COVID COVID GO AWAY

For a whole week we’ve enjoyed open restaurants, shopping and long lazy lunches in the local restaurants.
No self certification forms were necessary because the region of Abruzzo was in the yellow zone and this was allowed. Our local bar was open until 6:00 pm, which was wonderful because we were able to talk to people again. Yes we were hiding behind masks and keeping our distance, but it was so nice to feel almost normal. Glad we went out for lunch today, it may be our last chance until March 5th.
As we left the restaurant in Villa Santa Maria (we were the only customers), Mario, the lovely man who owns the place thanked us and told us that we’d be his last “in house” customers for a while. How will these businesses survive?
I’m sad, but not complaining. I understand that we need to eliminate this virus. Masks, distancing and vaccine, along with a semi lockdown should do the trick…we hope. This terrible virus cannot be allowed to take hold of Italy the way it did in Spring. Maybe, just maybe we can get it under control by the Summer. I long to wander along the beautiful Abruzzo beaches. I’m desperate for my daughter to visit. We have this lovely (300 year old) new home that is begging for her laughter.
We’re lucky to be here, some people are less fortunate. Every day I count my blessings, but also mourn the loss of freedom.
Stay safe everyone, and be patient.

I can’t go to work today!!!

Oh, wait a minute, I’m retired!
Yesterday I did something to my back whilst doing nothing, well not quite nothing, I was changing the bedsheets. Not a strenuous task, but these old muscles aren’t what they used to be. I pottered around the house all day faffing, can’t sit still, even in retirement. Last night was another story. I just couldn’t get comfortable, consequently I’ve been awake since 4 am. If I’d been working (even from home) it would have been a problem. It’s still been a tough day, but I only did what I chose to do. I baked bread, made some picante sauce, cooked lunch, did some washing, so I wasn’t idle, but I didn’t have to rush.
I’d planned to go to Pescara to pick up the number plate for our bike trailer…and perhaps a few choice items from a home store I like there, but my days are my own now so I can go tomorrow, or even next week if we’re still in the yellow zone (zona gialla).
As you see by the photo, today wasn’t an inviting day to be outside. The sun broke through and it brightened up for a little while, but still a good day to stay home.
Tomorrow’s forecast is sunshine. A lovely day for a drive along the Adriatic coastline to Pescara.
Yes tomorrow is another day!

Happy New Year – Felice Anno Nuovo

Yesterday morning, in Colledimezzo, I enjoyed my final walk of 2020. As usual the views were spectacular.
One year ago on New Years Eve 2019 I walked the same path. We didn’t live here, but enjoyed a two week winter retreat in what was then our second home. We had plans to retire here, but weren’t sure when. On New Years Eve 2020, there was no pandemic. Life was normal, simple, wonderful.
I returned to Colorado on January 8th 2020, leaving my husband here to sort out Italian Medical Insurance, his Italian drivers license and experience working his US job remotely. He flew back to Colorado at the beginning of March, just before the pandemic exploded and Italy shut down. He made it home just in time, and quarantined accordingly. The following week, the whole world changed. We watched people in Rome/Naples and other Italian cities singing on their balconies, making the best of a horrible situation. My heart ached for them.
COVID/Trump/Brexit problems pushed us over the edge and we decided to move to Italy a couple of years earlier than we initially intended. Post Brexit it would have been more complicated because although the USA has been our home since 1995, we are British. Our house in Colorado sold very quickly and my husband headed to Italy on August 1st, it was easier for him because he could work remotely, but for me it meant retirement and I needed more time. Leaving my job with Western Union was difficult. I loved the folks I worked with and I can honestly say it was the best position in my whole working career, but at the end of August I boarded a plane and headed to Rome. What a huge step for and old girl. Retirement in a new country, a new life and a new language to learn.
Now I’m a permanent resident of the beautiful little town of Colledimezzo. The views never disappoint and help dispel the stress of a hellish year. Hopefully the worst is behind us now. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines are already been distributed, soon an adult will be running the USA and maybe, just maybe, we can all start living again.
Those of us who survived last year relatively unscathed should count our blessings and concentrate on helping those less fortunate. Happy New Year, Felice Anno Nuovo. Stay Safe.

Reflections

We invited friends to our home for lunch yesterday.
I set the table ahead of time with glasses, bowls and napkins, then stood back to see how it looked.
It was a table that invited lively conversation. It was a table set for five friends to sit and enjoy good food and wine.
I reflected on how my life has changed this year.
I no longer have crystal glasses, with matching decanters, or fine plates and bowls. I left those in the US for my my daughter to enjoy. She’s young and will appreciate them for many years to come.
My glasses don’t match, nor do my pans.
The wine is no longer $30 a bottle, but seven euros for a five liter box from the local Cantina, and much more enjoyable.
Yesterday was the first time I’d invited one of our Italian friends to eat with us, and I was terrified. We’ve enjoyed meals in his kitchen on several occasions and he is an excellent cook. Of course he brought one of his culinary masterpieces, which made our little soiree even more enjoyable. I sighed with relief when he complimented my risotto!
“You’re a good cook.” He said. I was thrilled.
Here in Abruzzo, it doesn’t matter what your glasses look like, or whether or not your plates match. What does matter is the people who sit around your table and share your food. People come first and foremost here, and thats the way it should be.
I still miss my daughter, she should have been here with us for Christmas…next year!

Christmas has passed

In the blink of an eye its gone! The tree remains until Epiphany as is the tradition, but Christmas day has passed us by. It was busy with cooking, but calm. Nice to spend it with friends and glad we had friends we could spend it with.
We’re in Abruzzo and a long way from our daughter in Colorado, but she called us, and was happy. She was with her husband and they’d been skiing. Had she been miserable it would have torn us apart.
Now it is “Il giorno di Santa Stefano” in Italy, which is a holiday! The village is quiet other than the sound of the church bells.
It’s also my late mother’s Birthday. I miss her.
What to do today? I think I’ll potter around the house and faff! Yes, when you retire, there is time to faff! No sunshine today, gloomy and cloudy. Maybe a good day to catch up on the children’s book I’m writing, learn a little more Italian and then maybe watch TV and relax.
Life passes by so quickly. You’re young and then suddenly…you’re retired.
I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas even if you were alone.

The Gift and Some Memories

Didn’t we all think we’d be through with this ugly virus by now? I never imagined we’d still be wearing masks and limited to where we can go because lockdown rules still apply.
I imagined by now my daughter, son in law, and a couple of their friends would be here to enjoy Christmas with us. Not to be! We’re all isolated in our own little bubbles across the world. Sad, but at least we’re surviving. The gift in the photo above tipped me over the edge and made me cry. Good tears!
Every single person in Colledimezzo received a box from the Commune, personally delivered to our door. It is a small village, but still, that is a lot of boxes. What a wonderful thing to do. They realized what a tough year we’ve all had, both mentally and economically, and hoped this would help ease the burden. I was truly stunned. So glad to have moved here, such kindness doesn’t exist everywhere.

When we made an offer on this house back in 2017, Trump was the new US President, and the folks of the UK had voted for BREXIT. Although we all have different views, those two things to me, were devastating. How time has flown and things change. Thankfully, Trump’s days are almost over. BREXIT remains, but both events are overshadowed by COVID and the millions of people that have, and still are suffering.

2021 can’t come soon enough. It may not start well, but hopefully vaccines will bring relief and folks will realize a mask is needed to protect the human race. Let’s see beyond the misery to a brighter future.
We can do this!

COVID EMOTION

Is everyone emotional now, or is it just me? I should be counting my blessings. The beautiful Italian village I call home, sits on a hilltop between the Adriatic Sea and the mountains, idillic right. I love it. My neighbors are wonderful, kind, sharing people, but I feel my emotions are just out of control. It doesn’t take much for the tears to start. I’m guessing this isn’t just me. We’ve had almost a year of this pandemic now, and although we have a vaccine, we’re a long way from getting it distributed to everyone. Then there is always the question about long term side effects. I try not to look at news updates, but how can you avoid it?
Then there’s the politics, the hate and the current division of the US. I don’t care who you voted for, folks should not act this way. Voice your opinions peacefully.
2020 brought issues no one should have to deal with and terror no one should have to live through. I’ve never been big on New Years resolutions, but let’s all resolve to be nice to each other.
I hope 2021 brings happiness to the world. Lord knows, after this year, we need it.

Take Care everyone, and stay safe.

That Shopping Thing

There are lots of adjustments when moving to a different country. Yes, the language is the biggie, but also shopping. We have a small shop in Colledimezzo and larger supermarkets (supermercato) close by. Each supermarket has a butcher, baker and fresh produce section. When I say fresh produce, I mean local, probably from the ground to the supermarket in the same day. Delicious.
Occasionally I visit Lanciano, the closest large town, and shop in Oasi. Oasi is a ipermercato, and sells everything. Their deli, fresh produce, bakery and butcher’s section is fantastic. The choice and quality is amazing.
At first shopping was exhausting, but now my shelves are stocked with familiar items, or their Italian equivalent, its a more relaxing process. I can’t run to different towns on a regular basis because of COVID. So for now, I’m making do with the necessities.
I’m longing to visit my favorite kitchen shop in Casoli. It’s called Miranda and sells pots, pans and various kitchen gadgets. My favorite linen store, Punta Bianco, isn’t far away. I can barely wait to wander around the shops in Pescara, (and maybe have lunch by the Adriatic) or browse for home goods in Maison’s du Monde.
Patience is a virtue and I need to count my blessings, but I never thought I’d miss shopping so much.

More Time to Walk!

I was lucky enough to work for a great company before I retired. Loved the people I worked with and miss them terribly, but I was always juggling my time. When COVID hit and we began to work from home it was even more difficult because mornings ran into lunchtime, afternoons ran into evenings and before I knew it the day was over.
Weekends came and went in a flurry of paying bills, cooking, shopping and before I had time to rest it was Monday again. Of course it was even more frantic for me towards the end of my working career because we were selling our home too.
Now I’m finally retired, and living in Italy. My time is my own. A few chores, maybe a little laundry…then I can go for a walk, read, write (I will get that book finished eventually).
The other amazing thing is, I really don’t have many bills to pay. I lived in the US for 25 years and seemed to be constantly shelling out money. Property tax, gas bills, electric bills, homeowners insurance, car insurance, umbrella insurance, the list seemed endless. I hadn’t realized how expensive it was to live in America until I left. Of course I still have bills to pay, but not many.
Now I spend more time in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes. I walk daily, sometimes twice. My joy of photography has been reawakened.
At the moment, I’m restricted because of COVID, but next year at some point, road trips will be possible. Short breaks visiting different areas. Hopefully I’ve got ten good years in me before I’m decrepit, so I’ll make the most of them, retirement is a good thing. If anyone reading this is contemplating retiring early, do it!
Now I just need my daughter to visit and things will be good! Go away COVID and let us live again!!!

Making Memories

I’ve noticed many people posting memories on Facebook, memories of better times. I’ve done the same myself. This really has been a year, but there will be memories, good, bad, emotional, different! I’ve learned a lot about myself this year. I’ve also learned to appreciate the simple things in life we normally overlook. I’ve learned to be kinder and more patient.
This time last year we were complaining about crowded stores as we tried to buy Christmas gifts. We miss those crowded stores now, along with their Christmas music (that starts at Thanksgiving).
Enjoy the version of Christmas we have and next year, when we’re able to see our families again, this will be a memory. Make the best of it!

Take care and stay safe. This too will pass.

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