(Thank you, Twitter, for inspiring this post. You do have a purpose in my life, afterall! I wrote this post a million years ago [or in March] but am just getting around to posting it now...)
May 1998 was the best month of my life. Hands down. No question about it.
That's probably sacrilegious to say. I mean, I should say that the best time in my life was when I got married or when we adopted. That would be the PC thing to say. But that month was particularly cool and life-changing for a myriad of other reasons. I didn't win the lottery or find Jesus or anything like that. But it was still the BEST month of my life.
And I have the tattoo to prove it. (I'll get back to that in a minute...)
May 1998 was a month that I spent traveling in Europe with a bunch of other college students (and one prof.). We went to Germany, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. We saw about 500 cathedrals and churches, stayed with host families and in charming hotels, drank German beer, walked EVERYWHERE, saw stunning castles, rode on trains through gorgeous mountain passes, ate weird things like boar, saw a ballet in Vienna, visited fabulous museums, learned more history that can fit in my brain ... and on and on and on. It was the most amazing 4 weeks of my life.
This was not my first trip to Europe. In fact, it was my third. I had gone with my family when I was 9 and again when I was 16. I have done a lot of traveling so that wasn't a big deal. There was just something so magical about that month. I was free. I was away. I truly felt like an adult for probably the first time in my life. This, coming from the girl who cried when she went away to summer camps and had to wait an extra year after high school to go away to college because I just.couldn't.leave.home. This month was a turning point in my life as I went from Anne the girl to Anne the woman. No, not in THAT way ;) But in many other ways.
I felt like a butterfly that month, just opening my wings and learning how to fly.
If you have never been to Prague you must go before you die. Put it on your Someday List right now. Prague is my favorite city in the world, and I can say that after seeing many, many cities of the world. Paris is great, Copenhagen is wonderful, Budapest is incredible. But there is something out-of-this-world awesome about Prague. It's mysterious in a non-creepy way. I fell in love with it instantly. I will get back there someday. Mark my words.
And I have the best, most everlasting souvenir of my favorite city in the world that makes me smile every time I see it.
[teaser: you will have to come back to the blog tomorrow to see a pic of my tatt. I will wait for you to put that in your planner................okay, now we can continue]
This tattoo came after a couple of glasses of wine and a lot of prodding from my friend Megan, who was a tattoo veteran. We had seen a tattoo shop that was very busy as we were walking earlier that morning, and we just couldn't get the idea of leaving Prague with a tattoo out of our heads. Why not?
So we did it. And it hurt like bloody hell.
Thinking back (and frankly the memory is a little blurry ... wine and all, you know...), I can't remember why I chose a butterfly or why I chose my ankle. (My friend Megan got a lizard on her ankle, BTW.) But now when I look at the butterfly on my ankle I think 2 things: 1) OMG, how cliche to have a butterfly tattoo on your ankle, and 2) The butterfly symbolizes the incredible month I had 'flying' around Europe, spreading my new wings and making my transformation into who I was going to become.
There are, of course, religious overtones to a butterfly that also fit in perfectly with who I have become. But overall the butterfly was the perfect choice for me. I have never and will never regret it.
To my one reader who was with me on that trip...it was an amazing month, wasn't it???
My mom's reaction to my tattoo was classic. When she saw it she licked her finger and tried to rub it off, like it was a fake one!!! LOL!!! I think she had a heart attack right there and then. It was awesome.
And I am planning my next tattoo as we speak. I was thinking of something like this:
Yeah, right. ;)
What tattoos do you have or want to have? What would you think if your sweet little daughter came home from Europe with a tattoo?? Discuss.