Wednesday, June 30, 2010

saying goodbye ...

There are many many things i hate about the military, but it's the life i chose & i accept that. My husband is in the AF & will be so for a while longer so I live with those things. But there will always be one thing i hate more than the others, the thing that i will never get used to & sucks every single time ... saying goodbye.

I sometimes feel like all i ever do is say goodbye ... goodbye to a country, goodbye to my husband as he goes TDY or deploys & goodbye to my military family. Those people who help me through everything, the friends who have been there & get those random tiny & frustrating things that can ruin a perfectly good day.

These are the military wives ... the girls i turn to at a moment's notice ... the women who hug me when i cry & cry with laughter alongside me. They've been there, seen it, done it & got the t-shirt.

& then down the line they're gone. Not gone forever, not gone from your life but gone from your everyday. The military up & moves them somewhere new & here you are left behind waving goodbye to the people you love ... & then the circle starts over again.

Well in my short time as a military wife i've gotten used to many things but this is not one of them. I have people i love now living literally all over the world ... & whilst you hope that you will see each other one day the world is a really big place, & whilst the military can be a small world at times more often than not, when you want it to be it isn't!

So PCS season has come around & this time i get to say goodbye to some of my favourite people. A family i have grown to love & to put into words how much i will miss them isn't possible. They're part of my military family & i love them.

I think Hannah knows more about me than anyone ... she's been there for me no strings attached, she's listened, she pulled me through some tough times & i know no matter what she's not going anywhere. The bond between military wives is something else. & then there are her girls ... the girls i want to have myself who can always put a smile on my face.

To list some of my favourite memories would take forever ... but running round the flight line in the middle of winter as a wind that feels like it could be gale force pushes you backwards with every step has to be one. It might sound weird but i think that's my best run ever because it hurt, because it sucked & because we didn't stop.

& Hannah is the kind of person who will keep you going through it all ... she's tough ... & smart (way smarter than me in every sense) ... & strong ... & well you just have to see the kids she's raised to know what a great person she is. She's that person who listens to what you don't say as much as what you do.

& she's going to hate that said all that because well that's the kind of person she is but anyone who knows her can tell you it's true.

& her girls make me laugh & smile & when am sad they'll wipe the tears & make me giggle & for at least a moment none of it matters because that's what family does.

Minot will be their new home ... 4487.7 miles, 7222.2 km & 3899.7 nautical miles from me. That's a really long way. No more dinners or early morning runs. We'll have to share books & dvds through the mail & eatting dessert on your own really isn't as much fun as sharing.

& yes i know we have telephones but i don't like telephones & i know we have email but well it really isn't the same but i plan to make the most of snail mail. Old fashioned letters. I right a mean letter ... my hand writing kinda sucks & my spelling & grammar is pretty bad at times but it's personal. You can tell what someone's feeling as they write that letter, & there's something special about waking up to one.

& so i will write ... i will tell her about the goings on over here, how the weather hasn't changed & the cats are as cute as ever. I will find pretty paper on etsy, & search through stationary stores & start a whole new collection to drive my husband nuts. & when i read a wonderful book, or found some chocolate i think she has to have i will put it in the post & whilst it's not the same it's something because i will miss my friend.
So on Monday we had lunch & then we walked up the hills behind my house to take these photos. Photos i've been wanting to take for so long (& there will be more to come) & i'm sorry there are so many but i couldn't choose because there is no favourite. & then we iced cupcakes & laughed at Madagascar 2 & then they went home & i sat & looked at these photos & it made me happy & sad all in one.

& i'm making the most of the time we have left to laugh & smile & take as many photos as possible of these wonderful people because all too soon it will be over.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

leave part five: first night in edinburgh

So Tuesday lunch time we made the long (ish) drive from Cambridge up to Edinburgh. Now i have been to Edinburgh once before but being as i was knee high to a grass hopper at the time my memory of this is a little cloudy ... ok i have no memory of this. & Edinburgh has been on our list of things to do for a while, although this was Kevin's forth visit. & for a non city loving girl, i loved Edinburgh ... especially the old town where we spent most of our time.

This photo was taken on the "Royal Mile", looking down towards the sea. The Royal Mile is a series of streets that runs from Edinburgh castle down to Holyrood Abbey, it is one "Scot's mile" long which is actually 1.1 (regular) miles long (or 1.8km).

Who can resist such stunning architecture, you don't feel like you're in a city ... no sky scrapers, & whilst it was full of people (oh yeah tourist heaven) it didn't feel dirty & stuffy & leave me running away as cities generally do.

So whilst we were sitting down to dinner outside a restaurant along the Royal Mile (great for people watching) it started to get a little cooler. Now it's June, & admittedly we've had a long cold winter here in Germany but when you vacation in June you don't think you need a wooly hat to keep your ears warm ... well this evening we did. So one moment Kevin disappears off into a souvenir shop across the way & returns we two hats ...

this is his ...

& this is mine (photo courtesy of one Kevin Evans) ...
& whilst we cannot doubt my wonderful husband's photographic skills i couldn't resist taking a couple of myself!

Monday, June 28, 2010

it's the simple things in life that make me happy ...

being back home with my kitties & my king sized bed ...
the perfect wake up call ...
some cute summer shoes ...
perfect for carrying well everything around in ...
in 12 days time i will be in Provence!

leave part four: Cambridge in glorious technicolor

So first ... the disclaimer ... yes there are a couple or 20 photos in this post but well i couldn't choose ... sorry ... but they're all worth it (well i think so anyways)!

So Cambridge is my home town ... i grew up here, i went to school here, i worked in various bars & restaurants here & yes i got incredible drunk in this town. It has many many incredible memories for me & a few that are best left behind but sometimes, occasionally i even miss the place. So a couple of hours left to my own devices exploring the town i know so well was all kinds of fun.

I'd woken up before Kevin, put my backpack on & run into town (not that far from our hotel) pretty early to do a little wandering with the camera knowing that it could be a while until i return. I started at the top of Regent Street, & whilst in general Cambridge remains the same there were small changes. The chinese above had closed & new shops lined the various streets.

Most people know Cambridge because of the University, the forth oldest university in the world, with earliest records suggesting it was formed in 1209 & arch nemesis to Oxford. The university itself is made up of 31 colleges, & it's these colleges that students, academics & fellows are attached to making it literally the centre of your whole world whilst here. There are so intricacies that make up Cambridge University, I could be here a while so i will move continue with my journey, the first college you are seeing is Downing, built in 1800.

From Regent Street i walked down on St Andres Street, & here you see the first of a couple of good old fashion telephone boxes. These are one of the most recognizable symbols of England & so you know i had to get this shot.

From St Andrews Street i turned left onto Downing Street. This whole street is littered with colleges & museums, lots of wonderful architecture & some incredible details ...

& a few slightly more modern buildings thrown in for good measure, when they ran out of space in the original structures!

Pembroke College is the 3rd oldest Cambridge college, founded on Christmas Eve in 1347 (is it weird that i'm a little surprised to discover they celebrated Christmas back then). It's one of the largest & home to the first Chapel Designed by Christopher Wren. I told you Cambridge was a pretty impressive place.

& here you have your first siting of the bicycles Cambridge is also known for. Growing up here you learn to be wary of them, particuarly when driving as they are under the opinion that traffic laws don't apply to them. But i digress, they are for sure a part of the city, everywhere you go you will see them, & with the pedestrian areas & narrow roads really it makes a lot of sense.

Many many moons ago (saves me mentioning my age) when i was just starting out along my photography path i photographed this very door (i have the negatives somewhere) with my very first real camera an Olympus OM-1N. I love that thing, i swear it could stop a bullet & came equipped with a 50mm 1.4 lens. & that's where i discovered my love of depth of field.

Ok so i say discovered ... what i really mean is i had little understanding of apertures & shutter speed & all i knew was that by setting the lens to the 1.4 thingy it gave me the most amount of light. But still i found part of my style even if it was by default!

So we continue down Downing Street, heading away from the shops ...

Past rows of student housing, owned by the various colleges & home to thousands of undergraduates & graduates over the years ...

Until i turned on Trumpington Street ...

Which led onto Kings Parade. Kings Parade is one of the most historic streets in Cambridge, & central to the colleges, not to mention home to Kings College possible the grandest & most famous of all the colleges.

& here we have another symbol of all things British ... the Pillar Box! These boxes can be seen (in various forms) though out the British Isles & various Commenwealth countries, since their introduction in 1852 (yes i providing you with a whole lot of useless information & dates that will no doubt turn up in a pub quiz one day).

The King's College of Our Lady & St. Nicholas in Cambridge (i never knew it had a full name), known as Kings was founded in 1441 by King Henry VI. Below is King's College Chapel, known for it's gothic architecture. The Chapel features the world's largest fan vault, stained glass windows, and the painting "The Adoration of the Magi" by Rubens. Every Christmas Eve the choir, made up of choral scholars & choristers sing the Nine Lessons & Carols which is broadcast on the BBC, for a me a reminder of childhood Christmases.

& the gatehouse at Kings built in the neo-Gothic style (the things i discover as i wrote this blog).

So moving away from Kings & the colleges i take you to Gardenia's (i'd actually made a brief stop in W.H.Smith & naturally walked away with a couple of books ...) so here i end up wandering along Rose Crescent. Many a drunken night was ended here, buying burgers & chip butty's (basically chips in pitta bread with a whole lot of vinegar, ketchup & mayo ... perfect drunk food).

& here is the river Cam ... ok so i had to walk down a couple more streets to get here but here i am. The River Cam, i wouldn't recommend going swimming there but in the middle of summer, you can happily spend an afternoon lazying in the sun with a group of friends & a couple too many beers. Cambridge in the summer time is a special place. & across the river is Magdalene College, the last remaining male only college, founded in 1428 & not becoming mixed until 1988. Random fact ... C.S. Lewis went to this college.

& this brings us to punting on the River Cam ... These famous boats weren't introduced to Cambridge until around 1902 but because incredible popular due to their size & the narrow width of the Cam as it winds through the centre of Cambridge. Popular with tourists, you can travel through the various colleges, along the backs & even do a pub crawl. It can make for a fun if not wet time.

& the bridge is the Silver Street Bridge, practically space age by Cambridge standards having been built in 1958.

So from here i headed back into the town centre ...
Down Bridge Street ...
Along Sydney Street ...
& finally ending back in the market square. These 4 telphone boxes have stood side by side for as long as i can remember so i feel like it's a perfect way of ending my time in Cambridge but not without a few random facts about them. The red telephone box, a public telephone kiosk was designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, & is a familiar sight on the streets of the United Kingom, Malta, Gibraltar & Bermuda. The colour red was chosen to make them easy to spot.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

leave part three: cambridge ... the classic view

So i've chosen to post these photos first because i want you to see Cambridge as i almost feel it should be seen. It's so full of history & stunning architecture that it's like colour would somehow ruin it's essence. Saying all this tomorrow's post (it's anything but short) is over flowing with colour photos & more information than you could ever wish for (& by the end of it i imagine you will be praying for me to shut up). So anyways here's a few black & white's from my lone morning wandering the streets of my home town camera in hand & looking like the tourist that i technically now was.