In Italy · Military Life

The August Break

Moving to Italy in July requires some mental preparation. August is vacation month here. Everyone takes a couple weeks at some point to head to the beach before school starts in September. Which means it’s really hard to get things done, such as setting up the Internet in the house you move into on August 1 (because if you don’t move in by the first, you won’t move in until September). So we’re connected to a cellular hotspot-style thingy that has a data usage limit to hold us over until our router is installed (in a 20-25 business day window). This means I’m not able to upload photos from our recent adventures, but wow. (You can catch some over at Instagram for now.)

Every day I open the shutters and think, “Holy sh!t. I LIVE here!” I look forward to sharing photos, but they don’t share the bell songs from the convent up the street, the cool morning air, the sound that thunder makes, the fragrance of the lavender outside the kitchen window.  No photo of our trees (fig, hazelnut, apple, kaki and magnolia among them) can convey my excitement for the seasons with them. A picture simply cannot express the tranquility I find while pulling weeds from the poor hostas while the boys sit on their little Ikea picnic table and play with Play Doh in the shade. Every day I understand why people fall in love with Italy, without even passing through our gate!

Then we take a quick day trip, to Lake Maggiore, or on a funicular overlooking Lake Como, or to go shopping in Milan – or just a walk into Varese town center for gelato or a panino – and the feeling of disbelief is overwhelming. We never expected this to be a part of our story (and it almost wasn’t, but that’s a whole story unto itself). And yet here we are. (With gorgonzola dolce layered with marscapone in the fridge.)

Is it possible to explode with gratitude?

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