A Newly Wed Story.
Well it’s been quite the pandemic.
While I had always harbored dreams of moving away from my small island of Barbados and starting a new life in a bigger city, I had absolutely no idea that fate and dumb luck would land me on Oahu, Hawai’i. A smaller, bigger city that I had imagined.
I was Nigel, a photographer from a very small dot of an island in the Atlantic Ocean. Now I’m Nigel, a photographer from a small dot of an island in the Pacific Ocean. You would think not much as changed, but that’s where you would be oh so wrong.
In February of 2020, my then girlfriend and now wife, Anna-Lena and I were enjoying some time together amidst the tumult of our incredibly fast road to falling in love and the issues this would bring living 6,412 miles apart. I always said I would never do a long distance relationship. She made me a liar.
On this trip, which was an obvious highlight of our short but intense relationship, tragedy struck and on February 9, a balcony at a friend’s house collapsed under our feet. I will spare the details, but in that moment, I injured my right leg and Anna broke her spine at T-12 and is now an incomplete paraplegic.
The one detail that mattered was that she got flown to Miami for emergency surgery and I dropped everything and went with her, where I effectively lived (in her hospital rooms) for six weeks. I was also responsible for getting her home to Hawai’i and the island of Oahu at the end of her treatment.
What I didn’t know was that the global pandemic would list a bit longer than the then advertised 2 weeks. Soooooo, I was stuck stateside for almost 6 months, which is a chilling feeling when you’re on a B1/B2 Visa and your business and family are now 6,412miles away. During this time, life got hard… really hard. This certainly isn’t the space for those intimate details, but it did teach me some important things.
First off, I’m 40, and this isn’t my first rodeo. Romantic relationships are hard. Very hard. Throw in a freshly, chronically ill partner and a displaced Nigel and you’ve got a recipe for… an engagement.
Yeh, things were hard and I won’t pretend like we didn’t fight like crazy, or think about ending our time together on multiple highly emotional occasions. But we didn’t. We kept coming back together and solving our problems, trapped inside a studio apartment during a global pandemic, while I tried to solve my professional future and financial woes and Anna learned to do everything again in her new body. We learned together. We stuck together.
So on February 9, 2022 we got married. Commemorating 2 hard years of Anna’s recovery and fulfilling my promise to her that she would walk down the aisle on her wedding day. I did not make her a liar as she had done for me with the “I will never do long distance”.
Now, I’m stateside full time and going through my green card process. I’ve been a professional photographer for the past decade and a half, and I just received my EAD card to work legally in the US. So as they say, the mitts are off and it’s time to make the most of this new opportunity.
Wish me luck and come along for the ride. I’ve got some stories to tell and couples to photograph!