Tuesday, August 21, 2007

International Living

I'm sitting at home this morning waiting for AAFES to deliver the baby's crib and a futon and mattress I ordered so my mom will have somewhere to sleep when she gets here. It's all starting to come together, finally! Well, the dresser/changing table won't be here for a few months, but what can you do? I just can't wait to get the crib here and built so I can bring out the baby bedding and start making the nursery look like a nursery! Currently it's a mostly empty room with two wardrobes and a crib mattress in the corner.

My mom and I were talking about our time in Italy recently. When people ask me how it was to live at Aviano, I always wax nostalgic and remember golden afternoons of walking to Lindy's house and picking figs along the way, traipsing around the hills just below the Dolomite mountains we lived below, and school field trips to places like Venices, Florence and even a journalism conference in Germany. Military members and their families always want to know what other bases are like, and I always tell them, "I'd go back in a heartbeat. I'd PAY the military to send me there!"

And it's true. But talking to my mom the other night, I realized that going to Italy now would be drastically different than living there the first time. Of course, I knew it would be different. I mean, I'm not in high school any more, and none of the people I knew still live there (well, except for Lisa, but she's moving to Turkey soon! And Lindy's parents, but even they are retiring!) But as I was talking about the inconveniences of international living, and my mom was listing all the things that were huge hassles for her to deal with. I realized that all of the things that drive me crazy about living in the UK would, for the most part, be true of Italy, too.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying my experience here so far. I'd be enjoying it even more if I could do some more traveling, but it's tricky to plan trips when you're pregnant and alone. But there are things about America that I really miss, like electrical plugs in the bathroom for your hair dryer or flat iron, or a means of venting your clothes dryer that doesn't involve dragging it out to the middle of the kitchen and leading the vent hose out the window.

At the same time, these are what make up this experience. If it was convenient and comfortable, it might as well be the States. Learning to live without air conditioning and figuring out what to do when an ambulence comes cruising up the road is what makes this international living. It's what makes this interesting and challenging.

I'm looking forward to my husband's return so we can take day and weekend trips around the UK. There's so much more of London that I still want to see, and I can't wait to make it to Bath and Brighton, among other places. But there's plenty of time for all of that. We're eight months into a four year tour. I don't want to spend the next 40 months looking forward to going back to the states and miss out on all of the opportunities over here. I want to make memories and take pictures and come home with a toddler who calls soccer football. So maybe it hasn't been the easiest assignment yet. But here's to making it a rich a rewarding experience all the same.

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