Friday, April 29, 2016

We Met at Size 8: My adventures in Europe, Part I

The planning began two years ago. My sister and I were sitting in her small den off her bedroom. After a glass of wine, she told me that to celebrate my 50th birthday, she was going to take me on an all-expense paid trip to anywhere I wanted to go in the world. She knew she needed to give me two years to digest this. For those of you who read my blog, you know that I am not a willing traveler. Being away from home for extended periods of time (especially out of state) is way out of my comfort zone.  Honestly, I would have been happy going to a contiguous US state. She insisted it needed to be out of the country. How could I be away from my family for that long? What if they found out that they didn't need me anymore? Writing this, I can see how crazy this sounds, but in my heart, those fears are real.

Originally, we had decided that the Caribbean would be a nice place to relax for a week and a half. I wasn't married to this place, hell, I wasn't married to even going! But this place was the closest to my home. I wanted to be able to leave at a moment's notice should there be a problem. Basically, I was picking a destination for its proximity, not as a perfect destination.

Our minds were made up when my brother married a beautiful Spanish woman who lives in Cambridge, England. They came to the US to marry, so I was able to meet her (on the day of the wedding) and I immediately knew my brother was one lucky dude. We had to visit them in England! This was the first time in the past two years that I had started to feel excitement rather than dread. My sister planned the trip leaving no arrangement (car service, train ride...) left to chance. Our itinerary? Cambridge, London, Barcelona! We had invited our brother and his wife to join us in Barcelona. Unfortunately, my brother's visa hadn't been updated to allow him to travel outside of England--a topic my brother has little good to say about. But that didn't stop his wife from joining us.

The weeks approaching this once-in-a-lifetime trip seemed to drag by. Each day was long, and the weeks even longer. And surprising to say, my attitude was improving and my fear abating. I would be spending my 50th birthday celebration in Europe!

No comments: