The Year That Gave

Nwando Ebeledike wearing a green dress with feather sleeves and squatting in front of a mountain by the water in Montenegro


In the first minute of the year 2023, I was tapping my champagne glass to the champagne glasses of some of the people I love the most in the world. I went to sleep with a smile on my face and glee in my heart.


I spent the first week in Malaga, Spain with my person, cut out from the internet and everyone that lives in it. We cycled up a hill, read books aloud to each other, took photos of one another and laughed a lot.

I started a new job as an analyst, in addition to the other works of my hands. It was and continues to be an experience in the discipline of showing up to something consistently, regardless of the many waves of living.


I truly believed I was going to die from what was the worst sickness of my entire life. It hurt all over, breathing, being, living. I shudder at the thought.

My now husband, moved and moved and then moved his proposal plans because I thought I was going to die and if there was ever a perfect moment for a proposal, maybe that was not it.

He did find the perfect moment on the perfect day, and asked me to do life with and by him. I said yes because, he is and has always been my anchor. I’m now moored.


We got traditionally married, surrounded by our favorite people and I learnt even more, what showing up for the people we choose looks like. My husband also turned a new age and we celebrated together and then with others.


A loved friend threw us the most delightful wedding party and our hearts were full. 

This month reminded me that everything in the world is connected one way or another, that a war happening can influence the works of our hands in tangible ways, as it should.

It also reminded me that building a brand is a 24/7 effort that takes so much and does not always give back, but we show up anyway, because what if?


There was a lot of sun, which made me happy. I shot my first commercial shoot of the year which caused nostalgia for photography. 

The lover & I got the city of London involved in our love by committing to each other in the court of Law. It was an intimate day of softness and family.


We spent a lot of time with chosen family. Sleeping on the balcony, dancing, laughing, cooking, eating, twirling, observing, talking, group excercising, storytelling. 

In London and Marrakech.


Was the month of barbie and everything was pink. 

I continued to try my best at NALÈ. Building our own community has become urgent for me because I want to create a brand that is a fond part of people’s lives and celebrations. This is a desire I carry with me.


Came with loss, life, chosen family, given family, support, for me and others - giving and received, slowness, long talks, tears, laughter, growth, self searching, more loss, celebration of others, hosting, planning, building, breaking, support, and then it was quiet.

Nwando Ebeledike's side self portrait


Another devastating war in another part of the world forced on long suffering people. This made me very sad.

Family, funeral, shoots and more shoots, work, busy days spilled in into the other, into the other, music, long hugs, fear, showing up, the first wedding I’d been to in over 5 years, lots and lots of dancing, white wedding planning, wedding dress try ons, long talks of the future.


I turned a new age. The lover & I went away for 10 days - first to Croatia and then to Montenegro. We were in awe of the the beauty of the world. Life slowed down for us, we ate delicious food; lots of it, we laughed, walked, talked, had late mornings and long nights. It was my perfect month of the year. 


We went to Portugal to see the church, the reception and taste the food for our white wedding day. It took our breath away in unison.

A free person I had never met passed away in a town I lived in long ago and this made me cry. I found it heartbreaking to die in the middle of fighting so fiercely for freedom.

Lots and lots and lots of family time that was never enough because I do love them so.

In Summary,

This is a year that gave and then gave some more to me. It was also a year that took.

I won, lost, cried and laughed; some months in equal measure. I doubted things and the motivation behind them. I loved and I received love. I am older and wiser than I was a year ago. 

Truly thankful for existence and the way the rawness of sitting inside of it feels. I am alive and it is a glorious thing.

Thank you to the year that gave me a lot and taught me more.

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