Buon Natale

The mouth watering aroma of Christmas Eve dinner pours into each room, scented candles flicker in every corner of the house, Christmas music of my childhood past plays in the background, Leilani finalizing her 3rd Santa letter rough draft on the coffee table; occasionally checking up on Santa’s whereabouts via noradsanta.org, husband still hasn’t left his “workshop”. I sit with feet propped up, looking out my back porch and see Christmas trees lining apartment windows; military families in their homes – I allow myself to exhale – a reminder that I’m not the only one thousands of miles away from family. Tonight marks our first Christmas together in 3 years. Tonight might be best spent alone, but tonight…

I am truly missing family and bottomless tamales on this evening before Christmas.

Oh, happy day!

Last night, CJ drove up to the apartment with OUR CAR!

I bolted out the front door and into his arms squealing in delight. We finally have Calil Mobile (yes, our car has a name). I was extremely happy. I had a sudden shift in moods that brought me to a feeling I haven’t felt in a while – despite being in Italy – sheer joy; flashes of my future in Europe bursting through my mind.

I ran up to the car and placed my hand on the roof, grinning from ear to ear, scanning the car from left to right. As if I wanted to give it a giant hug. This car has been apart of our family long before Leilani was born. It has been through everything from our cross country trip from NC to San Diego, surviving severe hailstorms and a passing tornado in Tennessee; getting stolen in San Diego, across the Mexican border and back – being retrieved a week later; laboring in the car with Leilani on the way to the hospital/her first car ride home; countless trips up and down the West Coast, serving as a makeshift bed while we napped at dozens of gas stations and rest stops; to being shipped here, Italy. You can imagine the kind of connection we have to our car. Actually, one of my all time favorite musical films just came to mind, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and it’s famous song:

“…Oh Chitty, you Chitty, pretty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang we love you
And Chitty, our Chitty, pretty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang loves us too…”

I couldn’t help myself! It’s just so true!

So when I saw our “fine four-fendered friend” outside, another family member was with us, a piece of home was with us. To be able to continue the memories in the car we feel safe in, driving around Italy and it’s surrounding countries, makes for an adventure of a lifetime – an opportunity that doesn’t present itself to many people.

The reason I haven’t updated with a post in a while is because I’ve sort of been on shut down mode. I felt really trapped in the confines of the base gates. No chances of getting off and exploring. It’s impossible to walk off base without finding yourself in the middle of a busy street. Some days I even forget I’m in Italy. I desperately needed our car. Now that we have it 2.5 months later, we are going absolutely everywhere. Our first adventure off base was not even 15 minutes after CJ drove up with the car. We went and got gas, picked up pizza, and bought freshly sliced prosciutto and bread at a wine and cheese shop. I smiled all the way home. What’s even better is CJ bought new tires today and had the auto shop make a few adjustments to the car. Now we’ll be able to drive right over those pot holes without fearing our tire will pop off. All we need left is for Santa to bring us a GPS!

Note – Paris was everything I dreamed it would be. I will post details and photos soon. I have about 54376258 photos to go through!