how they asked
I woke up to a sharp knock at the door. I looked down at my phone and saw it was only 8:00. Very confused, I walked to the door and opened it to my host mom standing there, half smiling, half looking kind of scared. I had been in Italy for 6 weeks at that point aupairing for a family in Reggio Calabria – a little city right at the “big toe” of Italy. We could see Sicily from our backyard. Basically paradise. On top of that, my host family lived on a villa that was just breathtaking, so perfect does not even do it justice. She said to me in her broken English, “I’m sorry Regina, but I need to bring something inside.” Confused, I looked at her with tired eyes and said, “o-okay…” At which point she signaled to someone standing at the stairs to walk down the steps into my guest house. As he rounded the corner, I think my head literally spun. All I remember really was my host mom crying and laughing and him laughing and I just stood there in all my messy hair, just woke up, mouth gaping wide open glory. I stood speechless for about 60 seconds until I finally managed the words, “but…but…how…did…” Chris continued to laugh.
Finally, my host mom said, “I will leave you two and you get ready and join us when you want.” Chris said, “Okay!” I still wasn’t really managing words. However, I did make myself move and I went and got dressed and kept shouting at Chris, “but, just how did you get here?” He said, “Get ready and come up to the main house and I’ll tell everyone because they want to know.” So, I got ready as fast as I possibly could, then joined him and the family upstairs. (Sidenote: Myself and the family had gone to the party the night before, so thank God I still had some curls left over – ha!) I went up to the main house and met Chris and my host mom, where he proceeded to tell us about his journey – and I do mean journey!
He drove to Miami airport on Friday night, got on a plane, arrived in Germany on Saturday morning, had a 5 hour layover so naturally decided to go explore some German bars where he learned that it’s a common practice there to drink beer warm. Haha! Then, he got on a plane to Rome, where he had to find a train to get to my town. There were no trains, only night buses. Then, he found out that he had to take a 40 minute bus ride into the city to get onto that bus. Meanwhile, his phone was on 7% and he didn’t speak Italian so he wrote down a few things and a self-made map on his boarding pass in case his phone died. Then, he took a 9 hour overnight bus ride from Rome down to Reggio Calabria (but good news! There were chargers on the bus.) He arrived in Reggio Calabria at 6:50am. Then, he got off the bus and tried to find a taxi.
Finally, he got two taxi drivers to understand him and they took him. Here’s the best part. He didn’t actually know where he was going. Obviously, you can tell that this was all a surprise by now, so he couldn’t just ask for my address. He found the house I was staying at using the location feature on the iPhone that pins your pictures. He used the location of the pictures I sent him and found the street I was on, but it wasn’t precise enough to give the exact location of the villa. So, after all this, he and the two taxi drivers drove around for 45 minutes looking for the house. Lo and behold, it was the LAST house on the street (naturally). After ringing the doorbell, having the two Rottweilers bark at him viciously, my host father walking out and wondering who the heck this man is (my host father spoke no English), then finally my host mom walking out and somehow immediately knowing who he was even having never seen a picture of him, he was let into the gates and then, showed up at my door!
As if I wasn’t in awe before all of this, I was stunned at what he did…and that I had NO idea!! After we all listened to the story, we decided to go out to get breakfast and espressos, but Chris turned to my host mom and said, “Can we take a picture first?” I didn’t think anything of it since the view was beautiful. We walked toward the balcony and I handed out my phone out of habit, but to my surprise, Chris was getting out his phone too. I was confused, but I brushed it off and posed for the picture. My host mom took the picture on my phone. Then, Chris said, “Here, take it on mine too” walking to hand her his phone. Still confused, I looked at him kind of weird as he was “showing” my host mom how to take the picture. Really, he was just switching it to video mode.
Then, he walked toward me pulling a big box out of his hand and as he got down on one knee, he said, “So the real reason why I’m here…” …I started crying immediately and missed everything else until I blubbered out the word, “YES” and he put the ring on my finger and wrapped me in the greatest hug I’ve ever known. As if the day wasn’t perfect enough (and it was only 8:30am!!), we then went to get coffee and go to mass. When we came back, my host father was so impressed by Chris that he called a friend and ordered a sailboat for the family to go out on for the day.
A SAILBOAT. So, my host family, 5 year old sister and 25 year old sister, her fiancé, Chris and I went on a sailboat that day. We sailed the southern coast of Italy and even jumped in for a swim. The water was breathtaking. We toured some cute towns on our way back home and as we were getting off the boat, the captain, upon hearing the story invited us all to his restaurant for dinner. We went to dinner that night and had probably a 10 course meal and laughed and celebrated and it was beautiful. We both collapsed into bed that night. Chris then left the next day to go back to America. But, it was okay, because I finished aupairing a week later. I came back to the U.S. and into my beloved’s arms and now I never have to leave them again.