Mar 30, 2009

Attitude Adjustment

I'm very sorry if this post offends anyone. This is directed at military spouses (especially those stationed here in Vicenza).

First, let me say that I understand your frustration. I miss my husband, get flustered about the annoying parts of Italian culture (everything being closed, lack of service, etc....) and I too had to re-adjust my life to fit our overseas duty station. That being said, I'm fed up! I'm NOT fed up with Italy or post or Italian culture. I'm fed up with some (not all) attitudes and opinions of some of the army wives.

Seriously people, you are stationed in one of the most beautiful countries in the world! People pay thousands of dollars to come to Europe for a week or two to see such a beautiful country. Ok, it's not like you must live here forever. Most of us are only stationed here for 3 years or so. That is really not very long (in the scheme of our life). And come on, your duty station could be worse. I'm so tired of hearing negative talk about living here. You can make your time here either positive or negative. It is your choice. There are so many wonderful places to tour and visit that are only a short train ride or a short car trip away. Why not take advantage of this experience? Why can't we stop and smell the roses?? Let's try to embrace the culture and maybe we will learn something about ourselves. Who knows, you might expand your horizon and become a more well-rounded person. What is the harm in that?

Ok, it's not like I don't get annoyed sometimes too. There are things that drive me crazy here just as much as the next person. I understand where the negativity comes from. I'm just saying that our overall opinion of living here should be examined. Why spend your time "bitchinig"--(excuse my language, I'm venting) when that will accomplish nothing but making you more miserable.

Take inititive in your life! Even though the army says that you are a dependent, doesn't mean that you actually are only a dependent. You are your own individual person. You can control your own happiness. Try to adjust to living here. Make sure that you can take care of yourself. Our husbands are gone a lot of our time here so you have to figure out how to make it work for yourself. It is not your husbands (or other wives) responsibility to make you happy. Rely on yourself and stop being so dependent on others. I promise you will be a better person for it.

I'm not saying that as wives we shouldn't support eachother. I think that to have a successful community we must stick together and help eachother. I just believe that as spouses we need to have some independence. I can totally understand that it is scary and hard to adjust when you are so far away from home. But it is so vital to our happiness and even our survival that we are able to take care of ourselves.

I really hope that I haven't offended anyone with my venting. I just believe that it is important that we embrace this experience and try to see the positive in it. There are much worse things that could happen to us in our lives. Seriously, just look around you at the beauty that surrounds us. Do Not Spend all of your time on post, but do get involved and stay busy. Learn how to care for yourself. Get out and about. Embrace the food (I know that it's different, but try), embrace the culture, embrace the beautiful landscape, if you don't drive--learn the public transportation system so that you can get around town. See the sights, shop in the stores, just walk around town and look at the beautiful architecture, take a bike ride around town. Embrace the differences that surround you, but don't let the differences hinder you from living your life. Life is way to short for negitivity.

I know that I will end up complaining about some of the things that annoy us all to someone who has read this and I might possibly be viewed as hypocritical, but my intention is not to say that you can't be annoyed with some of the differences. I am really only talking about your overall demeanor about living overseas. Let's examine our overall opinion and how we are coming across to others. It is so much more enjoyable to be surrounded with positive people who can see the positive things in life. I do understand that misery loves company, but I don't want to be a part of that company.

I have had this on my mind for several weeks and have been debating about writing it, but I feel that it is something that had to be said. Please don't be offended by this venting blog, take it for what it is worth and possibly try to get something out of it.

Please remind me of this blog when I am complaining about some of the pitfalls of living here so that I too can have an attitude adjustment. We all need one of those every now and then.


Uma and Wil said...

I'm going to take a wild guess and say that you just came back from an FRG meeting? Ha. I'm glad you are very appreciative of this once-in-a-life-time opportunity. It's so sad to see so many people, who just refuse to leave post. I try my best to love our German experience, but there are days (or weeks) that I see nothing but dark gray rain clouds and snow and wish that I could just be anywhere but here. But warming weather is slowly coming our way and I'm very excited to bike around town again! Hope you are feeling well and the Little Bean in you is behaving. Can't wait to see some cute belly pics!

Jessica of Too Tall for Italy said...

I am a military wife as well, but my husband is Italian and in the Italian air force (I'm American). He goes away for long deployments now with NATO and at first I longed for the support that military wives of American soldiers have on base. We are completely cut off from the military here. There is no support groups, no get togethers, no balls that spouses can attend, ect. It used to make me angry that the wives and families of Italian soldiers were basically ignored. Especially when we first got stationed here in Verona and I was completely alone for 4 months because my husband got deployed a week after our move. No welcoming committee, no phone calls or lunch dates from other wives, ect. But you hit the nail on the head with your post. If I had all that stuff and a base to live on that I never had to leave I would probably feel just as frustrated because I wouldn't be independent. Being on my own I had to carve out a life for myself. Nothing came easy but now I can speak Italian and have started integrating into the culture. Now my husband is heading off to Afghanistan this summer for 6 months and I know I will be ok. I pay the bills, I have a few Italian friends, but best of all I have a whole, beautiful country in the palm of my hand that I am not afraid of facing by myself! Let me know if you ever want to met up! Vicenza and Verona are really close :)

Erin D said...

I'm glad you wrote about making the most of things and I hope some of the people who need to hear it read it. I was one of those people in a way.

Even though I'm in the middle-of-nowhere Louisiana and not Europe, and I'd give my right arm to be back in civilization, I have to keep trying to seize the day. Thanks for the reminder!

Madame Monogram said...

Rock on Mrs. Argo!

Mrs Merrie Weyenberg said...

Hello Meghan. I am Michelle W. mom Merrie. I was reading Michelle's blog and always read of the exciting things you are doing and seeing in Italy. You should be proud of yourself that you are taking initiative to make the best of your experience. You have alreay begun to be a role model for the other wives and if they let you in to their lives, you can help them to make the experience a positive one. You could easily start a travel club and site see as a group. Have your parents been to see you since you got there? I am glad all is well with you. Best wishes on your soon to be addition to the family? I am looking forward to hear what sites you are seeing next. Take care.

Sweet said...

HI, my name is Candi Sweet. I stumbled across your blog while looking up Vicenza. My family and I will be PCSing there in about two months. I am 28 years old with a two and a half month old son named Oliver.My husband is Kevin, who is a 2LT. We have a 5 year old Golden Retriever and a 2 year old cat.

I read your blog and couldn't agree more! While waiting for my son to have his two month checkup at Martin Army (Ft. Benning, Ga), I spoke to a spouse who had just gotten back from Vicenza. She acted as though it was an inconvenience to be there. I asked if she did any traveling while there and she had only traveled within Italy. I don't understand how spouses don't take advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity. I plan to do as much traveling as I can possibly do. As a spouse, you have to know that you indirectly check a lot of 'Boxes'. In other words, you signed on for the best and worst duty stations and situations the Army has to offer.

If there is one thing to be learned from the Army, it's how to grab the bull by the horns.

Hope to meet you or people like you. I may need a travel buddy. ;)

Sweet said...

I'll definately keep in touch. There are soooo many questions I have. We meet with transportation on Wednesday. Hopefully, they can answer them for me. I don't think I mentioned earlier that my husband will be there before me and the boy. Oliver and I are waiting on our passports and visas. I think at the very latest we'll be there at the end of May. How often are you able to get out and travel? I'm so pumped over this opportunity, I can't stand it! Here is my email if you would like to email me some time: Hope to talk soon!

*kc* morton said...

well said!