Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Roman Rendezvous

It had been two months since I'd seen the kid I'd come to love and adore. Although we had emailed everyday and spoke on the phone a dozen times or more while he'd been gone, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous to see him. Shel Silverstein's infamous "what if's" pranced around in my head as I waited for Grant at the Roma Termini train station, our agreed upon meeting place. "What if things were awkward between us? What if we didn't have anything to talk about? What if he showed up walking hand in hand with a new Italian lover?" What if he DIDN'T show up at all?"

As I waited outside of the McDonald's at the train station, I remembered back to when I was a missionary, and how nearly 2 years earlier, I had waited in the same spot a number of times to meet up with new companions and head to new areas. An hour went by and I asked a young Italian couple to watch my bag so I could take a quick glance around the station just in case Grant was waiting somewhere else. He was nowhere to be seen and so I went back to my spot and continued to wait. Fifteen more minutes passed until finally, I saw him walking up, unshaven (I've always been a fan of scruffiness), and sporting his slumdog shirt. The roman rendezvous had begun!

The next thirteen days were spent traveling our missions. I was in charge of the first half of the trip and Grant, the last half. The pictures that follow provide an in-depth (hence there being around 70 photos, yikes) look at what we were up to, including....drum roll please....our engagment! Did I know he was going to propose in Italy? The honest truth is that I had no expectations. If he did, 1,000 gold stars, if he didn't, I would be just as thrilled to be with him in Italy and back visiting with people I had grown close to while on my mission. It was a win win situation and since I was already going to be in New York, why NOT just hop on over to Italy? With that, welcome to Carrie and Grant's Italian extravaganza! (Warning: It was extremely HOT and HUMID the whole time we were there = lots of sweaty face pictures.)

Days 1 - 3:
Tuesday, Aug. 18 - 20

Outside La Chiesa di San Giovanni in Laterano.

A visit with Yana, who was baptized the week before I left the mission (L) and her mom, Tania.

We took the train forty-five minutes outside of Rome to Tivoli. Although we got off at the wrong station on the way there, we arrived in time to enjoy two beautiful gardens. I had always wanted to go here while serving in Rome on my mission but never got the chance.

First stop was the Villa d'Este, a villa/garden built during the renaissance. It served as an escape from the hot city and was commissioned by Pope Alexander VI's grandson, Ippolito II.

Grant's favorite fountain

Second, we went to the nearby Villa Gregoriana, where there were spectacular views of waterfalls and lush vegetation.

We got back to Rome later that evening and went to some of the famous sites: Piazza del Popolo and the Trevi fountains.

While in Rome we stayed in the beautiful, spacious mission home. Thank you, President and Sister Acerson!

Our last morning in Rome we went to the Vatican Museums. It was super crowded and very unorganized but we held out long enough to see the Sistine Chapel at the end.

Days 3 - 5
Thursday, Aug 20th - Saturday, Aug 22

The third city I served in while on my mission was Oristano, Sardegna.We flew from Rome to Alghero. And here's where my version of our engagement story begins. Our flight from Rome got in around 6pm and we took a bus to the small town of Fertilia. We were told that we could find a hostel here (It was the only night we hadn't found a member to stay with) and we did. After leaving our huge, heavy backpacks there, we took a walk over to the beach. It was a beautiful night and we'd arrived just in time to see the sun go down. We wandered along the beachfront, skipped some rocks, and talked. As we were talking, I noticed that Grant was getting nervous by the way he was responding to me. That's when I knew. I knew he was going to propose to me and I then I started getting nervous. Before long, he pulled me up from where I was sitting and without getting down on one knee or any cheesy introduction, asked me to marry him. I was completely overwhelmed and without any hesitation, said yes. After I contained my tears, he pulled out a purple and silver ring for me and said that he wanted to take me to Florence to get me a real wedding ring. It was absolutely amazing and I NEVER would have imagined my engagment going down like it did. So, 1,000 gold stars to you, Grant.

A few minutes before Grant popped the question

Minutes after he proposed

The next morning we went back to the place we got engaged and saw what it looked like in the day. SO pretty.

Before heading down to Oristano, we stopped at the beach in Fertilia. Can you say wedgie?
Nice bum, where you from? Definitely saw things on Italian beaches we had never seen before.

We stayed with the Angius family in Oristano. While I was serving in Oristano, he was the branch president and she was the Relief Society president. They are amazing members and it was great to stay with them. We also had fun visiting with other members.

My old mission apartment

Italian grafitti at its finest

After our short stay on the island of Sardegna, we took a ferry up to Livorno. We paid 8 Euro each for these seats and slept horribly.

Our Sunday morning arrival into Livorno.

Days 6 - 8
Sunday, Aug 23 - Tuesday, Aug 25

Sunday afternoon we took the train from Livorno to Prato, my first city.

Me, upset that we missed the bus from Prato to a lunch appointment near Florence.

We were an hour late but still had time to eat lunch with Sorella Sonnellini and her son Andrea.

The ponte vecchio where Grant bought me my ring and were I bought him his (both rings purchased in under an hour! Now that's my kind of ring shopping!)

Then it was back to Livorno where we visited Jantina (she was baptized while I was in Livorno and has since made it to the temple!) in her art shop.

Eating the best frozen yogurt ever with the one and only Sister Eubanks.

Days 9 - 14
Wednesday, Aug. 26th - Monday, Aug. 31st
Cinque Terre/San Remo

It was almost as HOT and HUMID as it was beautiful. I'd been to the Cinque Terre a number of times before and was anticipating a nice dip in the crystal clear, blue water. In our rush to leave our bags safe at the train station and catch the connecting train, I left my swimming suit in my bag. So instead of swimming in the cool water, we swam in our sweat. : (

Grant's member friends in San Remo own a pizzeria in Monte Carlo. We woke up early and hitched a ride with one of them. It's a beautiful port city full of millionaires and nice cars.

A rare sighting of Ariel

Ciro and Francesca, Grant's good friends treated us to a sushi dinner.

They live out in the beautiful country side, where grapes, figs, pears, basil, and every other delectable food imaginable grow.

Ciro taught us how to make a sicilian dish with eggplant. Heaven.

And took us out for our last Italian pizza of the trip.

The incredible view from Ciro and Francesca's house. We had breakfast here every morning.

And with that, it was up to Milano on a crowded train to catch our flights back to the U.S.

The trip was a total blast and confirmed once again, that I am indeed, the porsche-a girl.

check out grant's blog for additional pics/commentary.


Jourdan said...

Now that's a POST! wow.

That Italian adventure sounded better than a honeymoon, sans one detail. You guys make a great couple! soooo ooo excited for December!

Jenn said...

yay, that was so entertaining to read. That country looks so beautiful, you are one lucky dog to get engaged there!
If you can travel around a country together, without a whole lot of plans, then marriage will be a piece of cake:)

casey said...

yay carrie! that post was worth the wait, your trip looks amazing and i'm so excited for you and grant!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Carrie! I am so happy for you! Grant was in my freshman ward at BYU when we lived in DT. He is great!

P.S. This is Stacie from the Copy Center.

Tay said...

yahoo! That looks like the most fun trip ever! I am so exited to see you awesome hooligans for the big event!

Karalee said...

Oh Carrie I'm so happy for you. Italy is so beautiful, and the two of you look so happy and in love. Congratulations!!!

Jacquelyn said...

ok i must have missed this post. Anyway, so cool care. I love all the pictures. what a beautiful place to get proposed to. it looks like you guys had so much fun. so much in common i love it.

Lisa Michelle said...

Pretty sure this may be my favorite blog post EVER. CONGRATULATIONS!

Lauren said...

Okay, so I'm way behind! I was just listening to Keane and that made me think of you so I decided to check your blog to see if you talked about your engagement! Looks like a dream come true! I can't think of a better place for a proposal! Congrats!