As we returned from our 16 day epic adventure this week, it was important to organize our priorities as we readjusted to normal life. After being gone for so long, there are some basic things that need addressing. The laundry needs to be done. The groceries need to be gotten. The mail needs to be sorted and opened. The back log of voicemail, email, and text messages needs to be returned. And among my own personal priorities, the girl friends that I watch The Bachelorette with need to be gathered together immediately to catch up on all the scoop and dish on the ‘Men Tell All’ special before the finale next Monday! In order of importance, this happened after I had some groceries back in the house, but before my laundry was finished and my mail was opened!
I have written about The Bachelorette as a guilty pleasure before. True, it’s non-intellectual, but it’s also an excellent reason for a weekly ladies’ night and an interesting study in human attraction and psychology. The pros definitely outweigh the cons. We take our Bachelorette very seriously. This year we filled out brackets, bought a traveling trophy for the winner, and acquired a case of the official Bachelorette wine for our weekly get-togethers. If you’re going to do something, might as well go all in! This, consequently, sounds like a third or fourth tier tagline for franchise! As Becca Kufrin would say, “Do the damn thing!”
Much ink has been spilled here and elsewhere about whether or not reality tv is the best place to find love, and the track record of the franchise isn’t great, but neither is the national divorce rate, so it’s probably no better or worse than meeting people anywhere else! And yet, having spent the last two weeks with my husband in foreign countries, I can appreciate what the show’s story arch is aiming for. That’s to say, The Bachelorette probably is a really good place to fall in love…because it’s really easy to be in love in the beautiful, exotic, foreign places. And that’s what the show does.
It’s easy to fall in love when you’re climbing a mountain together and looking out on breathtaking glacial panoramas. It’s easy to fall in love when you’re strolling along a harbor walkway at sunset, watching swans glide along a glassy lake. It’s easy to fall in love as you stand on a bridge in Venice in the moonlight listening to violin music drift over the canal and watching the gondolas slide through the water below you. It’s easy to fall in love as you wander the streets of a brand new city, and duck into the perfect hole-in-the-wall restaurant where you’re the only two people, and you share a perfect meal, and a bottle of wine, and the conversation is easy, and you feel a million miles away from home, and work, and stress, and real life. Having just done all these things, I’ll admit that a whole lot more of our vacation was romantic than wasn’t romantic, and we didn’t have to try that hard to make it that way. The notion of international travel and exploring a new place with someone is romantic in and of itself, and it’s easy to get swept up in the moments as they come.
I believe that the men and women on the Bachelor franchise that travel around the world together probably do fall in love. Or, at least, they believe they fall in love. But if there’s one thing our most recent trip also showed me, it’s that it’s in the moments that things are inherently unromantic, when you’re stuck on the other side of the world with someone and things are going wrong, and it’s just you and your person in a country facing a culture and language that is completely foreign, and you have to figure it out on the fly together, that actually reveal the real mettle of the relationship.
Case and point. On Sunday, I passed out on the train as we travelled from Venice to Milan. We had disembarked the ship that morning, and I felt fine. It was hot in Venice, and we had our luggage with us limiting what we were able to do, but we walked from the port to the train station where we had too much time to kill, so we sat around using the WiFi for a while, and then dragged our luggage around Venice trying to take a walk before having to sit on the train for almost two hours. Only about 30 minutes before we boarded did I start to feel a little bit off, but I figured I would just drink some water, sleep on the train, and be fine by that evening.
Almost immediately after the train started moving, however, I started to feel worse. I had a terrible headache, my stomach began churning, and I eventually ended up with my head down on the table in between the seats trying to convince myself not to be sick. 45 minutes into the trip, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. I jumped up from my seat in a rush to get to the bathroom but never got there. I felt the room start to spin, and my vision start to go black, and the next thing I remember is my husband’s panicked voice calling me back to consciousness. When I opened my eyes, I had never seen that particular look of fear on his face before!
The next 45 minutes were a confusing blur of train officials and Italian doctors. In order to proceed to Milan, I needed to be cleared by medical personnel, and sign a waiver releasing the train carrier from any liability. Most of this happened in Italian, which I barely understand 10% of when I’m fully healthy and mentally alert, and definitely don’t understand any of having just regained consciousness. There was a lot of shuffling of documents, and checking of passports, and some very nice Italian people who came to our aid and brought me water, helped elevate my legs, cradled my head, kept me cool, and offered to get me food. Unfortunately, they also only spoke Italian, and there was little my husband could do but answer a smattering of questions asked in broken English, keep track of our passports, and hold my hand on the floor.
When the medics arrived, they also only spoke limited English, and trying to relay to them what had happened was a bit of a chore. They took my vitals, blood pressure, glucose levels, etc. and checked my head and face (I had fallen face first into the wall, and my nose was throbbing). There was more paperwork, and the decision of whether or not to go to the hospital, and all the while my husband sat there, mostly helpless, holding my hand and silently reassuring me that whatever was going to happen next, it was going to be him and I together, and that was going to make everything ok.
Eventually I was cleared, and carefully helped up off the floor and returned to my seat. We made it to Milan without further incident, though I did feel terrible for delaying the train over 40 minutes. But the romantic moments of our vacation were officially over. After the train incident, I was sick for the remaining 48 hours of the trip. I didn’t leave the hotel room in Milan until we returned to the train station to go to the airport. I laid on the floor of the airport for the better part of our wait for the plane. I ran fevers, and broke fevers, and ran fevers again. I didn’t eat. I slept a lot. We cancelled all our plans in Iceland, again heading straight to the hotel, and remaining there until heading back to the airport. We had experienced an amazing two weeks together, and in the final two days all I kept saying over and over was, “I want to go home!”
You know what you don’t here a lot of people say on The Bachelorette? “I want to go home,” at least, not if they hope to last long on the show. But at the end of the day, that’s what they should want…to go home, with the person they shared all those experiences with. In a really strange way, my husband taking care of me the last 48 hours of our trip, and making sure I was safe, and making sure that I had what I needed, even as he felt like there wasn’t much he could do, was the most romantic thing about our whole trip. It’s the reason we’re married…because when you strip away the moonlight, and the canals, and the candlelit dinners, and the mountains, and the beaches, and the violins, and the quaint accommodations, he’s still willing to stay in bed with me all day in an Italian hotel room, laying a cool cloth on the back of my neck and fetching me Tylenol, or sit and watch over me as I shiver, curled up in a ball, and try to sleep on the floor of Milan Malpensa.
The Bachelorette finale is on Monday, and it will be exotic, and romantic, and beautifully produced in some foreign location that looks perfect in pictures, and the newly minted couple definitely deserves to experience that. But I think if the producers really wanted to help forge a lasting relationship, they’d drop the finalists off on an island together, expose them to a bout of the stomach flu, and wait and see what happens! Because you shouldn’t just want the kind of love that shows up when the circumstances are ideal, you should want the kind of love that stays around when the circumstances are anything but!
Friday kudos to…
Everyone in the aforementioned story gets a kudos! First and foremost, my husband, who stepped up and took care of everything to get me back home. The amazing people on the train who stepped in to help take care of me in the moment especially the man who held my head in his hands and the woman who eventually gave up her jacket so I could use it as a pillow. And the medics who arrived on the scene and offered great medical care despite the fact that we only understood a fraction of what the other was saying. Though in the moment it was a terrible part of the trip that I wouldn’t wish on anyone, in hindsight it was an amazing moment of human compassion everyone who had a part in making sure I was going to be okay.
Wine for your weekend
Roscato Rosé Dolce
In honor of The Bachelorette finale, you should start drinking your rosé now! I’ve recommended on the Roscato Rosso Dolce on the wine list before, and will pretty much drink any of the Roscato sweet wines without complaint. But we’ll stick with the rosé this week. Rosé Dolce is sweet and sparkling, so be prepared for both, and plan your meal or snacks accordingly. If you don’t like champagne because you think it’s too tasteless and dry, this is your perfect flavor profile opposite. Rich fruit flavors, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry are all very prominent on the palette. The official tasting notes suggest “cotton candy,” though I didn’t pick up on that particularly aroma, and in fact, I don’t even like cotton candy, but loved this wine, so don’t let the “experts” turn you off! Honestly, this rosé should be its own Crayola crayon color. It’s vibrant and bright, and looks amazing in a champagne flute with the crown of white foam on top, and a few raspberries bobbing in the glass. It manages to be sparkling without feeling fizzy, and is a fun wine to celebrate with at the end of a long week…or a long season of watching reality tv love!