Westward Bound and Thankful

On October 5, 2005 Zach, who was already settled here in Charlottesville, came to pick me up on Long Beach Island, NJ where I was clinging to my days of laying on the beach by day and waiting tables by night. I mean, you can’t argue with that schedule! Especially when you can bicycle to bars after work and dance all night to amazing cover bands rocking out to some good ol’ Bon Jovi. Hey, it’s Jersey! Anyway, we decided we wanted to make our post college relationship work, which meant my moving Charlottesville with him while he started work on his PhD in Computer Science. We arrived in the middle of the night after hours of sitting in DC traffic where apparently the cars in front of me could not hear my cries to get out of my way. (I don’t do well driving long distances at night…just ask Zach.)

The next day I awoke to a whole new world. I can’t lie, the settling in was slow, but it all started to come together with a little retail job at Banana Republic. I met people and made friends (including Emily who’ve I’ve told you about before and seriously consistently changed my life in Charlottesville). From “the nanner”, as I affectionately called it, I moved on to a full time job with the United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area (much thanks to good ol’Emily!). For over four years I worked there learning so much about the community and myself.

As time went by I started to drift towards photography in my free time, when one day I realized it was what I really wanted to do with my life. I bid farewell to United Way thankful for learning so much about the world and myself, and I accepted a part-time job with the Felton Group, a small family office. Again much thanks to Emily…what would I have done without you my dear?!?! Now only working 20 hours a week, I was open to so many more photography opportunities. Seriously, Felton Group, you were the answer to my prayers, and I will miss you more than you’ll ever know. Just one photographic illustration of how amazing you are, my co-worker and friend, Becky, convinced me last Halloween it was a great idea to dress up like zombies and run the Zombie 5K. Ok Becky, I must at admit it was pretty awesome!

Taking advantage of my flexible schedule, I started working more with Jim Carpenter at Gitchell’s Studios. How do I begin to explain my relationship with Jim? Lots of photographing, lots of driving, lots of talking, and lots of laughing. Jim, I wish I could illustrate what you meant to me as employer, a mentor, and a friend, but I’m afraid that would involve some seriously embarrassing singing and dancing. So for now, I would just like to say from the bottom of my heart, thank you to you, Joan, Liz, and Miranda!

Along the journey of expanding on my photography, I am also lucky to have befriended other amazing photographers such as Colleen Davis (who I shot my first ever wedding with, thank you Colleen!), Gray Dog Pet Photography, Jessica Derstine Photography, Jessica Rayborn PhotographyMeg Runion Studios, Natalie Krovetz Photography, and Virginia Hamrick Photography. You ladies are all so amazingly talented and I am very thankful for the times we spent getting to know each other and learning from each others successes and failures (scratch that…mishaps…there are no failures!).

Charlottesville, I have been thrilled to call you home for over six years. The friends I have made here are life long. My UW ladies, Shaele and Lisa…I will forever miss our Friday afternoon email sessions. They were productive…they were productive! My old softball team, The Kenny Powers All-Stars, we will miss you guys and the friendships we’ve made. Though I know you will never miss my fielding abilities…or lack there of I should say! My volleyball team, The One Hit Wonders, you brought me back to volleyball after over a decade and you gave me some great friends. Maybe one day I’ll actually get my decent serve back! Finally, my soccer team, L’Equipe. You guys have been my family for the last six years. I would have never made it had I not randomly joined your team. Come to California, I promise I’ll continue to make you tacos.

Zach and I are now crammed into a plane with our cats stuffed into carriers under the seats in front of us ready to start our new life in Santa Barbara, and I can’t help but think of one of my favorite song lines ever, “the things that we’re afraid of are gonna show us what were made of in the end”. Yeah it’s Blessed Union of Souls…come on, I’m a teenager of the 90’s!

Goodbye Charlottesville…you have been amazing!

L~ F~:

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