Farewell 2015

It was an exciting year, to be sure. I finished up my Zell Postgraduate Fellowship at the University of Michigan and moved to Norway. I visited the lookout at Sand Mountain, put my toes in the McKenzie river I’m named for, and went to London for the first time. I celebrated my first 17th of May in Trondheim, set up my first photo booths, and shot portraits of my friends and loved ones. We went back to Lisbon and got engaged. I’m grateful for the year behind me, and so looking forward to the year ahead. Here are some of my favorite memories of 2015.

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I attended AWP, and got to take portraits of some of my favorite writers and friends this year. I start Apiary Lit, a literary services company offering editorial feedback and small group workshops with a goal of providing paid opportunities for recent MFA graduates. And I have continued to work on Anthropoid, the literary magazine and collective of the humanesque.

A photo posted by Kenzie Allen (@cerena) on

And I finished my second full length manuscript to complete my postgraduate work. There was no overlap between my thesis manuscript and this new one, so the fellowship was a very productive time period for me.

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We started out the summer in Bergen, Norway.

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Had a blast walking around Bryggen and the wharf.

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And the Fantoft stavkirke.

A photo posted by Kenzie Allen (@cerena) on

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And we went to the aquarium! We added that to our list of aquariums and zoos we’ve visited — Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Berlin Zoo & Aquarium, Detroit Zoo, and of course the Lisbon Aquarium where we went on first date.

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We attended Andreas’ cousin Kyrre’s confirmation (his niece Alde and I braided each others’ hair as usual), and then we visited Edvard Grieg’s house and grounds. Grieg is one of my favorite composers, particularly because of his role in the development of the national identity of Norway.

A photo posted by Kenzie Allen (@cerena) on

A photo posted by Kenzie Allen (@cerena) on

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Then back to Trondheim for 17th of May!

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17th of May is the Norwegian Constitution Day, where citizens dress up in their bunad (national costumes) and parade around. We made beet and goat cheese tartlets for supper with friends.

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Back to Stavanger for some family time (and Andreas’ dad’s 60th birthday) before heading to our friends’ wedding.

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But we made a little stopover in Lisbon and Barcelona, and… got engaged!

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A photo posted by Kenzie Allen (@cerena) on

A photo posted by Kenzie Allen (@cerena) on

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Back in Egersund, Norway, Sindre and Julie had a beautiful ceremony, and it was a privilege to run around taking photos.

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We came back to Trondheim and with the help of our friend Siri took our own engagement photos.

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We turned in my paperwork for a visa, and with that I rushed back to Oregon to get in some lookout time with my father before my Schengen visa days ran out.

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The Sand Mountain lookout is the fire lookout my father and I volunteer in every summer — it was manned by my father, Don Allen, in the 70s and then fully restored by my brother, Don III, in the 90s.

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On the left is the a view of the Fish Lake area from Sand Mountain, on the right is the McKenzie River near Olallie Creek. I’m named after the McKenzie, one of my father’s favorite areas to camp and fish. We camped with family friends and drove through Sisters on our way back to Portland. I went back with my dad to Midland, to Oneida to stay with my mother, and then back toward Trondheim with the full weight allowance of suitcases filled with sweaters.

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Andreas met me in London and we spent a wonderful weekend stuffing ourselves with pie and seeing shows and shopping at Harrods.
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Back to Trondheim for my first UKA festival, and our “fancy” engagement party.

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“The kids” (Andreas’ nephew, Isak, and niece, Alde) came to visit us in Trondheim and we took them to a tiny farm.

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We gave them mustaches for the ride home.

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Did a portrait shoot with the darling Synne, 3 months old, with her parents Tore and Mari.

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By now I had officially moved to Trondheim.

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We practiced our two step…

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I sent out my first manuscript to a contest. (It’s still evolving, but it was a good goal to at least attempt to send it out in 2015.)

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Posted by Kenzie Allen on 15. november 2015

We learned to cook new things (from fresh pasta all the way to egg-yolk ravioli, and lots and lots of vegetable soups), and skiied cross-country. We watched the Northern lights fill up the sky, we got cosy, and we ended it all here in Texas, stepping at the Western bar and with hopeful hearts to 2016.

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