Elliott, Lena, and I have begun taking a walk around the base every evening. This is our chance to enjoy the setting sun and the peace at the end of another day as well as listen to an Italian audio lesson together.
Asculti e repeta:
“Ana, vorebe cenare da me cuesta sera?”
“Si, Roberto, vore cenare da lei cuesta sera. A que hora?”
“A le otto?”
“Si, a le otto. Arrivederci, Roberto.”
Last week we took my camera with us so we could show you some of the base. Right now we’re staying at the Navy Gateway Hotel on NAS I Sigonella. The Gateway is one of two temporary lodging units at Sigonella, and we’ve been in it for 4 weeks now. Home sweet home!
NAS I Sigonella stands for Naval Air Station One; there are also NAS II and Marani. These 3 small bases—NAS I, NAS II, and Marani—make up the entire complex of NAS Sigonella, which is the US Navy’s base in Sicily, Italy.
(FYI, “NAS” is pronounced “naz” by those in the know. And you are now in the know!)
NAS I includes all the “fun stuff” of Sigonella. You’ll see all the pictures of the fun stuff. Meanwhile, NAS II is the actual naval air station where the jets take off and land, where all the hangers are, and where most of the military business takes place. Marani is the housing base. It includes approximately 200 town homes for enlisted soldiers, officers, and their families. All officers and some enlisted soldiers have the option to live “on the economy” in Sicily, though; they don’t have to live at Marani. As previously stated on this blog, we decided to live on the economy in the nearby town of Motta.
Anyway, back to the tour of NAS I. Here’s the CDC, or Child Development Center. (Not the Center for Disease Control!) It’s a great daycare/preschool that is staffed by military moms. If I do end up working here as a nurse, Lena will probably come to the CDC most days of the week. The tiny Naval Hospital is about a 3-minute walk to the right of this photo.
Midtown is at the center of NAS I. It includes a couple restaurants, gym, video arcade, bowling alley, swimming pool, movie theater, and other attractions that you can see listed on this sign.
This board is updated daily with whatever movies are showing that day. We haven’t been to the theater yet but we have discovered they have great movie popcorn for $1/bag!
And here’s the swimming pool. This photo was taken after it closed for the night, so it isn’t full of moms and kids like it normally is every day during the summertime.
Continuing our tour, across the street from Midtown is a complex that includes several buildings. One of them is this gorgeous building which hosts the library (with a coffee shop inside that just opened today after the summer holiday!), post office, thrift store, bank, Navy College/college extension programs, and Elliott’s veterinary clinic! Swanky, eh?
Across the courtyard is the chapel, where we will probably attend church. Still deciding/praying about that decision.
Behind this courtyard, in a peaceful corner of the base, is the senior officers’ housing. There are six houses and they are reserved for the Commanding Officer of the base (UVA grad and lived in the Maupin suite next to Elliott’s—but about 10 years before Elliott—and of course lived on the Lawn [West Side, party boy]… Wahoowa!!!), the Executive Officer, the Commander of the Hospital, and so on. They all like their vet and cute Lena so it’s fun to walk by in the evenings.
Right next to this is the DoDDs School: Department of Defense Dependants’ School. It’s a gorgeous, large school for only about 1000 kids. Lucky school-age children!
Next to the DoDDs School is a large complex with the NEX (Naval Exchange, which is basically a Walmart) and the commissary (grocery store). I grew up overseas but we weren’t military, and thus we were never allowed to go to the commissary. I am still getting used to the novelty of being allowed to shop at the commissary—Raisin Bran and chocolate chips and fresh milk in a foreign country!
Across from the NEX and Commissary is the firehouse. This is for you, my EMT sister Julia!
And that’s NAS I, folks! It’s a peaceful, pretty place to spend a few weeks before our house is ready.
Coming soon: my trip to Taormina with some friends… and seven children!