Guys! I GOT TO GO TO NORTH CAROLINA! As I started the cross-continent journey to North Carolina late last month, I did the math: it had been almost TWO YEARS since my last trip to my hometown. While this may not be abnormal for most immigrants, I have been incredibly grateful to be able to visit home a couple times each year in the first three and a half years of living in Canadaland. Between my parents’ visit to BC, seeing my Mom in Cape Cod when my niece was born, and our family reunion in Tucson, I haven’t been starved for family time in the past year . . . but Christmas was the last time I was in NC!
Since it had been so long since my last trip, I had a lot to pack into my week in NC — not to mention the seven shoots I did while in town!) Of all the traipsing around, though, sitting on the back deck with my Dad and eating breakfast with my parents was a definite highlight. Add in roadtripping to photoshoots with my Mom (she was my spectacular leaf-throwing assistant!) and roadtripping to my grandparents with Mom & Dad? So perfect.
I set aside one day of my trip to go visit my grandparents in Lynchburg and to wander the old Dugspur homestead one last time before it was sold. I can’t even describe how many memories are in that house and property: it’s where I got well after my battle with pneumonia in Africa, where we played tag in the woods as youngsters, where John and I got married, where my parents met, where my favorite holidays were always celebrated, where my cousins and I avoided Uncle pranks. Although the house was emptied before I arrived, every memory was intact and it was a powerfully emotional wandering. It is already being settled by new owners even now, and someday they and their children will have a lifetime of memories wrapped between every tree and along every inch of the property.
But look! We took photos in front of the field where my parents planted Christmas trees all those years ago.
And look! We took photos in front of the shrubs that my Great Grandmother would have seen every morning from her room.
And there they are – the grandparentals!
Aren’t we cute?
These two chairs have been around all of my years — Grandma would sit in her wooden chair while we opened presents at Christmas, Grandpa would read the newspaper from his recliner every morning. I love that they are now in my Grandparents’ new home to provide continuity and a sense of home.
(Mom looks so happy to be photographed; Dad looks skeptical.)
After a week in NC with many, many of the best moments unphotographed – like when my friends and their children gathered on the back deck around a pot of stew, I drove up to Northern Virginia for my TEN YEAR CLASS REUNION! Can we take a moment? TEN YEARS since I graduated from college! No wonder I have gray hairs. 😉
But look! I did lots of learning in these seats, back when I was studying Political Science and aspiring to stay in politics my whole life.
We missed several (many!) of our college chums, but let’s talk about how the three of us have been friends for almost fourteen years now. In case you’re wondering, that’s a lot of life we’ve walked together. Almost half of it! There’s been three weddings and multiple moves and four babies since those days when we lived on campus solving the world’s problems over cafeteria food.
We added in the boys and kids, too: we six adults studied together, traipsed around Washington, DC together, and never dreamt of the day when we’d come back to celebrate ten years of after-college-life.
These two views are new since my time on campus; they built an entire building just after I graduated! Framed from the brand new, massive, amazing student center, I never spent time in the building but I did walk those sidewalks everyday for four (ish)years.
The highlight of homecoming, though, was the decadently styled, deliciously catered Alumni Dinner — loud, beautiful, and with SO MANY ALUMNI I NEVER EVEN MET!
But here we are, repping the class of 2007 with a whole lot more style than we had ten years ago. 😉