Monday, July 27, 2015

Some little, soon-to-be-big, news

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Earlier this summer R and I celebrated the 10-year anniversary of when we first met. I was at the end of my figure-eight loop around Italy—a trip I set out on solo in the month between graduating from university and beginning the first job of my professional career.

After landing in Rome nearly 4 weeks prior, and traveling from there to Cortona, San Gimignano, Siena, Assisi, the Cinque Terre, Milan, Venice, Florence, Naples, Sorrento, Capri, and Positano, I finally landed in Sicily, having taken an overnight train from Salerno where I was stuck sitting on my suitcase near the bathrooms until a Sicilian mama invited me to share her berth with her and her 4 children.

We didn't understand each other at all, but she made her children scooch over so I could lay down and sleep for a few hours and when I awoke she handed me the most potent Sicilian blood orange I had ever had (it might have been my first). After thanking her and cleaning myself up, I went up on board to witness the crossing of the train over the Strait of Messina. Not too long after that, we chugged into Giardini-Naxos, the station at the base of the hill upon which Taormina perches.

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Turns out the inn I had found in my guidebook (this was back when we still used them) and had booked from Sorrento in my absurd attempt at speaking Italian was right across the street from a boutique run by two brothers who had inherited it from their father. Being filled as it was with Italian leather goods, accessories and the most beautiful shoes I had ever seen, of course I had noticed it while taking walks around the town.

I had also noticed a man standing in the window one day—our eyes caught and it was the oddest sensation, almost dejà vu. That eerie sense of familiarity that puts you at ease while at the same time heightening all of your senses.

The next day I walked into the store under the ruse of shoe shopping (a ruse because my poor, American-width feet battered from touring around Italy in flip flops—such a bad idea—would have never fit into elegant Italian shoes) and managed to ask for my size in broken Italian. He, the older of the brothers, the one who had seen me the day before, excitedly responded in rapid Italian.

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Having studied Spanish for 7 years in school—though being American public school and university language courses, I wasn't anywhere close to being fluent—I could make out a bit of what he was saying, but not enough that I didn't immediately begin spluttering and begged him to switch to English.

As he had grown up in a trendy and touristy beach resort town with parents that spoke English (in addition to all of their other languages), he could (luckily and mercifully) manage a decent amount of my native language, so we were able to chat. I left the store without shoes, but with a recommendation for where to eat dinner that night.

On the walk back to the inn after dinner I passed his store again, but this time he was standing outside checking on his motorcycle. Something happened in that moment that spurred my exceedingly shy, introverted self to pose a question to him about said motorcycle—and thus began our relationship across the Atlantic.

One innocuous question and after 4 years of "dating" with an ocean between us he moved from Sicily to New York and we were married (for the first time) at the base of the mountains in Virginia, and the second time, just down the street from where we met in Sicily (where his brother, an elected official of the town, officiated our civil ceremony).

After a few years of newlywed life in New York we moved to Stockholm, where we recently passed the one-year mark of life abroad together.

And now, ready for another adventure with each other, our family of two will become a family of three by the end of this year—just in time for our sixth wedding anniversary.

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All because I mustered up the courage to ask him a question.

And because he began his answer with a smile.

P.S. This is why I've been a little quiet here lately—it was hard to post without revealing our little secret (plus I had a rough first trimester), but my hands haven't been idle—the baby's layette is off to a good start!

P.P.S. Don't be swayed by the colors—we chose not to find out whether we're having a winter baby boy or a winter baby girl (and we think that all of these work for either).

P.P.P.S. I actually have a pretty good idea of what we can do with these.

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One year ago: Three levels of madness
Two years ago: Stirred, not shaken & Time to stop knitting napkins

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XOXO,
J.