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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): Pack up the kids and leave for a year

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pack up the kids and leave for a year

Many of you know that I choose a lot of the books I read, in the imperfect method of walking through the stacks at my local library, perusing the bookshelves and looking for the spine of some random book to catch my eye.  Here's one that caught my eye, and by the time I was done, I had let wet laundry sit in the washer for half a day, and I burned the night's pasta dinner...but I was determined to get to the end.  I like books that talk about peoples' experiences.....people who have done things I've never done....and probably won't get to do, because my life is at a different stage or path.  Who here hasn't at least fleetingly dreamed of selling everything and packing up the family, only to travel around the world for an ENTIRE year?  That's what this book is about.

We travel a lot.  We travel a lot with kids....up to now, kids from babies to preteens....so I caught myself either laughing, commiserating or wanting to say "I told you so", throughout the book.  I also caught myself writing down the names of some of these fabulous locations, in hopes that someday, I can make it out to some of the ones I had never heard of before.

The gist of the book, is this guy and his wife sell almost all of their wordly possessions to include their house and car and trek across the globe to a variety of locations with kids in tow.  Now, we're not talking backpacker-style....we're talking a suitcase and backpack for each including the baby (a mistake he found out later as they had way too much stuff)....and staying at some flea-bitten out-of-the-way places with some luxurious five star worthy palaces in between.  What an experience!

At one point, a hippo almost overturns their boat and really, hippos you should be more afraid of than almost any other animal...they can become that territorial and aggressive.  His daughter has surgery in Thailand (thumbs up for Thai healthcare).  He almost loses his daughter in a riptide in Australia, and the mother is beside herself with white-knuckle fear along the rim of an active volcano, holding her toddler on a leash....yes, a leash which they ended up ditching later as they were consistently getting laughed at by non-Americans or just given THAT look.  They also eat some of the most amazing food....Sardinia, here I come!...and pet everything from an ostrich to a baby elephant.

But I think the neatest thing about this family's journey and the book is seeing  the similarities to my life....reactions of the children to things......mistakes made while traveling....all things we have experienced, as we've also been to many of his European destinations he wrote about for the book.

Is it a literary masterpiece?  No, and it doesn't profess to be.  The author isn't skilled enough to make you "feel and smell" like you are really there....but, that's beside the point...I don't think I evoke that either when I write, but it's a very nice read that tells a good story, and even though the author has a little tiny bit of a chip on his shoulder, I still liked reading it.  I closed the book more enlightened than when I started, and that should be your goal with most books I think.

I'm already anxious to go back to the library and start walking the aisles again.  Before I end here, let me put in a plug for the USAREUR library system, which is what we have overseas here in Europe.  All the military libraries are connected in Germany, Italy and Belgium to name the bulk of where the libraries are physically located.  Substantial money is spent keeping up the collections and attaining new material.  At least one library or the other will have a slew of all the bestsellers, and even if your library doesn't carry it, we can use inter-library loan (ILL) to request that book.  We also have access to our accounts online, along with other databases, reviews and many other useful things.  Believe it or not, the libraries even rent out DVDs...and here on SHAPE, they have DVDs on both systems (as Europe and the US code their DVDs, so unless you have a DVD player that plays all regions, you can only play DVDs for the US market if you bought your player in the US and vice versa if you bought it over here).  They also have Wii, Playstation and DS games to include the Wii add-ons, like the surfboard or whatever it's called....all can be checked out.  We are also lucky here at SHAPE because Chievres also has a library, and you can return items to either library...they work closely together.

So that's my little plug for today....for this book and for our library system.  I'll see you all next year!  I'm taking a break to be with my family and hope to see and hear from you next year!  Wishing all my readers the best for 2011!.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Judy said...

Thanks for the suggestion. I too love living vicariously through others. I'll look for this at the library.

If you haven't read them, I loved Julia Child's book "My Life in France" and Elizabeth Gilbert's "Eat, Pray, Love."

Happy Reading!

Judy

December 27, 2010 at 6:15 PM  

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