Thursday, June 25, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Europe


On Monday, Tim and I will celebrate our two year wedding anniversary, and in the spirit of TBT, I thought I'd share the first time I thought of Tim being the one.

They say it's good for couples to travel together before getting married.  I can see why.  Traveling brings out the best and worst in people.  It strips people of their comfort zone leaving them vulnerable and revealing their true character.

Sophomore year in college, Tim and I went on a class trip to Ireland, Paris, and Rome.  Two and a half weeks of site-seeing, plane rides, and foreign food would complete one of our college courses. Tim and I were newly dating.  I was recovering from a pattern of sickness that ultimately proved to be food allergies.  In more ways than one, I was reluctant and ill-prepared to embark upon this near three week journey across foreign land.  But I went, and so it began.

Picture a Michael Cera and Jonah Hill film.  Everything goes wrong in the most absurd way possible. Some events turning sour due to something they did wrong, others simply because fate had it out for them.  This fake film was our trip.  From missed planes, to lost bus connections, to running out of money, to last minute and unexpected stays in hotels, to the filthiest, nastiest bathroom we've ever (or will ever) peed in, to using Skype in the Apple store in France to call our parents to please send something to get us by, to getting lost on the streets of Paris, to not being able to get into our hostel, etc., etc., etc. This trip was everything but a vacation and everything I'd fully expect to pay 10 bucks for and laugh at for 2 hours on screen.

I could have handled it better.  But I didn't.  I was miserable, my anxiety dominating nearly every situation I found myself in.  And due to a recent phone call from my doctor, it was a constant struggle to find food in a country that lives on bread and cheese.  I wanted to curl up on the Champs-Elysées and cry.

There was Tim the whole time next to me, offering to go find some food with me, looking at the street maps in efforts to find our way back to our hostel, talking with the Delta ticket agent trying to get us on the next flight for the cheapest cost.

I wish that trip could have been the movie where the couple goes on a three week over-seas adventure, where they kiss under the Eiffel Tower, and share spaghetti Lady and the Tramp style in Italy, where all those cliché , fairy-tale versions of love are brought to life.  But I discovered something better: the love that comes to life in patience and sacrifice, understanding and selflessness. The kind that lasts a lifetime.  Though at the time, I'm sure I didn't show it, I was in awe of the man next to me, running through airports.  I knew this was the guy I wanted to run with through anything.

Now, years later, we joke about that trip.  Me, older and wiser, admitting I was a total mess, Tim always revealing a gentle smile.  We dream about recreating a European vacation, this time in leisure and with a little more currency.  But am I ever-grateful for that chaotic, humbling trip.  It was a small scene in a love story that we're celebrating on Monday.

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