Florence, once considered the most important city in Europe, had its fling with fame—from 1865 to 1870, for one brief (shining) moment, it replaced Turin as the capital of the newly formed Kingdom of Italy. Alas, it was replaced six years later by Rome, even though the Florentines had taken pains to modernize the city by tearing down medieval houses and replacing old markets.

Don’t worry Florence, Mario still thinks you’re the prettiest. Of the three cities we visited on our honeymoon, the one that most impressed Mario was Florence, with il Duomo, broad avenues that encircle the old city, and plethora of Renaissance art. (It’s known as la culla del Rinascimento, or the “cradle of the Renaissance,” after all.) This explains why we have a separate folder for all the pictures of il Duomo, too.

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In Spanish, honeymoon is luna de miel; literally “moon of honey.” If you’re my husband (ohhh, doesn’t that sound weird and oh so nice at the same time!), a moon made of honey would be welcome. Mario and Winnie the Pooh love honey about the same amount. If you are what you eat, Mario would be bread, olive oil, and honey. Probably in that order. (I would be tomatoes. Boring.)

Thank you for letting me completely off track. We spent our honeymoon in Italy. Italy! To Spaniards, Italy is a short plane ride away; to me, Italy is a dream honeymoon. I imagined Venice, its canals snaking quietly through the city, Florence with its marble-covered cathedral and Renaissance art invading every church, Rome with its quiet ruins … we got all that. I forgot to imagine the heat.

We arrived in Venice at 10 p.m. and stepped out of the airport in search of a bus. I had forgotten how humidity envelops you, invades your lungs and your pores, causes the air itself to feel heavy and dense. We nearly gasped. Oh yes, the heat was already upon us. Sweat, we would.IMG_1390 Continue reading

So Here’s the Deal

So here’s the deal, you guys … in two days, I’m off to Spain. I know, right? What/why? it’s so confusing. It might have something to do with this guy.

He’s pretty awesome! He was hired by a sah-weet law firm, and so we’re moving to Madrid. We won’t eat hot dogs, but we will eat lots of salchichón, That’s a fact.

Right now, these are my emotions:

  • Excited
  • Nervous
  • Scared
  • Crazy

Is “crazy” an emotion? I feel it 24/7. I’m so excited to return to Spain, to marry him, to move with him to a new city (Madrid). I’m nervous to leave behind everything I know. I’m scared to spend 2+ years in Spain. I’m crazy about him. Anything else? I feel it all, la verdad.

Please let me know I’m not alone. What have you done in the name of love? How has it paid off?

I’m the Foreigner, or Is He?

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been away from Mario this year. [Sadface] I came back from Spain in June and haven’t returned since (although I’m going back in May!). He did come to visit for one glorious month, one full of tailgating, barbecues, football, and eating in general. We ran countless miles with my dog Molly, cooked dinner together regularly, and learned yet again how precious time is. Especially time together.

It’s easy to forget about time, its omnipresence. Time flies, time doesn’t stop, time drags … cliché phrases that convey cliché ideas. Nonetheless, this year I’ve learned to cherish it. How? By dating Mario, by being away from Mario. It’s not that taught me this because he really gets it (although he does) but that we’ve had very little time to spend together. We’ve had even less time without a date looming over heads, a date that tells us this is gonna end, now be sad. He’s good about living in the moment, not worrying, and trying to get me to do the same. But I’m not the type of person to just let worryable things pass by without, you know, worryingabout them. Give me something to worry about—I’m the world’s most consistent worrier.

So when Mario came to Indiana in late October, I couldn’t help but keep thinking about November 29, the day we’d drive him to O’Hare airport, the day I’d inevitably end up in tears, the day I’d watch him walk past security, a wry smile on his face as he struggled to be the strong one. (He always is. Last June, I saw him almost tear up, and—believe me—I never want to see that again. I’m the crier in this relationship, damn it!) He would try again and again to tell me to forget about it, to live in the moment, to just be. I did my best, and I deem this time more successful than the last. Hey, at least I’m improving.


Every moment of that month seemed significant: chopping vegetables at my kitchen counter, coming home to see him dressed in my brother’s sweatpants and sweatshirt (he was deprived of his Spanish house clothes), laughing as we drank wine at the dinner table, snuggling up next to him on the couch after a long day.

There are moments you’ll remember all your life: the day you graduate from high school, your first night in a college dorm room, the day you say yesto the love of your life, the day you stand together at an altar and pledge to live this life together, the day your first child (and second and third) is born, the day someone close to you passes away … these days you’ll not easily forget.

But I maintain that being with Mario has taught me to make “mental photographs” of the everyday, the mundane, because it? It matters too. In the end, it might matter most of all.

So here’s to Mario, here’s to being in a sometimes-incredibly-difficult relationship with a man born thousands of miles away from me, here’s to appreciating what life’s given us, here’s to the future we’re building together. Here’s to you doing the same, no matter if you have a significant other or not.

Kaley Mario Camping

Cherishing the moment.