A Tribute to Love

On Valentine’s Day, I would like to pay special tribute to my husband with the following story.

Not long after graduating college, my husband and I worked at the same company.  It was an educational travel company, that put together travel packages for teachers planning to take their students abroad.  One of the great perks was the chance to go on a trip once a year to experience the product.  Wait, I get to travel to Europe for my new job for free?  Yes, please.

I started at the company in October which was a low travel season so I had to wait to take my trip in April.  I was pretty excited to say the least, but the amount of time going into picking a trip was agonizing.  My boss even involved my then boyfriend in the decision-making.  Weird?  What’s the big deal, just stick me on a plane.  Please.

London was a blur.  I was so incredibly jet lagged.  If we even stopped for a second, I fell asleep.  I don’t know how I survived those first couple of days.  France, however, was a completely different story.  I loved everything about France.  Really, I was that tourist.  I spoke too loud, I pointed at everything, ate too much, commented that every hall, room, chateau was amazing and the perfect place for a wedding.  I loved it all.  Just because I feel the need to defend myself a bit.  This seemed totally unlike me.  I’m not that girl.  I hadn’t been planning my wedding since I was in Kindergarten.  Nor had I dreamed of traveling to France for as long as I could remember.  Whatever it was, I was hooked.  For Pete’s sake, the first glimpse I saw of the Eiffel Tower, I cried.  Who does that?

Our tour director had previously told us that he had a surprise waiting for me and my co-worker Terra in Paris.  Oooh, tickets to the Opera?  Some amazing dinner?  A shopping spree?  On our second day in Paris, our tour director told us that we were to go to the hotel to await our surprise.  I’m not sure what I was expecting; a limo, horse-drawn carriage?Same old hotel – we asked for messages for our room.  Nope.  Weird.  We waited.  Finally our  tour director called and told us to meet him at the restaurant.  WHAT?  Not only is there no surprise, but now we have to get to the restaurant without the help of our tour director.  I should now mention, that I don’t speak a lick of French and more importantly, I am directionally challenged.  I have no clue how to get places unless I have very detailed drawn out directions or the Garmin and even then, I’m liable to make the wrong turn.

Found the restaurant, but still no surprise.  The Grand Finale of the night was the Eiffel Tower.  Side note:  there is a song that Meg Ryan sings in French Kiss, “I love Paris in the spring time”.  April is technically Spring in my book.  It was not Springy weather.  It was cold and windy.  It snowed when we passed through the Loire Valley.  COLD.  On the second deck of the tower, huddling for warmth, I told Terra that I didn’t want to go to the top.  Way too cold.  Plus, I could take nice pictures with my new camera from the second deck.  She told me I was crazy.  Said I was missing the opportunity of a life time.  Wow.  Someone was taking this a little too seriously.  Sure I cried when I saw the Eiffel Tower, but opportunity of a life time.  Seriously.  We went up and she disappeared.  So much for our photo-op.  As I was getting ready to leave, suddenly appears Terra.  Are you kidding me?  As we’re getting ready to take a picture, a man approaches me.  “It’s really cold out tonight.”  I braced myself.  I thought this was the moment I had been waiting for, the moment when I got mugged in Paris.  I had purchased a new camera before the trip and had been worried that at some point it would happen.  This was it.

Wait a second, that’s no thief, that’s my boyfriend?!?  Weird, what’s he doing here?   YAY.  He’s so awesome.  Always full of surprises.  We took a few pictures and then we started our descent back to the warmth of the bus.  You might be wondering, what?  Is that it?  No, no my cluelessness gets better.

At the bottom, he tells me he has a surprise.  Of course, he brought me Dr.Pepper.  He knows me so well.  I love it Dr, Pepper and of course there would be no Dr. Pepper in France.  How sweet.  “Ok, close your eyes.”  Seriously – it’s just Dr. Pepper.  Wait is that a ring that I see?  Surprise.

That’s right, he proposed to me under the Eiffel Tower.  Was there any other way for me to love this country or this man any more?  A country full of romance and a totally clueless girl.  He had planned it from the beginning.  Waited for 3 hours at the top of the tower in the freezing cold.  I am a lucky, lucky girl.

I love you Stephen.  You are what I need.

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