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I had a great dream of what it’d be like when we moved here. I imagined the base lodging would be full, so we’d be whisked into a lavish Italian villa complete with frescoes covering the walls and an orchard overflowing with fresh fruit. There, we’d dine on homemade pasta and the most exquisite wine every night, followed by melt-in-my-mouth gelato for dessert. I envisioned the little Spanish I knew would magically transition into perfect Italian and I could speak to everyone in sight. In my mind I saw rows and rows of vineyards spread across Italy’s rolling hills.

I hate to break it to you, but at first glance, this Italian experience is nothing like the pretty picture I conceived, and it’s completely different from the previous trips I’ve taken to Italy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive enough to think that my vision is how it would actually be, but living here—or, rather, getting adjusted to living here—is completely different.

So far I’ve broken down and almost-cried several times (once while standing right smack dab in the middle of the freezer aisle); we ate frozen I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-delivery pizza on our second night here; I can only say a handful of broken-Italian words that sound more like Spanliacan (an awesome blend of Spanish and Italian with a harsh American accent); I’ve seen more corn fields than vineyards, and I seem to be extremely allergic to Italy.

I know it’s not what you probably want to hear, but I am keeping this blog as a record of my experiences, and days, weeks, months, and years from now I want to remember exactly what I was thinking at this very moment—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

When I moved to England I kept a handwritten journal for this exact purpose, and my first week there sounded very similar to this, so I know things will only get better from here. We’re just in that awkward transition period where we don’t have a home or any of our things and are living in a hotel room on base. We don’t have a car, so we can’t really go anywhere unless we walk. The commissary doesn’t really have a section with “local” food (hence the frozen pizza for dinner). And here, on and around base, it’s nicknamed “Little America,” so we’re not exactly getting that Italian experience yet.

I’ve talked to several people who have moved overseas with the military and they’ve said they felt the same way. I also know I’ll get over this, and once we get more settled and relaxed, this place will feel like home.

With all that said, I’m extremely thankful we’re here and I will enjoy it as much as I can. Once we find a house I hope to spend very little time in “Little America” so I can embrace the culture. I also can’t tell you how badly I want to learn the language; I plan on taking classes ASAP. I’m anxious to start taking pictures again, so hopefully the gorgeous weather will stick around for a few more weeks! See, there is a silver lining to this post!

***I wrote this three days after we arrived here, and if you read my previous posts on Moving to Italy (one, two, and three), then you know how exhausted we were and how much we just wanted to be in Italy already. I wanted to write a disclaimer, because I’m posting this after being here a week and I already feel the exact opposite (except for being allergic to everything out here). Since I wrote this we’ve found a house, we have our car, we’ve eaten delicious food, had wonderful wine, my Italian is actually pretty decent, and we’ve been exploring our new area. Long story short, it’s important that I share how I really feel at the time, but things are much, much better now and I’ll post pictures soon!***


  1. Thank you so much for the disclaimer! I see this happen to just about every one of my students who goes abroad and so I kept reading thinking "this girl is a tough cookie, she'll bounce back soon – I hope!" Glad to see you did already 🙂

  2. I'm glad (and not surprised!) that you're feeling much better than you did originally!

    You original idea of the move sounds like it's from a movie so I can see why the first couple days didn't necessarily live up that! 🙂

  3. Firstly I am super jealous of your ability to get some American food on base! I moved to Sweden in June and sometimes the grocery store still drives me mad!!!

  4. OO and I forgot to type the secondly part before posting since I got distracted by thinking how silly Swedish grocery stores are!

    The secondly part was that when we first moved here both my husband, who is Swedish, and my allergies went crazy since it is all new pollen but that will adjust.

  5. I'm glad you're feeling a bit better now, but girl, it's okay to have those feelings! When I posted (a WHILE back) about being lonely and unhappy after moving to California, I got so many great responses from friends telling me how they'd been there too! It takes time to get accustomed to a new situation, and even if it doesn't work out how you expected, you can still find the good! (Here's a link to my post if you wanna see the great advice I got: http://hernewleaf.wordpress.com/2010/11/21/on-the-west-coast/)

  6. I knew it would get better for you soon…glad you are beginning to enjoy this experience! All this wonderful travel and cultural experience will be a treasure you can not only enjoy yourself, but give back to your children later! God Bless!

  7. Thank you for sharing, and I am glad that you are already feeling a little bit better from your disclaimer! 🙂

  8. Interestingly enough, I had almost the same reaction when we moved to Hawaii. My allergies weren't quite as bad, but I did have a lot of problems with them. We also didn't get our car for a month after we moved here, (we also lived in lodging for over a month) so our only way off post was for someone to come pick us up. Fortunately, I had meet a blogger who had just moved here so that did help. The culture is SO different here and I had a hard time understanding everyone…even though they supposedly speak English. =P It got even harder after Joe deployed because I was still so new to the island. I still miss things about living on the mainland, but I'm adjusted now. I'm glad you're adjusting and bouncing back quickly.

  9. Glad you're getting better adjusted to Italia. At the spouse symposium last year, they said it takes most people 6 months to feel fully adjusted. Doesn't mean you're miserable until then, just takes a while to find your "groove" in Italy. See you soon!

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