My bottom had spent the past 8 hours sharing quality time with the MAS seat, and I was getting squirmish. The signs were rearing their ugly head. For one, my eyes which are so well trained now to be able to stay closed and enjoy sleep while thousands of miles above ground, were shifting left and right, up and down. My legs were in a place of discomfort, despite being in the same position the last 3 or 4 trips they had made on board. And my ipod had become a source of dull noise pollution. I was thoroughly bored.
Feeling dirty and craving a shower, a little disheveled, and just wanting to feel familiarity and routine, I finally got off the plane and carted myself from terminal to terminal. Ultimately arriving and dumping myself quietly in the car that Ju had come to pick me up in. And when the car ride was over and the bags had to be unloaded, Ju silently walked off, leaving me alone with the 3 bags that had about 50kg of stuff inside.
That was when I flipped a switch. I huffed, and I puffed, and I would have completely blown the house down in my irritation, however God didn't gift me with big lungs and lots of air, so I grumpily pulled the handles and dragged them along while the sweat beads began to form on my forehead. It was when I reached the front door of our home, that the complaints began to roll of my tongue. "Could you at least help??"... "You could have at least picked up ONE bag"... "I have like 50 KG of luggage here!!".... and I swear I must have sounded like the most annoying wife ever, with my ranting on and on.
Ju then silenced me, and said he had a present. I raised an eyebrow, and reluctantly lowered the volume button of my displeasure. And that's when he passed me a camera filter. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
"Ohhh... thankssss" It was lovely and thoughtful (since I had broken mine in a freakish accident), but the fake smile gave birth on my face. You know, those ones where you look happy and thankful, but inside, you are thinking "errr... huh??" In all honesty, I did think it was really really thoughtful but I was smelly, I felt dirty, and I desperately needed a shower - this overwhelming need must have shrouded any drop of happiness because at that point, Ju gave me a big hug and I pulled away. I just wasn't in the mood to play the happy wife. I wanted my shower!!
But Ju didn't have any of that. As he held me tightly, he slowly turned me around to an open cabinet. And inside, sat a very large box. The box read "Canon EOS 5D Mark II".
(Taken with the new 5D mkII)
At that point, my eyes completely popped open. Words failed to come to the tip of my tongue. Instead, what rolled out were sounds of gibberish excitement, and some squeals. "Happy birthday, really". And then the guilt came.
I felt so bad for being such a grump. I mean, it became obvious then that Ju had staged the entire thing (Because he ALWAYS helps me with my bags!!) to surprise me. So I was forgiven ;) And I proceeded to spend the rest of the night just looking at the box. I didn't want to open it yet. Scared that if I did, my birthday would really be over. Which is silly talk, since my birthday had already past. I spent it working and shooting a wedding, and very very far away from home. But if the welcome home was anything to go by, I didn't feel like I missed a thing :)
Ju took me out last night, and we enjoyed a really relaxing slow dinner. The kind where you talk, like really talk, and the eye contact never waivers. Where you sit and eat at a pace where your food cools down faster than your conversation. Where each sip of wine adds to the calm, and lingers til the last spoon of dessert slides down your throat. I was told at that point that I was getting a birthday WEEK. Camera was day 1, dinner was day 2....I have no idea what is coming next, but I know that it will continue until this saturday. I was like 'WHAT? Are you serious???' I was just amazed at how much thought Ju had put into this. I felt so undeserving. You see, I never asked him to buy me a camera (I didn't even hint, I promise! In fact, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't buy a new camera at all this year), I never asked for a lovely long dinner outside. But I got it anyway. And I sometimes wonder why... because I could totally be a better wife. Cook more for him. Actually iron his shirts instead of sending them away to be done. Spend less time in front of my computer. You get the idea.
It was the perfect way to end a very long 9 month peak-season for me. Granted, it will still be very busy over the coming months with other types of projects going ahead, but to come back and celebrate a belated birthday with my favourite person in the world, even without all the presents, was just perfect. My eyes closed last night, not in restlessness this time, but contentment. I was reminded that it isn't taking great photos, or winning awards, or gaining recognition for my work that makes me truly happy, but its moments like these. We should all stop once in a while to really relish and enjoy them, because I think THEY should define our existence. Not what we do.
Thank you to EVERYONE who sent me birthday wishes for my turning 2- !! :) I was away from, pretty much everything for about a week, and I came back with a flood of messages in my inbox, phone, and facebook! I can't believe how incredible you all are!! You have made this may baby one very happy chappy! :)
I have to give a special shoutout though. There were a number of AMAZING individuals (clients and photographers) who made the extra effort to find my home address and send/give me something. I LOVE the presents, really I do. My heart nearly wanted to crumble into a pile of goo when I saw how thoughtful the gifts were. No, seriously, they were SO THOUGHTFUL. From chocolate dipped strawberries, to perfume, to itunes gift cards, hand written cards, to other really delectable yummies... I was just FLOORED. I am the most undeserving person ever to receive such kindness, but you all show me that I am the luckiest photographer. Period. To have clients and friends like yourselves is just beyond me, but I am 150% thankful to God anyway for blessing my path with your presence. You are amazing in every fibre of the word.
ps: To those still awaiting details of the lunch get together, I'll be emailing you later this afternoon!! :)