Thursday, November 26, 2009

the things for which i am thankful

'tis the season of thanks. i like thanksgiving. it's one of the best times of year to be with family, eat a whole lot, get amazing deals at stores, and most importantly, count your blessings. the thing that i am the most thankful for is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. having a testimony of Jesus Christ and of Heavenly Father and His plan for all of us is the greatest blessing i have. i was thinking about a lot of things today and i thought about how ivana is going on her mission tomorrow!!! i am so excited for her. gosh, i remember those days struggling in croatian as i tried to explain the answers to her very intricate questions. i remembered going to zagreb to witness her baptism. i remembered all the times we spent together. all of our conversations and hugs. i am so grateful for her. she taught me what a truly loyal friend is. i have so many great friends. and as flaky as it sounds, i really wish i were a better friend to them. my greatest weakness isn't loving my friends, it's not keeping in touch as often as i should. i'll work to improve that! i'm grateful to clayton for supporting me so greatly as i decided to go on a mission and for supporting me all the way. words cannot express his sweetness and amazingness. he showed me what respect is and that not all guys are pompous jerks.
the person at the forefront of my mind was gabriele. my silly italian. i am grateful for each passing day when he decides to still love me. i'm grateful for our engagement and for all the little things that we constantly learn about each other. i'm grateful for having been led to him. we're just meant for each other. he's made everything worthwhile.
i'm happy. even when i think i'm not i'm happy. because i have a lot to be thankful for. i have a great family. one that's strong in the church and whose ties can never break. and i'm happy with that.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


i went to the library today to donate some books and check out whatever caught my eye. so i found a dvd about venice and i checked it out. venice is quite the place and its history is really interesting. so many things that are common to us started in venice. well, glass is a duh but the fact that the mirror was invented there is pretty cool. marco polo, casanova, casinos, cafes, murano glass...the list goes on. anyway, i really enjoyed the little history lesson and loved the images. i can't wait to go back.
cormons, italy is about an hour north of venice and ummm yeah i am definitely choosing venice as a top weekend getaway, alongside zadar of course. i don't know what gabriele will say about this. he's not a huge fan of venice. to be honest, i wouldn't say it's my favorite place in the world, but it has a lot of charm. i'd very much enjoy to visit the murano island to see the glass factories. i turned down the invitation the last time. oops. watching the video made me want to go the next time around.
the thing i found crazy is that i'll be able to visit venice the way i visit downtown chicago. it's that close to where we'll be living in italy. so all of the glitz will someday be somewhat commonplace. but i guess that happens everywhere. i'm still super excited to move to italy. :)
just for everyone's information, i will be making a guest room in our house. so if you're interested in coming to venice and need a place to stay and a ehm...translator (namely gabriele), we are so available to provide these things.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

it's official...again!

well, well, well, not only am i fickle, but so are circumstances. :) i have some great news. it's rather fun. my parents and i went to look at a hall for the reception and less than 30 minutes later we booked it. i am not at liberty to disclose this information because, well, i'm not the one who put the money down. plus i want it to be a surprise. either way, i love it and it is the nicest place i have seen for a wedding. i am really excited and so are my mom and dad.
okay, that's part of the newes but the more interesting part is that we have changed our wedding date. isn't that fun? i love getting engaged so far in advance that i can change my date without flipping out about it! no it's not gonna be earlier. we are getting married on august 7, 2010. a few weeks after originally planned. why? basically we did it to book the place and to make sure that our family and friends from out of town would be able to come. it's a little different thinking i'll be getting married in august when for so long i've been saying, "july next year." it's august next year. i'm really happy and i feel really good about it. gabriele was a bit shocked when i asked his permission. he kept saying, "sure...sure...sure..." as if he wasn't actually sure as to what he was agreeing to. talking to him later i discovered that he really was okay with everything and he and his mother are very excited as well. after all it gives us a few more weeks. and i get to help sister furstenau with girls' camp again (which will end the day before).
we're getting married and we are so happy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

yes, sometimes i'm weird

it seems that every time a girl gets engaged their engagement ring instantly becomes their profile picture on facebook. i don't know why i find that so disturbing, but i do. i always promised myself i wouldn't do that and that i wouldn't post pictures of it anywhere public. why am i so weird? i love my engagement ring. and to me it's a deep symbol of commitment and love. it was the first ring that i ever picked up and loved from the beginning. i liked it better than the rest. that's not to say it's better than anyone else's. actually i think that's what bugs me so much about engagement rings these days. so much of it seems to be about getting something better than someone else did (i'm not the only one who thinks this, eric and kathy on the mix talked about this not too long ago). my ring is the best for me, just like the person who gave it to me. gabriele originally put it in one of his facebook albums just because he was so happy about it. i ruined his fun by telling him to delete it. i dunno, i find my ring to be very personal. so if you haven't seen it, it's likely because i've kept it to myself.

Monday, September 21, 2009

for brooke

i remember the first day i found out that brooke wilberger had been kidnapped. it hit me like a brick. i stood next to my friend ladawn at her computer in complete unbelief. i couldn't help crying. it couldn't help wonder how this could happen to such a great and faithful girl. the years went by and i never forgot that day in may. i always remembered the few pictures i have with brooke in them. one in particular stands out because we were arm in arm with other friends. i must admit i didn't know brooke very well. we lived on the same floor freshman year and she taught sunday school in our ward. she was so sweet and smart and outgoing. so even though we weren't close, she had a good influence on me. this incidence felt so personal to me. i cried and cried and asked heavenly father, "why her? why not someone like me who isn't as good? why did it have to happen to her?" it made me really wonder what i'm doing with my life, and what my purpose is. i think about that everyday.
finally after five years, they found brooke. reading the news articles was more than i could bear. i cried and cried and cried again. reading the details of what happened to her brought me great sadness. but in the end, we know that she fought for her life and her virtue. she fought for everything. she fought for the things we take for granted. and yet we're still here. i know that God is a just God. i know that there is justice for brooke. i know that she is in that heavenly realm. i know that she lives and that her purpose is great. brooke was never alone. everyday of her life and since the day she disappeared, the Savior has been with her. He had to be there to bring comfort only He could provide. i am so grateful for brooke and the testimony she constantly shared and for the testimony she has that still influences us today.
i don't really know what to say. i just feel like a mess of tears. but i am happy because i know that her family has found closure and they can look to the day when they are reunited with brooke. what a beautiful peace the gospel brings.
this world has some evil people. but we can be good and we can do something about it. president hinckley always said that it's not enough to be good. we must be good for something. we have that opportunity. we have the chance to fight against evil and to stand for the true and everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ. brooke stood for this truth, even until the end.
brooke, i love you and i miss you.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The "Dream" is leaving!

Well it has to be said.
Almost after a year the Dream is leaving.
I'm talking about a ship, for those who didn't understand!
The Carnival's newest ship will depart on September 19th, 2009 from Monfalcone, where it was built in something like a year.
It is the largest ship in Carnival's fleet. It's about 345 meters long and has about 17 decks. I'm not really sure about the numbers but anyway it's a HUGE ship.
Almost 1,000 people worked on it. From all over the world. People from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, China (go figure), Italy, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Albania not to mention the U.S. and South America which citizens are part of the crew along with some Italians, Japanese and others. I worked on it, and to be honest even though it's name is Dream, it was somewhat of a nightmare for a lot of people.. well mostly because it can be considered as prototype because of its size. I have to admit, though, that was fun to work on the largest ship in the world (or at least i think it is). I can say that the cost of it is about 500 million Euros. Yeah not something you'd buy every day, uh?
Well if you'll ever have a chance to go on a cruise soon and it happens to be on the "Dream" just know that it was proudly made in Italy! With my help of course :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


while i'm showering i either receive revelation or think of really random things. today i thought of something random. when i was in grammar school my friends and i loved the show f.r.i.e.n.d.s. and we each took on the role of a character from the show. i was rachel. so whenever jennifer aniston did an interview or something, i would watch it. one evening she was on the tonight show and she was wearing the cutest pedal pushers i had ever seen...well, i had actually never seen pedal pushers at all before. i remember how i wanted some sooooo bad. i started searching everywhere for these pants. finally on the levi's website i found some. now, ten years ago, levi's barely had a running website, much less online shopping. so i called them by phone to ask how much their pedal pushers were. i never bought them from levi's anyway, but i may have found them at kohl's soon after.
i was so silly. i wanted to be the FIRST one at school to wear what we now more casually call capris. i was in such an urgency to find them because i wanted to be the first. the day i wore them to school, many people noticed them. i think i wore them when it was still a little cold out, so maybe that's why. i just got such a thrill from that. well, these days, i'm not a huge fan of following the trends. but i do like things before they become trends. i guess you could say, i don't like trends for the sake of being trendy. there's one style from j.crew though that i'll try very soon!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

yes, i'm one of them

so for a long time i have been trying to find a job. the search was rather annoying. the lack of a job was terrible because i'm used to doing things, not waiting for something to do. either way, within the week after i came home from girls' camp i received two phone calls. first from white castle and second from target. since i'm not full-time, my goal is to work at both, but for right now i am an official white castle employee. :)
i must say, i consider the food-related jobs to be in my comfort area. working at a university cafeteria for 3 years gave me this confidence. and i can honestly say i like working with food...a lot. why? because it always ends up being a fun job. you meet a lot of people and you learn a lot of valuable skills: multitasking is a great one. and your co-workers become good friends who know how to make work not so work-y.
i go to work everyday and while i'm there, i think, you know, i love this job. i work for a place that i love and respect. if you don't love or respect white castle then you can stop reading. but there's something different about white castle, the company and its customers. it's all real. the workers are real people, the customers are loyal and i would argue that the elderly customers at white castle are the cutest customers you will find anywhere in the world.
i keep telling gabriele he should work at white castle (which is impossible and would never happen) because he'd get free food. he's always very tempted. the first time i took gabriele to white castle he'd already scarfed down two slyders before i could ask him if he liked it. hmmm. i knew then that i was definitely falling in love with the right person. seriously, a spouse who doesn't like white castle? not worth it!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Deep Thought

Deep thoughts coming out from me are usually dangerous :)

Anyway, some time ago, after I proposed to Claudia, I talked to one of our friends about our decision to get married. It was a short conversation, because we both had business to take care of,
but he told me some things that I will never forget.
He got married few years ago and since then he has a happy family.
He said that he was really happy about our decision to get married, him and his wife really like Claudia, then he said that the first thing you should look for in your wife is a best friend. Some one you can rely on completely, because I would spend the rest of my life with this person.
I started thinking about it. It's totally true.
Marriage is one of the most challenging experiences in a human's life, I can see that from outside. And if you don't trust your spouse well that could be a problem.

There is something particular that I have with Claudia.. I realized that with her I can be totally open. I can say what I think and I don't have to hide anything. This is how it should be.
We talk a lot, but that's a good thing! We express the things that make us happy or sad. Claudia for me is my best friend. I know I can rely on her and I can trust her. Especially in our long distance relationship.
One particular thing that I could see in her is that she is patient with me. She listen to what I have to say. She is there when I need her. She is there to make me happy when I'm sad. She is there to comfort me when I need comfort. She is just perfect.
I love her!

Monday, July 27, 2009

it's either quality or it isn't

it has come to my attention that so many used-to-be good quality brands are quickly turning into we-use-cheap-materials-to-make-more-money brands. and it bothers me. a lot. in saying this, i focus mainly on the coach handbag. you know, back in the day, coach leather handbags were "handcrafted in america" with high quality leather and workmanship. i remember over ten years ago when my sister janet picked out a beautiful, large black coach purse to buy my mom for mother's day. the price tag was substantial. a price that was justifiable for a bag that nice made entirely of leather. yes, back then you still paid more because it was coach, but any leather bag can be expensive. as time went by, coach became more popular, and so they came out with bags made with different materials. all pretty nice and generally good quality. then came today. in the past 3-4 years, coach has expanded to a brand only marketable by name and barely hanging on to quality. nearly every bag is made in china and nearly every bag feels like plastic. i've seen so many people with the same coach bag and these days you can't tell what's a knock-off and what isn't. i remember turning to my mom at the grocery store and saying, i don't know if everyone can just afford a coach bag these days or if coach's quality is so bad that the knock-offs look just the same. i really liked coach bags, and i have three of my own, and i have had them for a good 5 years or so. when it comes to expensive bags, i don't buy just for the name or to be trendy. i buy because that is a good bag i will own for a long time and not buy any other bags in the meantime. that's how it goes for the other girls in my family. but these days, coach has cheapened their quality and raised their prices. that makes me sick. it's just another shout of outsourcing to fulfill greed. so all of us have lost interest in this recent coach trend explosion. i'm not going to pay top dollar for a crappy bag. just like i'm not going to buy a pair of bcbg shoes that's made in china when the ones i own were made in brazil. i just can't stand greed. i mean, you're charging hundreds of dollars for a bag that's terrible quality because the good quality it once was made you money, but this makes you more. i mean, i know some things are just gonna be made elsewhere. but i don't condone gypping people on quality materials. frankly i think it's sad that so many consumers or wannabe trendsetters pay merely for a name. yeah i admit, i had that sort of propensity when i was 15, but it's been a while and to be honest i think the best quality doesn't have a name splashed all over it. you can tell just by looking at it. which is kinda like people. there are those who try splash their happiness or their looks or their name or their place in society when there's nothing to show for it. if you're happy, people can see that. if you're top quality, it shows. but nothing shows more than cheap quality trying to be something else. in the end, you are what you are, and you know what you're worth.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

i like my "long" engagement

recently i have been thinking about the benefits of a long engagement. not because i want to say a long one is better than a short one. different time frames work well for different people. i just always wanted to be engaged for a year or longer. and i always thought that it was a little, i dunno, annoying when people said it's harder and temptation is greater. and i'm not saying that it's not. i just think if you're ready to get married and if you're doing so for the right reasons, there is no temptation that can trip you up. my situation is also a little different. gabriele and i live thousands of miles away from each other. i'm going to finish school, get married, and then move to italy next year. that's not something i can get together in 3 months or even 6. i really like the extra time because it leaves me not so stressed and it leaves both gabriele and i knowing that we have a strong love between us. the distance is something we actually appreciate because we get to talk a lot.
something i appreciate greatly about the relationship gabriele and i have is that we communicate. no matter what is on my mind, i know i can tell gabriele and i know he'll listen. i mean, do you ever have those moments where you just want to say something but you also feel like maybe you should just keep it to yourself (whether happy, sad, good, bad)? whenever i feel that way, i just say it. i know i won't be judged for it and i know that gabriele will hear me out. i understand that life and love aren't always going to be perfect. but it's all the not-so-perfectness that helps us grow. so really, i like that sometimes we have disagreements. i like them because we work through them and we talk about them. we have learned a lot about each other and we still love each other! and that's what best friends do.
engagement to me is learning about my best friend and getting ready for the best day of our lives. it's also really fun to talk about invitations and favors and dresses and colors...all through google chat/talk. and believe it or not he gives a lot of good input. and it's fun to have time to talk about the house and the certain-to-be-orange kitchen. it's just fun to have time to have fun and not be rushed about things. it also gives me a whole year to start learning italian. since i'm a slacker i haven't really progressed all that much. but i do have gabriele talk to me in friulian sometimes. :) although that's a language i'll try in about 10 years.
i'm also just really grateful for the many examples i have of friends who are married and doing wonderful things with their own families. how weird is it that i will soon join that world? totally weird.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A thought about her!

So well.. I've been thinking about something to post on this blog.. and to be honest the cool ideas always came to my mind around 2:00 in the morning. At that time, though, I had no intention to wake up to write them down. So unfortunately when I woke up all the ideas were gone.
I have to admit that what I'm about to write could sound so cheesy that's disgusting and it makes me wonder how this is possible since as an electrician I should be the technical guy that can express himself with no more than few words.. too bad that it's not my talent that. Anyway I just wanted to tell something about the great woman that everyone know as Claudia Peters (I told you it could be cheesy). She has the most sweet and loving personality ever. Every time I look at her pictures or I have the opportunity to see her, I just realize that I'm the luckiest guy on Earth. Truly no one else has the power to make me feel as happy as she does.
To quote a song by "The Police": "Every thing she does is magic". To me it really is.
With small and simple things she can always make me smile. I think of her as the greatest blessing I could ever receive. I am so glad that out of millions of guys on earth she chose me.
I had the opportunity to be with her when she came down to Italy this past May. I got to know her better and I can confess that there is no girl more loving than her. She is perfect.
She is the living portrait of all the features I ever wanted for my future wife.
I feel really comfortable around her. I am happy, but most important i feel loved.
It seems to me that we knew each other before this life. I am pretty sure that we were meant to be together.
She is just amazing!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


i have always been interested in languages. i never really consider myself "good" at languages because i hate grammar. i like learning from listening and speaking rather than from case charts. which ultimately means that when i speak another language it isn't always going to be perfect. and i don't mind. today gabriele and i were talking about languages and i appreciated the fact that we think a lot alike in this subject. we both seem to have a certain amount of touchiness about it with a sprinkle of pickiness and pet peeves.
there's me in america where i think everyone who lives here should put forth an effort to learn english. there's him in italy where he thinks everyone who lives there should put forth an effort to learn italian. i'm generally very firm in my sentiments because my mother is mexican and from the beginning of her time here in america she made the resolve to learn english and speaks proficient, nearly impeccable english. she always spoke to us in english at home. some people think that could be wrong and that she should have taught us spanish. well, it didn't stop us from learning spanish at all. either way, my point is that my mom speaks the language of the country in which she resides. and i really appreciate that. it has taught me a lesson of respect.
i think a lot about these things because i will be moving to italy next year (maybe forever, maybe not). i intend to learn italian and speak to my children in italian. of course, i will help them in their studies concerning english. but in reality, if we live in italy, italian will be our primary language. not english. i don't consider that turning my back on america or something. to me, that just shows respect for the people in the place i will live. i'll always be american and make strawberry shortcake, just like my mom will always be mexican and make chiles rellenos.
i think that's a part people don't understand.nothing stands in the way of learning a new language. people use the excuse that they're too old or that circumstances for some reason don't permit it. i don't fall for that. my favorite professor at byu, walter whipple, learned polish when he was forty. he was then called as the first mission president of the poland warsaw mission. he has been chosen to translate traditional polish carols and is frequently invited to poland to play the organ at special events. you could say he's just brilliant. i say he cared enough to learn polish and then continued learning it as the years passed.
learning a language takes time and effort (and certainly pulls you out of your comfort zone). i dare to say that those who do not speak the language of the country in which they live care not to give that time or effort. which to me really causes these people to gyp themselves of their own potential to better communicate in the society they frequent daily.

Friday, June 5, 2009

for the girls...what we call "details"

I was nice enough to have Gabriele write "our story." I requested that because, well, many things just sound better when he says them. They're at least more entertaining. Now I suppose it's my job to do the girly thing and write about the proposal.
To be honest, it wasn't a surprise, and it wasn't as if we hadn't already decided that our relationship was going to be permanent...but tradition calls for certain things to happen. Before I made the trip to Italy I wondered if I would come home engaged but didn't too much concern myself with it. I don't know if things happened the way I expected them to at all, but in the end I was happy anyway.
Gabriele took me to see this very old little castle on a hill that overlooks his town of Cormons, Italy. The view from there is amazing and so peaceful. Before approaching the actual structure there are several signs that read, "vietato salire sulla torre." Now, I understand some basic Italian, so I asked Gab what that meant. He of course said, in a very suspicious manner, "I'll tell you later." I asked again, and insisted but got no answer, so we continued to the castle and climbed to the top and sat for a little while. Those signs actually told us that it was forbidden to climb...go figure. Either way, this was the location where Gabriele asked me to marry him. I, of course, accepted but we both discussed how it would be official when he gave me a ring.
So then I spent two weeks touring Italy, a little bit of Slovenia, and even Croatia (yay!). A few days before leaving for home we went ring shopping. I didn't really think I would be going home with a ring. To me this was just an opportunity to give Gabriele an idea of something I would like. For several hours I tried on many rings and did not like any of them. I felt bad for being so picky. On the way home I just turned to Gabriele and said, "Just forget the ring. I don't want one anymore." I think this really confused him and he wanted to know why I felt this way. So I told him what I felt, honestly, "I don't really need a ring. Engagement rings just seem like they're for show anyway. I'd rather put the money toward our house." I mean, seriously, I'll take a house over a ring any day. Well, he invited me to look at one more store. It was a really classy, small jewelry store in the center of Cormons. I immediately found the best ring I had seen all day. So he got it for me. Then it was official! I didn't really think that would happen right then and right there. But it did. And I couldn't be happier. And I am really grateful for all of you, my friends, and your love and support. That makes everything more fun and exciting!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Our Story (reader's digest version)!

So, well.. this is us..
of course you might ask how this thing happened..
well Claudia is a wonderful young woman from Chicago and Gabriele a guy from Italy.
You are about to read their story.. behold it can be cheesy..
These two handsome people met while on a mission in Croatia. Since then there was a great debate about who makes the best pizza in the world. Italy, or Chicago?
After arguing for many months, Gabriele decided to take a plane and fly to Chicago to prove to the world that Italian pizza is the best. So he flew over there and stayed for 2 weeks in Chicago, trying
pizza several times. But Chicago pizza was not the only thing that made his heart beat.
As he came home, he realized that something in his life was missing.
They talked over the phone for hours and one day, as he was working, she made him super happy by saying that she was going to fly to italy to meet him.
Excited, on the 12th of may he picked her up at the Venice airport. In two weeks they had fun traveling around and getting to know each other better.
Finally one day, on may 26th he proposed to her. How sweet.
Now they look forward to the next year in preparation for their marriage.