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.

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!!!

Retirement UPS and downs!

So here I am, a little over two months into retirement.
How does it feel? Pretty good most of the time. I don’t have to rush to get things done after work, or during the weekend. The washing can be done whenever I like, along with chores. I can take a walk when I like, shop any day of the week. Have a glass of wine, explore my new surroundings, write, exercise, daydream…
And now the downs!
Yes, there are some, but nothing that can’t be overcome. I miss my daughter and son in law, and their silly pups. I miss my friends too. Trying to learn to speak Italian fluently at my age is tough, but I’ll get there. I’m very lucky to be in a “Yellow Zone” in Italy, so COVID isn’t causing me too many problems, but its still on my mind, and of course prevents me from hosting a family Christmas. This too will pass and things could be worse. I think I’m still in the adjustment stage, but like I say, its only been a couple of months.

A Colledimezzo Afternoon

I’ve mastered the crazy French robot called Cookeo and it has become one of my favorite things in the kitchen! Salmon steaks were cooked to perfection in 3 minutes.
After lunch we sat in the piazza with friends, enjoying an Aperol Spritz outside while the weather still allows. Intended to be there 30 minutes, an hour tops…turned into quite a long afternoon. So much fun to improve my Italian language conversing with the local folks. Pio brought us a couple of slices of pizza each, fresh from his oven, dessert from Stefano as he placed bunches of the sweetest grapes I’ve ever eaten on our table, straight from his vine. Vincenzo gave us eggs collected from his hens.
I’ve never in my life been surrounded by such kind, generous, caring folks. Coledimezzo afternoons are such a pleasure.

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.

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