12.21.2016

Why I Couldn't Watch the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

I knew I was in a good place when Halloween rolled around.  Eating candy didn't make me hate myself.  Finding out that there was going to be pizza served for the office didn't send me into a panic.  This time last year,  and the year before, I was not in a good place.  I was feeling out of control and utterly disgusted with my appearance and it was a daily battle just to exist in my own skin.  I felt trapped.  Hopeless.  I had gone from being the skinny one to hiding under skirts and tunics.  I was in no condition to watch the Victoria's Secret Fashion show.

I bought three VS bikinis this year and the majority of my bras and jammies come from there.  I love the brand and I always love the musical guests they choose like Akon, Selena Gomez, and Rhianna.  The Victoria's Secret fashion show is the holy grail of modeling jobs, the super bowl of runway, and viewed by millions.  It is a cohesive blend of performance, fashion, and whimsy, that I have always enjoyed watching except those two years I couldn't do it.


The show has evolved.  Remember when Victoria's Secret models represented the fuller, yet still very slim model figure?  They had boobs and hips. Some of them even had butts.  Some of them still do, but since 2013 high fashion editorial types have joined their ranks. The girls are getting thinner.  Also, the show isn't just about what happens on the stage.  They've taken us backstage, and added behind the scene segments and special clips  featuring the models.  We're so lucky! Once you are in the show, your life changes.  Between the interviews, sexy commercials, backstage access, and casting footage the Victoria's Secret fashion show is basically a one hour long celebration of beautiful genetically gifted women who are paid very well to look good, and travel the world. 

I didn't want to hear them talk about how they don't wake up looking that way.  We work really hard at it, and I don't doubt that they do, but to deny genetics as a major reason they get to do what they do is BS.  No amount of starving, or working out would have ever given me, or most women their barbie doll like proportions.  The average woman is now a size 16.  At my thinnest, when I was working really hard at resisting food, and working off half of what I did put into my mouth, I could still have never been a VS model.  I didn't have the height or the waist to hip ratio, and that was fine.  I took comfort in being skinny, and when that went away it was a serious blow to my confidence.  At least with the catalog you can kid yourself into believing that it's all photo shop and they don't really look like that, but when you see them live in HD the truth is revealed.  They really look like that.  How could I watch those perfect angels glide gleefully down the runway in all of their hard edged, flat ab, thin glory as the entire world watches in adoration?  I couldn't do it.  My precious bones were gone, and to watch the show would have stirred up all kinds of feelings of envy and grief that I couldn't handle.  It's hard to admit, but I simply didn't have the self-esteem to sit through the 2014 Victoria's Secret fashion show and not hate myself and/or dissolve into tears.  It's the same reason I had to unfollow certain Instagram accounts.  The show would have to wait until I felt I could handle it.

The 2014 Victoria's Secret Fashion show sat in my DVR queue until football season 2015.  I was following a meal plan and lifting weights.  I was taking action.  I wouldn't be fat much longer, so I sat down and watched Ariana Grande, Ed Sheeran, Hozier, and Taylor Swift, who could practically be a Victoria's Secret model herself.  I watched the models flirt with the audience as they strutted down the runway.  I was fine, yet four months later when the 2015 show was televised, I couldn't watch.  Things were worse than ever.  The weight continued to pile on, Bikini Body Guide, Whole30, and anything else I tried be damned.  I couldn't punish myself with two Victoria's Secret Shows in the same year, so the 2015 show sat in the DVR.  I told myself I'd watch it when I felt better about myself, and it finally happened.  A year later.

I didn't watch the December 2015 Victoria's Secret fashion show until November of 2016, just before I left for Germany.  It was time.  I was ready.  I was in a good place.  I did Bikini Body Guide, meal prepped and was very consistent with diet and exercise.  I worked super hard to fix my metabolism, lose weight, have a better relationship with food, and accept my changing body.  I was getting ready to go three weeks without exercise or my usual meal planning and I knew I was ready for that too.  It took me a year to watch the Victoria's Secret fashion show, twice, but when the 2016 show rolled around it only took me a few nights.      
 
We're in Paris!  This is where it all happens!  We are so fortunate!  Alessandra, Behati, Lily, Gigi, Kendall.  They flirted their way down the runway on impossibly long legs and tiny waists peppered with abs.  Sure, I sat there marveling at the way their legs barely jiggle when they stomp the runway in stilettos, and how insanely gorgeous they are, but I was unaffected.  The commercials in which every perfect VS Angel body part is featured in a cinematographic work of art did not phase me, and I didn't bat an eye at their yearly segment on what they do to prepare for the show.  Oh really, is that all I have to do?  I still can't figure out how Lady Gaga walks in those ridiculous shoes, but I love it that she stole the show with her confidence and commanding performance. Bruno Mars, is freaking adorable and I looked real hard to to figure out which VS model The Weekend had dated because I heard about a death glare on the radio.  I loved it.

I was able to sit and enjoy the Victoria's Secret Fashion show for what it is.  An gorgeous entertaining spectacle of smoke and mirrors that doesn't have anything to do with me as a person.  Nothing more, nothing less. 

12.16.2016

What is this Place?

It was pretty late when we landed in Rome.  After about a 15-20 minute ride the car pulled up to this mysterious gate off a long dark road.  It was close to midnight.  The gate swung open, and the gravel crunched under the tires as we pulled into the compound.

"Where the heck are we?  What is this place?" I was so confused.  It didn't look like a hotel, so what was it?
 
The driver helped us up the stairs with our bags and a young man with long dark curly hair came out of one of the doors, introduced himself as Alessandro, and had a hushed chat with the driver.  It was dark.  Quiet.  The area seemed deserted.  Were we being set up for an international abduction?  The driver left and Alessandro opened the door two doors down from the one he came out of.  I had checked it out on Trip Advisor, but still, I was a little nervous about what was inside.  The minute we walked in, I had a serious are you kidding me moment.  Is this really where we are staying? All I could see was a long hallway, but it was like the prettiest hallway I had ever seen.  The place was huge!  Alessandro said they were putting us in the first room on the right as it was the best one, and that since it was late we could come next door in the morning to talk about what we wanted to do while we were there.
Door on the right is our bedroom
Our bedroom
Our bathroom

Well how many rooms are in this place?

The hallway was lined with doors, and behind each one was an artfully decorated bedroom.  I was really tired, but I tramped in and out of four bedrooms and three bathrooms with my mouth hanging open.  We opened door after door until we finally got to the rear of the house where we found one more small bedroom with an attached bath off the kitchen.  The kitchen was amazing.  The living room and dining room were amazing.  This place was simply amazing!  We toured the whole place in awe before settling down to unpack and get to bed.

I peaked out the windows.  All I saw was darkness, and I still couldn't figure it out where we were.
Cozy living room.  All the windows in the apartment were automated.


Appia Antica Resort is not your typical hotel.  It is tucked away in Appia Antica, which is the largest green space in Rome.  It's quaint and unassuming on the outside, but inside the decor is impeccable.  Every detail from the poured concrete floors to the soft overhead lighting was so well done.  It feels like an apartment because there are only four units, but it feels like a hotel because of the complimentary basket of toiletries and house slippers in the bathroom.  There was even a hair dryer.  Not a big deal, but it had a diffuser! Maybe I've been living under a rock or something, but I've never seen such a thing!  It feels like an apartment because it's in a quiet neighborhood where people actually live, but it also feels like a hotel because it is so fancy, and they clean your room when you leave.  It feels like a boutique hotel because the personalized hospitality was unlike anything I've experienced anywhere else, and yet it feels like an apartment because of the fully stocked kitchen that has everything and anything you could possibly need.  Tea cups, mugs, cooking utensils, adorable flatware.  The wine glasses were stored in this wonderful old curio cabinet in the living room and there was a pretty nice selection of wines to choose from.  The refrigerator was filled with bottled water, sparkling water, cold cuts, eggs, and milk.  There was coffee and this cute little basket with snack cookies we couldn't stop eating, bread, and cereal.  When you stay there you really feel like you are experiencing what it is like to live in an Italian neighborhood, and yet there is staff on hand taking excellent care to make sure that all of your needs are met.
Eat In Kitchen:  heart eyes emoji.  And there was a washer/dryer and dishwasher tucked behind those cabinets
The smaller bedroom with attached bath is just off the kitchen to the right
Dessert!
I woke up the next morning and still couldn't believe I was staying in this amazing place.  The equivalent of the hotel lobby is run out of the foyer of one of the apartments.  I didn't see much more than the foyer but it had a huge set of marble stairs leading upstairs and I can only imagine that it was just as fabulous as the place we were in.  When we opened our door Alessandro was right there to invite us in and help us plan our day.  He provided maps and bus numbers, and alerted us about the upcoming strike on Friday.  He showed us how to use the gate and pointed us in the direction of the bus stop right across the street.  Our first stop was the Colosseum and it only took us about 15 minutes on the bus.  After a wonderful day exploring the city, it felt even more like home that night when we had our private cooking lesson.  This is something that they can arrange for guests, in addition to special anniversary in room surprises, massages, and day tours.  They want to help you create your own unique experience.
One of three bathrooms
One of four bedrooms
The next day we were stranded by a transportation strike.  One of the other Appia Antica Resort staff members tried to call us a cab, and there wasn't one to be found, but Alessandro saved the day taking us into the city himself.  The trains were to be up and running after five so we were able to make our way back on our own.  We headed into the office for local restaurant recommendations and they even made the reservation for us.  All we had to do was walk down the street and show up.

These 3 doors are the three apartments, with the 4th located down the stairs on the path to the right

cobblestones are amazing and all, but on a walk this long sometimes it was easier to stick to the path
One of the neighborhood homes
The previous day on the drive into town, I saw the sign for Catacombs of St. Callixtus, and decided on the spot I wanted to go.  It was within walking distance, but Alessandro was available to drop us off.  He walked us to the ticket counter where we bought our tickets and that would be the last time we saw him because it was our last day.  Can you tell, I really liked Alessandro?  He was so friendly, so helpful, and so quintessentially Italian.  Surely, he was just being himself, but I found it so charming the way he pointed things out and here, came out 'ere with his Italian accent.  After touring the catacombs we had the opportunity to walk through the surrounding area and get a look at the neighborhood.   We spent the other two days in the city, which is very populated, and has a lot of traffic, and it was really nice to have a chance to see this side of Rome.

They arranged private transportation to and from the airport for our arrival and departure.   The arrival transport was arranged at the time of booking, and they set up our ride back the day before we left.  One less thing that we had to worry about.  When we left, we were given this adorable little travel notebook as a parting gift.

We missed out on nothing by not staying right inside Rome.  Appia Antica Resort is a very special place and getting to stay there only enhanced our entire experience in Rome.

12.14.2016

Thanksgiving in Rome Because Why Not?

Spending Thanksgiving day in a country that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving is about as non-traditional as it gets.   We are child free and we like to travel.  I knew it was only a matter of time before something like this happened.


Transportation strikes in Italy are either a regular thing or we just get really lucky and visit when they are having them.  Four years ago we almost got shut out of Florence and Pisa because there was a strike.  Luckily, the cruise ship was able to get us on a tour, and there was no strike the day we needed the train to get to Rome.  This time our flights were straight up cancelled.  MJ was able to book us on an entirely different airline, just with a slightly later flight time.

We didn't make it there until close to midnight on Wednesday and spent Thanksgiving day touring the ancient city of Rome.  The threat of rain loomed, but the weather actually cooperated with us pretty well while we were there.  The bus stop that would take us into the city was right across the street, so we bought tickets from the news stand and waited.  This particular bus stop had an electronic screen that kept you updated on when the bus was scheduled to arrive.  The time kept getting pushed back, but eventually it showed up.
Lifts that carry animals from underground to the stage above ground

The first thing we did is head to the Colosseum.  The last time we were in Rome, we were so rushed that we didn't have time to tour the inside so I was really excited to get to do it.  It's pretty impressive on the inside and it's so crazy to think that this was the site of gladiator fights to the death and where people were sentenced to die by being torn apart by wild animals.  Even crazier is that people showed up on droves to watch.  Like a show.  The lifts that were used to carry the animals from the lower levels to the stage above are still there.
When in Rome


Palatine Ruins
We were ready for pizza by that time so we stopped for some lunch right across from the Colosseum.  The tickets include entry to the Palatine Ruins so we headed over there next and spent some time wandering the grounds until it was time to head home for dinner.




We whipped up a 4-course meal for Thanksgiving dinner.  kind of.  I poured us some wine, and when the chef showed up she taught us how to do the appetizer, the fettuccine and dessert.  The appetizer was layered pane carasau, which is a very thin Italian flatbread, with Pumpkin, meat, and cheese baked in the oven.  The fettuccine was not drowning in any kind of sauce, but was full of flavor.  The only thing we didn't help with at all was the beef, because due to time constraints she showed up with that already done.  The dessert was this amazing chocolate log that only required three ingredients.  biscoff type cookies, chocolate and oil.   


After we finished helping with dessert she shooed us out of the kitchen and finished every thing up.  When it was ready all we had to do was sit at the table while she served us a delicious traditional Italian meal.  The appetizer involved pumpkin, this pan She even cleaned up the kitchen afterward.  The whole thing was like magic.  I imagine that's how it might be if you had a live in chef.  Must be nice.  There was no turkey.  No mac and cheese.  There was nothing Thanksgiving like about this meal, except that I was thankful to be there because how often do you get to cook and eat Italian food in Italy? Not very.  It was so sweet of MJ to arrange that for us.  The wine, the food, the place, the man sitting across from me.  Everything was perfect.  Perfetto!!  








More pizza because Italy




It rained most of the night and into Friday morning, but by the afternoon it cleared up.  It was another strike day.  We asked the resort to call us a cab, but there were absolutely none to be found.  Four years ago Rome basically chewed us up and spit us out.  We had one day, part of which was eaten up by kind of a long train ride from Civitavecchia where the cruise ship was docked.  By the time we made it to Rome all we had time for was St. Peters Square, The Vatican, pizza and a peak at the Colosseum, before we had to leave.  Traffic is pretty bad there.  This time, was 100% different.  We were able to get a ride into town and took our time strolling from the Pantheon to Trevi Fountain.  We ate Gelato, and more pizza because Italy, and meandered around the city taking it all in until it got dark.  It was wonderful to stay there, take our time, and really be able to enjoy the city.

The resort helped us out with bus numbers and maps, but I would have been lost without MJ.  He is a master at navigating public transportation anywhere.  The first day we took the bus home from an entirely different place than we were dropped off.  We walked down this grassy tree filled median in the road, and I have know idea how he knew where we were going, but we kept walking and there was the bus stop.  On the second day, we were near a taxi stand and started to take a cab, but he had a sudden burst of inspiration.  We turned, boarded a train at the station, and when we got off the bus that would take us home was right outside.  How does he do this when I have just barely figured out the very limited trolley system in San Diego?  I have no idea what's happening or how.  I follow him, and we always make it home.

That night we went out to dinner at a restaurant in the Appia Antica area within walking distance from our apartment called Ristorante San Tarcisio.  We purposefully dined outside of Rome so that we were sure to have an authentic Italian dining experience, and it was exactly that.  It was so delicious.  We had an appetizer, and I helped myself to the bread basket.  I went for the lasagna and we shared a bottle of wine between us.  I can honestly say it is officially the best lasagna I've ever had, and I was stuffed.



When I realized that we were within walking distance of the largest catacomb in Rome, I wanted to take a tour, so we spent our 3rd and last morning at the Catacombs of St. Callixtus. I have a thing for catacombs, and it was one of the things we did when we were in Naples four years ago.  I just find the history and the mystery of it to be so fascinating.  The place was a maze.  I think it would be really interesting to be let loose in there and try to find our way out, but it was all guided.  It was hallway after hallway of dark underground tombs, and we probably didn't even see half of it.  We had to get up kind of early to fit it in, but it was worth it.

It took us about an hour to walk home from there.  It was a little chilly, and a little muddy on parts of the road but it was a nice walk through Appia Antica which is the largest green space in Rome.  We encountered many walkers and bikers along the way and made it back to our apartment just in time to be whisked away in the same black car and the same driver that brought us there.

Thanksgiving was different this year.  We were away from home and family, but we had each other, and it was wonderful.  Rome was so good to us! I'm so glad we got another chance to experience it together.  

12.12.2016

Castle on a Cloud

I left on Friday very early California time and arrived in Stuttgart on Saturday morning.  They are 9 hours ahead so technically it was only about 17 hours of travel.  Only!  I got a nap in and then we walked to the Christmas Market conveniently located across the street from his apartment where I had my first introduction to Gluhwein.
 
Munich, Germany


On Sunday we took a two hour train ride to Munich, where we stayed the night at the Sofitel Hotel Munich which was just steps from the strain station.  Wish we could have had another night at the hotel, just for the toilet.  Yes, the toilet!  It had bidet, and dryer action all in one with the push of a button.  I had way too much fun with that toilet.  We checked in and then went walking around the city.  They didn't have their Christmas Market set up yet, but we found the Gluhwein.



We ate at a place called Hofbrauhaus Munchen, where I ate a very German meal of sausage and potato salad with beer.  I was kind of bummed when it came out because it looked like regular old hot dogs, but it turned out okay because they did not taste like regular old hot dogs.  The place is huge, and fend for yourself when it comes to seating so we did end up in a communal table with people we didn't know.

Linderhorf Palace
The next morning we were up bright and early for our castle tour and it lasted all day long.  We had to be at the bus at 8am and I don't think we got back until 6ish.  The first stop was this adorable little town called Oberammergau where we toured Linderhorf Palace.  This one was small inside, but very beautiful.  It was set up so that each room led right into the next.  We stopped for a snack in one of the cafe's, where I had a delicious croissant with coffee and then we headed for the town of Hohenschwangau.




German Spaetzel

Bavaria is straight out of a fairy tale.  As we drove into town several homes had fairy tales painted on the sides, and the mountains looming in the background were magnificent.  I was pretty much starving since the moment I woke up.  Nothing I ate filled me up that day, not even the weird sandwich I got from Starbucks.  Even though their menu items are different, I avoid all American establishments in Europe.  I didn't travel all that way to eat at Starbucks or Burger King, but I was starving and I thought eggs might do the trick, so I went with it.  Well, the sauce was weird and I didn't like it that much but I ate it anyway because I was so hungry.  The croissant didn't help much either, so our first stop had to be food.  We ate at a hotel restaurant where I went for the carbs.  Spaetzel, is kind of like the German version of mac and cheese.  It was so delicious, so filling, and I was ready to make the hike up the hill to our next castle.

There is a castle on a cloud.
I like to go there in my sleep. 
Aren't any floors for me to sweep.  
Not in my castle on a cloud.

The walk to Neuschwanstein Castle is about a mile, and much of it is uphill.  I was ready for that, but what I wasn't expecting was the strong gusts of wind.  Once we got to to the top of the hill with the Castle in full view the wind was so strong that I could feel it pushing me.  We lucked out, and it actually wasn't super chilly that day, but the wind was insane.  When I saw this castle looming in the distance the song from Les Miserables, Castle on a Cloud, took root in my brain and there it stayed for the rest of the day because the castle on a cloud was right before my eyes, and it was beautiful.  It also happens to be the very same one that inspired the Disney castle, and I guess I just couldn't stop singing about it.  We started up a spiral staircase, and I could feel the cold emanating from the thick stone walls and it is positively massive inside.  The hallways are wide, the windows are arched, and the ceilings ornate.  We saw the servants quarters, the huge kitchen, a massive hall where I imagined a royal ball like the one in Cinderella could be held.  The royal bed is a thing of art, and I just can't believe that people lived here.  It's exactly how you would imagine it to be from what you see on TV.

We had a little bit more time to walk around Munich once the bus dropped us off.  We got our bags from from the hotel, and went to the station for our train back to Stuttgart.  It was a long, exhausting, magical day.  

Crying at all is not allowed
Not in my castle on a cloud

12.04.2016

They Don't Pay Me Enough

There is no other way to say it. International airline travel sucks.  I had two flights each way.  There, it was 5 hours plus another 8. On the way home it was 10 hours plus 6.  I splurged on a pricier neck pillow, and the recline angle was pretty decent, but sleeping while sitting up is no fun.  It's just not natural to sit in such tight quarters for that long. Ridiculous even. Like how? But if you want to walk the cobblestone streets of Paris it's what you have to do. When your husband is living overseas it's what you have to do. 

Rome, Italy
This trip wasn't planned, but if I was a regular wife it would have been. You know, the kind of wife who says, "Sure I'd love to honey! When do I leave?" when her husband asks her to come to Germany and stay at a romantic lodge in the mountains of outer Bavaria.  Who wouldn't want to get away and enjoy that with their husband?

Well not me, because I'm not a regular wife.  We talked about it in August. Well, texted about it, because sometimes you just don't get around to talking about all the things you mean to when your husband lives nine hours ahead.

"Impossible," I said. 

Because it was. There isn't any possible way that I can get away for that long during that time of year.  I have one job! And it's showtime. The work floods in on the 18th, and I have a hard deadline on December 2nd.  Like really hard, as in the most important and biggest deadline of the year.  We lose 2 days for the holidays, but if I went to Germany when he wanted I'd have exactly four days (Tuesday to Friday) to do five times the amount of work that I would normally have 10 days to complete.   Impossible.  I could swing an extra 2 days max, but who spends 15 hours and a cool G on a flight for a 6 day visit?  I really wanted to, but it was impractical, and I am nothing if not practical.  

I would see him two weeks later for Christmas and that was that because that's life and you simply don't always get what you want.

We didn't talk about it again until much later. We had a nice week together in Hawaii, but as Thanksgiving approached I knew something was wrong.  We don't argue, but for two months I had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach I couldn't shake. Something was wrong, and when I flat out asked him what it was, I found out he had stronger feelings about the situation than he let on.  Election day was hyper emotionally charged for more reasons than one.

"Well, it's too late now," he said.

"Probably, but it wouldn't hurt to look."

So I looked, and my heat sank, because the cost was $600 more than when I was "just browsing" in August.  Yes, there was a total breakdown in communication.  We should have had that conversation a heck of a lot earlier, but the bottom line is that I should have known. I should have known that it was not okay leave him alone for Thanksgiving, and I had to fix it.
 
"It's way too much money," he said.

"I know.  Way too much, but I'm tempted to do it anyway."   

I mulled it over.  I talked to my mom.  I called my boss at home.  What would the lead girl in the Rom-Com do in this situation? She would cancel her airline ticket to Vegas and book the damn ticket to Stuttgart. She would do whatever it took to get to her man.

I'm not the type to say screw them, they'll figure it out.  That's not me.  I'm the girl who tried to come back to work 2 weeks post op, stretched it to 3 because I was told to stay home, and then worked in pain all week because of the very same deadline that was keeping me from my husband.  I offered to work from home while I was in Germany, and I still didn't know how I'd get all the work done, but it was the only option I could come up with.  Mind you, it doesn't really work like that in our office, but desperate times called for desperate measures.  I had to make this happen.  I booked the flight on Friday and one week later, I was on a long ass flight to Stuttgart.  No easy task for someone who suffers from travel induced anxiety.

At least they keep you occupied on international flights. Plenty of movies to choose from.  I watched four on the way there, and five on the way back.  Five!  High Strung has to be one of the most cliche dance movies that ever lived.  Dance battles in the subway station, spontaneous dancing on table tops, a scholarship at stake, and a love that depends on winning it all in a dance competition.  I was ready to try for a nap until I saw that and it passed another 1 1/2 of time.  

My meal after I demolished the chicken

You get hot towels before meals, and there were two (plus dessert) sandwiched between 3 beverage services giving me the opportunity for two glasses of wine plus coffee. I had three on the way home, and those flight attendants are not nearly as stingy with their pours as bartenders.  The food is good and perfectly designed to fill you up.  They offered it, and I ate it.  Eating is something to do.  They feed you on short flights too.  We had quiche on the way to Rome.  They make you feel so cared for, and then you get on a domestic flight and feel like a squatter who is lucky to have a bag of peanuts tossed in your direction.

Stuttgart, Germany
I imagine that in the movies the girl would have surprised her man. She would have booked the flight without a word and showed up at her husbands apartment triumphantly, suitcases in hand, and a loving smile on her face.  But this is me we're talking about, and as romantic as the idea of a surprise trip across the country is, I live in reality.  I needed his input just to get the flight booked.  The sappy music montage cutting between me navigating the transportation system of Stuttgart and my lonely husband on the couch drinking hard alcohol straight out of the bottle,  would never happen.  It turns out that his apartment is pretty secure.  You can't get past the outer door without a pass key.  Also, I am so directionally challenged that I would have been lost and stranded somewhere in Stuttgart, and if by some miracle I managed to find his apartment he wouldn't be around.  My husband isn't one to sit idly or drown his sorrows in alcohol.  He would have made other plans and been long gone. 

It was still pretty perfect.  I headed through customs, then into baggage claim and looked for him in the crowd standing behind the glass.  He waved.  You guys, my husband is so cute.  I waited for my luggage and when I saw him in new cold weather active wear I'd never seen before I knew I made the right decision and that whatever I had to deal with to make it happen was well worth it.  He made a similar sacrifice for me, because he knew how important it was to me that he be in Hawaii, and I needed to do the same for him.


The price of that last minute ticket was utterly outrageous, and totally impractical, but the most practical choice isn't always the right one. Once I decided I needed to get to Stuttgart, the price didn't matter.  What mattered is that I was there for my husband, and we got to be together.  I got a chance to see what his life is like in Germany.  We ate Italian food in Italy, drank beer in Germany, and got to sleep in the same bed for nine nights.  You can't put a price tag on that, and when it comes down to it, they don't pay me enough to put work before my marriage.

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