Arriving in the United States of America

April 12, 2014. The day Nick separated from the Army and we all had to fly back to the states. We tried to delay it, but it was not to be. I would have loved to stay in Italy, and a part of me probably always will be there. I miss it so much already. I think I cried more than a few times on the flight. When we arrived at the airport in the states the man at customs said “welcome back”, but for my little Declan it should have just been “welcome”. It’s crazy to think how long we have been away!

Jonah was super excited for the in flight movies, I think he watched at least three. The only other flights he can remember are Ryan air within Europe…no movies on those flights!


The army allows 4 checked bags per person and one carry on. We were worried about our shipment being overweight so we maxed out what we could bring on the plane. We brought 16 bags (mostly in boxes because no one has that much luggage!), 4 carry-ons, a stroller with two children in it, two car seats and a pack and play. We were worried about our transfer in the states, but apparently they are used to crazy people like us (or knew we were coming??) because these two guys with huge carts started loading all our stuff up without even asking. We were so jet lagged we just said thank you…and they stood there with angry looks on their faces. I think they had to tell us they required tips…we were so out of it.


When we arrived in Salt Lake we had three or four vehicles there to pick us up. Thank you so much Lloyd family! We all made it and so did all our stuff!

The boys were excited to have a delayed Christmas at Grandma’s (we didn’t want anything sent at Christmas as we were preparing to move).

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April was a whirlwind. Nick and I both hit the ground running. We thought the bank would let us use the GI bill for a loan for a house (it provides a generous housing stipend while you are in school), but apparently that doesn’t count as income. So we spent April job hunting first before we can house hunt. The Lloyd’s have been kind enough to take us in while we figure out where we are going to settle.


We enjoyed our first holiday back in the USA, Easter with the Lloyds. They even provided my kids with their own personal Easter egg hunt. I think we are going to like living near family!

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We did lot’s of fun things in April. including going to the nickelcade.

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Hiking to bridal veil falls.


Shooting Nick’s new gun (now that we are stateside he feels it is his responsibility to add himself to the list of responsible gun owners in the states. Not something he ever would have considered before the military.)


Adjusting to the time zone…jet lag!


The jumping place (trampolines and foam pits! So fun!)

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Eating GOOD mexican food!!!! And Declan apparently like SPICY!!


And just going for a stroll.


We managed to get a photo of all the Lloyd kids in one place for the first time in at least three years.


Ciao ciao bella Italia!

April marked our last month in Italy. What a difficult thing it is to say good bye to a country that you have grown to love so much and know that you will probably never live in again. (I hope and dream that we do, but I’m also a realist and know it may never happen). We spent our last few months in Italy trying to squeeze in as much adventure as we could (actually, we spent our entire time doing it!). And trying to buy all the little things I had wanted but had kept putting off. I’m not usually a shopper, but when you know it’s your last chance…let’s just say I shopped this month.

This is Jonah’s last day at his Italian preschool in Creazzo.


His teacher, Maestra Lisa left the school a few months ago. She was replaced by maestra Ana, who is in this photo, sorry it’s not a great photo. We loved Maestra Lisa and I wish we had a photo with her.


Here is his class. I don’t know too many names, the one standing and scowling is Emanuele, he invited Jonah to his birthday party. The boy just next to him is Matteo. The brown little girl on the right in the back is Malak, Jonah’s “girl friend”.


Jonah in front of his locker with Matteo. When Jonah was new, Matteo’s Mom told him to play with Jonah. Matteo responded “but he doesn’t speak Italian!” and his Mom responded “play anyways!”


My boys, they have no idea how their worlds are about to change!


One last quick trip to the lovely city of Verona.

And the movers arrived. Now it’s getting real. They were pretty careful with our stuff. I did catch one guy about to drag a box of polish pottery down the stairs and I yelled at him. The movers were funny, they like me because I spoke Italian, but they also didn’t like me because I watched them like a hawk. We have things we have gotten that we just can’t replace.

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Right after the movers left I found Jonah like this. I think he is feeling some emotions about moving…

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We moved into the hotel for just a few nights before flying out. It was nice to be on base to wrap up the last few things for Nick’s out processing.


We went out to eat with some friends from our apartment building at a restaurant on top of Monte Berico. Such a beautiful view of Vicenza.


Not only are we saying goodbye to Italy but we are saying good bye to the military. No more Sergeant Nick. No more man in uniform. This is all we have known while we’ve been married, so it’s a little crazy!


Kissing my soldier one last time. Love him!


I love this one. The boys with their Daddy in uniform for the last time.



We spent our last day in Vicenza trying to get a good family photo with the local scenery. Us in front of La Rotunda and the beautiful yellow flowers. And below is us under the archway of the Basilica in the heart of Vicenza.


One of the things that I have learned from living in Italy is that my bucket list never gets shorter. I am always adding things faster than I can cross them off. I think that is good though. It just goes to show how much beauty there is on this earth, so much to see and do and people to connect with and learn about. I am sad to be going back to my own country where the opportunities for adventure will not feel as abundant as they do here, but I try to remind myself that Italians think the same thing. I remember when I lived in New Zealand, my host family remarked that we had done more in their country in 4 months than they had done in a lifetime. That got me thinking, do we appreciate what is in our own back yard? As sad as I am to be going back to the states I want to try to appreciate my own back yard as well.