Friday, September 10, 2010

What I like about Italy

I did my “what I miss about the States” post a while ago, and I probably have quite a few more things I could add to that list now but my mom keeps asking me when I’m going to do a post about what I like about Italy, like I promised.  So here it is.

I’ve had quite a few friends in the States make comments to me like “I could never live overseas” or “I’d never want to live outside the US”.  Some of them haven’t even BEEN outside the US (or to Europe in particular) so when people make these blanket statements, it astounds me at times.  I think many people would be surprised at what they could do, if they were given the opportunity.

Yes, living overseas is a HUGE adjustment.  They do things very different over here than what we’re used to in the States.  But what an experience!  Even if the Italian ways drive me nuts at times, I’m still glad I’m over here experiencing it first hand, instead of listening to someone else’s stories.

I love living at the base of the Alps.  As I’ve said before, they are by far my favorite mountain range that I’ve been around so far.  They’re just beautiful and seeing the beauty of them, at times, still takes my breath away.  I love driving to base and looking at the mountains and watching the weather roll in over them.  I’ll never get tired of them.  It’s also nice to have the beach 45 mins away.

I like being immersed in another culture and being around another language.  It’s amazing how much you can communicate with someone when they speak very little English and I speak very little Italian.  Hand gestures are flying all over the place, but we can usually understand each other.  It’s fun trying anyway.  (I say that now. At first it was terrifying.)  I’m getting to the point where I can pick out more and more words when I listen to Italian.  I’m not nearly at the level I was hoping to be at this point, but I’ll get there eventually.

Our squadron here is AMAZING.  Mark REALLY likes the leadership in his squadron and everyone else too.  The wives are all very nice and helpful and willing to do just about anything to help you out.  I’ve made some great friends here, in and out of the squadron, and I will forever be thankful for all of them.

Lastly, and most obviously, the travel opportunities here are unbeatable.   We’ve been here a little over 5 months and we’ve been in 6 countries since we arrived.  How many people can say by the time they were 15 months old they’d been to 7 different countries?  Too bad Abbie probably won’t remember most if it, but luckily I’m a picture-taking fiend so she’ll have thousands of pictures to remind her.  There are so many neat and OLD places within 2 hours of here.  It’s fun to drive somewhere for a day to check it out and if you don’t get to see it all, you know you’ll have other opportunities to come back.  Mark and I both love traveling, and we couldn’t have asked for a better base to be stationed at as far as traveling goes.  I have a list of places I’d like to go that we haven’t been to yet.  They are:

  • a Mediterranean cruise (in the works for next year)
  • a Baltic Sea cruise (to see northern Europe)
  • Ireland – all of it
  • London, England
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Salzburg and Vienna, Austria (both only 4-5 hrs from us)
  • Cinque Terre, Italy (again, about 4-5 hours)
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Montenegro
  • Munich and Dacau (the concentration camp)
  • Croatia
  • Sicily and all of southern Italy
  • Lipica, Slovenia (where the Lipizzaner stallions are bred)
  • Eastern Mediterranean cruise (Turkey, Egypt, Israel)
  • Bolzano, Italy (about 3 hrs from us – up in the mountains)
  • Bologna, Italy (about 4.5 hours from us)
  • Geneva, Switzerland (with more planning than I did for Zurich)
  • Marseille, France
  • The beaches of Normandy, France
  • Brussels, Belgium (to visit my friend Christine)

We have at least another 2 years here, hopefully longer, so hopefully we’ll be able to get to all of these places.  I still can’t believe we can hop on a train and be in Venice in a little over an hour.  We are very lucky to have had the opportunity to live here in Italy.

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