Month: November 2014

Turkey Trot

This morning we ran the Turkey Trot 5K on post. It was… how do you say… FREEZING. I feel seriously underprepared for winter and it was only 35 degrees. I should have bought more stuff when I had the chance at Fit2Run!

There were maybe 150 people there, and I met some girls that I had talked to on FB about running. One of them actually used to run at the Tampa F2R which is cool. There is also an active Team RWB chapter here.

At the start, they played both the Star Spangled Banner as well as the Italian National Anthem “Il Canto degli Italian.” This means Song of the Italians. It was a very bright and happy sounding tune. Listen here:  http://www.understandingitaly.com/profile-content/anthem.html

The route started and ended on the track and just wound around post.

A large group of Italian runners showed up and placed top three. Also, at the starting gun, they all yelled and shouted at the top of their lungs which was fun and cool.

RW got a PR this morning. I did not, but I did not run as slow as I felt like I was.

I am going to leave you now and buy all of the winter running clothes that exist on the internet.  Ciao!

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So far, so good…?

It stopped raining and now is in the 50s and sunny. I can see mountains all around, complete with snow on top.

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I met RW’s battalion commander, he seems cool and said my name right every time so that is a bonus. In fact, Italians say my name right every time with a beautiful “r” sound and I love it. My name means “dear” in Italian.

When we went to see the BC, I inadvertently stepped on this giant unit emblem on the floor and all the soldiers around gasped and said “ahh don’t step on that.” Of course before I could stop myself I asked “then why is it on the floor?” Would have been embarrassing except that it is really good question and no one appears to know the answer.

Dinner in downtown Vicenza last night was fun. We went to a little pizza place and of course it was delicious. Everything is so fresh and just tastes different.

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We have started the housing process. It is laborious, boring, annoying, and frustrating. Just cross your fingers that it works out the way I want or when you come visit you will be disappointed.

I found a place to rent bicycles so at least we can escape post later this week. I feel sort of trapped in this awkward little America surrounded by fences and barbed wire. Also, there is a 5k this weekend. The winners get a turkey for Thanksgiving. I hope that RW and I are studs! We will be meeting up with some Team RWB people so I am hopeful to make a friend or two.

I have one real friend now- she lives next door in the hotel and her husband was at Benning with RW. She is super cool and chill and her dog likes to play with Murray and Schmitt. We are hoping to live near each other downtown. She has been amazingly helpful since she is about a week ahead of us as far as paperwork, etc goes.

That is all for now. Ciao!

We made it!

Ciao! We made it to Vicenza. RW and I ended up flying on separate days due to a flight change. KLM canceled a flight and re booked us on a non-pet friendly airline, so the easiest and quickest thing to do was split the animals up and take the first available acceptable flights. RW flew with the cats and arrived Saturday, while I continued the farewell tour for another night and day.

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Here are some random thoughts so far:

Schmitt did fine on the plane. He was tired of his bag by the third leg and whined a bit. Luckily the lady in my row was a dog lover.

Schmitt in his bag.
Schmitt in his bag.

Schiphol airport in Amsterdam was awesome. It reminded me of a club or lounge due to the cool lighting and awesome stores and sweet sitting areas. They also had a lot of great, fresh and healthy food options. When I exited through Customs to take Schmitt outside, the guys asked me what brings me to Holland. The answer: “My dog has to pee.” They thought that was hilarious 🙂 Their security lines were the most efficient that I have ever seen. Automated boarding pass scanners let you into the secure area, and then the belt for carry ons had multiple places to get the bins so everything moved quickly.

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Flying into Venice reminded me of flying into New Orleans. Lots of small islands and patches of green in the middle of water, slowly getting bigger as you get closer to the city. NOLA is surrounded by green, compared to Venice which is a ton of old buildings with red roofs that rise up out of the water. One could jump off the roof of the buildings into the Adriatic.

My sponsor/first friend picked me up at the airport. She went to VT and got here a couple of months ago. RW knows her husband from his classes at Benning. We ended up locking the keys in the car so had some quality time to chat while we waited to be rescued.

At least it wasn't that cold out.
At least it wasn’t that cold out.

RW and I are set up in a hotel for a few weeks. It is one bedroom with kitchenette right on post. So that will be alright I hope. The cats seem to be doing just fine and the dogs don’t care as long as there is a couch on which to sit.

The little cat has found his happy place.
The little cat has found his happy place.
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Back to normal. Spoiled pets.
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No lizards to chase here.

The TV has an MTV Music channel so that is awesome. So far it has been a mix of pop, alt rock, and European videos. The hotel also has an espresso machine. FOR FRIZZLE. Whatttttt.

I am never going to sleep! MWAHAHHAHAHHA
I am never going to sleep! MWAHAHHAHAHHA

We went for a run around post today. It is tiny, full of boring brown buildings and surrounded by barbed wire. Is this what Piper and the OITNB crew feel like?!

Tomorrow will start all of the in-processing and procedural things that will hopefully get us into an apartment sooner rather than later.

Talk to you all soon, thanks for checking in!

Moving in 3…2…1…

The last two weeks have been hectic. RW finally got the go ahead to proceed with out processing from Ft Benning and setting up the move to Vicenza. As I write this, the final group of movers is here loading up into the truck.

We fly out Thursday morning via Atlanta and Amsterdam. Schmitt will be my carry on bag, while Murray and the cats will be under the plane. Our layover in Atlanta is long enough to retrieve Murray and take both dogs out for a couple of hours. Getting our plane tickets sorted out has been the most stressful part of the process so far. The army chooses a ticket for us, and then we had to call each airline to ensure there is space on each leg of the flight for all of our pets, and then get back with the army to actually book the tickets. It is clear to me after dealing with multiple airlines that being a Delta Skymiles member is well worth it, as calling through their line was the only time we received information that did not change every time we spoke with someone new. United and Lufthansa need to communicate better, as we spent over an hour going back and forth between the two airlines, trying to determine who actually was in charge of a flight segment. As of press time, it is still unclear who is operating that flight. Good thing we are flying Delta instead 🙂

The movers came in three separate trips- one for permanent storage stateside, one for unaccompanied baggage (which is a small air shipment thay arrives to Italy in 30-45 days), and then our large household goods shipment, which arrives overseas in two to three months. I sent an air mattress, some kitchen goods, and winter clothes in UB, so if we find an apartment we will have some of our things while we wait for the HHG load to arrive.

As for when we arrive in Vicenza, we will live in a hotel on the Army base until we find permanent housing. No clue how long that will take or how difficult that may be. We plan to live as close to downtown as we can so we will see what we can come up with.

Stay tuned for more updates this week as we say Arrivederci to Sarasota!