Monthly Archives: July 2010

Ciao Bella!: Honeymoon Day 2

With some sleep into our systems (but not nearly enough!), we started out early to go to our half-day walking tour of the Colosseum and Ancient Rome.  We had scheduled this before leaving the US, and let me tell you, it was well worth the money.

We met our tour group right outside of the Colosseum.  When we booked, we didn’t have a choice in tour companies, but we had nothing to fear.  The Dark Rome tour group is organized, professional, and very well put together.  We were added to the red dot group, given headset devices so we could hear the tour guide no matter where we were in the group, and then introduced to our guide.  His name was Damiano, and he told us to follow the red umbrella through the crowds.  He also told us the Romans were bastards.  In short, he was fabulous.I, on the other hand, was not so fabulous.  The day of our flight out of Boston, I felt an extreme cold coming on.  Last year, this was the cold that led to a serious sinus infection that made my teeth hurt when I ran.  While I pumped up on vitamin C and cold pills, I wasn’t in tip-top shape.  In spite of the heat and the sun, I tried to pull it together and managed to only feel like I was going to pass out once.

Damiano started us off with a tour through the Colosseum.  If you are ever in Rome, you must do a tour through it.  Sure, you could tour it yourself, but the information that an expert like Damiano can give was priceless.  There are no signs in the Colosseum that talk about what kinds of animals the Romans imported to fight, like tigers, bears, and, yes, hippos.  Plus, they had a full system of trapped doors under the stage to bring up props.  Didn’t know that, did you?We went inside and outside of all of the areas tourists are allowed to go in.  It was great!  The stairs were ultra steep, but the Romans weren’t known for handicap accessibility.  The engineering it must have taken to build such a structure is just incredible.

Our next stop was Ancient Rome, or specifically, the ruins.  There are a ton of them, and while each is worth its own picture (which I probably took), I won’t bore you with all of them.  I’ll simply show the highlights.

Rome is basically on two giant hills with a valley in between.  No matter where you go, you must climb at least five flights of stairs.  At the top of our five flights of stairs was this palace and its garden.I had to make sure the rings looked good with it too.  They did.We then kept walking through more of the ruins.  Churches, Pagan churches, places to burn bodies like Ceasar’s, market places, there was everything.  When you see bricks, you must think of it covered in marble.  Marble was taken away from these places a while ago to be used elsewhere, but it was the covering for almost all important surfaces.  They even use colored marble, like this:After our tour ended, we decided to walk and see where we ended up.  Now, this probably sounds risky, but in the middle of the day in the middle of Rome, there’s nothing to it.  It’s one of the best ways to spend your time and see what’s really going on.  We ended up finding a building devoted to the establishment of Italy’s current government.  The building was totally made out of marble and was very heavily guarded, but fun to go into.There was a museum inside that recounted Italy’s involvement in different wars throughout history.  It was very interesting to read their take on how World War II went down…

After that, we went on a walking tour.  We found a cat sanctuary (more on this later),the Tiber River,the Jewish Ghetto,the Circus Maximus (where they raced chariots, as Mr. Library is demonstrating),and finally, we made it to the Free Rome Tour that took off from the Spanish Steps.  We had read about it online, and while I didn’t read enough (I was improperly dressed to go into the churches since both my shoulders and knees were showing), it was a good tour.This column on the bottom is actually the pictorial history of the battle that appears in the first scenes of the movie Gladiator.

After our tour was over (it was a two hour tour), we were hungry for dinner.  The tour guide had pointed out a restaurant that was not far from the Trevi Fountain and had said it was a place locals loved (aka not touristy with high prices).  We tried it and found the food to be really good.  They had at least 40 different kinds of spaghetti on the menu!  Sign me up!

Exhausted and stuffed, we wandered back to our hotel, checked out the Trevi at night, and then went to bed.  Tomorrow held a journey of the higher powers:  the Vatican!

Where have we been?

We arrive!

Ciao Bella!: Honeymoon Day 1

I have never understood why people started their recaps with the honeymoon, but now that I am on the other side of the issue, I get it.  We don’t have any of our professional photos back yet (I’m sure it will take some time for him to clean up the 1400 shots he took), so why not blog about our amazing European adventure?  Right?  Right!

Our honeymoon began with Logan International Airport in Boston.  Mom and Dad Library had both taken the day off to drop us off (and take a day or two to recover from the wedding), so we drove into the city early to get through security.  After exchanging money (thanks wedding guests!) and kissing Mom and Dad Library goodbye, we went through security and let the photographs begin!

Why hello, sexy passport!  Let’s travel the world together before I have to exchange you, shall we?And hello, sexy new husband!  Mr. Library and I were pumped to get our honeymoon started…So he decided to pull out sudoku and be quiet.  Nice… But let’s not forget what we’re really here for, sir.  Let’s get on one of these…and not sleep for around 36 hours to adjust time zones!

We boarded the plane, sat next to each other, enjoyed the food (it was actually really good!) and the on-demand movies, and got to London Heathrow at 4:30 AM their time.  I was pretty tired, but the first thing we did was try to find our gate (they don’t post them until 60 minutes before your flight is scheduled to leave) and got something to eat.  I got yogurt at Bridesmaid Al’s suggestion, as yogurt is much fresher in smaller countries since they don’t have to ship it as far.  Good lord was she correct!  Yum yum yum yummmm.  After breakfast, I took a nap on my new husband and then we waited for our flight.  After another two and a half hour flight and a questionable “breakfast sandwich” British Airways tried to feed us, we landed in Rome!

Here’s the funny thing about the Roman airport:  While there may be tons of police with big guns in the actual city of Rome, the security in the airport is super lax.  Like when we tried to ask what we needed to claim in customs, the woman had no idea and just told us to go through if we didn’t have 10 boxes of cigarettes or 10,000 Euro.  Since we only had 9,999 Euro on us, we were free to go.

Enter our first interaction with the Italian language.  We needed to call our parents to let them know we had landed, but the phone card we had purchased here didn’t work.  Mr. Library tried his darnedest for a good ten minutes with me being a whiney, tired wife, and when it didn’t work, we threw up our hands and said we would figure it out later.  We bought two tickets for the Leonardo Express that put us at Termini in about a half an hour.  Mr. Library snoozed on the way there, and while I tried to stay awake to keep an eye on our luggage, I dozed a little too.  It turns out that this train ride would be the easiest of the day.  Termini, the central train station in Rome, is nothing less than a screwed up rat maze.  All of the escalators were broken, so we had to carry our heavy suitcases up at least five staircases, down another five sets, and through a trillion tunnels.  We were hot, dripping, tired, and on edge.  Ideal start to a honeymoon?  Not so much.

We got off the train at Barberini, the train station that was supposed to be right down the block from our hotel.  The problem with that was actually finding the hotel.  We couldn’t find any road signs (they are etched into the sides of buildings, not standing out like American ones), so we ended up wandering back and forth, uphill and down hill, in the blistering heat.  The streets were crowded, the sidewalks were small and bumpy, and I was not having it.  I was severely dehydrated, and when we got to one spot to consult the map, I let the tears flow.  I wanted to go home.  I wanted water.  I wanted to find our hotel and be done with it.  Mr. Library, the champion husband that he is, consoled me, gave me a water bottle we had wisely packed into our suitcases, and gave the map a good once over.  Ten minutes later, we finally found the doorway to our hotel and were buzzed in.

Diego, the concierge, was a saint.  He could probably tell by the looks on our exasperated faces that we weren’t having the greatest time wondering around with our suitcases, so he took mine up the two flights of stairs to our room.  He made us a map, showed us how to get to the best attractions, and let us use the phone to call home with our phone card once we bought a European one.  He then led us into our room.For being in the middle of Rome, the room was pretty quiet.  Honestly, I can’t say enough about this hotel (I’ll be doing recommendations later).  We dropped our stuff, cooled our faces with some water, and changed clothes before heading out for some gelato.

The rest of our afternoon/evening is kind of a blur of trying to figure out the map, finding our way around, eating gelato (it was good, but we found a lot better later on), and finally eating dinner at our first Italian restaurant.  

We ended up being a five minute walk from the Trevi Fountain, which was beautiful day or night.I can still taste the amazing pasta and gelato.  Mmmm.  With that, we were spent and it was time for bed.

Next Up:  Our half-day tour of the Colosseum and Ancient Rome

Thanks Be To…

Everyone who had anything to do with our wedding day.  I know I said I wasn’t going to write another post until we were either on our honeymoon or after it, but with people posting pictures from the wedding already, I want to thank the many, many people who made our weekend so fabulous.  I never thought that my wedding could run as smoothly or as pretty much stress-free as it did.  All the times I worried that it wouldn’t come together, people wouldn’t get it, or people wouldn’t care didn’t pan out.  People noticed the details and kept telling me how much they loved them.  People were there to help when I needed something big like decorating the reception or when I needed something small like someone to hold my purse.  People were amazing.

So thanks, all of my amazing people.  Thanks to bridesmaids Sister Library, As, Al, Miss Sox, and C.Thanks to the groom squad, Best Man K, groomswoman K, BIL Library, and D.

Thanks to our amazing parents who kept us together through all of our lives and all of our planning.  Thanks to our crazy friends and family who made our day hilarious.And last but not least, thank you to my husband, Mr. Library, for his love, patience, ideas, opinions, and faithfulness throughout the whole process.  I love you so much!

Presenting…

The new Mr. and Mrs. Library!

Ladies and gentlemen, it happened!  And it was perfect!

Perfect doesn’t even begin to say how I felt about the whole day with everyone there to support and love us, cheer us on, make us cry happy tears, and make us laugh until our stomachs hurt.  We are truly blessed to have such amazing family and friends.

While I won’t be writing for a few weeks because of the honeymoon (or maybe I will… we’ll see what the wifi is like…), I plan on sharing every fantastic moment with you when I return and, oh, go through our photographer’s 1400 pictures!

Until then,

Mrs. Library

All the Single Ladies

This is my last night as a single lady.  I am feeling tired, excited, a little stressed out, loved, tired a little more, and happy.  Our rehearsal dinner was a success, and though we ran into a couple of stressful moments, we feel pretty set for tomorrow.  But really, can you ever really be ready for your wedding day?  I have already cried twice, made two of my bridesmaids cry, and have sworn a couple dozen times.

And guess what?  It’s 12:03.  It’s my wedding day.

So at 4 PM today, I will be making my way down the aisle toward Mr. Library to become Mrs. Library.  I cannot wait, and yet, I want time to go slowly so I can take it all in.

Happy wedding day, Mr. Library!  I love you more than words can say, and I cannot wait to be your wife.

Caution: Contents Under Pressure

Ahhh the pressures of wedding planning.  Honestly, who knows where to begin with this subject?  It’s huge!  Everyone knows you will get stressed out eventually, but I was one of those brides who thought she had everything figured out and would take it as it comes.  No one told me some things just wouldn’t come, and I would have to work my butt off to go out there and find them!

Let’s talk about pressure source numero uno:  Society at large.  The perfect bride and wedding are staring you in the face everywhere you look:  at the supermarket, on Facebook the minute you put up that you are engaged (anyone else creeped out by that?), on television, at the dentist… everywhere!  While it’s fun flipping through the magazines and thinking about what it would be like if money were no object, it’s completely unrealistic to imagine that I could and would decorate a field with Waterford crystal chandeliers and thousands of votive candles.  For one, I would love how it looks, but we just don’t have that kind of money.  Two, Maine is currently in a drought, and Smokey the Bear is not on the guest list, so I guess causing a forest fire with the thousands of candles is out.  People are always asking about wedding planning, and while some of them genuinely care, others turn it into a competition to see what I have planned versus their daughter, sister, mother, aunt, cousin, friend’s child, etc.  I do love getting new ideas from people, but when it turns into a match of who can name the most expensive designer for their wedding dress, I just cannot take it.  It’s a dress people!  One dress!  It’s not like we’re buying a house (though you might be able to afford to at the same price with some of the prices of dresses these days!).

The World’s Most Expensive Wedding Gown ($12 million)

versus

House in South Carolina ($7.9 million)

Family and friends, as well-meaning as they are, also seem to jump on the pressured bandwagon.  I think it happens the most when there happens to be another family member or friend who is getting married at the same time.  For example, one family member/friend knows of another couple getting married at the same resort a few weekends after us.  Every time I go to visit this person, she regales us with how the other couple is doing it and how ours could be more like theirs.  Our food selections are analyzed and compared, our guest list numbers, everything.  I understand that said person is probably trying to become closer with both Mr. Library and I and the other couple, but it puts pressure on us to “make the right choices” like the other couple.  We have made the right choices for us, but second guessing makes a person feel a little inadequate, like, “They had this and it was so much better than yours.  What’s wrong with you?”

Pressure to have the perfect wedding is definitely a cultural thing, but it’s also a beast of my own creation.  I have paid a ton of attention to detail.  I want the fonts on every written piece to coordinate.  I want the escort cards to face the same direction.  I want our umbrellas to match if it’s going to rain in the photos.  I just love detail.  I also want this day to be perfect for Mr. Library and me.  I have worked my butt off to plan this wedding, and while I am totally prepared for some things to go awry and just to brush it off, I want my hard work to show and be appreciated.  I also want the efforts I put in to make Mr. Library happy.  Of course he loves me, and that’s really what matters, but I want him to see how much love, sweat, and tears I put into making this day special for us.

In the end, a wedding is what you make of it.  I am happy with our choices, and if things don’t go as planned, so be it.  If you are the bride, remember that the super important part of this wedding is the fact that you are kicking off your marriage to a wonderful person.  Just soak it in and enjoy that.  Oh, and smoosh a little cake in someone’s face too!

Wet Wedding 2: A and J

The second wedding of our summer wasn’t ours as we had thought.  It belonged to our friends A and J.  I worked with A at the middle school I taught at this past year, and I had a blast planning a wedding along with her.  We shared a love of Etsy, color, and just shaking our heads at the details along the way.

On July 10, we attended their wedding on the waterfront in Portland.  While the weather wasn’t perfect, it didn’t matter.  Everything else was very much A and J.

A danced down the aisle to a Michael Jackson tune and then read J her vows, where she compared her love for him to her love for her iPhone.  I loved it!

The main wedding color, green, was everywhere and fit in very well with the surroundings.  

We had so much fun at this wedding!  There were so many individual touches, and the table we were seated at was filled with my middle school co-workers.  For those of you who don’t know, middle school teachers are crazy fun (emphasis on the crazy).  We danced, we laughed, we toasted, and we ate delicious cupcakes.  A and J actually shared two vendors with us, the DJ and the baker, so it was like a trial run for us!  Everything was fantastic, and we couldn’t be happier for them!

Congratulations A and J!  Enjoy Texas!  We’ll miss you!