Today is a special day of sorts. And every special day deserves a proper theme, don’t you think?
Today’s theme: relocation
A big part of my life the past few years has been the state-hopping Craig and I have been doing. But believe it or not, I happen to have a bloggy friend, Brook, who is even MORE of a gypsy than me.
It is in the spirit of relocation that Brook and I are guest posting on each other’s blogs today! Brook also happens to be the first guest writer I’ve had the honor of hosting!
Please welcome the lovely Brook, and make sure to relocate over to her place to check out my guest post, A Baby For Every State!
Greeting, BB&CD readers! My name is Brook Dell’Anna and I write at baby&sofia. I “met” Liz a few months ago when I started to read her hilarious blog. We since have become blogisphere friends and have bonded over our shared experience of moving about the country.
My parents both hail from the Great Midwest. My mother was born and raised in Minnesota; my father is from Iowa. They met at a small Catholic university in Iowa. Not too much longer after that, they were married and I was born. Not too much longer after that, my parents made the decision that they were ready to leave the Great Midwest.
It was the mid-1980s and the economy was not doing so hot. After weighing all post-college opportunities, my dad decided to try out his sea legs and joined the Navy. We moved across the country to New England, where Dad completed Officer Candidate School while Mom and I learned our way around Newport, Rhode Island. It’s funny how I can still vividly remember the gorgeous trees that turned into the most brilliant shades of yellow, orange, and red that autumn.
From Newport, we moved all over the country for my Dad’s career. We traveled up and down the East Coast, then hopped over to Hawaii, then back to the Mainland to live on the West Coast for awhile before returning back East. I ended up going to college in Maryland, and while I was in college, my family moved to Italy. Which was spectacular. (Did I mention that is where I met my amazing husband?) Joining the Navy ended up being one of the best things that my Dad ever did for our family.
When I was in college, I realized that I have gypsy blood. I think now that it must be genetic. My parents are still always looking for their next adventure; after Italy, they moved back to Hawaii, and are now planning the next chapter in their lives. They are usually on the move, looking for a new, exciting experience to add to the history of their lives.
As an adult, I have lead a “Navy” lifestyle without ever actually joining. During college, I spent as much time as I could in Europe, passing summer and winter vacations there and taking a semester to study in Rome. Ten days after graduation, with my Political Science degree in hand, I was back in southern Italy ready to take it all in. I loved every minute of the chaos that is Naples and fell deeply in love with my Italian soon-to-be-hubby.
Living in Naples provided a unique set of challenges for me. I am, by nature, very adaptable; but I am also very opinionated. So I was open to Italian culture; I sincerely love both the language and the culture, and dedicated myself to absorb as much as possible. Which I did; I speak Italian fluently and am pretty well-versed in the intricacies of Italian life. I mean, heck, I married a Neopolitan man. You don’t get much more traditional than that. I, however, also held onto my opinions. Which was tricky. I loved shopping at the local markets, teaching in an Italian school, and spending time with my in-laws. But I still held onto my personal belief system and sometimes projected it on those around me. It is funny, though, because while I was there, I felt so strongly about holding onto my American values. Now that I am back in the States, I realized that I really did adopt an European outlook, and have managed to blend both the American and Italian influences in my life. (As in I cook three fresh meals every day, but cannot make it to the market each day. Costo remains an important part of my life.)
After Naples, my husband and I moved to sunny southern California. Which we love love loved. The breezy, sun-shiny days that we spent strolling along the ocean were simply picturesque. While we worked longer hours, we still managed to enjoy every moment of the sun and the ocean.
After about two years of California bliss, we decided to move yet again. In March of this year, Giuseppe was offered a position at Iowa State University, so off we went. The movers came and went, and then our road trip began. Giuseppe, five-month-old Paolo, and I drove across the country to our new home. It was actually an amazing trip. We stopped in Arizona, at the Grand Canyon, Santa Fe, Denver, and Omaha. It was the Great American Road Trip for Italian hub-a-lub. He loved it.
So, here we are, modern-day gypsies. I was raised a gypsy, but my husband definitely was not. We’ll call him the gypsy-convert. Most of his family live within 20 minutes of each other, and moving to say, a neighboring city, is a very big deal. (So you can imagine their surprise when we hopped over “the pond” and then over to the Pacific coast of America.) While I do one day envision myself setting down in one place and growing some serious roots, I enjoy every moment of our gypsy adventure. I guess I can thank my parents for that. Hopefully, Paolo will feel the same way one day.