Birthday with an ex in Chianti

written by Tiana Kai
lunch in chianti

*Warning! This is a post about love, so if you already feel queasy I advise that you read something lighter like this.

In one day it will be my birthday. I normally don’t rewind and see where I was on my previous birthdays, but this time I did. This time last year changed my life completely. So, here we go…

I had a ticket from Boulder, Colorado to Florence. This lovely ticket was purchased by my ex-boyfriend husband a few months beforehand. The last time I saw Nicco was back in 2003/4ish after we broke up. We went our separate ways and poof it was 2011 and my bday was coming up and I had a ticket to see him again.

At the time, I was working like a mad woman at Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the high-tech ad agency that spins out ideas 24/7. The agency life was filled with long, stressful days, but we produced cool ‘shit’ (as they say). I was loving my new life in Boulder and my new found love of snowboarding the Rockies on the weekends, but knew I had to see Nicco again. I knew that this trip would make or break our future together.

If we were to see each other again we would know right away where we wanted the relationship to go, since there were only two options:
1. finally get over him forever
2. know we were meant to be and get married and have kids with this man already!

young love

New Orleans 2001

We spent eight years apart, giving us time to explore what we wanted in life and the chance to experience other relationships. During this time, we always stayed in contact thanks to Skype. Then one day he Skyped me and asked me to visit him. I replied with the same old story that ‘oh, you know, I’m so busy and the flight’s so expensive.’ He knew of my commitment phobic ways, so waited a few weeks and then BOOM bought a ticket for me to visit him for two weeks. I woke up to an email with the ticket and couldn’t stop laughing. I was completely taken aback and smitten all over again.

Nerves started to kick in the week before the trip. After a few consulations with my dear girlfriends I knew it was right and it was finally about time to see him. The nerves came from my high levels of commitment phobia because I knew that the second I would see Nicco that would be it for me. A big step for Tiana.

The time came, I was on the plane. I landed, saw him from the back and tapped his shoulder. He turned. My suitcase fell. We made out in the Florence airport. He seemed shocked and couldn’t stop smiling. I didn’t know what the hell would happen. That night, we went to Bevo Vino and Il Magazzino in Oltrarno by downtown Florence. Spending time roaming the streets together brought it all back—that we were a great couple back then.


My birthday was the next night and we celebrated downtown at Cibrèo in Sant’Ambrogio. The room was filled with red velvety chairs, tall candles and plates upon plates of food and birthday cakes. I was full… of happiness. The remaining days were as great as the first two. Nicco had work, so I had time to hang out, sleep in (I hadn’t done that in 10 months) and shop for tuscan plates.


I hit up San Gimignano and picked up great plates (great prices too to my surprise) for my Boulder home. The next day we had lunch in Montepulciano. Steak, cheese, pear, wine, chocolate filled our plates and my hips. Oh, so good. We spent that night in Albergo le Terme in Chianti where there’s a natural hot spring that runs through the hotel spa. The hot tub is luke warm compared to American standards and the sexiest part was having to wear a cloth cap, oh ya.

So, this trip completely sealed the deal. This trip is why I’m in Florence today. This trip made me realize how wonderful love is and now that I’m married I see why all my friends enjoy being married. Granted, my friends are newlyweds and I’m sure we have a lot of unforeseeable issues in our future, but for now things are in a good place with some inevitable downs to the blissful ups.

I know marriage is not for everyone and Nicco and I even told each other that we may not have married if it wasn’t with one another. Regardless of the type of relationship, I think we all need to keep learning how to apologize faster, communicate clearer, listen better… whatever the issue, life should just feel better with them in it. In Miami, I spent too many nights in nightclubs (super fun though) and travelling around, so it’s nice to be home, relax with an old friend, one that I happened to have married. Auguri.

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Cristina Sotolongo on Facebook November 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Tiana, I love reading your blog! I feel like we’re all on this adventure with you. Keep the posts coming!

Tiana Kai Madera on Facebook November 14, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Thanks Cristina! I’m so happy to read this, it really means a lot to me. Half of the posts are things I feel like expressing on a personal level and the other half are funny tales along the way. Oh, these Italians!

Georgette Jupe November 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm

what a great post. I really love your story and how you guys met again so many years later. How beautiful! and it sounds like you had a pretty awesome birthday. great post!

Tiana Kai Madera on Facebook November 14, 2012 at 8:23 pm

Georgette grazie mille for reading it through. 🙂 yes, that bday is one for the books, tough to top!

Georgette Jupe on Facebook November 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm

love your blog!

Tiana Kai Madera on Facebook November 14, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Thanks Georgette! Likewise, yours helps me get my butt around this city with all your lists of events and travel posts!

Romina November 15, 2012 at 1:54 am

This blog is addictive. Please keep more coming. I love it! So nice to see how nice you grew up. Beso and have a great bday tomorrow.

Stephanie November 15, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Hi Tiana, this is my first time on your blog. Your post almost brought tears to my eyes, however that may or may not be PMS-induced.

Your story is so beautiful and I can relate so easily. I have a very similar story. It makes me so happy to read how well it turned out for you. I will definately continue you to read your blog.

Thank you for sharing.


Tiana Kai Madera on Facebook November 16, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Romina muchas gracias! My new life out here has been so fascinating and crazy, I’m glad you enjoy my posts! besos!

Tiana Kai November 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Thank you Stephanie! I love hearing about love stories, and I have to pinch myself sometimes about how we ended up together. It’s been amazing.

Liz Knight November 19, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Lady! During our 4 hour conversation I did not realize that you and he hadn’t even seen each other since 2004! I guess I thought you saw each other off and on. This is so romantic! Your kids will be lucky. XOXO

Tiana Kai Madera on Facebook November 19, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Thanks Liz! Yes, it’s been quite a ride with a long pause in the middle… all so very worth it.

Rocio Granados December 4, 2012 at 6:33 pm

Love the blog!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am so glad you are so happy.

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