Monday, September 19, 2011

So you think we're crazy for moving to Italy?

First off, if you missed this news you can read about it: here

But if you did read that we're moving, then rest assured that we're not crazy. It does seem insane. I'm very much a ''small town'' girl. I lived in Kansas my entire life, up until 10 months ago when we moved to this desert  South Texas. If you would have told me 1 year ago we'd be moving to Italy, I'd say that you're dead wrong. It's so completely out of character, for me, that it is hard to believe. So what changed?

Well, quite a bit. First off, living in Texas has been a mixed blessing. It is 13+hours from our family and was a hard adjustment. It's hot. The culture is different, so many Mexican and Spanish influences. The food is different, the grocery stores are different (good-bye Dillons/Hy-Vee/Ray's Apple Market, hello HEB, HEB, HEB and oh yeah,  HEBplus) the speed limits are different (seriously only 65mph at night?!). A lot changed moving here. Little things like our entire house being tile and bigger things like it not raining for over 90+ days (it will drive you mad!), driving on the highway with warning signs up that say "EXTREME WILDFIRE DANGER", learning about the stages of water restrictions and learning that your son doesn't get recess this week due to excessive heat warnings & poor air quality. Definitely a change up from our indecisive, but tolerable, Kansas weather.

But despite all the new but not so great things, we've learned a lot. Yes, it's hard being away from friends and family, but we're doing fine. (Yes, I realize we have been fortunate enough to have a lot of visitors!). Sure we don't have Mr. Goodcents, but how else would we have learned that our kids LOVE mexican food. Borracho beans, flautas, quesdillas and breakfast tacos.

Most importantly though, we've learned to adapt. We've learned to try new things, to do things we normally wouldn't. To explore and see what's around us. In some ways, I feel like Texas was the baby step to bigger things, like moving to Italy. If one year ago, right after giving birth to Sissy, B had said ''Hey, I got a job in Italy" I would have refused to go. It would have been a ''Either turn it down or have fun going by yourself" situation. I was VERY comfortable in Kansas but our finances were not. We needed to move, to let B ''move up the ladder'' so to speak, to be able to pay off debt, save up money and get out of a 2 bedroom house with our four kids. So, we did it. With an 8 week old baby, we up and moved 750 miles away where we knew almost no one.

The silver lining was, we actually don't mind living here. B is getting paid more, cost of living is less. We have more house (almost 500sq feet more) for only a bit more rent. We made friends, got to know our neighbors (something we never did back home). We are much more comfortable here financial than we were in Kansas. Are we debt free? No. Are we no longer paying just the bare minimum? Yes. And that is a big step when you have some credit card debt, student loans (but no degree) and a car note. We were also able to do fun things like get a Sea World pass, explore a whole new area, take our kids to the gulf or ''ocean'' as they call it. We bought a new washer & dryer (our old set was on it's last leg but we made it work for over a year, running everything for 2 dry cycles and sometimes washing one load of clothes twice to get the detergent stains out) and got Peanut a big bed...something we wouldn't have even had room for in our old house.

So if we're so comfortable here, why move? Well, in short, because we can. Because an opportunity like Italy, comes up once in a lifetime if you're lucky. We didn't think we'd really like Texas, we thought it would be hard on the kids and us. We thought we'd be here a year and move right back to Kansas. But we adjusted. So yes, Italy will be hard. It will be an even bigger adjustment. But I really do feel like having this year in Texas to act as a buffer between ''home'' and Italy, has helped tremendously.

Please know that we're not going into this blind. We've asked questions every step of the way. We've researched and read up on our new area. We've chatted with other people who have been there, we've read blogs, books, websites and watched youtube videos. We have applied for passports, started sorting our belongings into ''trash/donate/sell/take with us/store here". We've gotten Rascal micro-chipped, vaccinated and his health certificate started. We've been stalking the military housing website looking at rentals, discussing the the benefits of living in different areas, what we are hoping to find, what is essential (some yard space) versus what isn't (a garage/carport, 2 full baths[like we have now]).  We've looked into the school system, the bus routes...we're really doing all that we can stateside to prepare ourselves and the kids for this move.

If you're interested, here are a couple blogs from other Americans who are currently living in Italy. Two of them are military as well, one is in Rome.

 PCS Italy-- super informative. Peggy, the author, is also from kansas, married to a civilian and she has two kids.

New Girl on Post-- Melissa is a 20 something girl from Oklahoma that has spent a few years in Oklahoma, one by herself while her husband was deployed. She loves to travel and has the pictures and tips to prove it!

An American in Rome- a California girl who dropped everything and moved to Rome for graduate school. Good pictures, funny and informative.


  1. Shannon, I thinks its absolutely amazing/wonderful/thrilling/exciting and completely incredible that you and your family are doing this. Im ABSOLUTELY jealous and envious of your opportunity!! SO happy for you guys!

  2. Congrats to you and your fam for taking this big step. I definitely think it will be an adjustment but I think you're doing all you can to prepare for it and how amazing to get the opportunity!! :) Good luck!

  3. Hey guys!! I am so happy for all of you. It's just amazing that this day and age you can be so far away but keep in touch the way you do. I am so excited about seeing your blog (daily I hope!) and watching your Italy adventures. What a wonderful reality show that would be... Hey, will you post videos of your children teaching me Italian?? We could learn all together!!! :)

    Love you guys!
    Big D


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