Sunday, June 24, 2018

Italy 2000-2018, In Pictures...

With us leaving Italy again, possibly for the last time, I thought I would write all kinds of flowery prose about our time here, try to capture the essence of our 15 years here in words and such...but in the end, I figured pictures would tell the story much better than my addled brain ever could. And so I present my/our life in Italy 2000-2018...

Summer of 2000. Shortly after arriving in Italy I was whisked off to PLDC in order to get promoted to Sergeant. Here's me at my graduation.

Upon graduating from PLDC I was immediately promoted to Sergeant.

Me and Mike Rayfield, the first good friend I made here in Italy. I was so lucky to meet Mike as he introduced me to so many places in the area and things to do. He was a Godsend.

My first ever trip to Venice, September 2000. Little did I know at the time what a huge impact Venice would have on my life in the years to come.

Some of the other early friends I made here, Mark and Jane Santaw. This was taken in 2000, before they got married. Mark and Jane and their boys are still some of our closest friends, they live in DC theses days. 

Me in the office, somewhere around 2001. This is where I first learned how to do JOPES, the career field that I've worked in since then and that I am going back to in Korea.

Cinque Terra, September 2001. Mark and Jane and my friend John Pitt took me my first time and I was instantly smitten. Cinque Terra was different back then, before all the Rick Steves zombies discovered it. The trails were open and free. Paradise. 

Me and my good friend John Pitt. He introduced me to many facets of Italian life and culture and I'm forever grateful to him for that. 

Cliff Jumping in Arsiero, about an hour north of Vicenza. At some points, the Astico river is barely 5 feet wide but it's so deep that it's popular with scuba divers. A popular pastime is to jump off the high cliffs on either side. 

The so called "Bridge of Death" in Arsiero. We considered it a test of manhood to jump off the bridge and more than one person climbed over the rail, looked down and climbed back over out of fear. I myself made the jump several times, it was exhilarating.

My first foray to the beautiful and historic city of Florence, 2001. 

Re-enlisting in the summer of 2002. Doing so kept me in Italy so it was a no-brainer.

Colosseum in Rome, January 2003

Virginia and my first trip to Venice together, spring 2003. The first of many...

Swimming in the frigid waters of the Brenta River in Bassano del Grappa, 2003.

Hiking to Vernazza, Cinque Terra, 2003

Vernazza, Cinque Terra, 2003

Me and Steve-O at the Devil's Forest Pub, Venice 2003

Virginia, 5 months pregnant, getting ready for our friend's wedding

Preparing for the arrival of the X Man, 2003

The X Man has arrived, December 2003

The beautiful walled city and castle of Soave, birthplace of the X Man.

Adele, me, Agnese and Monica with a baby Xavier

Holding my first born at our old apartment in Caldogno. So many great memories in that place. 

Giampi and Angese with Xavier. They practically adopted him as their own the day he was born. It's a bond that will never be broken. 

Virginia, me and Xavier at Arsiero, summer of 2004

Grammy meets Xavier for the first time, spring of 2004

Visit from Grammy and Tracy in the spring of 2004 with her kids Brianna and Logan

Virginia and Brianna in Venice, spring 2004

Memorial Day ceremony at the American cemetery in Florence, 2004. 

With our good friend Monica and her baby Maristella, 2004. Monica and her husband own the restaurant "Il Castello" in Vernazza.

Xavier trying to steal my beer, Innsbruck, Austria, 2004

Italy-Sweden, European Championships in Porto, Portugal, 2004

Daddy and Xavier on our 'laptops', early 2005

Pub crawl in Venice, May 2005

Hiking Cinque Terra, summer 2005

Fly Fishing the Brenta River, summer 2005

Me and my Italian fishing buddy, Fausto. 

Virginia's first Thanksgiving meal, with Giampi and Agnese, 2005

Weekend in Milan, on top of the Duomo, 2005

Caldogno, 2005

Monster trout taken on my fly rod in Bassano del Grappa, 2005

Me and Danny Arrowood, St Patricks Day in Venice, 2005

Dinner upstairs with Giampi and Agnese, Agnese's pasta with shrimp

With my Masshole buddy Kevin "Elvis" Boucher. Everyone who has ever been to Vicenza knows Kevin, he is a legend here and he's from Sutton, Mass., just outside of Worcester

Returning to Italy after 2 years in Heidelberg, Germany, it was time for Xavier to start school at the Italian scuola materna (Kindergarten). Giampi insisted on bringing him on his first day, he was so incredibly proud.

Xavier's first teacher, Beatrice

Xavier's first best friend, Daniele. They are still best friends to this day and I have a feeling they always will be.

Me and Xavier at the Devils Forest Pub in Venice

On our terrace in Caldogno, 2009

Me and dad in Venice, 2009

Cinque Terra, 2010

Daddy and Luca, asleep on the couch

Xavier trudging to school

Playing foosball with Luca after work at the Enal Bar in Caldogno

Making bruschetta

Day out in Vicenza, 2012

Welcoming Maximus Amadeus Thibodeau, December 2012

Luca and Xavier welcoming their new brother

Luca's first trout, San Pietro in Gu, 2013

Fulfilling a lifelong dream; taking Luca and Xavier to see our favorite team, AC Milan at the San Siro in Milan, April 2014. We would depart Italy only days later. 

Returning to Italy and visiting Giampi and Agnese, 2017

Reuniting with Mauro upon our return in 2017

Max at his first ever soccer match. He would dominate his league, averaging 10 goals per game. He is a natural.

Max with HIS first ever trout, San Pietro in Gu, 2017

Me and the kids having a snack at Tazza d'Oro in downtown Vicenza, spring 2018

Vacation on Lago di Garda (Lake Garda), Memorial Day 2018

Family hike up Mt. Berico, Vicenza. 

Thus ends our adventures in Italy. Looking forward to making new memories in South Korea!

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