April 22, 2012

Multiple Directions

Ragusa Ibla, Sicily


When we first moved to Sicily, driving was one of the most stressful aspects of that big transition (actually, it still continues to be a bit overwhelming!). It wasn't just the narrow streets, the honking, or the fiesty and fearless drivers...it was also the signs. Intersections peppered with signs pointing in all directions and the pressure to make a quick decision with the dreaded knowledge that a wrong turn could result in a very tight turn around. 

Now that we have been here for three years, all of that confusing signage isn't nearly as stressful to me as it was at first. If I have to sit there and take a few minutes to figure out which way to turn, I will. I'll ignore the honking and wave the impatient drivers around. And sometimes I actually welcome the thrill of taking an unknown turn when we have the time to just meander and explore. 


Lately, those Sicilian signs have become a symbol of my current state of mind. We are at that liminal stage in our military cycle where we are betwixt and between two places. Juggling the tasks of preparing for our big pack out that will happen in  a couple weeks (shipping all of our stuff several months in advance of our departure) while also studying up on schools and neighborhoods in a place that will be new for us and have it's own brand of culture shock. 

At the same time we have been furiously trying to make the most of our final months in Sicily. Sharing some our favorite spots with my mom and most recently with my friend, Jill and her family. Traveling to Barcelona (hope to post those pics soon). Planning a multi-author tour for multiple Navy bases ( a very big, but exciting task if all comes together as planned!). And this week our little school will be having an accreditation visit. As the Parent Representative for that process, I have had lots of responsibilities on my plate and much like the teachers, I will be very happy when this visit is complete.


Needless to say, I am stretched a bit thin right now and pulled in multiple directions. Trying to remind myself that no matter which way I go, I will eventually up in the right place. I just need to ignore the honking, overlook the distracting or unnecessary signs, and take it one turn at a time.

7 comments:

Mom said...

Well said....hang in there. You have such a beautiful way with words, capturing not only your own feelings but helping others to clarify theirs

The Jiu Jiu said...

A wonderful post that brought back many memories of living in Europe (and the "joys" of driving there)! I also remember the confusion, the mixed emotions, and the feeling of being pulled in every direction on every signpost when the time came to pull up roots... It's tough, but the good memories will always be with you.

Case in point: The one "Tutti le Direzzioni" sign in the photo... In Flanders the equivalent sign is "Andere Richtingen" (literally "other directions"), and I remember how someone from a newly-arrived US family, after only a couple of weeks in-country. mentioned really wanting to see this town "Andre Richting or something like that" because so many street signs seemed to be pointing to it! :-)

Hang in there, keep your own "Tutti le Direzzioni" sign in hand, and just follow along whichever direction it's pointing and you & the family will have plenty more memory-building adventures...!

Karla said...

Good luck on all the directions in your lives now.

Is Pensacola or Yokosuka on your list of author tours? :)

We'll be packing up in about 2 months as well and wrapping up our activities here and preparing for new ones in Japan.

likeschocolate said...

I can totally feel for you because I have been in the same place as you, but not maybe on the same scale. We leave on Wednesday for our three months in Europe and still have not secured a spot for the children in the local school. The last couple of weeks I have felt more than overwhelmed as we wrap everything up. So glad you have been able to share Sicily with hose you love. Good Luck!

Corinne said...

I LOVE those things you are working on! BIG DEAL! I know you'll do an incredible job - the author tour sounds fantastic and I'm sure the school is so appreciate of your efforts :)

Dana said...

Good Morning,
I am sorry to read the news of your grandmother. Please accept my condolences.

I admire you for taking on the challenge of being the parent rep for the visit. I'm one of those people who believe that parent involvement is one of the keys to success in our schools. I wish we had more of it here. We recently had a different kind of visit here and I was able to sit in on the parent session with the visitors. I was in awe of the things that were said by people who never set foot in the school unless there is a "problem" or a chance to complain to officials they deem worthy. Get in here once a week... understand what's going on ...be a part of the school community... open your eyes. Of course, there were positive and realistic comments as well. I just quietly shelved books as the meeting took place.

I love the signs here. I love that I can usually get from point A to point B by using those signs. I, too, like to just stop. That's not a favored practice of northerners... they take road rules much more seriously up here!

I'm excited to see where your next stop will be...go for the city living!!!!

D

Dawn Suzette said...

Kinda funny now that I think about it. We have the opposite problem here. There are not enough signs!

It is a little unreal to me that you have been there three years already. How did that happen?

Wishing you all the best with the many wonderful yet hectic things going on!