lungs, and eyes that didn’t know how to stop wandering when I came back to LAX. The walls were city mandated pink and the cats didn’t mind that the chops of meat they were getting that night were friendly with flies only a few hours earlier, nor did the swallows mind the chaos of bikes and cars below when they’d ascend to catch evening gnats. It was holy month. It was magic. 5 times a day a man announced in song that it was time to pray, a certain hushed grace would make its way through tight alleyways– and with kind explanation a hotel clerk would tell us how it’s good spiritual practice, and a way to give the body a break. He rubbed his hands together excitedly and pointed upward when he says “ahh yes, it’s for Allah.” He also again tells us to try to be back in our riad between 7:30-8:30, hunger runs the city in that hour. Later we’d go out for a walk at the night market and the relief of a cigarette, carbs, and water was an energy all it’s own. People were joking, suddenly you were everybody’s sister, and the smoke from food vendors would fill up all the empty night air.


Most time was spent walking the souks in the walled city, and then most of that time was wondering how much hotter it would get that day, and then one had to wonder if we had any poolside plans with gray rosé in the near future.


 A two and half hour drive brought us seaside at Essaouira. Hills and small concrete villages passed out the window and, if you paid close enough attention, your eye would catch camels making their goofy way around dried up landscapes.  Part of that day brought us roadside looking at goats in trees. Wide eyes and in wonder. We made sure to stay awake for the rest of the car ride. We were greeted with cooler air that was thickened with salt, slower pace. Pink walls were traded for bright whites and buoyant blues.  


of course my time spent there battled actually believing that I was there, felt as if I could have been floating 5 feet above myself and 5 minutes slower in time. to remain grounded I’d shift my feet, straighten out with a good breath, and take a photo. felt good to turn the overwhelm into a language that I could process. 


I took these with a mix of Kodak gold 200 speed and ektar 100, using my contax g2. I took (a lot) more with my phone, but these were the photos that I needed hard copies of. Sometimes I need something that not only my eye would recognize, but also my posture and senses. 


Marrakech was surprising in all the best ways, 

looking up at palms in le garden secret

bikes across the street from YSL

ed sheeran covers in essaouira

the studio and work space space of LRNCE

this one was my favorite

a happy accident


A bit of visiting home

I am trying to be better about being home whenever I go home. What I’m saying is that I’m actively reshaping my relationship with escapism whenever I go home. I’m not trying to be heavy, I’m just making the point that for 23 years I have spent so much time trying to figure out how to leave it–and now I’m wrestling with accepting, now as an adult, the weird familiarity and comfort it brings me to be there. I’m also practicing being more vulnerable. It’s been an interesting lesson to show up and be seen. Time wears on though, and I realized that part of showing up is standing where you’re at and knowing where your feet are. I don’t have much else to add to this other than I went back home, and I took a lot of photos of the things that make my heart ache a bit. This was only in about a 2-5 mile radius, my intention is to photograph the entire city, and I’m realizing it’s gonna be a bit of time. Part of me wants to plan to shoot in the summer just for dramatic effect- but I don’t know how long you can go on thinking how romantic 100 degree whether is.


The one of my shadow is in my parents backyard, I’m standing on top of one of the three big and good and sturdy rocks out back. I took the photo and looked up and across the way to the cypress tree in the front of the house, only to see a hawk being so so still on the tip top that I noticed it was a bit crooked, the tree not the hawk. The next week a windstorm came through and knocked it over. I got some kind of feeling about it, not sure what though.


april 11

im sitting here, and the wind is blowing outside. the way that the long stemmed branches and all it’s tiny leaves are rustling have the same sound and rhythm as pebbles rolling around underneath the ease of an ocean wave. I catch myself being overwhelmed with a lot of joy lately. these days im also experiencing a very felt and unfamiliar sense of connection to the breath that comes out of me, for what feels like the first time in a long time- I sometimes forget that this sense of ease is as gentle and subtle as the sun making shadows that stretch across the wall, it’s the slowing down enough to see it that counts. it is never out of reach, but sometimes I lose sight of it. im grateful it comes back with so much grace.


im reading poetry again and buying too many books lately. I catch myself standing on the outside edges of my feet and wonder what it is that makes me want to repel from the ground, I try to be as mindful (like a fucking lunatic would be, im joking) and I lay my feet so all four corners stick. I try to be as grounded as a mountain. a bit secretly that yoga pose is my favorite, did you know my middle name means mountain in finish? the best thing about living in the valley was the day after a storm, the biggest and crunchiest clouds you’ve ever seen up above but stretched out for miles too, and the sky finally clear enough to see the mountains all around. when I do yoga, I am always grateful for a clean and rounded breath.


in a lot of different ways I feel strange about this weird urge to share and share and share and be open, but i also kind of feel like if I become less of a witness to my life and start more intimately interacting with it, I’ll be able to show up as a better person in all facets and relationships I have both with life and with people. and a lot of me writes and to be frank its easier typing things out sometimes, and I don’t like the idea of simmering and I am working on being seen. 


all this to say that I want to start writing again and so im giving into the pull a little bit and being vulnerable and maybe me doing this weird shit will help someone else do their weird shit. 


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