Friday, February 8, 2013

{Creative Date Night} Round the World in 80 Days -- Better Make That 8 Days Instead!

{SPOILER ALERT!!!} Ramon - if you started to read this, please stop now for it will ruin the surprise!! This will be much more fun if you do not know what is coming! (Everyone else, please keep reading! I think you will enjoy this fun creative series of date nights I am planning.) 

My husband and I both love to travel, but our travel has been more since we had the boys. Now, we typically do weekend getaways that are budget-friendly and accessible right here in Southern California. However, we hope to do overseas travel again in the future and, in fact, met while we were both studying abroad in Egypt. So, when I decided to join in with 14 Days of Busy Mamas Dating Their Husbands, a brilliant project from Inspired By Family Magazine with many fabulous bloggers taking part, I was inspired to tackle the idea of Date Nights Around the World, I hope you find some inspiration for a creative date night too!



I am planning our Around the World Date Night Adventure to begin Valentine's Day and to end February 27th, which is my husband's birthday. I am aware that this is almost two weeks, but with two weeks I just might squeeze in 8 dates (some of which include date night options that we can do with the kids. Eight date nights without kids could take a year...or longer). The date nights are inspired largely by our past travels with a couple of nights inspired by potential future travels. I  made a Date Night Passport. For each page, I share a favorite memory of a time we spent together in the respective place or a hope for a future travel adventure. I have a heart stamp that we will use to stamp the passport for each date.

Date 1 - Cairo, Egypt: Cairo is where Ramon and I met. We were both studying abroad at the American University in Cairo, and the moment I saw him, I was a complete goner. It took many months for us to start dating, but we did become friends right away and I think this friendship is a big reason for our success as a couple (13 years, 1 business and 2 kids later). One of my favorite memories from Cairo, is going to Felfella, a famous restaurant in Tahrir Square. Ramon loved their lamb sausages, so I will be surprising him when he gets home from a meeting on Valentine Night with lamb sausages and Stella beer (Stella is an Egyptian beer not available in the U.S., so I will get Stella Artois as the closest thing, in name at least). I also plan to put up pictures from our time in Egypt and some Middle Eastern decor items that I have. (This will be dinner at home, so the kids will be joining us, unless the meeting goes really late and they are already in bed).  

Date 2 - Alexandria, Egypt: Alexandria is where we got stuck in an elevator together, and where we had our first kiss and stayed up all night playing cards - watching the sunrise together -- very romantic as things go. Our first night there, we ate at Chinese restaurant on the rooftop of a hotel. We could see the entire city and look out onto the ocean, so I am planning on Chinese takeout eaten seaside at the nearest beach followed by a card game or two.

Date 3 - Bethlehem: For Christmas, Ramon and I took a long bus ride to Bethlehem and almost immediately took another long bus ride back to Cairo. While there, though, it snowed. It NEVER snows in that part of the world, so for snow to fall on Christmas Eve in Bethlehem was pretty magical. My plan for this memory date is to put some Christmas lights and Christmas decor up and to make it snow (not quite sure how I will pull off the snow part yet, so if anyone has tips, please share in the comments). This is another idea that will happen at home and that the kids will really enjoy being part of - especially if I somehow create some really cool snow. 

Date 4 - Boston, U.S.: After Egypt, we both had 1 semester left of college (he at UMass-Amherst, me at Sarah Lawrence in New York), then we both lived in Boston. While there, I got to know his family and friends, fell in love with lobster and the Red Sox and fell further in love with Ramon, who also convinced me to apply to Harvard grad school (I got in much to my surprise and none to his at all). So, I think lobster and Guinness or Sam Adams plus Fever Pitch (one of our favorite Boston movies) will be the perfect Boston date night at home. 

Ramon+I in Rome, though you cannot really tell. :)
Date 5 - Italy (Part 1): In 2007, we went to Italy and almost did not come back. We really loved it and, of course, ate lots of pizza. Making pizza at home is already a favorite dinner option for Ramon (and Wild Thing and Caterpillar), but this pizza night at home will be extra special as I plan to get buffalo mozzarella from the local Italian Deli to make this pizza in the style of the pizza we had in Naples (perhaps the best pizza I have ever had). My plan also includes watching the footage Ramon shot of the Sistine Chapel, with an 8mm camera that almost got us kicked out.

Date 6 - Italy (Part 2): In addition to Rome and Naples, we went to Sicily and completely fell in love with Palermo. This is really where we got tempted to stay in Italy, but instead pledged to retire there and run a bed and breakfast. At night, we would often sit at a table outside of a little grocery shop -- usually eating a simple chicken dish accompanied by cheap wine. We loved our cozy dining experience much more than touristy restaurants, and I feel that the most appropriate thing will be to enjoy a rotisserie chicken and a bottle of Chianti on our back patio (probably on a weekend so that we can do it during the day when we have a better chance of some warmth from the sun). Our patio date is a great date option to do with the kids as they always love any excuse to get to play outside. 

Date 7 - Dominican Republic: Ramon and I have each been to the Dominican Republic, but not together. I only went once, but he has been many times since his mother is from there and he has lots of family there. I am hoping we will be able to go together as a family and would love for the boys to grow up visiting the country often. This date is still in the works for me because Dominican food and sweets are easy to come by on the East Coast, but a major challenge here in LA. I am determined, though, to bring a taste of the Dominican Republic home, even if I have to take a chance and cook something myself!

Date 8 - TBD: This date night is all up to him. It will happen on his birthday (and for this one, I will have a babysitter) and will be whatever and wherever he wants -- inspired by a future travel plan, perhaps!  


I can't wait to give Ramon his Date Night Passport and start our Around the World in 8 Dates adventure. I am grateful, once again, to Mari from Inspired By Family Magazine, for this challenge that got me to think outside the box and come up with 8 creative dates that are actually manageable (many of them I can do at home, so no babysitter is required). They offer me away to conjure up a special memory with my husband and a little romance into what might otherwise just be a normal day.

Got a special date idea? Share it in the comments or on my Facebook page. I would love to hear it, and if you have blogged about a special date activity, link it up at Inspired By Family Magazine.




8 comments:

  1. This post is awesome! I love your storytelling in this post, and what a wonderful way to celebrate your relationship!

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  2. This is SUCH a fantastic idea! I love it - and plan on doing it also!

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  3. Wow, I am so impressed. This is such a fun way to do a hands on walk in memory lane. I know I would love it especially since it involves lots of great food. For your snow you can make snow using cornstarch and shaving cream and that way you can reuse it with the kiddos :). Enjoy!

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  4. What a creative idea! I love how you plan to celebrate such beautiful memories, along the way sharing some of it with your kids so your history is theirs as well. Have fun, eat well, & enjoy each other!

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  5. What a wonderful passport of date nights you've planned! I love it. And I have snow to spare for you here in Boston! Come by anytime as it's also part of your theme! I am a few miles from Cambridge! Or here's giving you virtual snow. 24 inches of it!

    p.s. I can't let me husband read your post because he will realize how low effort my date night idea was: Downton Abbey in bed. http://www.pragmaticmom.com/2013/02/dating-husband/

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  6. You are going to have so much fun! I loved reading all the details in this post - I feel like I got to know you a little better. For Christmas we used the Insta-Snow from Steve Spangler - it worked really well - just make sure you use it on a hard surface because it can be swept up and reused once it dries.

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  7. Love this post! You are so creative and I thinks it's so great how you tied in each date with a special time in your relationship. And snow in Bethlehem - now that's a sign for something :) I'm sure he already knows but Ramon is one lucky guy!

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