Earlier this week, my form came down that allows me to choose if I want to try to stay in Italy longer. As it stands now, I'll leave in February 2012. My goal all along has been to stay as long as possible, but certain policies prevent me from staying over five years. This means the longest I can extend for again is another year, and for the next few weeks, I'm going to jump through a series of hoops (some will probably be on fire) in order to do so.
But here's the strange part: when I was flying back in to Italy a couple weeks ago, I didn't feel that little bit of excitement about returning to Italy I've felt every other time I've left. Sure, it was nice to get back home and get back into the swing of things, but as far as Italy was concerned, I was left feeling a little numb. Perhaps my love affair with Italy is through. Has it lost its lustre? Has the lack of a 24-hour gas station finally gotten to me?
Despite these initial feelings of uncertainty, I still plan on jumping through those hoops to try and extend until February 2013. And even if I do all the paperwork and my commander signs off, there's no guarantee it will get approved at headquarters. If it does, I'll be happy about having another year to travel around Europe. But if it doesn't, I'll take it as a sign that I should move on and not look back.