I made the mistake of telling my BFF Kiki all the details I had failed to share with my parents about L, and to put it lightly, she was totally not cool with me going to Italy. I had to promise to call her daily or else she was going to tell my parents! Can you believe that? So many paranoid people these days… Oh well, I agreed anyhow. It was a few days before Thanksgiving and the time had finally come for me to board the plane (as well as 2 other planes) that would take me to my boyfriend! It took me 17 hours to reach Venice, Italy and when that plane touched down I was so overwhelmed with excitement that I could barely stay seated. I went to the airport washroom and tried to pretty myself up first, but it wasn’t going so well. 17 hours of travel does not produce anything beautiful or even presentable. I sprayed myself with perfume and gave my teeth a brush… On to meet the love of my life!
There I stood looking around for him. Where was he? A nice older man wearing an US military uniform noticed the panic on my face as I scanned every person walking about. He approached me and asked if I was OK and if he could help me. I filled him in that I was looking for my boyfriend, he was thirty minutes late. This seemed to upset the man when he learned L was in the Air Force. He felt L should have been more responsible as a military man. He led me to a bench where I could see the entrances clearly, and sat with me for about 20 minutes. It was a little awkward sitting there by him, chatting idly, but I think he felt a bit of a fatherly impulse to protect me. Finally L came in. I didn’t get to greet him properly though, as the man accompanying me started berating L for his hour-long tardiness. L kept looking between the two of us wondering who in the world this guy was…? A few minutes later the man finished his lecture and Luke was able to apologize. He had got stuck in traffic. At that, my escort left us to finally greet each other!
*Swoon* He swept me up, spun me in a circle and planted an amazing kiss on my lips. The kiss did not disappoint and I found L to be even more attractive in person. He was gorgeous! I was so consumed with being near him that I found it very difficult to talk or even walk for that matter. I tripped all over myself on the way to the car as I kept trying to look at him while walking and holding his hand… I’m not a very coordinated person.
It was total sensory overload seeing Italy. Its beauty exceeded my expectations immediately. We drove to Pordenone, the city I would be staying in for the duration of my visit. It was about an hours drive. This was an amazing drive. The scenery Italy boasts is one of a kind and it was only enhanced by being able to stare at my very handsome boyfriend. I could not believe I was actually living this dream!
A friend of L’s who worked the opposite shift offered for me to stay at his flat while I visited. L stayed in the dorms on base, and I wasn’t allowed there. He ended up being a very nice guy who I got to know quite well over the two weeks I stayed with him. L wasn’t able to take every day off work, so his friend carted me around to the all the fun places and made sure I was thoroughly entertained while his guest. One evening in particular comes to mind pertaining to his dedication to keep me entertained. He slammed two shot glasses on the coffee table, and set a bottle of Absinth beside them. The bottle was glowing an unnatural green color, and the look in my new friend’s eyes was one of challenge with a slight edge of crazy. I’d only heard of this drink in movies, it wasn’t legal in the states. Well, I never back down from a challenge, bottoms up! We each took 3 shots over 20 minutes and 2 more back to back around the 30 minute mark. Needless to say, I out drank the 6’3 Nordic-built fellow and he passed out on the couch shortly after. The absinth had a strange affect on me. I didn’t hallucinate as its known for, I just felt very light and everything around me became very vivid. My drinking buddy on the other hand must have been enjoying some strange hallucinations as he dreamed away on the couch because he randomly shouted out nonsense and occasionally moved his arms and legs as if he were swimming.
To make up for passing out the night before, my ever-diligent supplier of entertainment took me to Venice the following day. Venice was perfection! Well, minus the faint sewer smell coming from the stagnant water in the canals. I enjoyed endless amounts of my new favorite wine, the best pasta I had ever tasted, unique stores which held items I could only dream of affording but it was fun to browse nonetheless! Everything was so beautiful there. It would have been more enjoyable had L been able to come with me, but my new friend was a pleasant tour guide and spoke decent Italian which made things so much easier.
We celebrated the American Thanksgiving at the house of one of L’s friends. Everyone was very welcoming and the evening was spent watching football and eating good food. I could tell everyone missed their families though and longed to be home with them. It made me wonder if I would like this kind of life if L and I were to get married. I knew I would love seeing the world with him if that’s where his career took him, but would I be able to handle the long period of time between seeing my family? I didn’t know, but, I didn’t need to think about that just yet.
Soon my birthday came and although we couldn’t leave for Florence yet, L made my day special. He took me to a wonderful pizzeria called Vecchios. Now, I love pizza but this was unlike any pizza I had ever tasted. It was heaven in my mouth. That fated day is the cause of my American Pizza Dissatisfaction. Ever since chowing down on that delicious masterpiece of brickoven fired round perfection I have yet to eat its equal. In fact, no pizza has even came close to satisfying me since. It’s so unfortunate… We ended the evening by enjoying the most unique gelato I had ever had. Everything on the menu had a theme. My gelato came out resembling Pinocchio with a cone being placed as his nose. L’s was centered around the chocolate covered mint ‘After Eight’ and resembled the night sky. It was a perfect birthday and unforgettable. I spent it in Italy with the man I loved.
The following day we went for an adventurous drive through the Carnic Alps. They were majestic, I don’t know how else to describe them. I had traveled mountain roads before but nothing ever like this! The road snaked along the side of the mountains in a way that only bettered the view of the surrounding beauty. The snow lightly dusted the trees and there was no end in sight as we made our way deeper and higher into the Alps. I’m not gonna lie though, as beautiful as it was I was scared half to death most of the time. See, L is from Texas and he doesn’t “do” snow or ice for that matter. And he sure as heck didn’t know how to drive on it either. There were a few times I had to coach him through turns and inclines as he was obviously panicking while trying to control the tiny VW Golf he had rented. We began to make our way down the mountain and reached a tiny town called Barcis. A sign stating “two-way bridge” greeted us and I couldn’t believe my eyes…there is no way that bridge was a “two-way”. Maybe they meant there were two ways to die on it and one would be by trying to get across while another car did the same in the opposite direction. Case and point, the picture below.
I’m pretty sure Barcis was a town out of a fairytale. It was built next to a breathtaking, smooth as glass blue-green lake. The lake had a small layer of fog resting on it and swans floated across its serene waters. We held hands as we walked along the lake-side path, talking about nothing at all but everything at the same time. It just felt right to be by his side. Talking to him and loving him was effortless for me. There was nowhere else in the world I would rather have been, than with him. Whether it was in this fairytale swan-lake town nestled in the Alps, or in brown and boring Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. I knew I wanted to be with him wherever he may go… I was beginning to picture a life with him. Could he be “the one”? It sure felt like he was the one. We shared the same silly sense of humor, we valued family and God above all else, we never had a problem communicating and most importantly, he made me happy. I didn’t know if I would marry L, but the thought of it was the only thing on my mind as we drove back to Pordenone.
I couldn’t wait for our adventure to Florence! I was so impatient I could barely sleep that night.