- My name is Chad Davis. I am the creation of my Lord and Savior, I am the son of Marilyn Davis and the late Carl Davis, I am the brother of Gregory Carl Davis, I am a husband to the amazing Tara Davis, and I am a friend to many; all of which put up with me and keep me in-line. I am grateful and blessed to have such an amazing cast of characters in my life. Without them, I would have nothing to write about.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
A proposal is creating a hurricane around someone, all the while, fighting to keep them in the eye of the storm.
I find it amusing that it took less time for me to decide to propose to Tara, than it took for me to decide how I was going to propose to Tara. During one of our dates, we experienced a middle-of-the-restaurant proposal by a couple on the other side of the dining room. I remembered her saying that she would absolutely die if that ever happened to her. She went on to say that she wanted her proposal to be somewhere remote and alone. This became one of the biggest hurdles for me in the planning stage.
I had precious little time to plan this proposal; less than 48 hours. For the umpteenth time, I called on Blake to help me out. Together, we started racking our brains for any non-public, decently-romantic setting that would actually mean something to us. During one of our many conversations, I remembered Tara talking about a winery in Texas that she wanted to go visit called Tara Winery. I called the winery and was amazed at how helpful they were. The manager said that all I had to do was show up, tell him my name, and he would take care of the rest.
As I gradually started telling everyone about my plans to propose, I recognized a pattern; everyone wanted to be there. The first person to start the pattern was my brother. When I called to tell him about everything, I asked him what he had planned for the weekend. He said that there was absolutely nothing that was going to get him off his couch. He had been traveling nonstop for the past month and just wanted to rest. After I told him my story, and towards the end of our conversation, I heard him rustling around. I asked what he was doing, and he said that he was packing; he was about to head to Dallas. After I had people coming up from Houston and others cancelling different weekend plans, I knew that we needed to find some way to include everyone. Obviously, they couldn't be at the actual proposal because that would defeat the purpose of an isolated location, so I decided that we would come back and have a celebration... or a drown-Chad's-sorrows drinking binge if she said "No."
While I was waiting for Tra to get off work on Friday, I was with Greg, Sam, Dave, and Nic. We were all at Nic and Emily's house, and they were trying to pump me up for the evening because I was doing a pretty good job of freaking myself out. Finally, I found some nerve and headed over to Tara's apartment. She lives with her two best friends, Lauren and Megan. If you go back and read the previous parts to this proposal, you won't find anything in there about me reaching out to these two girls. Not saying that I don't love them to death, but I can't think of any secret that I would ever entrust in them to keep from Tara. However, while Tara was in the shower, I pulled Megan aside and told her everything. I needed to make sure that she and Lauren were going to be at our post-proposal party. After I got Megan to stop yelling at me for stealing her friend, I made her promise that she would play it off after Tara got out of the shower, and make sure that Lauren knew to be at the Katy Trail Ice House that evening.
After an Academy Award worthy performance from Megan (and a few thoughtful suggestions on Tra's outfit by Megan), we headed out the door for our date-night. I was completely and utterly a wreck on the inside (which is a wonder how I didn't cause an actual wreck while driving), but I tried to play it off that I was just eager for the surprise location of our date. Throughout the entire evening, I would drop feeler questions to get her opinions on certain things - not directly related to or close enough to cause suspicion - around us getting married and running off to a foreign country. At one point in the drive, I was playing with her college ring, and I commented on how small it was. I asked about her ring size and found out that it was about a 5.5. That was an entire size off of the ugly little circles I was trying to conceal from her; just the icing on the cake for the ring story.
Everything happened just as Tra described as far as her finding out about the winery before we got there. We passed the mansion and vineyard and navigated our way to the winery. When we were getting out of the car, it was time for me to make the smooth transition of getting the ring box out of its hiding spot and into my pocket. Problem number one hundred with these stupid rings: the box was gigantic. It looked ridiculous in my pocket, and I figured there was no way I was going to pull it off without her noticing the giant bulge. In a panic, I threw the box with the rings back underneath the driver seat and slammed the door. The nagging problem of getting the rings out of my pocket without them actually being in my pocket grew with every step I took in the opposite direction of the car.
After I spazzed out on Tara about needing to fulfill our reservations even though we were staring at an empty dining room, we were led to a beautifully placed table surrounded by elegant, high-backed chairs. At this point, there was nothing smooth about my candor or posture. The speed at which my knees were knocking under the table could have powered a small city, and I had the vocal skills of Gilbert Gottfried. I was doing everything in my power to speed the evening along. However, the fact that it was supposed to be a romantic date-night was working against me. Thinking that we had nothing left in the evening, Tra was taking her sweet time with everything. She grabbed the drink menu and decided that we needed to do a "wine tour." This is where they bring out samples of a bunch of different wines for you to taste and savor; about a 45 minute process. Tara would grab one, take a sip, pass it to me, and I would chug it. Apparently, she didn't pick up on my haste to get through the meal because she ordered another wine tour.
Later, I discretely got our waitress's attention (I may or may not have thrown something at her) so that we could order our meal. I was hoping to share an entree, let her take a few bites, and then stuff an entire steak in my mouth at once; similar to the wine. To my dismay, Tra ordered an appetizer, her own entree, more wine, and wanted to see what we had to look forward to on the dessert menu. While we were waiting on our food, I excused myself to go to the bathroom, but I actually went to the car to grab those stupid rings. I conceded to just keeping the box in my pocket, and I'd just pass it off as a tumor if she noticed. I did make it a point to keep her on the opposite side of the ring box for the rest of the night.
After wrestling the dessert menu out of Tara's vice grip (if you know any Foley, you know how important their desserts are), I asked the manager if we could take a tour of the mansion (as instructed by the manager when I made the reservations). Ironically, Tara and Tara Winery are named after the same winery from the movie Gone With The Wind, so I used this as an excuse for our intrigue. Knowing that this is where I needed to be when I popped the question, I was not worried about it being closed. With complimentary wine in hand, we started the journey up the path towards either our relationship's future or it's demise. I'm surprised my legs were working. Well sort of working; Tara was trying to take a leisurely stroll and I was trying to sprint.
We entered the mansion, and again, Tra wanted to take her sweet time. She had to look at every single room and had no clue that I was about to lose it. I did everything short of throwing her over my shoulder and sprinting up the stairs to get her on to that balcony. Eventually, we did get out on the balcony, and then it hit me: I'm about to propose to my girlfriend.
I immediately slammed on the breaks. After rushing and pushing to get to that point in the night, I couldn't handle the stress. I began to stall by walking from one side of the balcony then back to the other. Eventually, we stopped together on the far side, and as we were looking at the truly unbelievable scenery that no human could have put together (right at that moment where the sun is still setting but you can already see the first stars, mixed with a beautiful vineyard and countryside), it came to me that this was my sign. That's when I said a little prayer and started my story.
When it came to the point of getting on a knee, I found a new respect for every married man in the universe. Graceful is a word that will never be used to describe that movement. However, I did manage to make it to one knee, and in the same movement, retrieve the ring box. To get incredibly cheesy for a second (but I have to because it's true): when Tara saw me on a knee, I saw our future in her reaction, and EVERYTHING that I had gone through - from the sleepless nights, to the stressful planning, to those horrid rings that she didn't even notice, to the unnecessary worrying, to everyone that I used to get to that point - was worth it all because of her response.
Tara's version of our proposal is the epitome of her personality; optimistically-clueless. As a matter of fact, if you made me describe Tra in two words, it would be hard to substitute either one of those words. Tara has this uncanny ability to find something genuinely positive about every single thing on this earth, and she has no clue that she does it. Her glass is never half empty, and she would find it offensive to the glass if you described it that way. I give her a lot of grief about her optimism, but she has no clue that I thank God every single day for blessing her with this gift. It's this very reason that she's capable of still loving me after all these years. It's the reason that we will be able to not only survive, but thrive in marriage. It's the reason that I will be able to survive in Singapore because not only is Tara's optimism unyielding, but it's infectious. No one has ever met that girl and come away with a negative experience. I love Tara for so many reasons, but her outlook on life leads the pack.
Now it's time for a celebration, a conclusion, and a few pictures.
Monday, October 24, 2011
After we finished our entrees, I asked Chad if he wanted to get dessert (if you don’t know me, I have a huge sweet tooth and basically order dessert every time we go out). Chad said that he actually had dessert planned somewhere else, and I got even more excited about how the night was turning out. Before we got the check, Chad asked me if I wanted to go look at the plantation house that we passed coming in. I told him that I didn’t think it was open, but we should ask. The waiter told us that it was closed, but he’d see what he could do for us. He came back a few minutes later, and told us that we could go see it. He even said that he'd had all the lights turned on and that they’d left the back door open for us. As we got up from the table and were about to head to the house, the wine maker came over and gave us two glasses of wine for our stroll to the house since it was down the road a ways. All I could think about was how great this date was going, and I told Chad that we should do this every year! He just gave me a weird look and said “sure.”
Composed by Tara Michelle Foley(Davis)
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
About a year ago, Tra and I decided to browse around some jewelry stores. I wanted to get the feel of what kind of ring she wanted for when the day came that I actually got the nerve to propose. I found out that day that Tra is not your average girly-girl. Most girls want the biggest, shiniest, most elaborate set-stone ring that money can buy. Then, their man gets judged by what he picks out for her. Well this trip is when I found out that Tra is not a fan of big bulky rings. She's not even a fan of set-stones. She likes baguette cut diamonds and bands; tiny, petite, simple, diamond bands. It's understandable because she uses her hands a lot for work so her rings get banged around, and a bulky ring would get in her way. I'm so thankful that we took the time to do this because I actually had some sort of idea about what ring she would like.
We went to the Galleria of Houston first. This is where I had a real eye-opener on the evening (which is good because all of the "happiness" was making my eyes droop). I came to the realization that this was not going to be a simple task. We stopped at about ten different stores before we decided that the Galleria was putting a damper on our hopes of a simple ring search. The Galleria was also putting a damper on our "happiness" level, so we stopped at a Mexican restaurant in the mall to see if they kept any rings at the bottoms of their margarita glasses. They did not.
At this point, we were desperate because it was getting late. We stopped at one more store that didn't pan out to anything, and we finally just asked the guy behind the counter if there was a Jared's in Houston. Luckily, the Jared's wasn't far away, however, they closed at 10:00. It was around 9:30 at that point. After sprinting through the mall and navigating our way across town, we pulled up to Jared's with about ten minutes to spare.
With a significant level of "happiness" and adrenaline pumping, we were finally standing in front of a legitimate display case full of diamond bands that would be suffice for Tra's taste. This is where it gets interesting. Since she only likes the band style, I had decided to get her two rings; a little band and a big band. Then when we get married, I'll get her a third band that is identical to the smaller of the two; little band, big band, little band. Since bands aren't nearly as expensive as a set diamond ring, the budget that I had decided on (thanks to my "happiness") was substantially more than what the bands cost.
This is where Dave and I came up with a game we like to call "Bigger." The rules are as follows: they bring out a ring, and we scream "Bigger!" This went on until they finally informed us that we were holding the biggest band of diamonds. We took it. Then, I picked out a smaller baguette cut band, and we finally had our rings! I had to call Blake again to find out Tra's ring size because I had forgotten it. Unfortunately, she didn't know it either (no help, as usual). I thought it was a 7, and she thought it was a 6. We compromised on a 6.5 and called it good. I left the rings there to be sized and would come back after work and pick them up on my way to Dallas.
I left work before lunch on Thursday because I was accomplishing absolutely nothing; I think I was still in shock. I freaked out a bit in my bosses office about the whole situation, and he made it clear that I wasn't needed at work the rest of the week (especially in the state I was in) so I was free to leave. I went to Jared's to pick up the rings, and things got ugly. Literally.
(This part is strictly in my opinion. Tra will tell you that I am over-exaggerating) The rings did not match in the slightest. They looked funny next to each other because one was so big and the other one was small. On top of that, the cuts didn't go together at all. Unfortunately, I had to live with them. I called up Dave to ask him what we were thinking when we bought the rings, and he tried to insist that they couldn't be nearly as bad as I was making them out to be. Then, he saw them and admitted that maybe they weren't the greatest looking pair, but he knew for a fact that she would love them (he was just trying to boost my confidence going into the Dallas trip because I was freaking out again).
I really don't remember packing to leave the apartment (when the engagement was finally over that weekend, I did an inventory on my suitcase and noted that it contained about 17 pairs of underwear and 2 shirts). Anyways, Dave and I loaded up, and we were off to Dallas; or really Gunter. We had one more small errand to run before I could propose to Tara.
It was now time to break it to my mother that I was getting married and moving to Singapore.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
We have been dating for about two years now, and we also dated for four years while we were in grade school. After we had been together for about a year this time around, we had a discussion over dinner about what direction we each wanted our relationship to go. The conclusion was that neither one of us were in a rush to get married, but we knew that if the opportunity ever presented itself, we would want to take the relationship to the next level. Tara and I are both very driven people, and it is important to both of us that we have our own identities. For this to happen, we felt that it is crucial that we each have our own careers. Knowing this, we figured that for our relationship to get to the next level, we would have to live in the same town; something that each of our careers were years away from. So we decided to take things slow, and just see what happened.
At the time of this conversation, I was based out of Oklahoma but living in Arkansas. Then after a year, I got transferred back to Oklahoma City, and six months after that, I was transferred to Houston. For all we knew, I could have been living in North Dakota by the end of the year (which actually turns out to be a possibility. Every time I do something stupid (often), they threaten me with N.D.). Then a week after moving to Houston, I was told about Singapore.
After I committed, we talked about what it would take to get Tara over there with me. I didn't necessarily have to marry her to bring her with me, but when I finally saw that we could live in the same place for once, I couldn't resist. There was also the option (which I honestly didn't even want to consider) of putting our relationship on hold for three years while I was in Singapore. Three years without Tara was absolutely not an option, so it was decided in my bosses office, a second after I committed to Singapore, that I was going to propose to Tra (Tara=Tra).
I really don't remember much of the day to tell you the truth. When I left Ragon's office, it was about 9:30 am, so I went back to my desk and stared at my computer screen. And stared at my computer screen. And stared at my computer screen some more. I was absolutely in shock. I couldn't just go home because I was meeting my friend, Dillon Hohertz, for lunch, and after that, I had a meeting with one of our salesmen and a customer. After a few hours of staring at my computer screen, I left to drive aimlessly around Houston until it was time to meet Hohertzy.
During that time, I decided that I needed to make a few phone calls to start getting some wheels set in motion. I first called my brother and Tra's younger sister, Blake, and told them everything that was going on. Blake is what we like to call the "runt" of the litter so turning to her for help was a last resort (Just kidding. Blake is actually a sweet girl and surprisingly intelligent...ish. Out of the four Foley siblings, she might have the highest IQ and the lowest amount of common-sense). Then, I put a call into Tra's CIA/ninja/black-ops father. Having to ask her father for his blessing to marry his daughter over the phone is not ideal, but I was kind of out of options because this was all moving so fast. Then, I called Tra's mother and informed her of everything going on as well.
I got to the restaurant before Dillon, so I called Dave and told him to drop whatever he was doing and meet me at the apartment; I had some news to share with him. He obviously wouldn't let it go, and he even ended up guessing what had happened. He immediately started pouting, then screaming, then more pouting. I vaguely remember eating lunch with Hohertzy. I know that there was a lot of yelling and a lot of high-fives thrown in the restaurant. I absolutely don't remember meeting with the customer after lunch. I know that he had a corner office in one of the top floors of a Houston high rise, and I'm pretty sure that I just stared out of his window the entire meeting. I'm not even sure I introduced myself.
I didn't return to work after the meeting. Instead, I went straight to our apartment and met up with Dave.
It was now time to go buy a ring.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Most everyone already knows this story, but I figured that it would be nice to have it in writing. About 3 weeks ago, I was sitting at my desk in my new cubicle in our corporate office looking up Houston softball league information. Ragon, the VP of NOV Mission (I'm pretty sure there's an interesting story on here somewhere of a run-in I had with his daughter), comes up behind me and wants to see me in his office.
I walk into his office and Brian, my old boss from OKC, is already sitting in the office as well. Now, I figure that I'm getting fired and Brian has been asked to witness. Ragon asks me if I'm liking my new job. I respond that I'm super pleased with it. Then, he asks if I like Houston, and I tell him that I do actually love Houston (which is the truth; I really do enjoy it here).
Tow truck is here... Finish later this week.
Ok I have a lot of time on my hands now. I'm sitting in the waiting area of a medical center because I have to get immunization shots for what I'm about to tell you.
So Ragon says,"Great! Good to hear you like Houston. That's wonderful. Davis, what do you think about Singapore?" Having no clue where Singapore is, I reply,"Singapore is a cool place. I love South America!" After giving me a brief geography lesson (Singapore is in Asia. Hey, I colored maps in high school geography, give me a break), he proceeds to tell me about a position opening up and that they would really like me to accept the job.
I have always enjoyed traveling. My dream job (except driving a purple slugbug taxi in Mexico) has been to be an international salesman. Did I ever expect to get this opportunity so early in life? No. So you can only imagine the overwhelming feelings and thoughts going through me during this meeting.
They told me to take a week to think about it and get back to them. I laughed and said that wouldn't be necessary.
So a week after signing a year lease, a week after working in the corporate office, a week after moving to Houston, I decided to accept a position that will move me to the Far East and will be based out of Singapore. I am leaving this week to go over there for 2-3 weeks, I'll come back for about 5 days, and then I will officially move to Singapore.
Tara graciously accepted my proposal and agreed to marry me and move to Singapore as well. She will join me after our wedding, but until then she will continue to work and is practically planning a wedding by herself. We will get married on December 31, 2011, and then start a life together of our own, on our own. Everyone is welcome to visit anytime they want, as much as they want! Our Singaporian home will always be open and welcome to our family and friends. And friends of friends. And anyone else who wants to come.
- Posted using BlogPress from ChadMD's iPhone
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
I still go to Arkansas every other week, and each trip lasts the whole week. I love this because it means that I really didn't have to say "bye" to any of my AR friends, and I still get to see them all the time. I was pretty upset that I had to move out of my apartment on the golf course with the amazing view.
Now that I'm back in OKC, I get to hang out with some of my old friends. A lot of them have already moved away, but my golfing buddy, Mikey, is still around (which is all that really matters). Also, I get to see my old fraternity brother, Fred, from time to time. Between these two guys, it's pretty easy to find something to do in OKC. I moved into the Park Harvey Apartment building in downtown OKC. I'll admit that the view of the Leadership Square Building from a 13th floor apartment is way more claustrophobic than living on a golf course in Arkansas. However, the Park Harvey might be my favorite place that I've lived in yet. I could not be more pleased with my new home.
Home? Can you call a place that you see less than a hotel room "home"? I feel like my hotel rooms in Arkansas and Kansas are more of a home than my apartment in Oklahoma. I haven't stayed 3 consecutive nights in my bed since I moved back (I will admit that a girlfriend in Dallas is a pretty big factor of this as well).
Anyways however this may read, I am NOT complaining. I'm not just saying that because the IT department at NOV is forced to read this (Hey guys, love the new help desk system). I love my job. I love to travel, I love staying in hotels, and I love my company. I love the fact that my job never gets boring (except the occasional office day; which is necessary to catch up on assignments and emails).
I could do this for the rest of my life and be happy.... I think.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Here is a short checklist of things to write about in the future (in no particular order):
•Move to OKC
•New job territory
So the app is pretty cool. I'm thinking I'll give it a chance.
Happy President's Day!
- Posted using BlogPress from ChadMD's iPhone
Friday, January 28, 2011
It's almost pointless to describe Interlaken; you have to experience it for yourself to understand. Think of the most beautiful scenery you can imagine, multiply its awesomeness by two and you might be able to capture the ambiance of Interlaken. If God created a heaven on earth, he hid it somewhere in Switzerland.
In Interlaken, you can do whatever you want and be happier doing it there than if you did it anywhere else. If you want to sit around and do nothing, it's awesome in Interlaken. If you want to do some extreme sport, it’s awesome in Interlaken. If you want to eat some cheese, it's awesome in Interlaken. If you need to take a... you get the point.
Chadly and I did a little bit of everything. At this point in the trip we were exhausted and all we wanted to do was rest. This was the one city where we had absolutely no agenda. The chocolate and cheese were both ridiculously amazing and is a must if you are ever in Interlaken. One day we were riding bikes through the town, and we pulled over to sit on a bench for about 30 minutes just to relax and enjoy the scenery of this little town that sits in the middle of the Swiss Alps Mountains. We did do one extreme sport while we were there, and it just so happened to be the most extreme thing to do; canyoning (I’ll devote an entire blog to this later).
The whole time we were there we were hanging out with a group of seven from the University of Dayton in Ohio. They were also the ones that told us about canyoning and went with us. I could write an entire blog about how cool these people were and how much fun we had hanging out, but this is already getting super long so just know that they were awesome. We still keep in touch with a few of them on facebook as well.
We did stay longer than we planned; we skipped Paris and limited our time in Amsterdam. We extended our stay at the hostel; which the receptionist had already done for us when we checked in without our asking because apparently everyone ends up extending their stay. We stayed as long as we could without missing our flight. I feel like I would be beating a dead horse if I tried to convince you to go to Interlaken. Just go while you are still able to enjoy it.
My final thoughts and conclusion to the “Europa Series”
Whoever created the concept of retirement had it all wrong. After you get done working your way through school, you have to jump right into working your way through a job. There needs to be a way that you can have 5-10 years after school to do whatever you want (expenses paid), and it not hurt any career possibilities. If you try to do that now, employers look down on the fact that you've been "goofing-off" for the past few years. The way it's set up, you could work your whole life just to save up enough for the final few years you have left. I know this doesn't hold true to everyone, and there are a lot of people who get to retire early (before 60). But the average person can't afford to stop working before they turn 70; especially after the most recent eco-crash. On average retirement is around 15 years, but one might argue that work doesn't stop there. That's whenever you start working for your family; your kids and grand kids start consuming all of your time. Then, your final years are usually spent working to fight off diseases and bad health. There is a pretty well known superstition in the oilfield that once you stop working, you only have about 3 years left until your time on earth is up.
I make you think about all of this because I want you to realize that "work" consumes our lives. Regardless of your employment status, there is always work to be done (just ask my step-father). Make sure that you take time to see and experience all of God's wonderful creations while you are still young enough to enjoy them.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Rome (Roma) was amazing! You could stay a week in Rome and still not be able to see everything. However, we did hit the highlights in two days.
But before I jump into all of that, I don't think you quite appreciate how much walking we've done up to this point. My feet were literally bleeding because of how much we had traveled. It was getting hard to notice anything on our tours because every step led to excruciating pain. So my first order of business was to find new shoes with better padding. I bought a sweet pair of Zebra print shoes from a street vendor for about $6 American money. Then, I went and bought a $23 set of Dr. Scholl's inserts for my sweet, new shoes. Then, I went to a pharmacy and bought bandages and cushions for my bleeding calluses (I won't post these pictures, I promise). After all of this, it feels like I'm walking on clouds; pretty sure I almost started crying from the relief.
Our first order of business was to see the Vatican after we checked into our hostel. Since it was a Sunday, we figured there would be somewhat of a larger crowd than normal. We got to Vatican City pretty early for this reason, but had no clue what we were about to experience. Neither Chadly nor myself are practicing or familiar with the Catholic religion, so you can only imagine our shock when we arrived at the Vatican to find out that coincidentally we chose to tour the Vatican during the Pentecost Festival. I'm not talking about, "Oh, it's Easter Sunday so we should go to church." kind of crowd; I'm talking, "Holy Crap, U2 is playing a free concert!" kind of crowd. I could go on and on about the festival but regardless, we got blessed by the Pope (who is pretty much a rockstar), toured the Vatican, and saw the grave of Pope John Paul II.
On the second day, we went to see all of the buildings and monuments of Rome. This included the Colosseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Sistine Chapel. One of the smartest things we did this entire trip was make a reservation to see the Colosseum; this saved us at least 5 hours of waiting in line. We also didn't have to wait in line to see the Sistine Chapel because we arrived right before they were about to close (remember that if you visit Rome, and remember you can't tour the Sistine Chapel on a Sunday). We pretty much ran through the entire Vatican Museum just to get to the chapel before they closed. This was another "No Photo!!" monument, so naturally...
The last night we went out with some people that were in the room next to ours; I think they were from Michigan. One of the things that we wanted to do on this trip was go to a European rave. Between the both of us, we only had one glow stick to share, so we weren't very prepared. However, we ended up at a 5 story club full of fellow ravers; loads of glow sticks and techno music. I don't really know what we expected, but we can now say we've been to a European rave. It’s like they say, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do!"
I would love to go back to Rome some day when I had more time to see everything. There is so much history, monuments, and art that you really need longer than two days to appreciate everything.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
As soon as we got to Florence (Firenze) we found our hostel and dropped our packs off. Then we went and had a pretty interesting dinner. The restaurant was in a square that had various shops, clubs and other places to eat. We were sat at a table in between two couples. The couple on our left was in their own world; obviously used to this sort of arrangement. On our right was a young Holland couple on their honeymoon. They were not so familiar with this set up. In fact, at the beginning of the meal, the guy asked our waitress if there were any individual tables available, but luckily, there were none open. Their names were Bart and Coralie and spoke very good English. I'm not sure what the turning point of the evening was (probably when they had to order for us because the waitress didn't speak any English), but by the end of the meal we were all laughing and having a blast. Bart grabbed our waitress at the end of the meal and told her that this was a great idea for seating and that they had made life-long friends. We finished the night by having a few bottles of wine with our new "life-long" friends at a couple different places. We have actually stayed in touch with Coralie via facebook.
The next day we hit up all of the typical tourist activities which included climbing the Piazza Del Duamo; which is ranked as the number 1 thing to do in Europe by a lot of travel guides because of the view. We also saw all of the Florence art works like the Da Vinci Museum, the Birth of Venus, the Medusa shield, and we went to the museum Galleria dell'Accademia where we saw the David. You're not supposed to take pictures of the David, so naturally EVERYONE tries to take a picture and then act like they were just cleaning their camera. This gave Chadly and me an arsenal of new jokes because of the security screaming, "NO PHOTO!!" at tourists.
After we were done touring for the day, we went and found a hill that overlooked all of Florence where we enjoyed a bottle of wine and another breath-taking sunset.
Florence was kind of a blur. It seems like a lot of Italy gets blended together when I look back. All of the architecture and art was very similar through the entire country so that was probably a major contributing factor.
Monday, January 24, 2011
About this point in the trip Chadly and I were starting to get a little temperamental with each other. This was put to test when I booked our train to Florence instead of Venice (I kept getting those two mixed up for some reason). Because of this little error, we had to jump off of the train in some random city outside of Venice and take a night bus into the city. This put us in a DESERTED Venice at 4:00 in the morning.
I don't know if you are very familiar with Venice (Venezia), but it's most commonly known for being the city with all the water canals and the maze like alleys. This was probably the most stressful part of the trip, and by far one of the most memorable. We had no map, no hostel, no clue about where we were supposed to go. We were in a foreign country, no one was on the streets (I mean NO ONE), we didn't speak or understand any of the language, and we were exhausted from having zero sleep. We had these 50 lb back packs strapped to our back, our feet were killing us, and we had just shared a train car with some very interesting nuns followed by a pretty sketchy bus ride. We were tired.
Luckily, after about an hour of doing the ole heel-toe through the mazes, we stumbled up on a bakery that was just opening. Actually, we followed the scent of his crescents from about half a mile away. BEST CRESCENTS I'VE EVER EATEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.
This was the turning point for our Venice trip.
We stayed in the bakery until the sun gave us enough light to do a little self-touring. After we got a map, we made our way to the center of the city where we got to experience a sunrise at St Marks square without any tourists around; a very RARE occasion. Venice was really fun to tour because of the boat rides through the canals. While in Venice, we did all of the typical touristy things: toured the entire city, climbed the famous Campanile tower of the St Mark's Basilica, got a bottle of wine and pizza to watch a sunset over the ocean on the side of the canal, saved two girls from getting sold into sex trafficking (true story but too long to tell), then take 1 million pictures with the saved girls in St Marks square at about 3 in the morning. Yeah, it was a long day; we probably had the best sleep of the entire trip that night in the worst beds of the entire trip. I always slept on the top bunk in our hostels, and I'm pretty sure that this night the bottom of my mattress was only hovering about 5 inches over Chadly's face.
I loved Venice. The way of life there is just so different from the way we are used to living. A visit to the city-on-top-of-the-water should be on everyone’s bucket list.