August 22, 2012

Taking Care of Business

Monday morning I got up bright and early to go running.  I discovered Navy folks preparing for some PT time on the track, so I left there and ended up running the perimeter of the base.  I have no idea how far that is, but I was running for probably 35-45 minutes?  I'm not sure.  I need a Garmin (cough, cough, hint, hint).  It gave me a chance to explore the base a little in the coolness of the morning.

Monday was a "work" day for Ted--he was able to get just about everything done from the in-processing checklist, which was amazing.  Our sponsor has commented multiple times that doing everything in one day is pretty much unheard of.  I credit God's grace!

Meanwhile, the children and I tried to have as "normal" of a day as possible.  School here starts next Monday; our homeschool materials are in our express shipment, due to arrive sometime before our household goods, but who really knows when.  I determined that we would try to have some semblance of a routine day, though, so here's what we did:

  • Woke the kids up and had breakfast at 8.  Might as well force our bodies to be on Italy time!
  • Walked to the playground on the school property for some exercise.
  • Warded off wasps on the attack.  (Fortunately I was the only one stung, and thanks to some tips from a friend, I was able to detox quickly and haven't had any reactions.)
  • Came back to our TLF room; kids journaled about things that are different in Italy and did typing lessons while Zaden napped.  (If you haven't already checked out Charis's blog, I encourage you to stop by!  She'll be posting some of her school journaling/writing assignments as well as sharing her thoughts about life here.)
  • Lunch on our balcony.
  • Down time--reading, games, computer time.
  • Lucan and Zaden napped.
Ted came home shortly before dinner (roast chicken with quinoa pasta and green beans with bacon and onions...not bad, if I do say so myself!).  After we cleaned up, we took a walk to the library (the kids had already read their books from Sunday's checkout!), restocked the library bags, played at a very cool playground just behind the library, then walked to the retail center for some gilato.  Oh, my...the kids and Ted had enjoyed some on Saturday when they went swimming, but this was my first time.  I have to's a good thing I've been running lately!!  This stuff can be addicting!  Way better than ice cream!

Tuesday was our day to go to the NATO headquarters to apply for our sojourners' permits.  These are needed for the kids and me to live in Italy, since we are not on military orders.  Ted's sponsor, Maj. M, and "Swiss," another co-worker (both of whom had seen us here from the airport), drove our family downtown.  I loved riding with Maj. M, who is originally from Puerto Rico and is a huge history buff.  Listening to him was like being with a tour guide!  Ironically, he told me about how the Italians love to talk...when it was quite clear that he is the same way, LOL.  I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about the area, the country, and this continent from his perspective.  He and his wife have traveled extensively, and I know he'll be a great resource.  He is excited that we are a homeschooling family (he was very impressed that Charis knew Mt. Vesuvius!) and enjoy history like he does.  I think he and Ted will hit it off very well.  It's a shame that he's due to PCS in only 6 months!

I WISH I had taken the camera to get pics of the NATO headquarters, but I'll have to have Ted do that sometime for us.  He'll only be working there a few months; the building has quite a history but is currently being rented for 1 million euros per month!  The headquarters will move to a new location supposedly in January.  (This has been a work in progress for a decade or more.)  

The Italian who helped us with the whole permit process was very kind.  I tried having him teach me a few words in Italian, though I'm not sure I remember them all.  (Mano is hand!  Learned that when I was fingerprinted!)  The kids did very well in the small waiting room.  Zaden made things more exciting by pooping just before I was to be fingerprinted.  Of course there are no baby changing tables in the bathrooms, so we made do with some paper towels on the floor, sigh.  

We got to go up and see Ted's office--the first time I've seen his work place since...maybe Mountain Home?!  Everyone we met was so friendly.  I think this is going to be an amazing experience for Ted.  We headed back to the TLF after that.  The drive isn't terribly far, but the traffic makes or breaks it as far as time spent traveling.  August is a holiday month, so we breezed along quickly.  I could have just spent all day staring out the window--so fascinating!  So many people apologize for Naples being...Naples, what with the trash and the terrible drivers and all.  But I'm just so thrilled to be here that it honestly doesn't matter!  I love taking everything in, and I hope the kids do, too.  I really, really hope they gain an appreciation for the fact that very few Americans will have opportunities like this.

Maj. M was kind enough to drive me to the commissary upon our return so I could pick up some more milk and a few other groceries.  (We are consuming bottled water at an alarming rate!  The water here is not fit to drink at all--in fact, it smells like a swimming pool any time you turn the tap on.)  We had a makeshift taco dinner (no taco seasoning, sigh) and got everyone to bed a bit earlier since we were hot, tired, and rather grumpy!  Some game time and family devotions helped, and then lights were out for all of us by 9 p.m.!

Here are some pictures of the older kids trying to get Zaden to enjoy slides--he was not particularly thrilled!

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