Day 37: Italy, you’re killing me

There are some days where I wake up, look at my beautiful view of the mountains right outside my door, and realize that I live in Italy.  ITALY!  This was the one country I wanted to visit the most, and I had hoped that if we were ever to be stationed overseas that we would get Italy.  About 50% of the time, I really enjoy living here.  I love the food and the language (even though I do not speak it well enough!).  I love Anya’s school, and all the girls are getting very acclimated to their lives here.  I love that we can see so many things – history, culture, different countries – that we could not afford if we were not living here.  It is an opportunity for us to experience another world, and I want to take full advantage of it.

Then there is the remaining 50% of the time.  Life here is different – not always bad but not always great either.  I have struggled with blending into the culture and people here.  We are used to certain conveniences that are not here – 24 hour stores and gas stations, drive-through windows for banks and food, stores like Target and Walmart that literally sell everything under one roof, and understanding the language of everyone, to name a few.  When I need to pay a bill here, I have to use a post office and pay in all in cash.  When my car needs to be fixed, I have to track down my own parts from the states and find a mechanic who can work on my American car (although the one I used today was awesome!).  All the groceries, clothes, shoes, electronics, and books I am used to buying and using are not all here either.  I hate feelings stupid as I try to communicate with people and as I try to live a normal life here.  During this 50% of the time, I feel frustrated and yearn for my convenient, American life.

I know, how am I complaining?  It’s Italy!  It’s Europe!  I do treasure the experiences I am having and will have.  It is great that my kids will be able to say that they lived in another country.  Somedays, the inconveniences and the struggles with a different daily life really add up, and you lose focus of the benefits of living in another country.  Today, my car was supposed to be fixed – but one of the parts I ordered is too big, which means I have to wait another 2-4 weeks for it to get here and spend another day with a friend driving me around while I wait for the van to be fixed.  It took me all day to finish the laundry since I can only use the washing machine and dyer one at a time.  Situations like this make me yearn for the states again and my excessive use of electricity, shuttle car services, and less work for me!  A friend of mine wrote on Facebook today about having to get medicine for her sick child – a 25 minute drive to base since no stores were open around her house.  I quickly learned to buy and keep stock of anything that you might need in the middle of the night – aspirin, pedialyte, batteries, all kinds of things I could normally run to a Walgreens for!

I want to love it here, and I try.  I have to be honest in saying that I do not love it, although I do not hate it either.  When we moved here, I heard people give estimates of 6-12 months for you to get used to living here.  If you still hate it after this time frame, you will probably never like it.  I hope I do not feel like that come May, which will mark our first year here.  I know that every duty station has its advantages and disadvantages. I factor in that we are going through a deployment too, which always makes life more complicated.  I have to remind myself that this is a limited period of our lives here, and we may never get to return here (we have three kids, we’re lucky we can afford food with the economy).  But somedays, I just need to get it out – I was unprepared for life in another country, and it is definitely challenging.  I just need to keep positive about life and the adventures we can have here.  Barcelona next month, hopefully Paris and Austria again this summer – I have a lot to look forward to and be thankful for.  

***Little fact, since my post was a little negative today – it is actually beneficial to be a little unhappy.  The unhappiness forces you to make a choice to change things or to look forward.  So I just need to use this for my greater good!  Thanks for the info Women’s Day!***

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