Distracting Landscape

How do I find a routine in this beautiful place?
I’m halfway through my third week in my new home.
Yes, I’ve done a lot. Drivers license, medical card, bank details updated, but when I’m not running around establishing my presence, I’m hypnotized by the amazing views.
A few moths ago I began writing a Children’s book, “Queen Tess – a Short Shaggy Dog Story”. I really need to finish it so my daughter can work on the illustrations.
I haven’t been totally idle. I spend a little time every day learning Italian and mixing with the locals. Talking to the village folks is a fun way to learn the language.
There was a wood fired pizza van in the piazza last night. Nothing better than a warm evening on the piazza eating pizza and drinking wine.
This morning I visited the village doctor. His office is a few steps away from my house. When I introduced myself he smiled and told me where I lived. Yes, he knew me already. News travels fast in a small village.

The day is young, after lunch I’ll jump in the little Panda and drive to Lancanio. There are a few things I need to buy that I can’t buy locally, and quite honestly…can’t wait to drive again.

Relax?

I’d like nothing more than so just sit back and enjoy the view, but I’ve moved to a new country, there are things to be done.
I quarantined until Monday and then took my COVID test at the local chemist…negative…yea! Celebrated with a typical, delicious Italian lunch at the neighboring town of Villa Santa Maria. How I was longing for that fantastic vino bianco and mouthwatering pasta. We took the day off to just enjoy being here.
Tuesday brought my first challenge. I went to apply for my Italian driver’s license in the town of Atessa. It was a long drawn out affair, but definitely not dull. Eye test, forms to sign, do I have any diseases? After a couple of hours I left the office with a copy of my British license and a stamped form certifying I’d applied for my Italian license…hope it comes soon. Back to Colledimezzo where a wood fired pizza van was parked in the square. Great way to finish the day. Best pizza I’ve had in years.
Wednesday started with a trip to Maisons du Monde, which is around 40 miles away. Needed to pick up a couple of small pieces of furniture, they remembered me from last summer. Lovely folks.
Early evening Aperol Spritz in the square with friends, and an evening of relaxation.
Thursday…still organizing things at home, also basked in the sun a little on the terrace.
Today, trip to the lovely town of Lanciano. My husband has mastered the parking system there, it can be tricky. Trip to the Bank to show them my residency card which gives us much better banking rates. Cappuccino in the sun and back home. Next week I need to get my medical insurance, then I can relax and smell the roses…retirement is suiting me I think.

New Home – New Life – Retirement

Well here I am! Been talking about it and planning it for three years, but never really thought it would happen!
I’m RETIRED!
In my head I thought I’d leave the US in a blaze of glory. I’d planned on hosting a leaving party at my local bar for a few close friends, but COVID came along and stopped that!
The two wonderful folks I supported at Western Union, hosted a small, safe, socially distancing party, which was absolutely wonderful. I was able to say goodbye to a few close friends who’d made a difference in my life. I had to fight back the tears as they said lovely things about me…were they really talking about me? I almost stood up and said STOP, I’ve changed my mind…I’m staying, but here I am, thousands of miles away in Southern Italy.
I miss my daughter, and I miss my friends, but I know they understand I needed a quieter, more relaxed life. I’m very lucky to be able to follow my dreams.
More stories to come.

Having a Misty Moment

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I woke up this morning with anxiety! It’s June 20th.
In less than two months I’ll walk through the front door of my home for the last time.  My home of over 20 years! In  less than three months I’ll leave my job and board a plane, leaving the country I’ve lived in for over 25 years.
Can’t deny my blood pressure and stress level are pretty high right now.
I’ve done this before, why is it so stressful this time?
Maybe because I’m retiring too!
Also because my daughter will not be coming with me. She’s grown up and married with a life of her own. She’ll aways need me, I’m her mum, but I’ll always be there for her. It will just take me a little longer to be by her side.
This old house is empty.
My treasures, the things I can’t live without, are on a ship bound for Naples.
My memories are in my heart.
My daughter will visit and enjoy her new retreat in the beautiful green countryside of Abruzzo.
I’m just having a misty moment.
It will pass.

This Crazy Little Thing Called Retirement (Part 6) Colledimezzo

 

We arrived in the little village of Colledimezzo an hour early, my fault, my timing was all to pot. It had been a long and tiring journey from Colorado to Abruzzo, a place we had never before visited. The extra hour gave us time to relax and watch the village wake up. We ordered coffee in the Emy Bar, which proved to be the hub of the village. My lovely daughter got a lot of attention from some of the male residents, which made her blush and made me laugh. Everyone was incredibly friendly. We were two strangers who didn’t speak Italian, but it didn’t seem to matter. We sat in the little square and enjoyed the attention and the view.
When Monia, our Realtor arrived, we’d just finished drinking our second cup of coffee, petted a well looked after stray cat, watched a mamma dog play with her young pup, said Buon Giorno more times than I can remember, and decided the village of Colledimezzo was a wonderful place.
The house on Via Badia was the third, and last house we visited in the village. As soon as we saw it, we knew it was the one.

Joanna took a short movie to send back to the US. The house, which was on three floors and built into the side of the hill, stole our hearts. It was an old, lovingly restored, Olive Mill and oozing with character. A nice, shy young man, who was the son of the owner, showed us around. The stone walls, the big windows and the views were wonderful. I was done, didn’t want to see any other houses, but Monia quite rightly insisted we should.
Sitting in the square again, we talked for a little longer, and decided to go ahead with the viewings the following day in Celezna and and San Buono. I was wildly excited, but also a little scared at the thought of parting with a huge sum of money on a house my husband had never visited. It felt right, but it was a big decision! Thank heavens my level headed daughter was there with me, guiding me through it all. I could never have done it without her.

Crazy Little Thing Called Retirement – The Journey (Part2)

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In August 2017 we spent two glorious weeks on the Island of Capri and the Amalfi Coast. It was a lovely time. A few days in Capri, a couple of days in Naples and a whole week in a beautiful villa in Scala, close to Ravello. Our villa overlooked the town of Amalfi and the deep blue mediterranean. There was a house for sale close to our villa which was in the process of being renovated. We weighed up the pros and cons of buying it. It was very tempting, and just what we were looking for, but the cost of buying and completing the renovation would have been too much for us.

I’d been searching on line, for a home in Italy for a couple of years, but never found the perfect place. The homes I really liked were much too expensive. The cheaper ones needed a lot of work. Then I remembered that several folks we’d talked to in Rome had told us about Abruzzo and how beautiful it was. They’d only moved away to find work, but returned as often as they could. Although I’d never been there, I decided to do some research and was fascinated with what I found. Lots of lovely unspoiled hilltop villages, beautiful mountains, and even more captivating, the Adriatic Coastline.

I immediately began my search in Abruzzo, and stumbled upon Abruzzo Rural Property, run by a helpful young lady called Monia. Thankfully she spoke great English. Three houses took my fancy, and Monia found a couple more. All in the Chieti province, which bordered the Adriatic. I asked if we could go and view them and we set a date at the end of August. She was surprised I wanted to make the trip so soon, but I daren’t leave it any longer in case I chickened out. I had to strike while the iron was hot. Spending large amounts of money make me nervous.

My husband had no more vacation days left, so he couldn’t come with me so called my daughter.
“Hey Jo, I’m going to look at a house in Italy, will you come with me?”
“Sure, when do you want to go?”
I think she expected me to say in the Spring, or next Summer. She probably thought it was another one of our pipe dreams…
“Next Friday, I’ll pay!”

As you can see by the photo, she enjoyed the trip very much. When we hired a rental car in Rome she asked “Do you have an open topped car, doesn’t have to be an Alfa Romeo, or anything fancy.”
The result was a little open topped Fiat, which took us across the mountainous region of central Italy from Lazio to the Chieti province in Abruzzo.

It was a blast!

Crazy Little Thing called Retirement (Part 1)

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Yesterday I was 21 and didn’t give retirement a single thought. It was a word my parents often used, but something that would never happen to me.
We were in our late fifties when we realized retirement was sneaking up on us and we decided to make a plan.

Lots of trips to Italy and France, thats what we’ll do. We’ll rent a car and drive!

We’d been traveling to Italy as often as possible for the last 15 – 20 years, staying in great hotels (expensive), and renting beautiful villas in picturesque locations (with uncomfortable beds). Was that really how we wanted to spend our twilight years…yes and no.

Yes we want to travel, but on our terms. Less expense, fewer long flights, and more comfort and relaxation. There was only one answer, buy a home in the area we loved the most!

More to follow!

 

 

Home in Abruzzo

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We discovered Abruzzo in August 2017. My husband tasked my daughter and I with finding a house on whirlwind three day trip. (Quite exhausting from the USA). We didn’t really know what to expect.
Abruzzo was introduced to us by hotel staff in various hotels in and around Rome. The comments always went like this:
Abruzzo is beautiful, but there is no work, which is why I move to Rome/Milan/Florence. 
We’d been looking to buy a home in Italy for a while, a place to retire, so work wasn’t important to us. What we wanted was tranquility, beauty, genuine people and a reasonably priced economy. We found it all in the beautiful little hillside village of Colledimezzo.

Bomba (above) is typical of the towns and villages in the area. Unspoiled beauty that makes you feel you’re stepping back in time. Not quite ready to retire yet, but when we do, I think life here will be treat us well.

Gloomy Sunday – Aching Bones – Writing

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Gloomy Sunday, the sun has hidden,
My bones they ache due the the lawn tractor ridden,
Never thought I’d get old, but alas, I did.

My hobby is writing, and books are released,
I’ll never be rich from them, but break even at least,
I can say I did it, and I did.

Retirement soon, to a life with less stress,
Apprehensive to the change, but excited I confess,
To live to old age, and I did.

The Years are Trickling Away

abruzzo-presto-privateIt really has been a heck of a year! This year we’ve literally bled money. In the grand scale of things, not that much, but enough to give me the odd panic attack. It has been worth it, we now have a lovely home in Abruzzo. A home with thick stone castle like walls and the sort of wooden doors that aren’t made anymore.
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Last week I published my second book, Ghosts on the Sand, a collection of short stories that were fun to write, and according to many folks, a pleasure to read. Thank you for all of your kind comments. The link below takes you to where this book can be purchased on Amazon for a mere $0.99.

https://amzn.to/2BYocgW

Tomorrow I rise early and start work at 7:00 am (if it ever stops snowing). Tomorrow evening finds me on a flight to Pescara, via Heathrow and Milan. My second trip to Colledimezzo this year, and not my last. My years are trickling away. Got to cram as much in as I can.

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