Thursday, August 11, 2011

Well Hello, Italy

We left Portland on August 9 at 6:20 AM and didn't get to Aviano until August 10 at about 11 AM. I was only able to get one or two catnaps in on the planes. I was practically falling asleep standing up by the time we arrived. But the adrenaline and excitement of finally getting to Italy kept me running. Will was able to get more sleep than I did on the plane, but he was just as exhausted. Not going to lie, I spent the first 15-20 minutes of the flight out of Portland crying. Just as I'd get it under control, the tears would start back up again. I guess I had been suppressing my sadness about leaving my home and my family and friends for the last month. One good thing about having all that free time during the flights, I got to sit down and read the second book of the Song of Ice and Fire series. No joke, one of the best written series I've ever read. If you've seen Game of Thrones on HBO, you know a little bit of what I'm talking about. Show is awesome, book is better. My only complaint is that my favorite characters keep getting killed off. I still have a few major players that are in the game though. Fingers crossed they'll stay alive.

When we got to the terminal, I happily stood in line to get my passport stamped. I'm not going to's a pretty lame stamp visually speaking. But it's pretty awesome because it's an Italian stamp. After picking up our bags we set off to find our sponsor, Scott. It took a little searching, but he ended up finding us. As he drove us to base he answered all our random questions (mostly from Ech).

- We can only get a pre-paid cell phone until we get the Italian equivalent of a SSN card.
- Yes, there's a ski resort 30 minutes up the mountain
- Yes, there's an Italian cable channel that plays NFL games, but he suggests the ESPN web package for better access to all the games.
- Yes, pretty sure we can drink the water. He hasn't gotten sick yet.

Most of the conversations were the guys talking shop. I just hung out in the backseat and took in the scenery. Other than the occasional town, it was mostly farmlands outside the window.

We tried to get a room on base, but they were filled with visiting squadrons. This was a huge disappointment for us because lodging is right next to the BX, commissary, post office, theater, club house, and every office we'll need to visit to in-process. The base is actually broken up into different Areas separated and spread out. We got our APO box set up, got a prepaid phone, and picked up some groceries before heading to the hotel. We drove the  long way out of base so we could a tour of Area F.

We didn't get to our hotel until about 3. We explored our little room and tried to stay awake to avoid the jet lag. That lasted all of 5 minutes. Once we stopped moving, it was game over.

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