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!

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.

December 1st – Christmas is Coming

My kitchen Christmas tree!
I don’t normally start Christmas this early, but 2020 is a little different. We need a distraction. This tree came with me from the US, along with very few Christmas ornaments, things I’ve collected over the last 40 years or so! I had to be ruthless when I packed to move and kept only trinkets that held treasured memories. This is a new start which will create new memories.
We spent Christmas here in 2018 with my daughter, son-in-law and their friends so I also have a tree bought in Italy, which will be decorated in the living room later this week. I feel very extravagant with two trees, but I’m retired and have time to decorate them both.
December 1st came around quickly. I blinked and the long hot days of summer turned into a golden autumn.
2020 is trickling away. It has been an awful year for the world, but I think we all learned from it. Let’s hope so. For me, it was bitter sweet. I realized my dream of moving to Italy, but I’m a long way from my daughter. I hope I can see her soon.
Here’s to Christmas, and the simple things in life.