You may have noticed from my instragram that I took a quick trip up north last weekend to visit my oldest friend. Well not the oldest in age, but the oldest meaning longest running friendship that I have.
I met Skye when I was in fourth grade. We had been living in a small town about an hour north of Detroit for just over a year. We had moved just 5 houses down the street from where she lived, which we realized when we first met at the bus stop in front of her house. I really hadn’t made that many friends at that time and Skye is the kind of person who is genuinely nice to everyone. She started up a conversation with me that day, and we haven’t stopped talking for the last 20 years.
We weren’t in any of the same classes in elementary school, but every day I got on the bus, I knew I always had a friend there. I have so many memories of us on that bus. Sharing mixed CD’s with each other to play on our Sony Walkman’s, taking the quizzes in the back of YM Magazine (anyone else remember those?!), and playing MASH, giggling about who we ended up marrying and how many babies we would have. It wasn’t long that we started hanging out after school and soon we became inseparable. I hardly have any childhood memories where she wasn’t there. We went back and forth to each other’s houses so much, we even created a beaten bath between the neighbor’s backyards that led to each other’s homes. I’m sure the neighbors were thrilled about that! (For those of you that are wondering, in certain parts of Michigan, it isn’t common to have fenced backyards.)
Eventually, she started going to a different school and I ended up moving to a different state, which of course made things more difficult, but she’s basically like family to me. In fact, I think my family sometimes likes her more than me! So even though we are literally on polar opposites of the country, 20 years later, we still remain friends. We try to see each other at least once a year, and I saw an opportunity in my schedule to make a quick last minute trip. Also, I was kind of sick of this hot humid Houston Winter. I could use some nice cool air!
I honestly was just excited to get out of town for a few days even if it meant just hanging out on the couch and watching a good movie with a friend. But Skye was so sweet to plan some activities for us while I was there! First we went to Bell Isle, which is a small island in between Michigan and Canada, right on the Detroit River. From what I understand, it’s mostly a state park and offers a small zoo, yaht club, beach, aquarium and conservatory. In the middle of winter, there obviously wasn’t much that was open, but I can only imagine how lively this place must get in the summer.
We first stopped at the aquarium, which I found out is the oldest running aquarium in the US! It was very quaint and had some beautiful architecture. Right next to it was the conservatory which was a nice (and warm) surprise! They had a wide variety of plants and a huge drought tolerant section which I LOVED. I also took some new headshots for Skye since it was just so beautiful in there!
Next we went shopping and exploring in Midtown Detroit. We stopped by the Shinola store which was so amazing. Everything there is handcrafted in the US, and mostly right there in Detroit. Skye got me a leather passport holder from there for Christmas and had it stamped with my initials. They sell a lot of leather products there and you can have any of those items stamped with whatever you want. It was so cool to see in person! I should have taken more pictures but I only snapped one right outside the store.
That night Skye planned a dinner with a lot of old friends and we had a blast! Not to mention I felt kind of special :) I almost didn’t noticed that I was the 9th wheel, haha! The next morning, I woke up to see snow outside the window!! I was pleasantly surprised because the forecast didn’t mention any snow for the weekend. I hadn’t seen snow in over 3 years so I was a little excited!
The next day we decided to go 10 minutes up the road and check out the zoo. They just opened a brand new penguin exhibit and that was all I needed to hear! Yes, it was really really cold outside, but surprisingly a lot of the animals were out and about and hardly anybody else was there! It was actually quite perfect. I was even able to sneak in a few quick portraits of Skye and her husband, Eric.
It was a well needed trip and I’m so glad I got to see Skye and Eric and they let me crash at their place! Next time I visit, I’ll have to plan for the summer though…my bones are still thawing out! Actually, I ended up getting the flu due to going from one extreme temperature to the next and then throw in being on an airplane, I guess it was bound to happen. But even as I sit here now sick as a dog and in quarantine, I’d still say the trip was worth it :)