Last European Epic

Hullo family (of the related and not-so-related varieties!)

Since my last epic was boring and only for letting you know I’m
home and safe, I thought I’d pop off one more to tell you about
my exciting last few weeks in Europe.

At last Epic, I had just finished playing in the mud and was
running off to Belgium to get my last minute chores finished up.
Taking my bicycle back to the rental shop was definitely the
low-light. I dragged it all the way across town and actually
managed to get lost once, so I had to back track a bit. That was
a real bummer. After all that, I only got half my deposit back
since it was locked with no keys. Stupid bike locks.

Then I closed my bank account. I managed to save a surprising
amount of money, but then the bank went and lost it somewhere
during the international wire. I finally got it back today, only
three weeks after ordering the transfer. Sheesh. Fortunately,
going this direction, the exchange rate is in my favor, so it
looks like I saved even more money! Yay! (Now I just need a job
so I can make some more!)

I got to spend a bit of time with Marianne while I was in
Leuven, which was excellent. Poor thing was stuck in the middle
of exams, but I did a fine job distracting her. And she kept
me company, so it was a good swap.

I did some last minute souvenir shopping and headed back to the
Netherlands on Thursday night. Sadly, I missed my friend in
Germany (we’ll figure it out one of these days, Jan!) but I had
another surprise waiting for me.

On Friday morning, I heard a thump-thumping on my bedroom door.
After a bit of serious confusion (the knocking was being done on
a door that is permanently locked), I scrambled around and
finally managed to identify the source of my mysterious wake-up
call: Dustin!

He arrived in Amsterdam early that morning and got a ride to
Nijmegen from a friend who lives there. I’ll get out of bed any
time for a surprise like that!

But that wasn’t the only surprise. He had plane tickets to Paris
for the weekend, so off we went, dark and early the next
morning.  We had a great time. We strolled up the Champs-Elysee,
checked out the parks (no pigeons-dans-les-fleurs this time),
visited the Rodin museum, and had lunch in little cafes, feeling
perfectly french.

On Sunday we met with a guy name Greg who Dustin knows through
work. He’s fascinated with Calamity Jane, and wants to make a
documentary of her life. I’d say he’s a little fanatical, but it
was fun to get a french perspective on how cool the wild west
is. He also gave us an awesome recommendation for dinner.

For anyone planning to go to Paris any time ever, I highly
recommend Le Petit Chatelet for dinner. Mmmmm. It’s possible
I’ve never had a better steak, and saying that is probably
sacrelige for a South Dakotan. Dessert was also unbelievable
(two varieties of creme brulee, for me, chocolate covered
profiteroles for Dustin) and the waiter was not just friendly,
but funny.

We capped off the stay with a walk down along the river. It was
a happening place that time of night. Notre Dame and the Eiffel
Tower (and some other important buildings) were all lit up, and
all along the bank, groups of people were playing music and
dancing. Because Dustin is the best boyfriend ever, we stopped
off and did a bit of dancing of our own. (Are you totally
grossed out yet? Don’t worry, it gets better!)

It was shortly thereafter, in a nice quiet spot, that he got
down on one knee and asked me to marry him. (Eeeeeee! Yes yes
yes!)

So I’m engaged now. 🙂 No, there isn’t a date yet, although it
will probably be some time next summer, and hopefully in Europe.
I’ll pass out more details when they’re available. If I
accidentally included some of my Michigan family on this email
list, don’t tell gramma!! Hehe.

The rest of my news you already know – I made it home safely,
and after Steve (my cousin)’s wedding this weekend, I’ll try to
get serious about finding a job. I have a few leads, but I
haven’t done much about them yet. Again, I’ll keep you updated.

So until next time, much love and many hugs!!

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