Saturday, March 16, 2013

An American lost in Europe....

Hello Dear Readers,

WOW! I begin with apologizing for not keeping you up to date.

It is always a struggle with the balancing different perspectives;  As a parent keeping my children happy but safe, enjoying life but being responsible, budgeting but not controlling, getting tasks done but relishing the down time, working and playing, being a friend but not being nosey, giving but not being taken advantage of, not taking advantage of others with giving back.

 As a military wife, one of the hardest things to balance is informing others of what is going on in our lives with national/personal security. Always being cognizant of our surroundings, that we are not indicative to living here but are just guest in this country and that the web is truly a worldwide forum for information, we must always be asking how much is safe to share. Anyone, anywhere, can read this blog and gather intel about us and about who we work for and what Dude does. We grow comfortable in our daily lives that we forget to look out to what may be occurring around us. Not that I am trying to scare anyone, but the reality is OPSEC! At all times!

We fail to realize how much we give away with small tidbits.

For example: I started a new job. A full time job. In trying to connect with my co-workers and the clients, I was making small talk about one clients first name. I began with a friendly greeting and he quickly and happily replied. I then asked, "So is XXX a family name?" (His first name).

"Yes, it was my grandfather's name. But my parents didn't want another 'common' name to go along with the last. Why? Is it your husband's name?" (indicating my wedding rings) he replied.

"No, you spell it the same way my maiden name is." I smiled at him and went about the completion of the task at hand.

It dawned on me at the end of the day what I had done. D'OH!! I had just given away a very important piece of information. Most of you would not even blink that this was an issue. But think about how we speak to other people, 'So, are you almost ready for your big trip? How are the kids doing with Daddy gone? I was sorry to hear about your mum, are you going to make it back in time?' These kind of innocent questions asked to other 'guests' here open the door for others to overhear and take advantage of the situation.

This has occurred frequently over the last four months here. Because of the information out on the web for all to see and read and get a foot hold into our daily lives. Some one posted on a popular web site that has personal pages and EVERYONE is on it except me that "the kids are not sleeping well since dad left" and it was read by a friend of a friend of a friend whose not so nice boyfriend's friend read since the computer remembers passwords and can be accessed by anyone. They broke into her house while she was sleeping. With the children in the house. The police were not real pressed to do anything. Again. Different laws and understanding of personal property and security of homes. Yet, the intruders confessed to choosing that house because the recognized the photos on the web site that she posted when she moved in. It was all there for them to read. She demands that she had the security settings the most stringent but those fail safes failed.

This all comes into play with my children. How much freedom do I give them in regards to the web? Do they understand how much of themselves they are putting out there for everyone to see and read and act upon? Do they realize how permanent the web becomes?

So- all this long rant to say- I have not posted much in these last few months because I am hesitant to put out there things we have done, in that it might create a pattern for others to notice. Yet, I do miss you all greatly. I would love for you to come and visit. So I leave you with a couple of photos of the latest travels. Yes, it is Italy again. I don't know why, but I love that place. I guess it reminds me a lot of the States. So many different regions all within one country, the love of family that permeates every decision, the strong faith that still reaches into every part of the country, and one cannot forget the food. Such diverse variety! Oh- I love going to Italy.

Enjoy! And until next time- happy knitting.

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