San Gimignano

San Gimignano
Beautiful city of San Gimignano, where we spent last Sunday afternoon.

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Monday, April 16, 2012


If you know what the acronyms in my title mean you have either been in the military, have worked with the military or been somehow affiliated with the govt. in some way :-)   I took my title from the children's book "Lions, Tigers and Bears, Oh My!"  After 2 weeks we are somewhat settled in to our house, have working appliances delivered, internet is hooked up and working (after two weeks without it), we have our 8 channels of AFN TV ( I can hear you military/govt folks laughing from here!) and generally have survived the move intact.  

Since we have been through several international moves we knew what to expect and what to anticipate might be a problem.  Our first international move to Japan in 1999 was a HUGE learning curve!  We quickly learned then that the Government and the military love acronyms :-)  A move is not a "move", it is a PCS.  Your furniture, clothes, kitchen supplies,...well, that is your HHG (household goods).  The 1,000 lb. shipment they send early because you will need it BEFORE your HHG gets there (but it never arrives early) is called Unaccompanied Baggage. I can't remember the acronym right now for that.

One of my funniest stories and very true is a conversation that took place during one of the numerous phone calls with DC when I first got hired in '99 to go to Japan.  They were sending me volumes of paperwork to complete, a great deal of which I didn't understand, we were trying to get ready to make an international move, our friends and family thought we had lost our minds and I was still working my job at Winfield Elementary between wondering whether we HAD lost our minds.   During this particular phone call the detailer in DC (who was working with me on my paperwork) in preparation to go to Japan was barking question to me, taking down my answers, etc.  In the midst of all of this he announced we would be leaving from CONUS.  I had already asked soooooo many questions in the past few weeks I didn't want to interrupt him and tell him I did NOT know where CONUS was located.  So when I got off the phone I wrote my future new friend in Japan (the librarian who was my contact there) and told her I did not know where CONUS was and we were supposed to leave from there!  She immediately emailed me back and I could tell was highly amused at my question. She told me that CONUS was the acronym for "Continental United States".  We were leaving from the United States!!  Well, why didn't they just SAY SO!!  :-)

We have been dealing lately with TQSA, TLA, OHA, HHG, UTEP and lots of other fun acronyms I won't even go in to.  All offices on base are usually marked with acronyms and referred to with these acronyms.  This week we are working on LQA and COLA, getting that set up for the year.  Anyone familiar with DFAS? :-)  Even if you don't you do know the IRS don't you?

Just thought of another funny story from my "didn't know a thing about working for the U.S Govt overseas" days.  During the afore mentioned numerous phone calls before we went to Japan, the detailer one day was once again barking questions at me and one day he barked out "social?".....and I thought "well, I like people as well as the the next person but I'm going out every weekend to parties and what does this have to do with me working in Japan??"   Actually he wanted my social security #  LOL

I am headed to the Esselunga, which is a nice upscale Italian grocery store. I will post some pictures and a report of that experience in the near future.   I have only been twice and it's like an adult field trip every time I go!  Although this time may not be as much fun.  After two months of eating lots of pasta, cheese, salami, gelato and all the Italian food I wanted to (see TQSA above)...I have been on an old-fashioned American diet the last week or so.  It will be hard to go in an Italian grocery store with their delicious cheeses, breads and treats and not walk out with all the things I really want to eat.  I'm sticking with the diet for the next two weeks though.  Summer is coming and I've got to get back in my summer clothes.  Also we have visitors coming in two weeks and I know we'll be eating like the Italians during their visit!!


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