Smile through the Bumps!

It looks pretty idyllic doesn’t it? It is, even on a bad day, but life has still it’s little bumps!
My broken wrist, even though it’s healing, is really taking it’s toll. The cast is heavy and tiring to carry around all of the time. I’m limited what I can wear because even buttons are a challenge. Shoe laces, forget about it! On the bright side I’m learning to do a lot more with one hand. However fastening a bra does not come into that category!!! Nor does driving. How I miss exploring new places…and shopping.

I can still walk and enjoy these amazing views. In a little over two weeks my cast will be off and I’ll throw myself into the Christmas spirit and prepare for my daughter’s visit. Oh, and three wonderful days in Rome.

I’ll leave a little poem to cheer you up!

Smile: A Poem by Spike Milligan
Smiling is infectious,
you catch it like the flu,
When someone smiled at me today,
I started smiling too.
I passed around the corner
and someone saw my grin.
When he smiled I realized
I’d passed it on to him.
I thought about that smile,
then I realized its worth.
A single smile, just like mine
could travel round the earth.
So, if you feel a smile begin,
don’t leave it undetected.
Let’s start an epidemic quick,
and get the world infected!

Friendship Window

My Friendship Window

I spend a great deal of time in my kitchen. It’s a beautiful, bright airy room…and I love to cook. Our home is built into the side of a steep hill. The two sets of glass doors at the front of my kitchen open to a balcony with a spectacular view of the green wooded hills of Colledimezzo.

The ancient door at the back is even more special. It’s a large, and very old Dutch door, so I can open a small portion and watch people pass by. I’ve christened it my friendship window, because those passers by have become my friends.

As I relax over my morning coffee, I watch the villagers climb the stone steps from the lower part of historic Colledimezzo before stopping to rest on the flat area outside my door. We chat for a while, and then they continue their climb to the piazza.

My friendship window makes me very happy!

Death and Taxes

Wandering in Vasto

Here I am, enjoying retirement in the country I’ve been in love with my whole life. Can’t be bad!
However, it’s time to file my taxes. UGH! Can you feel my pain. There are American Taxes and Italian Taxes to deal with. We’re definitely not doing it ourselves, wouldn’t know where to start. It’s probably not going to be cheap either, but it has to be done.
Why is the whole world afraid of the Taxman?
Not to worry, I’ll take another sip of my excellent wine, that costs a tenth of the price I’m used to paying in the US, and erase it from my mind.

Death and Taxes…unavoidable.

Colledimezzo and the First Sunday in May

Sundays are lazy in Colledimezzo. Coffee on the balcony while reading the local news gets the day off to a good start. Every Sunday we enjoy late morning aperitivos in the Piazza while listening to the church bells and chatting to the good people who spill out of church for a quick cocktail before eating.
Then back home to cook lunch after which we studied a little Italian. My brain didn’t cooperate today though. I don’t feel as though I’m getting any better, but I must be, its just a slow process for an old girl. Also tough to learn while we were on semi-lockdown. No one to talk to!
Now Abruzzo is back in the yellow zone (zona gialla) we can start exploring again and talk to more people.
After taking in breathtaking views from my evening stroll, I’m ready to relax for the night. I know, it sounds like I’ve been relaxing all day doesn’t it!!! Retirement is like that.

Buona settimana a tutti (Have a good week everyone)

Reflections on Retirement

A good way to end the day

If you really enjoy your job, and love the folks you work with, retirement is daunting. I longed to move to Italy, and dreamed about the day I’d retire there. It was planned for 2022 at the earliest, so I had a little time to think about it. Then came Brexit…the rest is history. Retirement to Italy after Brexit would have been complicated in so many ways, so instead of ambling along the road to retirement, I had no choice but to sprint. It was a real wrench!
The first month of my new life was exciting, fun, no work, lots of new places to visit. Lunch by the Adriatic, a lovely piazza to enjoy a late afternoon drink, pizza night, or just meet friends for coffee. Life was good.
And then came another COVID wave, was it number two? I forget, we’ve had so many.
The first “light lockdown” put us in the Yellow Zone, which wasn’t too bad. We could travel anywhere within the region, so we were able to walk along the shores of the Adriatic and take advantage of its lovely restaurants.
Then we were plunged into the stricter Orange Zone. Bars and restaurants only open for “take away” curfews in place. Carabinieri drove through the village often. We were only allowed to leave our municipality once a day, and only then for a good reason, with documentation stating that reason.
Over Christmas and Easter, in and out of the dreaded red zone.
Luckily Colledimezzo is beautiful, and there are many spectacular walks…are you bored of my photos yet? I long to see the Adriatica again. I did see it in the distance when we went shopping to Lanciano. It was tantalizingly close.
Shopping locally is nice. There is everything I need, butchers, small supermarkets, flower shops, hardware stores, furniture stores etc., so I have nothing to complain about, and I’m not complaining, I do like it here. A few things make my heart ache though. My daughter was set to come here for Christmas, but of course couldn’t. Summer is probably out of the question too. I’m not wishing my life away, but…I am so excited to see her and her husband at Christmas. I know it’s a long way off, but it is the light at then end of the tunnel.
On reflection, retirement is a good thing. If I hadn’t retired, I’d be dreaming of Italy, and you all know how much I did that. Now, I’m dreaming of freedom, and I know it’s in sight. Rumor has it May could be a good month. Vaccines are picking up steam and numbers are going down.
Have a lovely day everyone and “In bocca al lupo” (Translates as “in the mouth of wolves” and means “good luck” in Italian)

The Rhythm of Retirement

The rhythm of retirement, I like the sound of it.
It’s been a busy week, I always find plenty to do. Sitting around isn’t for me. This week I planned a remodel of a bathroom. Hate the mess, but always love the look of fresh new flooring and tiles. Vincenzo “The Engineer”, took me to Villa Santa Maria to pick out tiles and such, it was fun. I understand more Italian now…and certainly understood the end price. I repeated it as the sales guy added it up, and before he told me. Took him by surprise! We all laughed.
Walked a lot of course, and still enjoy the views of our fairytale village.
I even enjoy grocery shopping now because I can chat (a little bit) to the people who work in the store. I’m sure they see me coming and say:
“Watch out, its that crazy old Brit who tries to speak Italian”
Today I made a start on pots and planters on our terrace. I think we may be spending a lot of time at home this summer. Vaccines are coming slowly. The lovely young lady in the garden shop greeted me like an old friend and helped me pick the best plants for my display. Photo’s to come. It was almost dark by the time I finished planting.
I also ordered an electric bike from the Trek shop in Perano…aren’t I just the brave one! My husband’s bike arrived on Monday and he’s loving it so I thought “why not?”
I may not get it until December because everything is so backlogged at the moment, but I can wait. I ordered it in red of course!
Well that’s another week over. Lester retires next week. Friday is his last day. We’re both old timers now. It’s exciting. We have some great years ahead of us!!! Watch out Italy!

Walking!

There is one thing I’m really enjoying during retirement, and lockdown, and that is walking. It clears my head. The views around Colledimezzo are spectacular. Yes, I’d love to see the Adriatic again, but good things are worth waiting for, we won’t be restricted to a 30 kilometer radius forever.

Today we had fibre installed. Our internet has been awful for the last few months, but today that changed. Small steps to make my life easier. As a writer and blogger, I’m always doing research, and a slow internet speed was awful.

I’m doing heaps of cooking and baking. I never had time to play and experiment in the kitchen when I was working, but now…there is no holding me back.

Learning Italian is fun too. A little frustrating at times, but a sixty three year old brain takes a little longer to remember new things. (or am I sixty four now?) I’m getting there.

On the downside, it seems like the hierarchy have forgotten about distributing the vaccines to some of the rural areas in the Chieti Province of Abruzzo. Several small communities similar to Colledimezzo have been overlooked. The mayor’s of those communities have written letters to get this fixed. Fingers crossed they’ll remedy the situation.

Meanwhile I plan for the future, and think about my first trip when we’re free again. Abruzzo is beautiful, but I think I’ll run away to Ravello, just for a few days.

Ravello is calling me.

Sleepy Head – Get out of Bed

Since retiring my body clock wakes me up at 7:30 am. A civilized time, and much better than 5:15, which was my waking time when I worked.
Before I rise, I check my iPhone, mostly to see if there are any messages from my daughter back in the US! I do miss her.
This morning I had three messages, not from my daughter, but from Vincenzo “The Engineer” of Colledimezzo. Work to be done and what time could they start! I messaged back 8:30, so it was a quick scramble to shower and dress before they arrived. I opened the shutters to a winter wonderland. Yes Colledimezzo does get the occasional snowfall, and when it arrives it is beautiful.
It will be a day of staying home because of the workmen. With nothing else to do, I can practice my Italian. Learning a new language at my age is a challenge, but it’s also fun. I grasp the important words easily, but those itsy, bitsy words that join the sentences together are definitely a challenge. I stumble my way through and thankfully the people of Abruzzo are patient.
Every day is an adventure, make the most of it!

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!

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.

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