Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The trouble with squares

st. peter's basilica -- our first night in italy

oh hello.
st. pete's square
One of my favorite things about Rome (and London and Paris and on) is how squares and plazas are so sociable. You could spend hours in one place, sitting and talking with never a shortage of people to watch as they sit and talk. Squares are civilization's campfire, the way they put you in a trance and make time stop, allowing you to think and listen despite all the people. It was in a square, seven years ago, that I first remember feeling like a real adult.

So I was all in love with squares up until I learned something very sad about them. Only one of them, really. The one that was right by our hotel and is pictured above.

It closes.

Which brings us to the scene of our first crime in Italy.

One particularly late night, before we knew the closing rule, we climbed over some barricades in order to cross the square and get home. Yeah, I know. Barricades don't require translation to = alert! back away! stop! but we were tired and had all sorts of reasons to ignore them, like how the fastest way through a circle (even one called a square) is right through the middle. And also how, you know, we're American and there's freedom and the mayflower compact and everything. But it was mostly cause our feet hurt and took over our will cause have you seen the size of that circle/square?

Anyway, we're about 1/3 of the way across when this police car comes out of nowhere and starts speeding right toward us. So either we've walked onto the set of the newest Dan Brown movie, or we've just done something very wrong. The car stops just short of hitting us and two angry police officers get out.

After playing a quick game of charades--Italians love that game!--we learn that the square closed at 11:30, and we'd best be backtracking before somebody gets hurt. Fine. The whole time we walked around, the car circled the perimeter, just in case we decided to make a break for it over another barricade.

Still love squares though.

My alma mater makes me smile

First motorized couches, then the old spice spoof, and now this?

There's really no end to what you can do for fun... when there's really nothing around to do.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The trip

The day Ryan and I got our first tax return as a couple, we had big plans for it. Before he started his life of servitude future career, I would quit my job and we'd live off that tax return in Europe for as long as it lasted. So when Turner called and said he had two weeks before his first day, we kinda wrote off all our plans. You can't plan a trip to Europe in two weeks. And even if you could, you certainly can't visit Europe for less than two weeks. Right?

Turns out, you can.

Really, you can do anything if you just stay up late enough.

It took us until two in the morning to realize that.

We were up looking at flights, cruises, any kind of deal that could take us out of town for a while before Ryan's start date. Right around 2 a.m., I shut my laptop, saying--as I had the night before that and the night before that--we'd find better deals tomorrow. Just as I was putting the laptop under the bed, I stopped. I opened it back up. I found a travel package to Rome, leaving in seven days. And I pulled out our credit card.

Are we crazy? I kept asking Ryan. I checked my calendar. He checked his. I checked my work calendar. Emailed my boss. Thought through a million reasons why we probably shouldn't go, but instead we entered our details, grabbed our passports, and clicked confirm.

The week leading up to it was, of course, crazy. We had work deadlines to meet, employment details to work out, and--oh yeah--a trip to Italy to pack and plan for, but it was exhilarating. Each night we went to bed with emotions teetering from crazed to excited then stressed, though usually settling on giddiness: Hey, wanna go on a date this weekend? To Italy, maybe? or I was thinking of stopping by the Colosseum in a couple days... wanna come?

To make things easier, we decided to pack one carry-on bag each and leave behind anything that needed to be charged or plugged in. After two long flights (and one very bad plastic-wrapped bbq chicken dinner), we arrived in Rome. We got lost for the first of many many times, saw some sites, some art, some statues, and then flew back home.

k, it wasn't quite that fast of a trip, but it felt like it. Stay tuned for photos and stories.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The job

So remember how Ryan got a job in Houston?

He'd been interviewing with this company since February, first at a job fair in Reno, and then for a position out in Anaheim. We were a little nervous about how expensive it might be to live in California, but I got over that pretty fast after visiting and experiencing some warm weather, great shopping, and don't forget this.

Unfortunately, we got a call a few weeks after his California interviews: they liked him, but didn't have enough work to hire him.

We were both pretty crushed--while I had been busy imagining life in sunny CA, Ryan had been busy falling in love with the company. It was hard to think about starting all over again, and even harder to imagine a better fit.

Then one day at work, months later, Ryan called my cell.

Turner called. They're looking for ten new recruits for a special training program. They want to know if they can consider me for it. The position could be anywhere in the US.

I was floored. I got all tingly inside. I almost couldn't breathe. I'm sure I probably squealed. (Shar?) Where would this lead? Where could we end up? This was an even better position than the one in Anaheim. I tried not to get my hopes up.

Four interviews (bringing the grand total up to 10) and a few weeks later, Ryan got word that he was selected. They just needed to decide which office to place him in.

They had no idea Ryan had spent more than two years in Houston, that he knew how to navigate the traffic, how to get around downtown better than I do, and how he naturally has a way with Texans (especially this one). They didn't know I grew up in Houston and they couldn't possibly have known how much I wanted to see my sister when she came home from her mission, or how sad I was to soon be living in a city without any nieces or nephews around. They didn't know how I craved humidity or how Ryan craved hot peppers and how Houston offers plenty of both.

And still, with dozens of offices to choose from, they chose Houston.

So last week, Ryan flew south to sign some papers, and now he's in New Jersey, training for a special BIM engineering position and becoming increasingly convinced that he's working for the best company in the world.

Which means I have to quit working at the best company in the world. (My company.) Which would be especially hard to do if I didn't feel like everything that Ryan's been doing for the last few years has been preparing him and leading him to this place and this position. Still hard, but manageable. But that's a topic for another blog.

I guess my point is, everything--even those disappointments here and there--happens for a reason. And I couldn't be happier (or feel more blessed) for this next big step.

We're leaving in October and we'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

oh and by the way...

We just got back from here

because Ryan got a job here

which means we only have two months before moving here

Any questions?