[surprise! a segway story: she said]

I’ll tell you a secret: I’m bad at keeping secrets. It’s not that I’m not loyal, but I just like sharing. I’m just so bursting with excitement to tell you what’s happening! I can’t buy Christmas gifts too early because I just want to give you your presents right away! I just can’t wait to see the look on your face!

Ponte Vecchio

Likewise, surprise anything’s from me are usually spontaneous. I can’t leave too many days between the big moment because I know I’ll crack. What? No, I’m not planning a surprise for you. Why would you ask that? No surprises here. I’m an open book! Read all about it! Oh. You said to pass the salt? Sure. No problem…

A few months ago, Matt surprised me with tickets to see Wicked in Madison. I like to think I’m good at guessing surprises. I was really sleepy and wanted to take a nap after we dropped his mom off at the airport..when he kept urging me to wake up. “Mmm…let’s just go home and sleep,” I said, half falling asleep in the passenger seat. And then he verbally hit me with the words, “No. You really need to wake up…because we’re going to go see Wicked right now.” WHAT?! [I should mention that I had been wanting to see Wicked since my sophomore year in college] I was so surprised. I started to cry. Actual tears. From my eyeballs. I was surprised. That boy. He got me good.

So. It was only fair I plan a super awesome surprise back. [There shall be more than one surprise-or in this relationship!] I really wanted to get a night tour for the Colosseum but I was too late. All sold out. And then I remembered that he said he had never been on a segway before. Bingo. I was going to book us a segway tour. Complete with nerdy helmet, bright traffic vests, and all the forward leaning you can handle in a night.

I had been thinking about this for a solid three weeks and finally reserved our adventure the week before. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to tell him we were going on a surprise segway tour! of Florence! at night!

“Guess what!”
Oh crap. I shouldn’t tell him. “I uh… really like weeding?”
“Yeah, that’s weird.”
Yeah! Way to be, Steph! He won’t suspect a thing.

I forgot I had the ticket reservation in my Inbox and once Matt was checking an email for me from my parents.
“Did you just look at my email?” I questioned him.
“What?” he responded, surprised.
“Were you reading my emails in my Inbox?” I will punch you if you saw the surprise!
“No…? What?” still confused.
“Are you sure?” I grilled.
“Yeah. I would never look through your stuff.” almost insulted that I would accuse him of such a thing.
“Oh. Okay! Just curious!” I said. Brushing it off. That wasn’t defensive at all, right? I didn’t sound like I was hiding anything, right?
Always leave them flabbergasted. That’s my strategy.

Anyway. I was pumped. And seemingly bipolar.


I tried to play it cool and told Matt that we should just relax on our first night in Florence. We’d been in ultra-crazy-tourist mode for the last few days and I told him we just needed to rest. No plans. He agreed. Yes! I’m so good at being casually sneaky!

I was kind of stressed from getting lost in the car and we had a mini mini confrontation when I was ready to jump off the deep end. We were both a little cranky. And just mentally exhausted. He was handling it much better than I. I just wanted to whine. In my head, I would justify my behavior, “No no no, it’s okay that I’m a brat right now. Really! Because I have a really neat surprise for you later! So you’ll forgive me. Right? So I can whine. Right? Yeah?”

Once we got to the B&B, we made a quick lunch and Matt took a major nap. Poor guy was exhausted. Our hosts had just given us a bunch of recommendations on places to go and sights to see. I had to figure out a good plan of action. I was in Super Secret Surprise-Keeping Stephanie mode.

I Google-Mapped the segway tour shop and circled the street on the map we had. I came up with the excuse, I would tell Matt that my friend had told me we should go to this spot for dinner. I thought that was pretty believable.

When Matt woke up, I stuck to my story.

“Hey, so I have a plan. I was thinking we could walk by the Duomo and then go to this place for dinner [pointing at the dot I drew] and then just walk around Florence at night?”
“What place for dinner?”
“My friend recommended it. It’s supposed to be really good!”
Muahahahahaha. Phase One. Complete.

We left the B&B a bit earlier than I had planned so we dawdled by the Duomo a bit. The façade of the Duomo in Florence is absolutely stunning. It was the perfect distraction.

Since Matt was in charge of directions, we found the street pretty easily. Then it started to get really tricky.

“..I think it’s gotta be here somewhere.”
“What’s this place called?”
Crap. I don’t know. Make up something Italian! “Umm..I don’t remember.”
“Well what kind of food is it?”
Shoot. Quick say something! “Umm..I forget.”
“Who recommended it?”
Why are there so many questions?! GAHH! This is hard! “Just someone from work?”
“There’s not a lot on this street. Why don’t we just go to one of the places that Breditz & Nadja [our hosts] recommended?”
Nooooo. “Let’s just walk down to the end of the street real fast and just look at the restaurants! I know that it’s address number 9?” Niiiice. I gave him an address. Now it’s like I know where we’re going.
“Steph, there’s two restaurants here.”
Oh no. Should I tell him now? Oh! There’s the segway place! I glanced at my watch inconspicuously. But we’re a bit early! Must stall! “But it’s supposed to be a really good restaurant! It’s gotta be here. Just look for number 9!”

I could tell he was getting a little flustered with me:

“So we’re looking for this dot that you just circled on the map. With no restaurant name. No idea what they serve…you just drew a circle around a whole street on the map. Do you see why I’m a little confused here?”
Yesss…..” I grinned sheepishly, bit my lip, and looked at my feet. BUTTTTTTT it’s because you’re about to be SURPRISEDDDDDDDDDDDDD!! “Have you ever been on a segway?” Crap. No giving it away!
“No,” he says and he looks up and down the street.
“We could go on a segway tour?” I said jokingly, trying to clear the air. He was losing patience. “Okayyy, why don’t we just look at the menus at the restaurants and see if they look good?” I asked in my sweetest, most innocent voice. “I thought the restaurant was supposed to be here…”
“Fine.” he relented.

So we looked. And the menus were not impressive. And Matt seemed anxious to move on.

“How about this. New plan. Why don’t we go walk around Florence at night and find one of the restaurants that Bredt recommended?” he said, trying to let me down easy. Clearly, he thought my plan was a flop.
“No.” I said firmly. And walked off.
“What?” He was shocked. I’m not usually so straightforward and disagreeable.
“I just think it’s a silly plan.” Play it coooooool. Don’t tell him yet! You’re almost there!

He stood there. Stunned. And sort of offended. And out of patience.

“Come onnnn…” I urged him to follow me down the street. I saw the segways set up outside and a lady sitting out front.
He began to walk. “Well, then what do you want to do-” he said, exasperated.

“Do you have a reservation for the segway tour?” the lady asked us.
“No, we’re just looking for -” Matt started.
“YES!” I smiled really big. “Yes we do!” I pulled out my ID.
Matt looked so confused.
“SURPRIIIIIISE??” I half declared, half asked. I wasn’t sure if he was totally surprised or not.

But he was! And it was great! And we had so much fun! I’m the best secret surprise-keeper ever! My best surprise yet! And longest kept, at that :] Yay! Success!



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