I've been in Texas for six weeks now and still love it. I know a lot of people were hoping I'd hate it and I understand why but I wish I could bottle some of this place up and sprinkle it on my ol' hometown. I'm pretty sure most of it can be attributed to the military and the disclipline but the people are just so nice and seem genuinely happy. My co-workers are fun and the WOW factor of the jets is still in full force.
First off, for my pal Pat who asked about an RSS feed. I guess the answer is yes... http://justlisa.com/index.xml. I've never used an RSS feed service so it never occurs to me to go out of the way to implement it here. Lame, huh?
On the job front, I've moved to night shift officially and still love it. People are a little grumpier as the day wears on but still much better than what I was used to. I have to say how much I love Italians. Their personalities, the accent, the language, their names and the way they say "Ciao!" Earlier at work I heard a couple speaking Italian outside my door. Such a beautiful language really. All I could understand was the occasional "sortie" (what a civilian would call a flight) and at the end, one of them said "What the frig??" in heavily accented English. Cracked me up.
As long as I keep busy and stay with friends or coworkers, I am damn happy to be here but when I am alone, I get incredibly homesick for the kids. I usually cry in the shower every day thinking of what I am missing by being so far away. I still feel this was the right decision for me though. Crying in the shower for 20 minutes a day beats the hell out of crying 5 hours or more every single day.
I went home for a weekend a couple of weekends ago and am going to be able to do that once every 4 to 6 weeks so it's not like I'm military and deployed away from my family for a year or more. So many people here talk of being gone weeks or months at a time without the ability to hop in the car and go home for a day or two. While I still hate the wars and fighting, I've gained a whole new level of appreciation for our military. The ability to leave it all behind in the name of a patriotic duty is pretty amazing.
On the night shift I am lucky enough to experience both Retreat at day's end and Taps at night. For some history, read this. Outside my building they fly the flags of the NATO countries who participate in training here. The other flags are taken down and put away shortly before Retreat then they lower our flag as the music plays. Very humbling. Taps has always caused a chill to go through me and it still happens every night. Big goosebumps!
Another great thing about Texas is early voting. As I voted today, I heard several proudly proclaim "I voted straight Republican!" Ahhh, life in the red state. I made sure to put my little blue dot in the sea of red.