Moving is part of military life. You don’t always get to choose where you go; what’s important is making the most of wherever you are!
When we moved to Japan in 2016, we were on 2-year orders. We loved it right away and knew that we wanted to extend (and did!), but didn’t dream it would be possible to extend a second time. Matt submitted his second extension request, and it was approved!
This allowed us to plan for a total of 4 years in Japan, and a return to the States in 2020. A few months after the second extension was approved, though, Matt called from work with a surprise: plans had changed, and we were going to ITALY in June 2019!
This was an impossible dream come true. We kept on having to mentally pinch ourselves, afraid that we would wake up to learn it was just our imagination! But it’s official: orders are in, pack out date is set, and we are moving to Naples, Italy!
Highlights from Japan
Japan will forever hold a special place in our hearts. Matt always loved the Japanese culture growing up (even wanting to be a ninja for some time), but no matter what we dreamed, nothing could compare to Japan’s amazing reality.
Over the past three years we have seen so much good in Japan; we’ve enjoyed the amazing scenery, harmony with nature, cultural traditions, architecture, food and more, but the unending kindness, generosity and respect of the Japanese are what made a part of our hearts belong to this country forever.
Shelbi – Okonomiyaki
Matt – Wagyu
Royce – Mochi
Jeannie – Mochi
Place to visit:
Matt – Shodoshima
Royce – Disneyland
Jeannie – Disneyland
Shelbi – Rice Harvest
Matt – Taiko Drum Festival in Shodoshima
Royce – n/a although he did really enjoy the rice harvest!
Jeannie – n/a
Time of year:
Shelbi – Early summer or early fall
Matt – Fall
Royce – “When it’s cold outside.”
Jeannie – “When it’s hot outside.”
Shelbi – potato pastry with soy sauce
Matt – fried chicken
Royce – yogurt drink
Jeannie – yogurt drink
Shelbi – Cremia
Matt – Cremia
Royce – Cremia
Jeannie – Cremia
Although we have taken advantage of our time here, we still have so much to do on our Japan bucket list! We thought we would have another year to complete it, but now we just hope we can live in Japan again some day.
We are going to miss the cleanliness (despite the scarcity of trash cans!). Missed will be the vending machines and the ability to live out of a 7-Eleven when necessary. We will miss the people with their kind smiles and care for our children; we will miss the honesty and safety that we feel everywhere we go. We often set our wallets and phones or iPad down to save a table while we order our food, because nobody would steal in Japan! Oh, Japan, we will miss you!
What to expect from us in Italy
ADVENTURE. It’s not Japan, we know, but we are ready for the new cultural challenges and – most importantly – the family time we will have as we travel throughout Europe.
With Italy set to be our new world, we are gearing up and learning all we can about the culture, language and history.
Let us know your book recommendations!
We intend to put the kids in an Italian school. Their Italian will probably be better than their Portuguese by the end of our time there! Matt is going full throttle learning the language, and I am starting a less-intense introduction to Italian.
Our stay will be at least 3 years! We started a bucket list, but with so much to see and do all over Europe, we will have to work hard to get everything done! We won’t be able to get everywhere, but here are the ones we really hope to see:
Our top countries to visit:
England (London at least once a year!)
Beyond Europe: Morocco and Israel
We want to really get to know Italy as locals, not tourists. Just as we’ve done in Japan, we will try and find unique things that bring us closer to the culture and the people. Here are a few things we know we want to see:
Leaning Tower of Pisa
Rent a Ferrari and Lamborghini
Art of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the other masters
There is so much that I hesitate to even make a list, but we need to have one to make the most of our time! Just as the past 3 years have flown by, so will the next.
What is on your “must-do list” for Italy? What about Europe?
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