Already almost two thirds of the way through my mega-trip to the states already, and it has been amazingly eventful!

I came over to visit Frankie, primarily to go to her brother’s wedding at Disneyworld, Florida, but we planned trips either side of it and once again I’ve had an unforgettable time here. Fran’s birthday was two days before I arrived, and mine was two weeks later, so we had joint celebrations. more on that in another post – it was a major experience!

So the first big life-changer happened the second day here. I proposed to Frankie and she accepted. So we are now officially engaged. Within a couple of days we were shopping for rings and came back with some really nice ones.  Originally we ordered the emerald engagement ring pictured below, but then went out and got matching wedding rings in silver with black diamonds. So they are doubling as engagement rings too. Fran was pleased enough with the emerald ring to keep that as well so – double-whammy!

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The double selfie above was taken at Atlantic City where we were over-nighting to see ‘Celtic Thunder’ in concert. More on that in another post.

So the engagement was the second day here. By the fourth day I had come down with flu and a couple of days later, Fran had picked it up from me too. We both had a couple of very uncomfortable days – aching, sneezing, not wanting to do much at all – followed by a couple of weeks of residual coughing. I have a spirometry test planned when I return home and won’t be too surprised if there is a slight worsening in my COPD. It is still very mild, though, and I refuse to be completely beaten by it. This bout resulted in us missing one planned event – a concert of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony by the Philadelphia Orchestra (who I have listened to in recordings since I was about 5 years old!). It was sad, but we have done so much else it is easy to shrug off and think that there will be other opportunities to see equally fine concerts in the future.

There have been so many levels of adventure in this trip – from sight-seeing, to ‘partying’ (yep – never too old to party!), gourmet experiences, music and a ridiculous number of selfies – alone and with my fiancée. Whenever I meet up with Fran – which so far has been once a year, we have a blast and this trip has been no exception.

The next part of the trip is worthy of its own post, as is the one after that. Firstly, my birthday weekend in New Orleans. If you had told me 20 or 30 years ago that I would be marking my 57th birthday in New Orleans with a spectacular meal, many cocktails and an evening of jazz, I would have said you were crazy. Yet here I was with my new fiancée having a crazy weekend in the heat and insanity of Bourbon Street.

So New Orleans will take up the next post, followed by Disneyworld, Florida, and my now-future brother and sister in law’s wedding there.

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