Home decor pieces like a custom map from GrafoMap are perfect conversation starters to have in your home! It’s such an aesthetically pleasing way to help tell your love story.
Wait, your husband is American and you’re Canadian…how did you guys meet?!
That’s the number one question I get asked because as you can see, my relationship with Jarryd is conversation piece in itself. I mean, I can’t argue with that; a good cross-border love story is always intriguing! 😉
I think our love story is pretty fantastic–I love that we lived on the same continent but had to travel across the Atlantic Ocean to find each other. Keep reading to hear all the juicy insider information on how our relationship began. 😉
Home Decor That Means Something.
When it comes to decorating our home, I love incorporating pieces here and there that tell a story about our family. If you think about it, we spend hours in our homes, we ourselves are the ones who spend the most time staring at our shelves and at our walls. (Or am I the only one who sits there and stares at the wall? Haha!) So why not decorate our homes with the things that actually mean something to us and spark wonderful memories for us!
For instance, originally in our dining room I had a tall corner shelf that was just full of little knick knacks/plants/cookbooks/random things. I felt like it was too bulky for the space so I got rid of the shelf and turned our dining room walls into a simple gallery wall of black and white photos of our family.
There’s photos from our wedding, our weekend in Charleston South Carolina, newborn photos of our son, and some of our extended family. We love being in our dining room and looking at these photos. James, our son especially loves gleefully pointing at the faces he recognizes.
How To Design A Custom Map
I reached out to GrafoMap and was THRILLED when they agreed to work together! Grafomap is a company that allows you to design a custom map featuring the location of your choice. It then is transformed into a gorgeous art piece to hang on your wall.
First, Choose A Location
The creation process is SO simple. First thing you do on their website is type in the address of ANY location in the world. Think about a place where an important moment in your life happened. When I was brainstorming locations, these were my top options:
- The farm where I grew up. (Manitoba, Canada)
- Where Jarryd and I met & fell in love. (Germany)
- Where we got engaged. (Maryland, US)
- Where we got married. (Manitoba, Canada)
- Where Jarryd and I had our first apartment. (Maryland, US) (Check out my previous blog post about My Life As a Canadian in the US if you want a good chuckle!)
- Where our home is now. (Manitoba, Canada)
I decided to go with where we met because that was an INCREDIBLE time in our lives. I’d almost go as far to say as it was the best 6 months of my life, but there’s so many moments before and after that, that just can’t be touched. Sigh. 🙂
Design Your Map Details
You can choose from several different map styles to suit your homes’ aesthetic. There’s ones that are bold with lots of colour, minimal designs that are just black and white, modern, vintage, the list goes on. I went with design called “Classic” as it features some light pastel tones–as you can see in the photos–which I’ve always been about!
Choosing Finishes & Labels
The finishes you can choose for your map range from a Hanger poster (that’s what I got!), framed poster, to even a T-shirt! And then you can type in exactly what you want written. Then there’s finer details like putting the location coordinates on there and even choose little symbols to mark an exact mark on your map. I chose a little heart, because, well…LOVE.
Hanging the Map
The Hangar poster map arrives safely rolled up in its sturdy cardboard cocoon. Then hangar wood pieces are actually magnets! So all you do is put the poster between the wood pieces and voila! Hang where you desire. I LOVE how easy the entire process is; from design to assembly, it’s totally user friendly.
We decided to hang our map between our entrance and living room (a very high traffic area). Putting it in our bedroom would have been a great option too, but these GrafoMap’s are fantastic conversation pieces that I think deserve to be seen by everyone who comes over!
Imagine this, you invite some new friends over and they see your map and say, “Bodenseehof? Huh, what’s this map all about?” You say WELL, it’s the reason you’re even at our house today! It’s actually where Jarryd and I met…
And with that said, here’s our love story:
Germany: Where We Fell in Love
In 2010, I was in the middle of my second semester of university in BC, Canada. I was itching to go to smaller and more intimate school. A few years prior, my sister went to a Bible School in Germany called Bodenseehof and LOVED it. She had these incredible experiences and formed deep relationships with people and I was intrigued.
So, I packed my bags, and took off on a plane (by myself–sooo not scary! It’s just exciting if anything!) and arrived in beautiful Deutschland! If you take a look at the map, Bodenseehof is sitting on Lake Bodensee on the border of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (those pink lines are the borders). We could see the ALPS from our school. How amazing is that?
Our year at Bodenseehof had just over 100 students; it’s a tiny little school and we did EVERYTHING together. We were like family. We’d wake up at the same time, eat breakfast together, and have every single class in the lecture hall together. All of the constant togetherness progresses relationships faster than in “normal life”. Does that make sense? So one day at Bode is like the equivalent of 1 month in real life.
Love At First Sight? Not So Much…
Y’all, I NEED to know. When you first laid eyes on your special person, was it “love at first sight for you”? It was not for me, which is crazy because I was the biggest romantic. (Spent a little too much time with my nose buried in Nicholas Sparks books, if you ask me.)
Jarryd (an AMERICAN) and I ended up being assigned seats next to each other in the lecture hall and that’s where it all began. He once kept this joke going on me that he was adopted, and I totally bought into it. And when he gleefully let it spill like a month later that he made it all up, I was MAD.
It was so weird because if any other guy had done that, I literally could’ve cared less. But with Jarryd, I didn’t know why I cared so much… I remember venting to one of my besties there how much of a JERK he was. (Hahah)
After he apologized, and all was forgiven, he started doing really sweet things for me. Such as if I’d forget my glasses in the dorm, he would whisper all the notes on the board to me so I could write them down. When he noticed I had the sniffles, he came back to me with some hot soup.
We’d spend hours just talking, hanging out, and reading the Bible. Then when Christmas break came and all the students left for Christmas travels, he set his alarm, and carried my suitcases out to the taxi for me. Like…what?!
Missing Him Already.
And I remember this like it was yesterday! As I stepped into that taxi and rode off to the train station I thought to myself: wow, I miss him already. It was crazy. I didn’t see that coming.
We went our separate ways during Christmas break: he went to Berlin with friends, and I went home. He facebook messaged me asking if I wanted to Skype with him. I was freaking out you guys, because I just KNEW he liked me. I kept fighting off the feelings because he was from Maryland, US and I was from the middle of Canada–how would a relationship even be possible?
So naturally my fear kicked in and I told him “aww sorry I’m actually super busy…”. (Wonder if he even believed me? Haha) Then like an hour later I couldn’t help it. I messaged him, “Yes, let’s do it!”. We ended up Skyping for almost EIGHT hours that night. That’s when I just knew.
I’d never met any guy who I could have such an in depth conversation with, and talk about anything and everything! Especially talk about our relationship with God. It was amazing. So we started officially dating the second semester at school at the rest is history!
Conquering The Long Distance
There’s always that fear that it won’t last outside of Bible school because long distance relationships are HARD. Two people who are committed can conquer anything though, because four years later, we got married and now in 2020 we have a one year old son!
My 6 months at Bodenseehof completely changed my life. It was amazing, and I’d recommend it to anyone! Please message me if you want to know more about it! We both LOVED our time of growth there, and that’s why I chose to use it as the location of my custom map! 🙂
Design Your Own Map with this DISCOUNT CODE!
Are you feeling inspired to design a custom map of your own? I’m absolutely in love with our GrafoMap and how it adds that super special piece of decor to our home that is truly unique to our family. I can’t recommend their products enough! They look beautiful, and the design/ordering process is super SIMPLE.
Now tell me, if you were to design your own Grafomap, what would YOUR location be? I know you’ve been thinking about it the whole time you’ve been reading this. 😉 Is it where you and your special someone went on your first date? Is it where you grew up? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear your ideas!!
OH and the good people at GrafoMap gave me a discount code to offer you guys! YAY! Go to GrafoMap and use the code: JENNIFERP10 for 10% off your order! Let me know if you order one!! Happy mapping, friends! 🙂