I have been thinking about how much our lives have changed since moving to San Antonio. I received a promotion at work in September and John received one recently in November. These changes have really brought to light how out lives have progressed in three years.
Christmas 2004 was spent in San Antonio because we could not afford the plane tickets back to Ohio. It was our first Christmas as a married couple, but also my first Christmas away from my immediate family. We were living off of just my salary while John looked for a job and decided whether or not he wanted to go to college full-time. We discovered that it was difficult to live off of an entry-level salary in the higher education field.
My sister-in-law moved to San Antonio with us, so we had a two-bedroom apartment. When she moved away in November, it meant that we would have to cover the entire rent. I had been looking at the one-bedroom apartments in our complex since we were having trouble affording the two-bedroom.
Our first Christmas tree was an artificial tree purchased from Big Lots. We bought each other small gifts. We shared a car, so I bought John his own toy car, a little remote control Mini Cooper, for fun.
I will always be grateful to my friend Misty who invited us to spend both our first Thanksgiving and Christmas with her and her family. I was able to truly enjoy both holidays even though I was away from my family.
With some Christmas money, we purchased our first digital camera, used from Ebay. We received it shortly after Christmas. We went to the Riverwalk to take pictures and watched the excited fans before the Alamo Bowl. Ohio State University played here that year, and it was comforting to see the familiar scarlet and gray. We had fun taking pictures of the lights at night on the Riverwalk.
Things began to change by January 2005. I received a raise and John got a job at UTSA. We did not have to move apartments and were able to purchase our first house in 2006. The Christmas tree I bought in 2004 looks much smaller in our house than it did in the apartment. I do not want to part with that tree or the camera because they are reminders of that first Christmas and how far we have come.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I realize how much that I have to be thankful for. There are the tangible items in my life, but also the lessons I have learned. I am grateful that we made it though the challenges of being newlywed in a new place so far from home. We have made San Antonio our new home and learned so many life lessons from that first year of marriage and having to pinch the pennies.
Photos by John, December 2004