London > Rome > Arezzo > Paris | Spring 2011
This was our first trip together as a couple. I had a nanny gig in Paris for two weeks so I had the family get me a ticket to Europe a couple of weeks early. Kris and I flew out together on the British Airways nonstop flight from Phoenix to Heathrow. Even in coach, it was fuckin baller. They just treat you so well. They bring you individual containers of Haggen Daaz, for fuck’s sake!
We started out in London staying for a long weekend at the home of a London doula I had connected with online. She wasn’t even there so we had the whole place to ourselves and just had to feed the cats. Her place was adorable and we had such a nice time. We even mastered London public transport and figured out how to get Oyster Cards.
We had so much fun exploring together.
Kris on crossing the street in London: I just try to scurry so I don’t get smashed. And you’ve got to keep your head on a swivel.
We saw a restaurant advertising their “Honest Sausage”. So the joke for the day was what made a dishonest sausage. And that we surely were. We actually saw a lot of funny signs for sausages….
We came across this strange looking ramp that led to somewhere underground. It said “Gents”.
Katie: Titty bar?
Kris: Piss trough. (and he was right)
Kris on European toilets: “These toilets are deep as shit. Your shit has such a long way to fall. It’s like a goddamn mile high. It’s like dropping your shit off a cliff. I hope whoever invented these toilets has to shit in them for the rest of their life.”
You know those double decker buses? Well, we always sat on top. So we would be walking down the stairs right as the bus was coming to a stop. One of the times the bus came to a really abrupt stop and I totally wasn’t paying attention or holding on at all and I fell down the last few steps with a total thud and slammed into Kris really hard. But thankfully he caught me. And I didn’t slam into the wall of the bus and knock out some teeth.
Walking through Hyde Park, Kris compares London to Nashville, TN:
Kris: This place reminds me of Nashville…..with all the trees and the lusciousness.
Katie: Hahahahaha – you mean lush?
Kris on taking a picture in front of Buckingham Palace: Alright, let’s stand in front of The Buck like every other asshole. But make sure you ask someone [to take our picture] with real light skin.
Kris on the security in front of the Palace: Why they gotta wear such dumbass hats?
Here’s some cool pictures we took from the London Eye:
Having Afternoon Tea at The Orangery in Kensington Palace:
Then we were flying to Rome, but our flight wasn’t until the evening. We technically had the whole day in London, but we had to take our stuff with us because we wouldn’t have time to go back for it. We started the day by going to the Tower of London:
Here’s a picture of us and Tower Bridge taken from inside the grounds:
Here is a picture of where the shit comes out, no joke. Like, they used to shit in this hole upstairs and then the shit would just fall down this chute and out this hole and down to the ground. And then some dude would have to deal with a huge pile of shit all the time. And they had it specifically on this particular side of the tower so that you couldn't see there shit pile from the outside. Something about it making a bad first impression....
At one point I waited on a bench with our bags (inside the Tower of London) while Kris went to the bathroom. He came back and I asked him how it was. He said, “It was fine, but I came out and there were like 75 black frenchies. I had to wade through them to make my way back.”
Kris, on the two little princes that are rumored to have been murdered at the Tower: “You know what? I don’t give a fuck about those two little princes.”
We’re walking out of the Tower and we hear these people speaking a foreign language and coughing a lot.
Kris: What kinda language is that?
Katie: The kind that involves phlegmy horking.
Kris: Hmph. Probably Jewish.
After the tower we were walking along the river, still with our heavy ass crazy huge backpacks on and Kris said, “I wouldn’t walk all day with these heavy packs with anyone else.”
Katie: “What does that mean?”
Kris: “It means I Love you. And everyone else can fuck off.”
We got ourselves to Rome and then we were waiting outside the Ciampino airport in Rome to get on our bus to the city center. A bus pulls up and empties. People get out from a few different doors on the bus. He points to a group that got out the back and says: Look at them comin’ out the ass end. They’re like the bus’ shit.
On the bus driving through Rome:
Katie: Where do you think the bus is going to drop us?
Kris: The fuck off.
We had booked one night at hostel with a private room and a shared bathroom. We went there first to drop off our bags. It was really cute! It was funny though because we had a shower, but no toilet in our room. Go figure.
After that we went walking around and stopped a lot to make out all over Rome. It is the sexiest city I have ever been to. We had dinner sitting outside at the cutest little place in Piazza Navona:
After we got back to the hostel for the night, we decided that if either of us had to pee in the middle of the night we’d just squat and pee in the shower so we didn’t have to get dressed and go down the hall. So we did. There was no toilet paper so I had to use a hand towel to wipe. The next morning Kris went to shower and he said: “Wow. That is one menacing fucking rag in there. All that blood and piss and cum. Christ.”
We both sleep with body pillows between our legs at night. We call them tweeners. We’ve had to improvise tweeners this whole trip. In our hotel all we could find was an itchy blanket to stuff between our legs. Kris said: Could you please go up to the front desk and ask for a non itchy tweener?
I then suggested that we share a pillow (they were big) instead of each having our own. That way we could use the extra pillow as a non itchy tweener. He wasn’t sure about this, so we tried it out for a second (sharing the pillow). We both got situated and I asked him how he was doing. He said: I’m ok, but any less [portion of the pillow] and I’ll freak out.
The next day we had lunch in Campo Dei Fiori and had the best pizza ever. Then we walked up to Villa Borghese — a city park that’s elevated above street level.
We were on the huge balcony in Villa Borghese and there were a couple of cops on horses. One of them was a lady. Kris thought that was hot. She also carried a sword. He said he thought it’s hot that she “has command of a large animal”.
Here’s us on the balcony, and the view down to Piazza del Poppolo:
At one point on our walk, he turns to me and says “You’ve got the stink. But it’s ok. You smell like a real European.” Then we sat down in some grass to rest. He stood up and then reached down to help me up. I moaned and groaned on the way up and he said: “That’s not a good look for you. It’s unbecoming of a lady.”
Later we walked by a guy and we both noticed he has a huge super dark birth mark type thing on his face. I thought maybe it was a hickey from a black girl.
We got gelato and as I was eating my chocolate gelato cone he looked at me and said, “You’ve got it all over your face. There’s like a perfect ring of chocolate around your lips. You look like a two year old”.
There’s seriously gelato. Everywhere. All the time. All hours of the day. Every other person is licking a cone and every other corner has a gelateria. Crazy. I wish we had real mom & pop ice cream stands on every corner, instead of Starbucks and McDonalds.
Katie: I smell, like, mac and cheese or something.
Kris: What?? You don’t just all of the sudden smell like what you want to eat.
We hit all the big sights that day:
And then had the best lunch. It was too good for words. Our starter was thick chunky bright as shit tomatoes, two big milky balls of fresh buffalo milk motz, and a little bouquet of fresh basil. AND THEN LASAGNA:
We saw some crazy parking and traffic scenes while we were walking around:
Later that day we got a train to Arezzo to stay with my friend, Margherita.
Katie: I don’t feel so well. My stomach doesn’t feel right. Maybe it’s montezumas ree-venge.
Kris: Maybe you’ve got the D butt.
Katie: What’s that?
Kris: What starts with a D and happens down there?
Katie: Huh? I have no idea.
Kris: Diarrhea! Man….
Katie: Oh. All I could think of was Dick. When you say “down there”, I think of vagina, not asshole.
Margherita has an amazing apartment and she even gave us her bedroom for the two nights we were there. It was cold in Margherita’s house and Kris came out of the bathroom and said, “It’s like 8c up in this bitch.”
Margherita (who is not fluent in English) looks at Kris’ last name (Bullock) and says “Ah Boolock? Like Sandra??”
That night we went out for cocktails and there was a free buffet (if you buy a cocktail) at the bar. It had delicious pizza, potato bread, bruschetta, hunks of parmesan, cold pesto pasta salad, hunks of bologna. YUM.
The next day we had the best day ever in Arezzo: we slept late, cuddled, had some hot lovin, had cappuccinos and croissants and then prosciutto sandwiches and gelato. There was some confusion with the flavors once we walked away. He ended up eating all of one flavor without giving me a taste. He said, “Well the confusion was exacerbated by that cunt stacking my scoops in reverse”. Then we walked through the park up on the hill. It was so beautiful:
We walked through Piazza Grande from there:
Then we found truffles. This was Kris’ mission. We found them in a little shop for only 15 euros.
Later on we went to a coffee shop I had discovered the year prior on my solo travels. It was run by the sweetest guy named Gabriele and I went there every day I was in Arezzo. He made Kris the cutest latte! We sat at the coffee shop watching people walk by and judging everything about them. There were a lot of super attractive girls walking by and we were both commenting. One in particular was hot, but I wasn’t sure if Kris would think so. I said: Hey – do you wanna fuck that tasty whore?
Kris on a girls outfit that highlighted her muffin top: That is El Hideoso.
We saw this adorable, happy toddler wandering all over in Piazza di San Francesco wearing khakis, a pink long sleeved polo, a sweater vest and fancy brown boots.
Kris on bidets: It’s a trip walking around knowing everybody’s got a clean asshole.
Kris on a woman with no legs pedaling for change: She should really mix in a prosthetic.
Kris, walking by a poorly lit super tiny shop in Arezzo: “That guy must be so bored in there. There was like 12 paintings and it’s dark in there. He needs to mix in some ambiance. He’s probably so bored he’d probably let a dog suck his dick.”
Kris on hermaphrodites: They have too much of both and not enough of neither.
Kris is eating cheese. I want some:
Katie: Hey why don’t you spit some of that cheese into my mouth. Like a mama bird.
Kris: That is disgusting.
Katie: We eat each other’s assholes. And this is gross to you?
The next day we headed back to Rome for our flight back to London. We bought first class tickets for the train back to Rome. Kris says: Maybe they’ll have first class shitters.
When we got on the train, I said, “I won’t poo on the train. The bathroom is disgusting.”
Kris didn’t care. He shit, came back and said: I’ve shat in far worse.
Katie: That’s nuts ass crazy.
Kris: That’s dick tits whack.
I explain to Kris that a “for realsie boner” is one that he gets after he’s already gone pee in the morning.
Kris on drinking too much to be able to have sex: It’s called Bunk out with your Junk out.
Kris, returning from the vending machines in the airport: Oh my fuggin gad. They had freaky fries.
Conversion overheard while waiting in line to board:
Dude number 1: Take a seat all the way in the back. Then shove your suitcase really hard into the overheard bin. Once it’s in, it’s in. And then it’s their problem.
Dude number 2: That’s what she said.
Our plane ended up being delayed and there was loads of confusion because they didn’t change the board right away. We were sitting near the desk and can tell they’re trying and having issues. Kris says: It takes a fuckin act of congress to get that board changed. It really was far more trouble than it should’ve been.
We arrived back in London and this time were staying with a doula I had connected with online — Ema — and her husband, Blair, and their 3 kids: Ellis – 16, Rae – 13, Ezra – 7. They were the coolest couple and family and we had such a great time staying with them. Here’s the view from our bedroom:
We had a couple of family dinners with them and the dinner conversation was so lively. An example:
Ellis: I was playing today and I lost. It was 11-2.
Blair: That’s not even what I would call a loss. That’s just like….humiliation. Did you walk away hanging your head?
Rae (to Ema) Are gerbils supposed to vibrate so much?
Ema: I think you mean he just had the shivers.
Rae: Can I have a gerbil?
Ema: No. We can barely keep the fish alive. (she turns to us) We call the fish magic because he just won’t die no matter what happens.
Ellis was explaining how his friends said jokingly “Ellis! Hide the weed!” in front of some cops and how the cops heard and had to search him just as a formality:
Ellis: It was a lady cop and a man cop. And the lady cop was the one who searched me. And she searched my bum for way too long.
Ema: Oh don’t flatter yourself.
Ellis: She did! She said she needed to search my pockets and you see where I wear my pants (sagging half way down his ass)! My pockets are against my mid thigh. And she was grabbing my bum, but like really grabbing.
One night we were walking home and ducked into a shop to get a snack and a black guy leans in a little too close to me at the counter while I’m buying my banana. We talk about this on the way home:
Katie: That black was a little too close.
Kris: Yeah. We almost had to put him to the fuckin ground.
Katie: What does that even mean?
Kris: It means you woulda bopped his ears and poked his eyes, and I woulda punched his throat. Getting your ears bopped is horrible.
Katie: Have you ever had it done to you?
Kris: Yeah! Well….I did it to myself once when I was younger, just to see what it was like. But if you do it really hard to someone it throws off their equilibrium. And getting punched in the throat doesn’t sound like a picnic either.
Later that night we took a bath together and then went to our room and we were laying in bed and Kris has a funny look on his face.
Katie: Are you holding in a fart?
Kris: No. I don’t need to. I dumped out before the romantic bath.
The next day we had so much fun just exploring London some more. Here’s one of our favorite spots: Regent’s Park:
And then we got the best Indian food to-go from Camden Market and ate it sitting along the Camden Lock:
The architecture there is so beautiful:
And we had a super fun time exploring the shops along Portobello Road:
And of course I made my boyfriend do this:
From Blair and Ema’s house, Kris was going back to Phoenix and I was flying to Paris to meet up with the family I was going to nanny for. On our last night together, we’re packing Kris’ bag to go home. He asked if I needed this bottle of pills (ibuprofen, allergy stuff, etc.):
Katie: Yeah, I’ll keep it. I might need the allergy pills.
Kris: “Well wait. I need the allergy pills. So I’ll take this bottle. You can pedal yourself to the pharmacy. Or the farmachia. Or whatever the fuck the call it in France. The farma shit.”
I went with him to the airport and then went back to Blair and Ema’s for one more night. The next day I got on a bus to Paris. And it went through the chunnel. I didn’t know what meant. And I’m kinda glad I didn’t. Because it meant that our bus drove itself into a shipping container with about half an inch of clearance on either side and everything went black for about 30 minutes until we popped out the other side. I thought we were like being kidnapped but I looked around the bus and everyone else looked calm. That was weird as fuck. But I guess that’s how they minimize disruption in a tunnel that literally goes under the ocean.
As soon as we popped out the other side, the bus stopped at a gas station so everyone could pee and get snacks. I meditated and stretched in the grass next to the gas station. It was in the middle of nowhere in the French countryside and was so beautiful.
I met up with the family and we went to our rented apartment. The elevator was so tiny, we had to go one at a time:
The apartment they had rented was absolutely gorgeous and I had my own bedroom and bathroom. It was funny — in my room, the shower looked like a closet. Like it was a stand alone space with a door that closed like a damn closet. I would wake up ass early every morning and shut myself in the shower with my computer so I could Skype Kris without anyone hearing me or knowing I was up yet.
The mom was a good cook and did a fair amount of cooking in our kitchen so that was really cool. We had a schedule and basically she paid me $400 per week — 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, $10 an hour. Plus obviously my plane tickets and they paid for everything when we would go out together and kept food stocked in the apartment. So all I incurred was super minor expenses when I was out wandering on my own.
Paris was fucking stunning in the spring time like that. I couldn’t even:
One day we went to the Louvre and that was epic:
I took pictures of the important stuff:
And the Mona Lisa was a little underwhelming? Mostly because of the hoardes of tourists. Also it’s really small. And you can hardly get anywhere close to it and it’s behind thick, bullet-proof glass:
One night I was up so late that it worked to Skype with Kris since it was early morning for him. I remember not wanting to disturb the family so I actually used the phone in the apartment next door — the woman wasn’t there and had welcomed us to use her space if we needed. There was a knock at the door and I thought it’d be the mom, I don’t know, telling me it was time for bed or something, but it was the mom handing me a glass of wine. I felt so adult!
We had a really nice time together in the end — we had lots of meals out together and lots of time in the apartment together and it was super chill. Sometimes I’d take the baby out, sometimes I’d stay home with the baby while they went out. It was a total win-win.
The churches in Paris are stunning. Like. I don’t even get it:
Heather had told me to go to Saint Chapelle. She said she had a “religious experience” in there and I trust her. It took my actual breath away. Like. At one point I just sat and cried, I was so overwhelmed with the beauty. Even now writing about it — my eyes are misty:
At the end of two weeks, I was ready to get home to my boyfriend. I went to a bakery on my last day and got a huge box of Parisian pastries and they actually survived the plane ride! I took them as a carry-on and the box fit perfectly right under my seat.