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Updated: Jul 12, 2019

Gibbs and DiNozzo are on their way to Shenandoah Park for what looks like a deadly bear attack to a Marine... Or to Quantico for a suspicious bank robbery...

Matteo has started to watch NCIS and it was contagious in this quiet summer days. After dinner, we are all binge-watching old series of NCIS. It's quite fun to have been in many of the places mentioned in each episode!

Addiction aside... we arrived in the US 9 months ago, and it has been a pleasant ride so far.

Of course, there is still a lot of life to build and a culture to absorb, it is hard some days and in some others we focus on what we are grateful for.

Here is our list:

We have rediscovered seasons

Their first snow

Many people told us we would enjoy the four seasons in this area. After years spent in what I would call a country with a great season and a ugly hot season it was wonderful to live (and not just travel) through winter, spring and now summer. Fall is still to explore and I am told it is wonderful too.

Snow was definitely the biggest highlight for the kids, whom we promised snow, sledding and snowball fights! And we delivered!

My flowers have never been (full stop)

We don't have any green thumb to start with and petunias and vincas in Dubai have had a seriously hard life with us.

Finally, here, I have watched these strong flowers bloom and welcome us every morning when the sun is up!

I might reconsider the value and the opportunity of gardening, after all!

Sofia the cat enjoys company in the garden

When she is awake (rarely) she has company in the garden... Not that we look forward to an encounter with the fox, but squirrel and bunnies are fun to have!!

Sofia has adapted to the new environment, and after a few weeks where she would only want to look outside the window, she is now having the time of her life in and out the door, always waking me up at 6 AM for her breakfast!

Nature offers amazing views and opportunities

This area offers woods, the Potomac River, lakes, National Parks... from the fascinating Dubai desert, we are immersed in beauty all around us.

We had the opportunity to enjoy our first Cherry Blossom in Washington D.C., but also around Arlington neighbourhoods. Japan still sits in my bucket list, but hey this was awesome too! The city fills up with visitors from around the world to experience all stages of Sakura and I have learnt to get there early enough to take the best shots!

Matteo bikes to school, which is something he was never able to do elsewhere and he loves it! We camped, fished, and swam in Lake Anna and went out biking along the Potomac River (we nearly collapsed coming back home at 30 C uphills!!

Connections, new and old

It has been great to catch up with friends from past lives who travelled to D.C. either for work, holidays or transit! Family came to visit too which is fantastic!

We connected to new friends too, and that will continue to be work in progress, building our tribe.

The cooking classes, the book club, the FIGT community, the EQ Cafè have been a wonderful opportunity to share, learn, eat and drink and reconfirm that anything edible or drinkable Italian is adored!

We found our ways through the supermarket alleys, and established what we can find in one or the other - which is an achievement!

I searched and found an amazing Italian hairdresser and then discovered he is from a village 5 minutes from my home town, and the beautician 30 minutes from sunny Viganò. It is always heartwarming to talk to people who lived or grew up around the same hills.

The kids are reasonably settled

The Trio in NYC

One of the most frequently asked questions from those who love us and those we meet.

It takes time for everyone, and just today Beatrice asked me if we will ever go back to live in Dubai :)

They have their ups and downs, there are days when they show up at breakfast and they don't want to talk and others when they cannot stop the chatter. There are dynamics to fine tune and a new culture to assimilate, while elaborating the loss of a life that was pretty much all they knew. The school year here has been successful despite our arrival at the end of November. Now we all look forward to starting back in September at the same time as everyone else.

They are truly doing their best and we continuously talk and openly discuss what goes on outside and inside... till the day they will call here home.

If you have recently moved somewhere new...

What are the things you are enjoying in your new place?

What is next to explore?

How are you integrating in the new culture?

What more could you do to get to know it better?

I have a few ideas of what's next for us... one of which is to explore D.C. as tourists to get ready for more visitors to come and chaperone them around!

When are you coming?

#newhome #optimism #focus #virginiaexpat

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