• Ashley Nicole

Life As We Know It

It's not often that I dedicate a blog post to updates about my life, but in the last little while there has been so much that has taken place. Most often, I like to zero in to writing about specific events that have happened or places that I have spent time travelling to. As fun as that can be, I think that sometimes by doing this, it can miss out on the big picture of what is really going on and what life is really like.

For those of you who don't know me well, today's post may give you a chance to feel like you know me a little more and for those who are dear friends, I hope that this can give you a bit of insight into what has been going on, on my side of the world. I'm going to back up and start from this past June, when I took a very important trip back to Canada.

This past June, my fiance Josh and I made a life-changing trip over to Canada - we were going to get married! With a week until the wedding, we landed in Toronto and began our mad-dash to finish preparations for the wedding. Intertwined with all of this, we balanced seeing family, hair trials, bachelor/bachelorette parties (or a hen/stag do, as they call them over here in the UK) and even getting stuck in the middle of a mall stampede and lock down. (So scary!!)

As the wedding approached, we had so many hands on deck to help us decorate the church/venue, set up backdrops and make flower arrangements. With only a few hiccups, we were finally ready for our wedding day.

Our big day came and went - I don't think there is a more accurate way to describe a wedding. All of those months of preparation and suddenly it's come to an end. We were happy to be surrounded by and celebrate with our dear friends and family and were very glad that everything came together. The day felt just like any other, much to our surprise. We laughed a lot, ate some food, took a ton of photos and even had a Ceilidh (Scottish dancing). Some things went as planned, some things did not, but at the end of the day, we accomplished what we had set out to do - to become man and wife before God and our friends. We will deeply cherish our memories from that special day and are grateful for the photos and video that we have to look back on.

Coming back home, we moved into our new flat on the Isle of Wight, England. We certainly didn't have much to begin with, so thus began our quest to fill our place and to make it a home. The day we arrived back in the UK, we went out and purchased the basics that we needed to live. We started off sleeping on a mattress on the floor and using chairs "borrowed" from work to eat off of a box we used as a table. We ordered a bed frame and couches that wouldn't fit into our flat and had to return them all, still making do with 2 chairs and a blanket for a makeshift couch.

Ikea and flat pack furniture ended up being the answer we were searching for. After hours of building, we finally had our bed and couch, along with a million empty boxes. We spent our 1st month anniversary assembling the most epic box fort you've ever seen - because what else do you do with an unreasonable amount of empty boxes??

We spent the next few months settling into life and work as well as taking time to connect with the friends we have started to make. After about two months, it was finally time to go on our deferred Honeymoon.

Where to go was a difficult choice, as really, we would like to visit almost everywhere. Eventually we decided on Salou, Spain, as it was close to Port Aventura, a large theme park. We managed to split up our time between relaxing at the pool, spending time in the 3 amusement parks, exploring the surrounding cities and spending some time at the beach. I especially enjoyed taking advantage of the local food and got to try many different tapas (similar little appetizers which you order multiple of to form a meal) from different restaurants. I'd like to say the croquettes were a big hit! We also loved the late night culture there, where everything is pushed from later start times to later finishing hours and most people eat dinner quite late. With delays from our flight there, our first evening we sat outside at a restaurant and had dinner next to a man and his young daughter at about 11:30pm.

During our trip, we had the opportunity to take a bus trip to the country of Andorra for the day. I think we were travelling for close to 6 hours that day - but it was neat to be able to see a new country. Our whole trip was a fun time away and an incredible mental break from work for both of us. We ended up filling so many of our days with things to do, that we had to schedule "rest days," just so that we didn't come home feeling more exhausted than when we left.

We are now back and settling into "normal life" once again. We just passed our 3 month anniversary mark. Life gets to be a little bet hectic and all over the place sometimes, which I think helps us to appreciate our holiday even more. We are just preparing for Christmas, here at the hotel. Starting in November, we celebrate Christmas every week with the guests. It's going to be a busy season, but hopefully a good season as well.

While on vacation, something kind of hit me, and that is the importance of having fun. I have realized that this is something that has brought so much joy into our relationship and into our lives in general. It can be in the big things, like going out somewhere to do something cool, or even in the little things, such a playing a little game together or laughing over silly things. It's making that effort to connect and enjoy each other's company, no matter what else may be going on around us.

I want to leave you with the challenge of seeing how you can take time to have fun in your life. In the big things, in the small things, at work or at home. It doesn't have to be adding in some unnecessary activity that you don't have time for, but even changing up the way that you approach what you are already doing. How can you enrich your life and the lives of those around you by having a good time?