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Friday, July 31, 2015

Your Not-So-Average Proposal

SPOILER ALERT: Excuse me while I brag a bit in the following blog post. 

What was once a frantic 12 hours of not being able to get in contact with Jake turned into the surprise of a lifetime. While I was in Italy during the beginning of the second week of my travels— in Itri specifically— Jake pulled off the most unforgettable engagement when he surprised me during my family trip by traveling to Italy and stood on top of a castle (built around 882 A.D) to propose to me, his girlfriend for nearly six years, on July 19, 2015. This is better than any romantic comedy I've ever seen. 

The six hour difference between Italy and Rhode Island made it difficult to coordinate a time Jake and I could FaceTime. I made a rookie mistake and didn't get an international package with my phone carrier so the free FaceTime was our only way of communication. For an entire 12 hours, I couldn't get in touch with Jake which is very out of character for him. So I start to have an Anita-freak out, per usual, thinking something was wrong because he told me the day prior he was going to Boston with his family. 

My Italian family that I was staying with kept teasing me saying, "when the cats away the dogs will play," but I found that hard to believe. They saw me attempting to contact Jake for probably two dozen times. Little did I know, they were winding me up for the proposal on top of the Castello di Itri. Even Jake's father and my older sister played along, telling me that he was probably sleeping late and his phone died. 

After a long day of shopping and sightseeing in Sperlonga in ridiculous heat, all I wanted was a nap in front of a fan, which apparently is hard to come by in Italy. Damn, they like their heat. And of course, there was an unusual heat wave coming up from Africa hitting Italy during the weeks of my vacation. Just my luck. 

My mom calls me to say her and I are going to the Castello as my cousin who is native to Itri, gave us the grand tour. The last thing I wanted to do was do more sightseeing but when my mom gives me orders, I must abide, because she's cray cray. Good thing I did. So I rolled my sweaty ass off the couch after my pathetic half-hour nap and I went. Mind you, my cousins all told me stories of how they are going to the market and their parents house to clean up from the fiesta the night before. And I actually believed them. 
Upon arrival, I see my dad and my cousins— who said they had other plans— standing inside the entrance of the castle but I didn't think too much about it, partly because I was still napping in my mind. My mom mentioned twice that there was a surprise at the top, thinking there was some sort of dinner planned because there is always an extravagant dinner planned with my family, so I didn't think anything of it.

I went along with the tour from my cousin, Mattia, and he went on to say how during World War II, Itranians (including my 94-year-old grandmother) sought protection in the castle from air bombs and soldiers. To think my grandmother was in that castle protecting her life, really made this place for a proposal that much more special. And now my grandma is super excited that we got engaged because there is nothing more she wants to see is her grandchild get married. 

Walking up the stairs, I see my other cousin, Giulia, who gives me this rather smug grin and my cousins who were supposed to be elsewhere, watch my mom, Mattia and I tour the castle. Right before stepping on the very top (on a landing in between the two top towers pictured below) I see a backpack similar to Jake's and then two steps later I see him, first seeing my twin sister who lied to me saying she was getting her hair done who actually drove two-hours to Rome with my dad to pick up Jake from the airport, standing in the corner with her phone.
I turn to my left, and there he is, singing the beginning line of Crazy Love by Van Morrison. Immediatley I start weeping, probably the most ugly cry of my life. Naturally, he put down the guitar and embraced my sweaty, ugly crying self, probably to that of a Kim Kardashion cry face. 

After what seemed like a 10 minute hug, he says, "I have a question for you." OH MY GOD... are you kidding? Right away, I had a million questions running in my head. When did you get the ring? Where did you get the ring? How did you get to Italy? How the f#%k did I not find out?! But I was able to get a grip and focus on the task at hand. And I failed at my one task because I forgot to answer the question. It wasn't until Jake told me I didn't answer his question, but I said "you have to get on one knee first." It was cute because he was so nervous he forgot to get down, but I was reminded him and I answered. According to my family who know the history of the Castello very well, Jake was the first person to ever propose there!

This picture was when he sang the full song after the proposal, in front of my entire family. #datwedgiedoe
My sister was in the corner taking a video and pictures which I will forever cherish. Although getting engaged is a very intimate moment, I was glad she was there to capture it. 

Mattia got a paper lantern that we lit and sent off from the top of the castle, overlooking the waters of Gaeta (which you can sort of see in the background). I still can't believe he was able to pull this off. I was so excited to have Jake experience Italy with me and spend our first week as an engaged couple together in Itri. 

This is our attempt at taking the "here is my ring and we are engaged" picture. Cute right? More pictures and close ups of the ring are bound to happen because apparently that is what newly engaged bloggers do. Lots of wedding planning posts in the near future! 

And because I have the worst timing for things, I peeled off my gel manicure two days before because it started to chip and now my nails looked so ratchet. I have since gotten a fresh manicure to hopefully make up for the lack of one in my engagement pictures.
We've decided on a two year engagement and although I said I would give myself six months before planning, I already have a www.theknot.com account, a color scheme decided and a rough estimate on our wedding date. We are thinking an October 2017 wedding. Shit, I am already looking at venues. I can't help it! 

I've also already made a preliminary guest list and combined, we are already at 200 people, most being family. And the two venues that I loved don't accommodate that large of a wedding so I am a little discouraged but that is why we gave ourselves two years. I can't wait to plan our dream wedding and spend the rest of my life with the funniest, caring, loving man around! 

It's nice for an average girl to get a not-so-average life experience, especially a proposal. 

Yours truly,
The future Mrs. Anita Anderson. 

Doesn't that name sound like a perfect journalist/reporter name? I can get used to that. 
Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Average Girl Travels Abroad


It's about damn time that I can get out of this country and experience a trip of a lifetime. I, my friends, am traveling to Italy— to the motherland.

While catching up on my trashy television the night before I leave while I was supposed to be packing, I came across the Real Housewives of New York and their trip to the Turks and Caicos. Boy, do I wish I could pull a Ramona and have someone pack and unpack my bags. Us average girls, we just don't unpack, rather just live out of a suitcase, am I right? Who feels like it? More time for me to eat pasta, pizza, gelato and drink lots of great wine. 

After many years of failed attempts, my twin sister and I will be going to Italy with our parents and extended family for two weeks while traveling coast to coast in our journey through Italia. We are lucky enough to have family who live throughout the country so we will get the chance to experience the trip as a non-tourist— instead as one of the land.

The only other place I've been outside of the country is Puerto Rico (which doesn't even count) and that was for four days. Packing for a 16 day trip is a whole new ballgame, especially when you have to divide your packing in your one suitcase and carry on because of a travel schedule. With the suitcase heads to my family's villa in Itri (my family's hometown), that leaves me with what I pack in my carry-on and damn this was difficult. And don't think about packing a second suitcase, unless you have $200 extra... for realz. 

Here I am, moments after I finally finished packing and I feel more stressed out than ever.  Do I have enough clothes? Did I over pack? Are all of my beauty essentials packed? Do I really need a floppy hat AND fedora? Did I pack enough pairs of underwear? I won't be completely settled until my ass is in my seat on the plane with my obnoxious headphones and Despicable Me 2 playing on my iPad. 

I found it pretty comical yet pathetic of my method of packing. From getting sidetracked because I decided to wear my favorite maxi skirt the night before and spill sangria on it, to getting mesmerized by my niece who I now conveniently live beneath at my family's poultry farm, it took me legit five hours to finish...and I probably forgot something.

And who can't resist the cuddly 100-pound puppy who wants to snuggle and play catch when you are trying to do something important. Oh Lou Dog and Ava, I'm going to miss you so. Although you both tried sneaking in my suitcase, unfortunately this is not a trip for an infant/mini horse.  But I'll bring you guys lots of toys! 
***b-t-dubbs, a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and Dawn dish soap gets any stain off clothes, well at least dried wine on cotton. It's a lifesaver.

I had a minor meltdown where I through all of my items I knew I wanted to take on the floor because decided what you are going to wear before you even get there is damn near impossible. Vacations cause so much stress, just to relieve it once you are living it up in another exotic place, in my case, Italy. But I managed to take the time to perfectly position my belongings for an Insta pic because that's what bloggers do I guess, and I succumbed to the blogger pressure. 

All week, I was checking my waste line to make sure I'll look somewhat attractive in a bathing suit because I've been in my bathing suit once this summer, and I was with only Jake. And of course, I feel more bloated the day before I leave. So much for that "diet"... or lack there of. 

Regardless, I'm going to eat my face off, drink wine, spend time with family some of whom I've never met, and see where my grandmother grew up. There is nothing more memorable than that. Let's hope I don't come back to Rhode Island looking like a tomato— red and plump. 

With my plane leaving in under 12 hours, I still have some packing to do. Shit. 

Arrivederci !

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