18:47 – Interestingly enough I am inspired over a Pumpkin & Ricotta Ravioli recipe. It brought to mind an afternoon in Vicenza, when a friend Brittany and I were searching for a place for lunch. One restaurant caught our attention and we walked into the foyer to check out the menu. On it I read “Pumpkin Gnocchi” I was sold. Unfortunately the place was closed and we ended up eating pizza near the piazza (say that 5 times fast), still not a bad alternative. Where in the States are you going to find pumpkin gnocchi? Probably a fancy smancy place that is severely overpriced, but here it was on a menu in Italy for cheap, as if it were just the normal grilled cheese! Returning to how I was inspired. I would love to have the opportunity to shop every morning at the market and cook every evening a delicious and wonderful meal. Obviously I would be hard pressed to do that now as many days I am just plain tired when the work day ends. Again how this is inspiring to me? I am going to live my life to the fullest in my present day reality.

For example. Situation One. Location: Fort Hood, Texas

There are no architecture firms here so I am going to make myself feel completely miserable. Anytime my friends speak of grad school I am going to conjure up emotions of “what am I doing with my life??” Instead of appreciating the job I have now I am going to complain about how little I make, how I never get a lunch break, how I hate to stay late on Fridays, or do presentations all my lonesome….etc. I’ll complain that it is too hot to run or even walk the dogs! The thrift shops suck and the culture is none existent.

Situation Two. Location: Fort Hood, Texas

There are no architecture firms here so I am going to focus on the other related skills I can learn. I will take in and absorb all the knowledge from my boss about how to run a small business (because that is what I’d like to do one day; Architecture version.) Thumbing through fabric book after fabric book will inspire me to learn how to reupholster. I will enjoy watching my dogs run around our huge backyard. Maybe I will even skinny dip in our pool on a summer evening while Martin naps on the couch.

Slowly, I’m getting to point of all this rambling.

Situation One. Location: Vicenza, Italy

Job prospect, zero. Unless you count the PX (although money is money, the student loan bills don’t care who writes the check!) Ability to get ahead in my architecture career, zero. Forced to live away from my family and old friends, I sulk and wonder what to do all day. Depressed by the feeling that the only thing that defines who I am is my husband. No one cares to ask “What do you do Megan?” No one cares to know that I am an extremely passionate person. Annoyed that I can’t paint the walls, annoyed with our measly European kitchen (nothing matches or even looks pretty AND I can’t paint it!)

Situation Two. Location Vicenza, Italy.

Job prosect, zero. But that doesn’t mean I don’t work! Going to the marker every morning to pick out the freshest basil that that weird fruit I haven’t a clue what it is but tastes like jelly beans! To spend at least two hours in the kitchen every night to prepare (what I hope is) an authentic Italian meal! And because word has gotten around that Martin’s wife, Megan, cooks fantastically I now have 5 people to cook for tonight instead of 2! When am I going to find the time to finish reupholstering that crazy chair I found at the flea market in Innsbruck the other 4-Day? I gotta get these things sold so I can buy myself some more Turkish rugs (Eeep! Don’t tell Mart!). Or maybe surprise the husband with a road trip to Croatia for his birthday :) I’ve also got to call Tara to see if she and I can figure out how to disguise this “On Loan By Army” kitchen!! Ha!!

I can not always control the places my life takes me. The thing I can control though is how I react to where I am. I may be very ready to move out of Texas BUT at our next home we probably won’t have as great a yard or cute little home. My boss may be a douche bag instead of being a friend whom I ask advice of. Morbid but, if I were to die within the next year, what would I want to do? I would travel, see the world, buy colorful wonderful gifts for all of my friends and family. What I would NOT do. I wouldn’t spend my last year alive in an architecture firm. Now I realize that the time I spend in a firm is tine spend working towards a future goal. One that is much further away than one year. But I still think that it proves, if only a tiny bit, what priorities I hold.

Also, I am realizing that it is MUCH MUCH MUCH easier said than done, living your life to the fullest within the present day reality. I will be the first to admit that present day reality in Italy would be much more stimulating that the reality of Harker Heights, Texas. But there are plenty of things to be thankful for right here and right now.