10 Things We Learned about Each Other

8 Oct

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We’ve already gone through the 10 things we learned about Germany, Paris and Italy and now we move on to what we learned about each other. After nearly three years together (anniversary on Thursday!), we know each other quite well. Caitlin told me she already knew I make a smacking sound with my mouth after I’ve been mulling something over for a while and am ready to talk about it, but only told me about it this trip. I knew that she gets so anxious to fly, she won’t sleep much, even on an international flight, sleeping pills or no. We won’t count those. Here’s 10 things we learned about each other on our fortnight abroad. I love that there are still surprises after our three short years, and that Zack helps me to learn things about myself, too!

5 Things Zack Learned About Caitlin


1. Caitlin is “meh” on museums.

I guess I never quite knew what her stance on museums was, but I assumed she was a fan. She loves learning and she likes cool stuff and museums are pretty chock full of stuff for those who are into learning about cool stuff. I figured we’d go to 4-5 museums in Paris and totally eat it up. We went to The Louvre, walked through pretty quickly and enjoyed it, but were hardly enthralled. That was the end of our museum time on the trip and neither of us was all that bummed about it. There are a few museums in this world that I really get a kick out of — MoMA, for instance, is one I could spend hours in. But that’s only because I took a film class where I learned a LOT about modern art, so I feel like I actually get something out of, say, a Mondrian. I really did get into a lot of the old sculptures at the Louvre, but after a couple of hours of that, I’m ready to be outside and appreciate nature instead.


2. She’s not great with a knife.

I had to cut Caitlin’s pizza for her every time we ate it in Italy*. Which was often. I guess a decade of not cutting steak or chicken has left her pretty lacking in the knife and fork department**.  She doesn’t have a great grip on the utensils and her motion isn’t all that effective. To be fair, when she was given a better knife, she did a passable job, but could still use some work on cutting for someone in their mid-20s. Ehn. It was sort of embarrassing, but I was able to get some traction with a better knife so I’m OK with only moderate cutting skills. Maybe this will change when I have to cut stuff up for my own kids someday … maybe.

*Just call me “ol’ baby Wittbloom.”

**Oh, it’s been my entire life. Before I went vegetarian my dad was still cutting my food for me.


3. She’s a meticulous shopper.

I guess I should have known this after seeing Caitlin have a list of ~275 items on her ModCloth wish list and only buying 5, but this girl does not impulse buy. She analyzes every single decision like whatever she’s buying will be a part of her wardrobe forever and she’ll have to wear it every day. She looked at so much jewelry at “her store” in Venice and only walked away with sunglasses. She tried on countless things, but decided her money would be better spent on online shopping when she got home. What she did buy was excellent, as always. I was very touched and VERY pleased that Zack was able to actually see this happen, because I do feel like I talk so much about all the stuff I wanna buy from ModCloth and elsewhere that it could seem as though I’m a spendy capitalist citizen, but I really take a lot into account, including what the shipping of items does to the environment, whether I can get something local, if the quality of the item means it’s going to last me for *at least* a full season. Hell, I still keep a checkbook.


4. She’s a superb navigator.

I tend to give Caitlin a bit of a hard time about her navigating skills in Austin, but she was our rock on this trip. When I’m driving us around town, I’ll tell her to watch the directions on my phone and get agitated if I don’t think she’s giving me instructions the way I like it. I’ll admit most of that is me being anxious about always being lost. But on this trip, Caitlin took the reins at every turn and we really didn’t get lost for more than 10 minutes at any point. She navigated in every language, often without even relying on a map. Very impressive. The only two times I was “right” was when I said it was “this way, up all these stairs” and I’m convinced Caitlin didn’t agree only because it meant excessive stairs. We’ll get to that. It wasn’t so much that I was trying to avoid stairs altogether; it’s simply that, if I’m about to make an effort to go up a crapton of stairs, we best be 110% sure it’s the right way or else I’m gonna get cranky and nobody wins.


5. She’s resilient when she needs to be.

Caitlin is a hard worker in all aspects of her life, who puts her very best into everything she does and has extremely high expectations for herself. The only downside to this is that she can occasionally get a little rattled if things aren’t going the way she planned. This can be an issue at times, since I’m more of a “things will all work out” kind of guy who doesn’t put too much time into planning and am also extremely lucky, so I tend to be able to go with the flow more. On this trip, Caitlin was really great at going with the flow, adjusting our schedule on the fly and overcoming adversity time and time again. When we were stranded in Rome, I was minutes from giving in and just going home two days early. She really came through in the clutch and wouldn’t let us give up. It was very impressive. I know I can be difficult to live with because of my…meticulousness. But I love having a plan. In part, I love creating a plan. It helps me daydream out all the good stuff that is to come. But even I realize that sometimes, you gotta just keep things loose and listen to your heart in the moment. That’s how life gets to surprise you.

5 Things Caitlin Learned About Zack


1. Zack loves stairs.

I’m unsure as to how this never came up in our lives before, but my god, does this boy LOVE stairs. He was practically giddy about getting to run up hundreds of stairs in the Eiffel Tower. And yes, you read that right — run up those stairs. He slowed his pace for me somewhat in some instances, although if I am remembering correctly at some point at a different set of stairs he actually ran up, ran back down, and ran up again as I was making my way up slowly. I may have been a leeeeeetle grumpy about having to traverse stairs in the Eiffel Tower instead of just taking the damn elevator, but in retrospect I 100% believe we made the right decision. Our stairs line was about 1/3 the size of the elevator line, and we had the satisfaction of knowing we made it almost all the way up on our own two legs. Maybe this boy will make me a stair convert before all is said and done (probably not, though. Stairs are the worst.) I don’t know why I really love running up stairs. Maybe it’s the Rocky training montage, but every time I see a flight of stairs, I run up them two at a time. I especially love doing this when I’m drunk, but even totally sober in the middle of the day, I get a kick out of running up stairs.  I should really start incorporating running up stairs in my workouts.

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2. He’s kind of dog crazy.

I knew Zack was crazy about our dog — Scooby is the no. 1 boy in his life — but I guess I didn’t realize how much it is a dream of Zack’s to pet every. single. dog. I have always been that way as well, but unfortunately, despite there being an abundance of shaggy-but-cute pups in Italy, it’s not much of a dog-petting town. The few times we went to pet someone’s dog, their owner allowed it but kind of gave us a, “…really?” look about the whole thing. Still, we were able to swoon over the pups, nonetheless, and I can’t remember how many times we said, “That one kind of reminds us of Scooby!!” (Hint:  if it had four legs and a waggy tail, it kind of reminded us of Scooby.) As a kid who grew up with cats (who are fine in their own way) I always petted other dogs vicariously. Now that we have the Scoobus in our lives and we had to spend three weeks without him, I missed all the dog pets and hugs. Seeing some cute dogs around made me want to give ’em the rubs and the snuggles.


3. He really loves the Eiffel Tower.

I guess we were just both so excited to do the Eiffel Tower that he never had to try to convince me, so I never understood how much joy he was to get out of it. Zack absolutely loved the Eiffel Tower. As we rounded the corner and could start to see the top of it, he was already gushing. It was absolutely adorable and totally unexpected, although had I known #1 about Zack, perhaps I would have pieced it all together. An architectural icon where you can see all of Paris after climbing a zillion stairs?! Zack was in heaven. I even presented an argument that it should have been #1 on our top things we saw in Europe list. I had so much fun climbing stairs and the views up there were just incredible. I loved whenever we could see the tower from another part of the city. I loved biking by it. I loved everything about it.


4. He just can’t turn off the football.

So, spoiler alert for our “10 predictions” post that will come on Thursday, but — Zack just cannot disconnect from the football. It’s hard for me to say he even tried to disconnect from it, though I’m sure he’ll make the argument that he actually restrained himself a lot. I really and truly thought Zack was going to be able to just not check sports stuff while we were in Europe, and while I don’t think it in any way reflects any kind of boredom with what we were doing, I can’t say I’m not* a little disappointed. Still, he was mostly respectful about it, checking stuff only when I was in the shower or getting ready. Except for that one night in Venice when we watched a whole game. So much for unplugging. I checked my fantasy team in every city, but resisted to ever check while we were out and about or spending time together. Not my proudest moment, but I was at least decent enough to not be on my phone constantly. For the record, we watched just the fourth quarter of the Lions-Redskins in bed with a bottle of sparkling wine, not the whole game. 

*Andy Shore double negative trademark.


5. He’s a good protector.

As you have read, we got into some sticky situations over in ol’ Europe, with one of the most stressful coming for us in Rome. Through language barriers and brief stints of homelessness, Zack made me feel very safe. I knew that as long as I was with him, we could figure something out. Even when things felt dire, in the back of my mind I knew we’d find a way. Crazy scary downpour in Freiburg causing me to off-road? Time to go duck under this overhang! Busting up my knee from my bike fall? Wait to cry until Zack can hug me! When I was with Zack, I felt braver myself, which is a really, really great thing. Daww, well this warms my heart. I may have gotten in contact with our hostel host in Rome and talked to the cabbie in Spanish, which was close enough to Italian that he understood, but Caitlin’s insistence that we’d find a way kept us going just as much, if not more. We definitely learned how to rely on each other and boost each other when we needed it all trip long.


2 Responses to “10 Things We Learned about Each Other”

  1. Jackie dykstra October 9, 2013 at 2:19 am #

    “She’s not great with a knife” cracked me up. You’re a great team!


  1. 10 Prediction Results from Europe | rockloveaustin - October 15, 2013

    […] So much for that. As I said in the 10 things we learned about each other post, Caitlin is pretty meh on museums* and we ran out of time in Paris super quickly and […]

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