Thursday, August 26, 2010

SeaLife Aquarium


It's not very often that I get to go on a field trip with work, since I'm usually at the front desk.


But every once in a while I get to go with these blue shirted beauties someplace spectacular.


There's magic about witnessing a child see something new and beautiful for the first time.


Being able to breathe while being underwater was pretty magical too.

What is not magical is being stuck in a 4 foot wide tube that's about 80 degrees fahrenheit with Italians with questionable personal hygiene and vastly different concepts on where personal space bubbles should start and stop. American personal space bubbles are about 3 feet from the person in front or behind you. Italian personal space bubbles are more like "just so long as you're in my back pocket and not down my pants" we're cool.

Believe it or not it's really easy to pick up these cultural differences in personal boundaries. The first time I went home to the States I was standing in line at Target to check out. I was an acceptable Italian distance from the person in front of me. You know, about 6 inches away from them. They threw me the dagger eyes over the shoulder and passive aggressively scootched closer to the check out. I blurted out in my typical socially awkward way, "Sorry, I'm just getting back from Italy." I now realize why that probably didn't help the dagger eyes I continued to receive from Americans respecting American cultural customs.


Oh, and by the way? This aquarium had one special display full of the full cast of Finding Nemo.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I am not Jackie Chan

So I went this evening to see the new Karate Kid.  Instead, I ended up seeing this:

Incase you weren't sure, this is not Jackie Chan. It did however have Jet Li. So I got some martial arts action.

How did this happen? We got the movie times wrong. On the small military installation where I live there is a one screen theater that shows 2 movies a day Wednesday through Sunday only. Karate Kid was at 3 and we got stuck with The Expendables at 6. It was a good movie and I don't feel like I wasted the $5.00 to see a first run movie.

That's right. It's only $5.00 over here to see a first run movie. A first run movie is a movie that comes out here the same time it does in the States. You see, the movie industry is nice enough to donate a few reals of movies to the military theaters overseas. We only get a certain number, though, so they have to rotate Europe military installations on a schedule so everyone gets a chance to see them. We're lucky enough to be a first run movie theater so we get a new release almost every weekend. I think they feel sorry for us because our guys deploy every other year so they give us new releases.

Did you know that in movie theaters on military bases they play the national anthem before every movie? They do. Everyone in the theater stands while a reel of footage from all the armed forces is played. There's one part that shows a man in uniform crying a single tear. It tugs at my heart every time. But then they play a preview or two to get you back in the mood for the movie. These theaters over here are professionals.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010



Cecilia's been gone since Thursday to London to visit her cousin.

I'm having serious withdraws.

She's going to be moving back to the States with her husband a month before my husband gets home.  I've already started planning how I'm going to keep my nights full while she's gone: local Italian classes, more running, more devotion to my schoolwork.

A few weeks ago I was talking to my husband about it on the phone and started to get choked up.  He said, "Seriously, Nikki?  I'll be home a month after that.  That's nothing."  I whimpered a pathetic I know type noise.  "I feel like," he continued, "you're going to miss her more than you miss me."

"You're coming back!  She's leaving for good!"

Little army wife tip: Don't tell your husband while he's in Afghanistan (Iraq, Germany, Kuwait, insert your chosen deployment place here) that you miss your friends more than you miss him.  It tends not to go over so well.

She'll be home tonight.  Hopefully she misses the shuttle from the airport to post so I can pick her up.

I don't talk very much on here about being an army wife.  Even though it's a big part of my life (huge actually) it's not one of the things I use to define myself.  Christian? yes.  Student? yes.  Southerner? yes. Reader? yes.  Writer? most of the time.  Army wife? not really.

I'm not sure if it's the bad connotations that are attached to the stero-typical army wife or if it's that I have enough of being identified as my husband's wife in my non-blog life.  Either way, one thing that I do love about being an army wife are the deep friendships that are made.  I don't have family within 4,000 miles of here and don't speak the language well enough yet to feel completely comfortable.  Added by the fact that if I did have an emergency my family would have to use a passport to get to me.  My husband is gone 80% of the time.  I'm alone in the truest sense of the word.

Enter Cecilia.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I did it, bloggers.  I signed up for my first ever 5k today.  I've been training for the last few months for it and yesterday ran for 20 minutes without stopping.  The front of my calves can tell you all about it today.

I'm feeling really good about it.  I think it's an excellent sign that this particular 5k is donut related.  Y'all, I feel so strongly about donuts.  Everytime I go to Germany I find the Dunkin Donuts there and buy at least half a dozen.  Then at least three more for the plane ride home.  Everytime I visit my parents in the States one of the first stops is the Krispy Kreme.  I don't even want to go unless the "Hot and Fresh" sign is on for donuts straight out of the fryer.  Dirty.  And I love it.

Wait, this post was supposed to be about running and fitness.  Oops.  No can do when donuts are involved.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Naw, mon. It's Swiss.

Name that movie!


Lugano, Switzerland.


Even though I was there, taking these pictures, I still couldn't believe this place.


It's unfair that one small town can contain so much beauty, when other places could benefit from a fraction of what Lugano has.


Cecilia and I are in this one as proof that this isn't a digitally altered post card.


The nice thing about this corner of Switzerland is that they primarily speak Italian. I've found another place in the world where I can use my hard earned Italian. It's actually easier here for me to speak and understand because the Swiss speak Italian without a "dialecto" that's as strong as anywhere else in Italy.

Did you know that about Italy?

In the States when we say people speak in dialect, it's English with a certain region's accent. We can still understand each other and basically speak the same language. In Italy, the children learn the dialect at home (where I live it's the Veneto dialect) and don't learn proper Italian until they go to school. Each dialect from each region in Italy is so different that someone from Sicily can't understand someone from Venice unless they switch to proper Italian. The proper Italian is what they taught me in my classes. So Italians all over Italy can understand me when I speak to them, but I have no idea what they are saying to me most of the time because they answer in the dialect. When the Lugano people answered me, I understood.

*cue angel chorus*

I only got to visit for an afternoon, so I don't have many stories, but Lugano kept a little piece of my heart. How could it not? I bet it already has a little piece of your heart now too.