It's Like Living in A Foreign Country


As you may remember, we have recently PCSed. Technically I don't think the PCS is over because we are still living in the Navy Lodge and we don't have our stuff. Anyway, we've moved overseas, which is very exciting and also frustrating. SpouseBUZZ authors have lived overseas before, but I'm the only author who is currently out of the US and my husband informs me that it is my responsibility to represent all us OCONUS spouses.

We have only been in Italy about three weeks, so my culture shock with the Italians hasn't really set in yet. I'm still dealing with the culture shock of being on a US base overseas. Our last tour overseas, we were on our own with no military facilities, so this is different. Quite different.

The commissary looks sort of the same, except the produce is really lousy and expensive. The meat is wrapped differently and lots of things that we would purchase in the chilled department are found in the frozen section. I have been pleasantly surprised to find some foods that we love, and disappointed that some things are missing. I can't wait to find a good market to buy truly fresh produce!

We are trying to find a place to live and the system is so different here. The housing office is supposed to facilitate finding the housing but it seems that doesn't work out quite as stated, so we've been searching with outside mediators. Thankfully they are usually Italian wives of Americans, so we can communicate. We would really be lost otherwise.

We went the first week to get the girls registered for school, but it seems that most of the school staff is gone during the summer. While I understand that administrators need vacations, too, it seems a little crazy that everyone is out when people are PCSing in (and out.) We have an appointment with a guidance counselor at the end of August. The week before school starts.

I know this sounds a little disjointed, but I wanted to do a broad overview of the joys and challenges of being with the military overseas. I'm hoping to build a good bunch of posts and comments that will help us remember that we are not alone in this journey and provide guidance for people getting ready to move.

On that note, we're going to play a variation of a favorite SpouseBUZZ game: If you could tell a new person coming to your country one thing, what would it be? I'll start!

If I could tell someone coming to Italy one thing, it is that Italian women don't often wear shorts, so pack some skirts and pants in your luggage. I've already had to buy a pair of black linen pants, and I've been wearing the same skirt nearly every other day.

What is your advice?

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