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Spending our fourth anniversary in Paris was a big "pinch me" moment. All of Paris was. But that first day was especially great. We ate too many crepes to count (at least four, y'know, one for each year of marriage), Brando navigated the city so well, we visited Sainte Chapelle at the perfect time of day, I'll never forget the feeling of being there, it was one of those moments you didn't want to take a photo of, too special. We walked everywhere. Paris is for walking, we decided. We only rode the metro once, to visit Versailles. I've never seen Brando more in his element than in Paris! He was made for Paris. We'd walk around and he'd educate me on architecture and the French revolution and all sorts of things. It may sound cliché (or just really naive) but I never expected to learn so much from him. I think that's what this year has been for me. Love-year-three was rough. We made a lot of mistakes and it took time for both of us to heal. By design, I'm a driver-seat kind of person. But this last year I found myself needing to let Brando take the wheel. At first, it wasn't easy. But through the process I've realized how good of a driver he is, and how much more I can process when I take the passenger seat.  How much more I can breathe. I'll love him forever, for that alone.

Only a few eye-rolls took place while locking our love on the Bridge. I mean, who needs that symbolic mumbo jumbo? ;) But I loved it.


Zurich, Switzerland

Long before we left on the trip I knew I'd want to take notes and document our experience. We've been gone for 2 weeks now and while the time has flown, we are now in a state of a bit of rest. We are making our home in Berlin for the next four weeks, so I have a bit of time to play catch up.

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Our first stop was Zurich, Switzerland. While it shouldn't have been a surprise we were gong there (it was the last stop on our flight itinerary) we had been planning on jumping off our layover in Paris. Turns out doing so could have caused a lot of problems. It's called "No show" (duh) and most airlines have clauses in their agreements that state if you do not continue with your flight plan, they can cancel any following flights. We didn't want to risk losing our flight home (though it would have been a good excuse to stay in Europe longer!) and luckily found out about the situation a few days before we left.

When we arrived in Zurich we had no plan, no hotel arrangements, no transportation, no contacts, no "sights to see". Nothing. It was both nerve-racking and exhilarating. We kept saying "we are in Zurich. We are totally alone." We ended up talking to a travel agent at the airport (which, for the record, was the most beautiful & clean airport ever!) who booked us a night at The Dolder Waldhaus. Stay there. But don't. It nearly broke the bank but we were a little desperate to find a place and the agent told us it was the cheapest she could find. We quickly learned that Zurich is amazingly beautiful and rather pricey. I should have taken photos of our room 'cause it's likely to be the swankiest place we'll ever stay. Y'know, the kind where the bathroom is about as big as your bedroom and has all sorts of mysterious amenities that you just have to try out. And the view was pretty great too. It was a big splurge but a timely one, the next day we celebrated our fourth anniversary.

After an amazing jet-lag induced nap that we tried desperately not to take (doesn't help with getting on local time) we explored. We had to take this great tram to and from our hotel since it sat on top a hill that overlooked the city. Everything was so green and Brandon educated me on trees, his latest curiosity. We walked through "Old Town" and around the river. We even found The Cabaret Voltaire which was pretty special since Brandon wrote a paper on it in connection to the Dada movement. It was tangled somewhere in the small wonky streets, but we found it! We ate expensive pizza and learned the hard way of the tiny differences in dining in Europe. Worth noting: white chocolate ice-cream. We've found it all over Europe but the love started in Zurich.

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Break on Through

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*photo from the other night when we pretended money was only good if spent on spontaneous good eats. This place is in Provo. I'd add a link but it's the kind of place that likely only exists in the physical world (except for this photo). So you'll have to go there in person. West Center Street. Drive towards the lake, look to the right. I recommend what the waitress recommends ;)

I'm not sleeping well, again. And I know exactly why: I. can't. turn. my. brain. off. And I'm also deathly afraid of making my TMJ even worse. I grind my teeth when I sleep. Have for as long as I remember and have worn a mouth-guard/retainer/super sexy flesh-colored thing that gives me the lisp of the century, every night since my adolescence, lest I grind my teeth into powder (I even wore it on our wedding night...yeah). And due to recent really stressful life events, the grinding got way worse. I wake up in the morning and have to think really hard about how to open my mouth because my jaw naturally wants to stay sealed shut. Doc gave me a prescription to help inflammation or something. The major side effect? Insomnia.

So sleep is not in the cards for me. Which I suppose is fine since I've got a million and two things to do before our trip. OUR TRIP! During my tri-daily panic attacks, Brandon will take me by the shoulders and say "But next week, we'll be in Paris!" to which my body immediately goes loose and I play The Doors in my head and let my body dance like the noodle it is. If the Idea of Paris does this to me, I can't wait to see what being there does.

I hope it changes me.

I don't just want to leave my worries behind (I'll have to come home someday). So maybe I can change the way I think about them. Maybe Paris, Berlin, THERE can help me understand HERE and what is worth batting an eye at. Does that make sense? Am I putting too high of expectations on "away"?

I hope not, because I feel like in the bigger scheme of things I have a whole lot more to gain than I have to lose. But I have to lose to gain at all.


Our Time

“In going where you have to go, and doing what you have to do, and seeing what you have to see, you dull and blunt the instrument you write with. But I would rather have it bent and dull and know I had to put it on the grindstone again and again and hammer it into shape and put a whetstone to it, and know that I had something to write about, than to have it bright and shining and nothing to say, or smooth and well-oiled in the closet, but unused.” 


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Amongst all the wiser decisions, we've decided this is what we have to do. We are leaving in a few short weeks to study art, see the world, and hopefully figure out ourselves a bit more. We will be spending a week in Paris, a month in Berlin, and will hit a few other places (Brussels, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen). We've worked really hard to make this happen and are both thrilled and anxious. (Anxious to get the most out of it as possible!) We'd love any travel advice you have! What to do/see/pack/eat/anything!