So we got back from visiting family in the States a couple weeks ago. It took me a while to get back on European time, and my husband caught a killer sinus infection that seems to be hanging on for dear life. He's also working nights, which is never fun, and makes a regular schedule that much less a reality.
I'm missing home big time now. It was so much harder leaving this time. I don't think it was the leaving part, as much as the "I don't want to go back to Italy" part. It was so nice being home. If it weren't for looking like a complete lunatic, I would've kissed the ground in the Memphis airport as soon as we landed. People actually knew how to drive, and though you still had your random crazies, they followed the rules for the most part. Only about 5% of people didn't know what they were doing, instead of the 85% in Italy.
I got to drive my truck again! It was the highlight of the drive to Knoxville and back. As soon as we got to my in-laws' house, I saw her in the driveway, and exclaimed, "my baby!" I even lovingly patted her as I walked by (again, so I didn't look completely off my rocker, I elected not to hug her and not let go for 30 minutes). I usually don't mind at all letting Neal do 90% of the driving, but I had to drive her from just West of Nashville to Clarksville. It was so nice driving a vehicle you didn't have to coax into working! And people on the road actually drove on the right and passed on the left! They weren't coming at you from all sides!
Besides the wonderful driving conditions, there were WalMart and Hancock Fabrics trips, outlet shopping, milkshakes, the mall, lemonade, baby back ribs, and Chik-fil-A!!! Oh, the joys of the U.S.! Even when the temperature dropped about twenty degrees overnight and I got a cold, I was happy as a lark just to be home!
Coming back to Italy was quite a rude experience. It took us forever to get home, and we were going on very little sleep. And to top it off, it rained for just about two weeks straight. It's finally turned nice again, but it certainly didn't help the attitude. Add to that the wonders of winter here: needing bombola (heating) gas every time you turn around, electric bills through the roof, gas at our discounted rate of $3.75 per gallon (please don't whine to me about $3/gal gas), cold tile floors everywhere, the neighbors' dog that barks 24/7, cats that thought they took over my garden while we were gone, and general stupidity on base. Between all that, you get a very lovely attitude toward Italy.
Last night, I made dinner for the off-going and on-coming security guys, and on the way to base the clutch in the car decided to just stick to the floor. It has been acting up, but we haven't had a chance to take it to get looked at. That's a process in itself. It finally popped back out just before I got there, but I had to have someone follow me home just in case. Then when I got home, the pilot light had gone out, and there was no heat in the house. Luckily the landlords came today to fix it, but not before I had to go all day without a shower, delay dinner so long that Neal had to take money to order out, and put me in a horrible mood in general. I even had a minor breakdown on Neal because I was so frustrated at everything!
So yes, today was my pity-party day. It's getting better now (heat and a fire in the fireplace will do that), and I'm sure that tomorrow things will be much better. One of the girls that used to work here that we'd made friends with (she's in Belgium now) is coming to town this weekend, so that should be fun. It's supposed to be sunny for the next week, and Neal has a long weekend off. Something tells me that I just need some good sleeping in and lots of chocolate and I'll be all better!
Last but not least, stay tuned for my report on how much Mikelauren kicks my rear on Monday when I get back to her fitness class after the holidays!