Tag Archives: Adventure

Love-in Italy Part 2

16 Apr

Florence. Aaaahh… SO beautiful! I could have stayed months there, no, I could have stayed the rest of my life there. And I wanted to stay there with L. First thing was first, find a place to sleep. L didn’t make reservations which was kind of our first argument. There we were, 9pm after a very long train ride, dragging our luggage up and down streets, searching the city for a place to stay. We went into a ritzy hotel, me rolling my eyes at L knowing we can’t afford it. We inquired of the price and of course, I was correct. When we asked for cheaper recommendations nearby the man said wait here a minute. We looked at each other a bit confused,  but we waited. A couple of minutes later he returned and said, “Follow me.” We followed hesitantly into the dark alley across from the hotel, through a door bigger than any door I have ever seen, and into an elevator right out of a 1930’s movie. There was barely enough room for us 3 to fit in it, and I swore if we would have jumped, it would have plummeted. But neither L or the desk clerk would jump with me, so we’ll never know if I was right…. “It look older than it is.” says the clerk in a condescending tone. Riiiiiight, then jump I say! I am so right.

The room was amazing! It was 2 stories, with a spiral staircase right in the center sitting room leading up a room with 2 king size beds. The bathroom had heated floors, heated towel racks and even a bidet!!! There was a balcony overlooking the whole city and I could see the Duomo, fully illuminated and majestic! We got this amazing room for the low price of 60 Euro! Can you believe that? We were under budget. So all that irritation with L slowly melted away, as L and I snuggled up and watched the city come to life.

I could not wait to celebrate my 18th year with adventure! Now, something about L and I that differs greatly that I learned on this trip was that we both view “adventure” differently. I also learned that we have different interests when it comes to exploring and sightseeing. I like culture, history, architecture, and a bit of chaos. He preferred safe, leisure, and semi-Americanized surroundings. Hehehe, this made for an uncomfortable time for him, as I won. It was my birthday.

We first headed out in the pouring rain. Yes, pouring. We were drenched in seconds and I knew from that moment this day would be AWESOME. L however, was not impressed with my dancing about “catching your death of cold in Florence, on your pretend birthday” and soon found us both sweatshirts and umbrellas from a street vendor. Fine, fine. I complied. But then I was off. The city was abuzz and the word was that the San Lorenzo Market was going on several blocks away, in a direction pointed by someone who apparently had no sense of direction. We wandered in the rain, ducking in and out of quaint but far-too-expensive stores, tons of bakeries (oh wow, gained 3 pounds), and espresso shops (peed a lot). We went about 12 blocks in the wrong direction until another tourist pointed us in the right direction. Thanks out-of-towner! Grabbed some of the best pizza ever, and went on our way, the other way.

The market was huge and packed full of people. I bought a bunch of stuff I didn’t need and labeled them as “souvenirs” with little intention of actually giving them to the intended people. We walked through rows after rows of hand crafted gems, ate more food (well I did) and the rain never let up for a minute. When we were done with the market, we made our way to see the older parts of town.

This is where I would post amazing pictures but, my camera was in fact stolen out of my bag on our return trip… so, no photos. The city of Florence is so rich in history and beauty, we barely even scratched the surface of discovery. We did however see the most beautiful cathedrals, several neat statues including David, and a few landmarks like the Uffizi Gallery and the Ponte Vecchio bridge! My favorite site was the Basilica of Santa Croce, it was breathtaking. Up close you could see the craftsmanship and I was in awe the whole time. I didn’t want to leave its steps but my stomach told me otherwise. Dinner time!

Finding a restaurant was challenging. Not for the lack of restaurants but because L wanted a menu he could read. I was more willing to take a gamble. So we settled on a place with an English menu and an Italian one. He ordered right away, I pondered over Italian words, trying to think of what Giada would order. I went with something that sounded rustic and pretty, it didn’t disappoint! We ate in true Italian fashion, slowly, with strangers and buckets of wine. I guess this is the thing to do here. Dinner was delicious and the company was entertaining. 3 hours later, on to birthday drinks.

We wandered about some more, in the general direction of our hotel. Not long after the search was over. We came across an Irish pub called “The Dublin Pub” and ducked in as it seemed like the hot spot in the area. Talk about fun! People from all over the world were in that pub. We made some Aussie friends, Irish Friends, English Friends, a couple American ones too! No Italian though… Strange. Shortly a contest was in full swing. L didn’t believe my drinking abilities and neither did a couple Aussies, and so it was on. Long story short, I won. I had about 10 shots, 2 foreign concoctions, and a couple Redbulls. L was done after 6 beers. After the high-fives went around the pub and a couple of hugs from drunk strangers, we staggered back to our hotel room. Or did we? OK, we got lost. Really lost. It was around 2am and we had no clue where we were. We went in circles for over an hour trying to find our hotel. Just when all hope was about to be lost, and we were going to settle for the sidewalk, we see our special little alley way…. Literally next to the Dublin Pub. Oy Vey. Really???? We crashed as soon as our heads hit our pillows. Good night Florence.

The morning came quick and so did the hangover for me. We packed up, grabbed some yummy confections at the bakery on the corner and went to catch our train. Those 2 days were unforgettable and far too short. I loved every moment of that trip. L was a great companion there, and we sure learned a lot about our differences. But ya know what? I didn’t mind that we were so different. I felt that we made a good team and that we brought balance to each other in our extreme areas. Our humour really clicked when it came to having fun and being silly, which has always been a big thing for me in relationships. I could be myself with him, and that was nice.

I only stayed a couple more days with L in Aviano. We went for a few drives and romantic walks, on a few shopping trips and ate at some unique cafes. I took tons of pictures, that of course I can’t show you but at least I have my memories. And those will never be stolen. Well, until I grow old and senile of course.

Saying goodbye to L was hard. I was teary-eyed and he took it rough as well. He even inquired about me staying until he was set to leave Italy, but it just wasn’t affordable. So we hugged and kissed and kissed some more, and I was off.

Farewell L, Farewell Italy.

Hello Mountain Home AFB, again…

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Love-in Italy Part 1

2 Sep

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.

He Entered MySpace

1 Sep

While waiting to move from my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Oregon to Idaho with my sister, I acquired a lot of down time. I made myself useful by doing household chores during the day and making dinner in the evenings. Usually with the assistance of a Sous Chef; my slightly older and awesome male cousin T. I would also doddle about on the internet when I had nothing else to do…usually by noon. At the time ‘MySpace’ was a very popular online destination for me, and fellow young adults as well. And that’s where I met him.

The condensed version of how I met L: He emailed me through MySpace because he was to be stationed with the Air Force in Mountain Home (where I would soon be living) and was trying to make friends before arriving from Italy. Me being the out-going person that I am responded enthusiastically and began getting to know him. We emailed back and forth 3-5 times a day. I was beginning to get to know him as well as any friend I had, in fact, better than. Here are a few details so you know a bit about him too: He was 20, we shared the same Christian beliefs as well as a admiration for strange humor. He was from a small town in Texas, he joined the Air Force right out of high school and was working as an enlisted Firefighter. After a week of conversing through email we decided to take it to the telephone.

My stomach was all a flutter the first time I heard his voice. It was just as I had imagined it. Calm, light-hearted and with a slight southern draw. I didn’t realize the feelings I had developed for him while we emailed each other the previous week. This was crazy and I knew it. But the free-spirit inside was driving me on, this was exciting!

By the second week of chatting I was completely wrapped up in L. I impatiently waited for his phone call from the moment I awoke, I checked my email obsessively just in case and talked incessantly about him to whomever would listen. I hadn’t met him in person but he already had my heart. I felt silly, but I couldn’t help it. Not long after I realized how much I cared for him, he confessed his attachment to me. He genuinely liked me and his feelings were growing deeper every day. “I have something to ask you and I know it might be a bit weird since we are in different countries. Would you mind not dating anyone, well, dating just me actually?” He wanted me as his girlfriend adding “At the risk of scaring you away I had to ask, because I know your value and I know it won’t be long before another guy will notice it too”. I of course, with my tummy all a flutter and my heart racing, readily agreed to not date anyone else. I was off the market, and waiting to meet my boyfriend. Hahaha, yes I knew it was weird and maybe a bit naive. But I didn’t care. Something was different in this relationship, there was a gravitation-like pull I had never felt toward someone.

A week later L asked me to fly to Italy so we could meet sooner, instead of waiting until February. I’m not going to lie, February was four months away and kind of felt like a painful sentence of time to endure. I also had been dreaming of going to Italy for years and that dream was now within my reach. He even offered to take me to Florence for my 18th birthday! How could I say no? What reason did I have? Everything inside me screamed YES! I knew getting my parents approval might prove a bit difficult but I’d figure something out. I had to go. I told him yes, he began arranging my flights, and I had a ticket to Italy within a few days. In the meantime…

Getting around my parents without lying was kind of challenging. I knew if I was totally honest about how I knew L, or for how long, that they would 100% object. “This guy could be a child predator!”, I could hear it now. Any good parent would freak out and completely object, rightfully so. But I knew L was a good guy and I knew he would never harm me, this just felt right. So I did what any 17-year-old would do, I bent the truth. Ok I bent half-truths. They believed what I offered them though, without any pointed questions that would have caused me to outright lie. They gave their consent with only slight hesitation, and were happy for my dream of seeing Italy to be realized. I did feel guilty about this, and eventually I told them the whole truth. They were a bit shocked by my twisted truths and smooth manipulations, but by that time I was 18 and they really couldn’t do anything about it. All I got was, “Oh Lace…You’re lucky he was a good guy. That could have turned out really bad!” Along with a few displeased glares from my mother.

But before I could fly off to Italy to meet the love of my life, I had to take steps to establish my new life. Ya know, the one that I was going to make for myself in Mountain Home, Idaho? I have no idea why I decided to move to a town I knew was boring and brown. What kind of life could I make for myself there? The place was isolated and dull, it offered me nothing I desired when it came to opportunities or diversity of people. “At least L would be there after the new year” I thought to myself as I packed once more, “He would make life in small town USA more exciting”. But really, what was I thinking before I knew L would be there? Who knows? I sure didn’t, still don’t actually.

Here goes nothin, time to move in with my sister. *Gulp*