The most exciting thing happened today: I bought a ticket to Europe!
I went across the Atlantic for the first time in 2004. That was my UK trip: I flew into London, took the train up to Aberdeen, Scotland (most beautiful train ride EVER) to spend some time with my college roommate who was getting her first master's degree there (she now has a second, and her husband is working on his PhD. Intellectuals!). After a week wandering around looking at old cathedrals and castles, I was a happy gal. But then I traveled around for a week by myself, leaving my bags at a hostel in London and taking day trips to Dover and Bath. I got a bit sick of traveling alone by the third day, and cried myself to sleep that night. But I forced myself to get up and enjoy my time in London, wandering through street markets and used book stores (I had to ship TWO boxes home because I bought too much to fit in my luggage). On the day before I went home, I took the Chunnel to Paris and wandered around, walking by the Seine and eating real onion soup and trying to find croissants and dealing with pissed off metro workers who didn't like my ignorant American inability to speak French. Despite the emotional stresses, it was a great trip, and whetted my appetite for more adventures on the Continent.
Alas, over four years later, and I still have not made it back. Every year I think, this year, this year I am going to France. This year I am going to Italy. After I read eat, pray, love I almost bought a ticket to Rome on the spot. But so far finances, weddings, and real life have prevented me from going.
But 2009 is the year. The ticket is purchased, nonrefundable, no going back now. We leave July 7th for Paris, will spend a few days wandering around museums, then head to Argeles sur Mer where we will spend a week on the beach and roaming the countryside, Then it's on to Italy, where I will spend my 27th birthday in Florence, where I have been dying to go ever since I first watched While You Were Sleeping. And even better yet, I will not be alone this time. I'll be vacationing with my wonderful roommate, who has also become my traveling buddy (and will be able to save me if I try hiking in 100-degree weather again).
So, I am excited. Ok, more than excited. I don't see how I am going to be able to make it until July. But I am going to put the time to good use. Right now I'm trying to decide if I have time to learn both French and Italian before we leave. Probably not. But I can try. This excitement needs to be put to good use!