Monday, July 31, 2017

Gaeta Italy

The second time that I lived/taught in Italy was at Gaeta, Italy.  It was right on the ocean about halfway between Naples and Rome.  It was where a tiny USA Navy base was stationed.   The Navy used the Navy Ship in the harbor for most of their needs and the actual 'base' consisted of one small two story (or was it 3 story?) building up the hill/small mountain away from the Navy Ship.

On this 'base' was a bank, the post office, various military offices, and a small shoppette that was the 'commissary/military uniform sales/etc. everything' type of shop.  I bought my groceries at the Italian grocery stores and markets. 

 The school for the American children of the military was not on the little base- it was instead about 3-4 miles away in a small 2 story rented school building.  I taught 3rd grade when I was at Gaeta.

When, I first moved there, I stayed in a hotel in the new part of town.   Across the street from the hotel was a small fruit/veggie store.   They also sold the amazing Gaeta Olives.  Trust me, they are the best that I have ever tasted and are only grown in this area.  I really could take or leave olives until I moved to Italy and got to have the fresh olives to eat.   Now, I love olives.

This is the very HANDSOME Italian man who owned the fruit/veggie store.  He was very NICE too.

In the main shopping area
was one of my favorite Pizza places.   I loved it because
you could buy the pizza by the slice.   See the one in front with the
salad/lettuce on it?  That was a summer type of pizza.  I loved it and my
other favorite one was the
one that had small cherry tomatoes, basil, and olive oil drizzled on it.

The other pizza places sold the traditional round pizzas- but, this was perfect
for me-- just get a slice of pizza and walk and eat.   Of course, they might
not have your favorite pizza-- but, you could wait or just get another type
because, the pizza is very good in Italy.


The red star shows where Gaeta was located.   I would take the local city bus to the town
of Formia to catch the train to go to other locations.  Unfortunately, I was only
there for 10 1/2 months.   The school was tiny and got smaller and several teachers
including myself were excessed and sent to another location.
It was the most beautiful place that I have ever lived.   Or visited.  I would suggest Gaeta
as a place to visit- you can easily get there by train from Rome or Naples/etc.  However,
do yourself a favor and do NOT visit during JULY or AUGUST.   Expensive and
too many people plus probably not any hotels available anyway?
Gaeta had 2 intact castles and they were still being used by the city/government.
One is near the water in the sunshine- you can see the tower, and the oldest one is
in front of that one, away from the water, and is in the shadow.  
 Gaeta also had a huge swimming beach.  This is only about 1/3 of it.  In the
summer, the place was packed with Italians on their month long summer holiday.

 Here are the US Navy Ships.  

Another HANDSOME Italian man.  He was also very NICE
and he spoke excellent English because he was married to an American.

 He made my wrought iron baker's

Friday, July 28, 2017

Han River, Seoul, South Korea

While I was teaching overseas, I moved all over and I returned to Seoul, South Korea to teach on the USA Army Post (Yongsan) several times.   The last time that I lived there, I was in a fairly new high-rise apartment building, that was only about 4 years old, that was very close to the base.   I selected it because, there were many 'traffic lights' on the route that I would drive to get to the base/to work.  This made it a 'safe' driving route and I also lived close enough that I could walk to work in 30 minutes if I needed to do so.

That is very important in Seoul, South Korea.  I was also only about 1 1/2- 2 blocks away from a subway stop, lots of places to eat, and I have a lovely view from all windows of the Han River.  

This is the long hallway of my apartment building.   The open door at the far end of the hallway, straight back, was a guest bedroom and there was another one on the right hand side (can't really see it in this photo).   The guest bathroom is the door frame on the left side at the far end of the hallway-

The door frame on the left side (closest to the viewer) was the little entrance area to my bedroom. 

The 'no doorway' entrance, far back, on the left AFTER the standing open door... was the open area to the doorway to the lobby.   You stepped down into this tiny room.   My favorite part was the floor to ceiling storage cabinets (lovely woodwork) that was floor to ceiling shoe storage!   In Asia, you take your outside shoes off at the entrance to the door (or usually outside the apartment door in the hallway) they are not worn in the house/apartment.  You could tell if someone had lots of company or a party- there would be lots of shoes in the hallway outside their doorway.

 If shoes are needed inside- there are 'inside' only shoes to wear.  I also used these shelves for holiday storage/etc.  This area was big enough that I had a small bench along one wall.  

The door that you see on the far right (closest to the viewer) went to the dining room/kitchen area.  It was a huge room.   The areas that you don't see was the entrance to the master bedroom/bath/walk in closet area and the living room. 

I had bamboo floors throughout the apartment.   The key was a magnetic key that you scanned at the outside door panel or you could impute a code and the door could be opened that way.   Some apartment buildings had 'fingerprints' used for entrance.  My favorite part of the apartment were the views and the HEATED FLOORS throughout the entire apartment.   The underground parking and fast elevators were nice too.

This was the view out the laundry room off the kitchen.

The following are views out the living room windows (my bedroom
views were just a little further to the right of this photo).

This is a rare clear day. 

I thought that this was a nice photo of the sunrays.   The US Army helicopter is a nice

There was a big park area right below my apartment building.  You can see
some of the green park at the bottom of this photo.

You can see the effects of the air pollution here.   Many days, the air pollution
(mostly from China's uncontrolled air pollution) made it impossible to see any of these

To the far right of the buildings on the right side of the photo was a huge 6-8 lane interstate looking
highway.   Lots of traffic.   My apartment complex was owned by the LG Corporation.   There were 10 buildings in our apartment complex, beautiful grounds, and it was very quiet.

Across from my building was a building that was fairly close to me- not so close that you could see the residents inside.   Most of the newer apartments in Seoul have balconies that are actually along the outside glass walls.   It helps keep the cold and heat out- because, they are about 6-8 feet wide and big enough that you could use them for storage, a small office, a laundry room (that's where my laundry room was located off the kitchen in one of the balcony areas.)  It also keeps people from looking directly into your apartment.   Yet, while you are in the apartment- you have a clear view of outside since everything is glass.   You could keep the sliding glass doors to your balcony open to add extra space to the actual inside living areas if you wanted to do so. 

The building that was the closest to me, had an apartment that was about 42-3 stories below my apartment and I would often see a Korean man working with a lamp, in the early morning hours, on his 'balcony turned into an office'...

I also had a private balcony off all of the bedrooms.   The actual glass windows would slide open for air breezes on the balconies - but, they were tilted outwards for safety.  

The rooms had floor to ceiling glass which gave you great views.   I did sew some 'light blocking' curtains for my bedroom that closed off the master bedroom balcony- I didn't want the sunlight to wake me up on the weekends when I could sleep in a little later than on school/work days.

No problem finding the fabric because all I had to do was go to the 5 story fabric building in Tondaemun Market.
I enjoyed every location that I lived in while I was teaching overseas for 27 years. 
I always enjoyed being in Seoul, South Korea.   I was there, I think 4 different times?
I made many good friends, dated some really nice military men, taught
wonderful students, and the shopping was always great.   It was also fun and challenging
to live in a city of 16 million people.   I enjoyed the subways and I knew my way around
markets very well.  
It was quite an adventure living there.   I think also because it was SO
DIFFERENT from the states- that it helped forge bonds of friendship with
other Americans associated with the base?  The base also did a great job
with activities for those deployed there.   I have many good memories of
being there.
I will continue to add photos from my time in Seoul off and on.  
Farewell, Seoul, South Korea...  you and my friends, from my time there,
will always be in my heart.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Look at what I have now...

It's my first pet that I've had in over 27 years!   I never thought that it was fair to try to take care of a pet and moving/living all over the world.   So, I waited until I returned to the states... which I have recently done.

This little guy was from a litter of 4 kittens that were born in my friend's backyard.  I was staying with her while I was waiting for the closing on my house.  Unfortunately, their mom (a wild stray) died when they were only 3 weeks old.  I had to step in and take care of them with bottle feeding/etc.

I brought them to my new house (well, it is an old 1932 era house- but, new to me) when they were only 4 weeks old.  I kept them all until they were 3 months old and I found good homes for the other siblings.   There were 2 boys and 2 girls.   All sweet.

I actually have 2 cats.   The other one is a female that is about 5 months older?  She was wild (also born in my friend's backyard) and it took me a month to tame her enough so that she would allow me to touch her.

This is Henry.  He was only about 3 weeks old and just learning how to turn over.

His eyes were the baby blue color that most kittens have, then they turned
grey and they then turned a nice green color when he got older.

 See the blue paint on his nose?  He was helping me paint the outside bench.

This is Henry's brother.   If I could have afforded to take care of 3 cats-
I would have kept him too.   He was the sweetest cat that I have ever
known and he was very attached to me.   He and his sister (they were bonded
together) went to the same home together.