We just won a trip to Rome!
Ok, now let me back up and start from the beginning.
The way beginning when I still had three babies brewing in my belly. Being a person who loves to travel, one of my fears about having triplets was knowing with total confidence that Chris and I would never travel again. When those beautiful babies were born I would NEVER GO ANYWHERE AGAIN. Or at least for the next 18 years. Who would want to take four kids while Chris and I galavant around Europe or Australia? I literally woke up in the middle of the night thinking about this. . . and not just once.
But in an awesome turn of events, Chris has won his sales incentive trip for his company the last three years; one trip to Paris and two trips to Hawaii. Our parents have stepped in every year to divide and conquer our kids so we could take advantage of these traveling opportunities.
Ever since we found out that this year’s incentive trip was to Italy, I have been dreaming of ancient architecture and delicious pasta. I have wished to go so intensely that I have found myself praying out loud to Jesus, Buddha, God, Joseph Smith or any higher power who is willing to listen and grant wishes.
I have reminisced at length about the time when Chris and I were 23 and we backpacked through Europe. I had saved up some cash working as a video editor for a Sacramento news station. Chris sold the Intel stock that his parent’s had given him in order to make the trip (his parents were not pleased). It was a dream of ours to go backpacking through Europe and we knew that we needed to seize the moment when we were young, childless, mortgage-less and without careers to hold us back.
With packs on our backs and Eurorail passes in hand, we made our way through Europe. We started in England, headed to Holland, France, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Italy. We stayed in the most seedy hostiles; the kind of establishments that require you to wear flip flops in the shower. In Paris there were cockroaches in our room. In Holland we were provided dish rags to dry ourselves off with after our shower. I suppose we were just lucky that we were offered a towel at all. In the Czech Republic, we were coerced by a nice old man to come to his “hotel” which ended up being a tiny bedroom in his very modest home 15 minutes outside of town.
My creep-o-meter was in the red at the places we would sleep, but it didn’t matter because during the day we walked through some of the greatest cities in the world, ate food I had never eaten before and met interesting people along the way. We drank wine straight from the bottle on the steps of the courthouse in Venice with a young couple who grew up in Chris’ home town. We met wonderful Australians in Cinque Terre along the Italian Riviera and ended up making pasta together and laughing all night. I went topless on a beach in Antibes, France. I tried blue cheese for the first time in Germany. I went to a bar in Amsterdam where there is a marijuana menu and people belly up for a legal joint. We took a two hour tour of the concentration camp Dachau led by a man whose dad was a Nazi soldier at that camp. I got to spend time with my mom’s side of the family in England. We stayed in a Zimmer on a grassy hill in Austria that looked just like a scene from The Sound of Music. We were woken by scary men carrying machine guns asking for our passports while crossing the border into the Czech Republic on a sleeper train.
During our backpacking trip we spent only two days in Rome. In Rome, we upgraded to a hotel — not a nice hotel — but it was luxurious compared to our youth hostile experiences. Shoes in the shower were not required. When we stepped off the train in Rome we ended up dining at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant where a nice portly Italian woman wearing a kerchief over her hair was rolling out pasta at the next table. We knew right then that we had arrived at a great destination. We were running low on money and we realized pretty quickly that Rome in particular is a city that is accessed easier with money. The Vatican was covered in scaffolding. We were turned away from the Vatican museum because were were not wearing the correct attire. We didn’t even go inside the Colosseum for financial reasons. Really the only thing we did do was climb the hundred plus stairs to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica where Chris took the awesome picture of Vatican City that hangs on our wall in our home.
So a couple of weeks ago the big moment had arrived. Chris and I were anxiously waiting to hear from his company about whether we were going to Rome this summer or not. The news was supposed to come through to us via WebEx at 4pm sharp but the Internet was slow and the video buffered for 15 minutes. We were sweating with anxiety. At one point Chris turned to me and said, “you know, it’s okay if we don’t get this trip because we’ve already been to Rome.” Are you kidding me? I told him that was a nice try but it isn’t helping me. Not only did Chris earn the trip, but he is ranked #1 in the country in his field, which his a big deal.
We are headed to Rome for the trip at the end of July.
Chris and I are so excited. Despite that, we have been doing such a good job of not talking about Rome much and keeping our excitement contained to ourselves.
I will be documenting the trip from start to finish if anybody is interested in learning more about Rome.
There is not a single cell in my body that is not grateful for this trip. Dreams do come true.
Until next time, the mothership is signing off.