On the day Team USA athletes were warned to keep the red, white and blue clothing to a minimum during the Sochi Winter Games, Carl Schaeper, a 40 year old software administrator in Houston and his girlfriend Amber Dunten were planning for their own vacation to the Olympics.
After Schaeper practiced his ability to speak in Russian, Dunten translated.
"That's I don't understand Russian," she said in English.
The couple doesn't speak much of the language, but they're eagerly practicing a few phrases.
Schaeper has never traveled out of the country.
"First time to get my passport," he said.
And he isn't letting any of the security concerns over possible terror attacks at the Sochi games 'curl' his excitement.
Neither is Dunten, especially when it comes to the warning over clothing.
"I hadn't given it a moment's thought," she said. "We were preparing for cold weather."
The couple don't doubt something could happen, but as Schaeper put it, "you sort of have to trust that Russia really wants this to go off without any problems."
The couple's journey to Sochi started during the last winter Olympics. After watching a curling competition on television, they signed up with the Curling Club of Houston.
Dunten has since stopped actively participating, but Schaeper has been curling with the club ever since.
Last fall, he heard about a raffle through the club, bought some tickets and won a trip to the upcoming games. That was before the talk about security concerns.
"I was a little nervous at first," Dunten said. "But then I sat down and thought about it and realized people are terrible at assessing risk. We take risks every day that we don't even think about."