"You don't take a photograph, you make it. "
- Ansel Adams
"You don't take a photograph, you make it. "
- Ansel Adams
If you know us, then you know we lived in England in the years 2012-2013. We only lived there for about 10 months. We were supposed to live there for a full year while my husband got his MBA. But we found out about a month into the program, that he didn’t need to be at the school for the entire year. He could finish his dissertation at home, in the states.
If you’ve heard our story of England, you may also know that I was pregnant the entire time we were over there. Eloise and I left for the states about 10 days after she was born while Brian stayed back to finish up a class for a month.
So, here’s a real quick story of how and why we went to England because this post isn’t really about that. I just wanted to give you some background.
Brian was at a job on Capitol Hill that was really going NOWHERE. We knew we wanted a family eventually, but could never afford on just his salary. He had always talked about being a consultant and really, he’s good at it because that’s how his brain works. A friend of ours from Brian’s college had gone over to England we chatted with him a bit about it at another friend’s wedding. Some other of our friends had gone to England that year to get his MBA too. So we talked about going to England for Brian to get his MBA. We looked into schools and found out that it’s cheaper and shorter than American schools. We knew we didn’t want Brian in full time school while also working full time. We just wanted to get it done with. So, that whole summer, we prepared ourselves as if we were going to England…still not sure if we were or not. Brian studied for and took the GMATs and passed with flying colors (he was only ONE point away from getting a full ride…that’s another story). He applied to two different schools, Durham and Warwick. We heard an acceptance from Durham first and got flights that headed that way…then about a month out from us leaving, we heard from Warwick. Brian got a much better scholarship with them and it was only 2 hours away from London if we ever needed our city fix. So, we were headed to Warwick. Our friend that lived in London checked out flats for us and applied for us and we got a fully furnished flat in a cute that town was walking distance from most things and only a 10 minute bus ride for Brian to the school. So on September 10, 2012, we packed up our first apartment and made our way to New Jersey to dump our stuff at his parents house for the year. Bless them for being willing to keep all our crap. 🙂 We sold what we couldn’t fit in their house and packed up about 5 suitcases between us (which btw, London’s Tube does NOT have elevators….soooooo lugging FIVE suitcases around the Tube was…an adventure…and I couldn’t help carry any of those bags up and down the stairs because…well…pregnant.)
The night before I left, I had an inclining something was off in my body. My brother in law suggested, we go to Target to get a pregnancy test. The whole way to Target, I was SO quiet. “Surely, I’m NOT pregnant. How? I mean…I know HOW…but how? Maybe stress can make you skip a period. Yeah, I’ve heard stress does that to women’s bodies. It’s just stress.”, I thought. We got back from Target and I immediately took the test. Sure enough, I was pregnant. This is the part where you might think that I was jumping for joy and SO happy, right? Wrong. I mean…don’t get me wrong. This baby was COMPLETELY wanted. It just took me a while. My first reaction was fear. I have to push this baby OUT at the end. It has to come out…HOW AM I GOING TO PUSH THIS BABY OUT?? I was mostly scared for the end result and all the pain I had to endure. What a silly thing to be scared of at that moment. Looking back, I mean…it hurt A LOT and the midwives in England didn’t give me drugs for over a day and a half and I had back labor which is the worst labor…but God really does give you grace in the midst of it. And at the end, it’s all over and you have a beautiful baby in your arms. Anyway, I digress. So that that to say, the day before we were to fly out, I found out I was pregnant. Which, when I think about it was God’s perfect timing because my family was in NJ to say goodbye to us and I got to tell my parents and sister in person that I was pregnant and I will never forget their joyous reactions.
Anyway, that was a longer story that I was going for on the background of why we went to England.
This morning I woke up and looked through my Timehop app as I do every morning. I love this app. It’s such a sweet way to see what you did on this day last year, the year before, the year before that, and…etc…you get it. This time five years ago, Brian and I were on Christmas break in London and I was taking all these iPhone pictures with Black and White filters over them. Here’s one example. It looks cool, but it’s not good quality. There’s no way I could blow this up or even have a 4×6 print of this.
So after looking through my Timehop this morning, I got sad. I got sad that I didn’t take my camera out more in England. I got sad that I don’t have quality images to show that we were there and that I didn’t take the time (because I had LOTS of time) to further my education in photography. I have a few images from our time as you’ll see below. But not enough. I don’t have images that showed the street we lived on or even my pregnancy. I might have one, but that’s it. Also, the external hard drive I used at that time died on me and I can’t get those images off that hard drive. I was also a photographer five years ago. Granted, I still didn’t really understand my camera that much and I didn’t nail down a style and I wasn’t really marketing or going after anything photography, but I did have my camera. I did bring my camera and two lenses to England with me. But unfortunately, I rarely took pictures of our time in England. I wanted to write this blog post to remind you to TAKE PICTURES! Take LOTS of pictures! Take pictures of what your house looks like, what your room looks like. Take pictures of your travels and PRINT them! Invest in a good camera and a good lens and take quality images that aren’t just from your phone. And, don’t be like me and only put a black and white filter over all of them. haha I mean, do it if some of them need or you think it looks better…but not all of them. I miss our time in England and I wish I had photos hanging on our walls that I took to show our kids that we lived there.
I did like looking through the sequence of the Timehop images though. I miss our time in England. All we ever did was walk around London and explore something new we hadn’t been to before. It was AWESOME and I have such fond memories of that. We lived in Kenilworth which was a two hour drive north of London. We lived in a very RURAL area, so at times it was really hard for me because I was very lonely. Brian was at school everyday and some days were very long for him. I was at home not really doing anything. I couldn’t find a job in England so I spent my days reading, walking, or finding something to do. I LOVED the Spring in England. We lived a short walk from castle ruins. It was my favorite walk to take when I was waiting for Eloise to make her grand entrance. The castle was so gorgeous and the fields were so lush. Again, I wish I had brought my camera with me. We also lived about a 5 mile walk (I only know distances through walking because that’s all we did…we didn’t have a car) to the next town over. So some days, I would take my iPod and just walk to the next town over. My treat was getting Subway in that town and then taking the bus back home. On the weekends, when Brian didn’t have a ton of school work, we would just walk. We would walk about 8 miles and stop at a Pub at the end. I love those memories. It was such a sweet and simple time. Our favorite place to walk to was a venue called Stone Leigh Abby that was the inspiration for all of background setting in the Jane Austin’s books.
All this to say, is that don’t be lazy like I was…go out there and take pictures! You won’t regret it. 🙂
Here are a few of the pictures I took that actually look decent. 🙂
(I was about 4 months pregnant here…this was our first time in Harrods)
(This was in Covent Garden…one of our favorite spots. Also, fun fact…the ONLY Tube station that has an elevator for a good reason. We chose to do the stairs. I was about 7 month pregnant when I climbed those stairs. There are 193 steps that is equivalent to a 15 story building. The ONLY Tube station with an elevator and we chose the stairs.)
(This was the street we lived on. We lived across the street to a really pretty field called Abbey Field. This was our path to walk into town and to the grocery store. One day, I was coming home, and the fog was so pretty and thick in this area, I went inside and grabbed my camera.)