November 26, 2010 / Life
Thanksgiving 2010: Very Thankful This Year
What Are You Thankful For This Year?
This was our second Thanksgiving together, and oddly our second Thanksgiving in Atlanta! Last year at this time we drove up from Orlando to visit my Aunt Mattie and Uncle Rob at their house in Fairburn, GA. While we talked about the possibility of moving to Atlanta because Betty was applying for the PhD program at Georgia State, we did not know if it would actually happen of course. Aunt Mattie loves to cook and have a huge family dinner, so she invited us up to spend Thanksgiving with her and her kids, my cousins Greg and Becky. I remember it being SO COLD last year in Atlanta!! Coming from sunny Orlando we froze solid once we arrived here in Atlanta, contrast that with this year when we took our after dinner stroll on Thanksgiving in short sleeve shirts and jeans, absolutely gorgeous low 70 degree weather.
A year later and so much has changed in our lives, the babies last year are a year older and now we have one on the way ourselves!
This year we have a lot to be thankful for…
Our businesses have officially hit the one year mark and that has made all the difference in the world. This time last year Betty and I were brainstorming and refining our business plans for www.CameraConcierge.com to include the rental arm of the business and of course this blog you are reading now, the creative side. After a first initial stumble trying to sell specialty green tea from China online through some farmers that Betty knows in China, we shifted gears to photography and never looked back. Long hours of researching, planning, and developing things until the site was officially launched in February. Everything was a giant learning process, from the business plan, to designing the website through a contract (whom we love!), to actually launching even though things weren’t “perfect” and finally getting our first customers!
Moving to Atlanta has been huge for us as well. Betty was accepted in her PhD program at Georgia State University to study Marketing and International Business. This meant that *gasp* I needed to find a new job as well! I transferred with Marriott from the Assistant Front Office Manager at the Orlando World Center Marriott to now being the Front Office Manager at the Atlanta Airport Marriott Gateway. Along with adapting to a totally new city, work life for me has been long and challenging as we opened up a brand new hotel while also taking on additional responsibilities as a department head for the entire Front Office. Betty has also had a huge change going from the corporate world back to academia and finding that she really loves it. Business school was fun for her at Michigan State studying for her MBA, but nothing like a graduate level doctoral program like this one. Betty is challenged to read and write case studies all of the time right now, and is finding that she loves the intellectual challenge and stimulation that this provides her.
The city has been good to us, though. We successfully transferred the businesses up here to Georgia and things couldn’t be better. Atlanta is a much larger market for camera rentals and we have teamed up with some really great photographers. I am thankful for all of the wonderful people we have met so far in our short time here. We really do love our customers and seeing some of their own personal sites is always humbling. Knowing they are using the same gear we are (heck, we’re renting it to them!) and yet producing such stunning imagery on their websites – you know for sure that it’s not about the gear. As one of my role models David DuChemin says “gear is good, vision is better.” Some other fascinating people we have met include Ken Ross, who leads the Southeastern Photographic Society (SPS), has been a great connection to the greater Atlanta photographic community and also lead the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk for Atlanta. Of course I also have to mention meeting Chris Brock, another talented photographer who has become a great mentor to me both photographically and in business. After having an interview shoot with Chris, we have teamed up for some great wedding shoots and has been a great catalyst for me to improve my photography through learning from his vast experience shooting weddings.
Lastly, I am thankful for Betty, our family, and our friends (and baby Miles on the way!). This year was our second year together and we have traveled from one end of the Earth to the other (our trip to China). Betty has supported me wholeheartedly as I have jumped headfirst into the business and into photography. She is my constant source of inspiration and motivation, and I like to think I am to her as well. We both positively support each other and inspire each other to reach our fullest potential. Also, our family has fully supported us. As I write this Mom and Mark are in the room with us, visiting us for Thanksgiving 2010 and also for the second time this year! They came up to visit us just during the first week of September and now again in December. To bring this section full circle, we all went over to Jess and John’s for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. Jess and John moved here to Atlanta from Orlando just like us and within a few weeks from us. They were our close friends in Orlando living a few blocks away and now they live just a few miles from us in Atlanta – they’re pretty much family in our books :). John and I have started running together as much as we can, and we still try to make it over for Sunday dinner whenever our work schedules allows. Our friends and family have made this transition much smoother than it probably would have been alone.
Those were some of the quick photos we took on Thanksgiving at Jess and John’s house in Oakhurst (suburb of Atlanta). Besides Jess, John, and Betty it was Jess’ Mom, Candice, and my Mom and Mark. We ate until we just couldn’t eat any more all of the tasty treats everyone made – not sure if my favorite dish was Betty’s green bean casserole or Jess’ sweet potato casserole… tough choice!