We Will Be World Travelers (Pt II)

Have you ever been to New York? I have, once.

I was sixteen and it was a pseudo-vacation with my family. I say “pseudo” because the real reason we went up north was to see my cousin get married in Maine. It was not to see the sights — we saw the Guggenheim but not the Met, we didn’t check out Central Park. We flew to NYC, gathered my great-aunt who lives on Long Island, and drove to Bar Harbor… where I threw up on a whale-watching boat (but did enjoy a lovely wedding overlooking a scenic cliff the next day). Then we drove back; eight miserable hours each way in a tiny sedan. It was June 2001 and hot in New York City and freezing in Maine and the line to see from the top of the Statue of Liberty was so long that we just admired her from afar. I didn’t understand why there were no public bathrooms, and the people walked too fast, and I remember feeling very distinctly like a small-town nobody.

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That’s me (on the right) with my sister. Notice how happy we are to be in New York.

New York did not give me a good first impression. In the years since then, I’ve been wary of it when it comes up in conversation. I don’t like to tell people that my experience in New York was unpleasant and that I really didn’t want to go back. But everyone is always so positive about it!

“You know what?” I told myself last month. “It’s been over ten years. I bet it’s different when you’re an adult. It’s probably amazing if you’re doing your own thing and not being dragged around by parents. It’ll be great! And you have so many friends there! Hang-outs! Slumber parties! Geeky photography nerd-outs!”

After a good while of hemming and hawing, I booked a spot at the What If Day Camp NY and bought plane tickets, so I’ll be visiting New York in a few weeks. I can’t say that I’m not apprehensive about it. The last time I was in New York, I found myself holding a cell phone in the middle of the sidewalk, with a finger plugged into one ear as I screamed to my friend in Houston, “Where is that store you were telling me about? I can’t find it” — as scores of people darted around this spectacle of an obvious teenaged clueless tourist making a spectacle of herself… and I’m pretty sure NYC hasn’t forgiven me for it. I mean, yeah, I was that person.

I cringe when I think about the last time I was in New York. It’s a quirky city, but I was young and naive and didn’t know what I was doing. I’m crossing my fingers that this next time it’ll be fun and different, and I’ll sense the spark that everyone else talks about.

Barr Mansion Wedding

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The first time I saw Barr Mansion I said, “I’ve never seen a place more happily situated.”* Because it’s very true: the sweet little mansion sits atop a slight hill as the sun glows all around it. The elegant glass ballroom is tucked away behind foliage and gardens, and the food prepared by Barr staff is all local, organic, and delicious.

I had the good fortune to help shoot a wedding at the beautiful Central Christian Church and Barr Mansion with Kitty Sanchez a little while ago. I absolutely love Barr Mansion and would love to visit it again soon! 

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* Psst, that was a Pride and Prejudice line. I hope you caught that :)

Sometimes, You Strike Gold Twice

I struck gold the first time when I was born into the family that I have. My parents are awesome, I love my sister, and basically I’ve lived a charmed life.

I struck gold the second time when I married into Walt’s family. They are all amazing people and we recently visited Tulsa, where Walt’s grandparents live. Most of Walt’s dad’s family gathered for this family reunion and I shot a few photos :)

I was commissioned to take a giant family portrait (and inadvertently stuck myself in the corner of a 24mm shot… mehhh)!


But mostly I hung out in the pool without my camera.

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On this trip, I learned:

  • My “new” Prius can go almost the entirety of the trip between Tulsa and Austin (about 450 miles, give or take) on one tank of gas — Oh, I haven’t written about my Corolla’s wreck, have I? That’ll be another day.
  • That aquariums, while pretty awesome-looking, are also kept at pretty cold temperatures — seriously, y’all, I was freezing in there.
  • That audiobooks on long drives are amazing. Gone are the squabbles about changing the song on the iPod. Walt and I contentedly listened to the second book in the Kingkiller Chronicles, The Wise Man’s Fear. We’ve both read the books once already, so the fact that the drive only used up about 25% of the book didn’t disappoint. Maybe when I make a trip to Marfa next year I’ll convince my passenger to listen to Harry Potter.