Colledimezzo by Night!

The village is beautiful by day or by night. I wish these photographs could tell me about it’s history. Folks who have lived here their whole lives are eager to share their stories and have so much to tell. My mastery of the Italian language isn’t good enough to take it all in yet, but I’m learning. Soon I’ll be able to talk to the people who’s stories have been passed down through generations. As my Italian improves I will share their stories with you!

My Red SMEG

When I started furnishing our home in Italy I wanted it to be different than the houses we’d called home in the UK and the US. Completely different! I also didn’t want to fill a 200 year old building with antiques. I wanted it to be quirky and fun. My daughter designed the kitchen and called me about fridges from the SMEG shop.
“Do they have a red one?” I asked.
I swear I heard her smile down the phone as she replied, “as a matter of fact they do, and that is the one I would have chosen myself.”
Three years later this house is now my home. The fridge is the first thing folks see when they walk into the kitchen and it always makes them smile.

The Villages of Italy

“Buy a house in an Italian village for $1”
We read it in the newspapers, we see it on the television, but not many people pursue it. Not many people understand what these villages and houses look like, or appreciate their history. We certainly paid much more than $1 for our Italian home, and still spent a great deal after purchasing, but we weren’t looking for a project. Not easy overseeing something in Italy while living and working in the US
Now I’m retired I walk around our little Italian village daily. The contrast between houses is amazing. The photos above display two beautiful homes, but in between them, a deserted shell just begging for attention.
The huge house next to ours has been empty since the sixties. Such a shame, the architecture is amazing.
I don’t think there are any $1 homes in Colledimezzo, but when you see buildings in other villages advertised, remember, they are surrounded by history and love, and begging to be restored so they can stand proud again.

Sleepy Little Village

I’m trying to take life slowly. Forcing myself to not rush to get chores done. I have all the time in the world, but it’s quite an adjustment.
This morning I didn’t open my eyes until after seven, and then laid in bed until the clock chimed 7:15. A good time to rise.
My brain reminded me of my morning stretch routine, so I obeyed. Then upstairs to make a Cappuccino in the temperamental Smeg coffee maker. Came out perfectly. I sat on the kitchen deck and enjoyed my morning coffee. The sleepy little village had not yet come to life. No cars, no people, just the sunrise, the hillside and me.
What next?
A trip to San Vito on the coast, a pleasant walk and lunch in one of the local seafood restaurants.
It’s a hard life!!!

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.

Pescara

Maybe next time I visit Pescara it will be for fun!

Over the past three years I’ve flown into Pescara from Milan, ridden the Pronto bus to Pescara from Rome, and rented numerous cars from Hertz. For three years, the same helpful folks have worked there.
Although I do enjoy taking to Marco and his staff, I’m looking forward to be driving my own car. It’s ordered, but unfortunately it takes over two months to arrive. Until then, I’m driving a Fiat Panda. Cute little car…not as small as they were back in the day.
Driving in Italy (Abruzzo anyway), comes much more natural to me than driving in the US. The Italians drive fast, but efficiently. No on sits in the outside lane like its their right. They use the outside lane to overtake, and then move over to let others do the same. I enjoy driving in Italy!

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.

Pandemic Flight

I could have inserted an image of an airport, or the plane, but I thought the destination would be prettier. Colledimezzo in all its glory, taken today as I enjoyed my first morning walk.
Back to the flight, not as bad as I thought, but not great. My daughter dropped me at the airport in Denver. It was an emotional good bye for me. I miss her!
My Italian residency/ID card was the only documentation I needed to board the flight, other than my passport. Delta airlines did a great job. They kept folks distanced, boarding, and during the flight. More than I could say for other airlines, where folks jostling and pushed to board. I’ll remember how well Delta did during these awful times and fly with them again.
Atlanta was uneventful, but I noticed the airport was not so strict on mask wearing. The international terminal was pretty empty, so I just kept my distance from folks. I’d already completed my documentation allowing me to land in Amsterdam. For those passengers who hadn’t, it was handed out at the gate prior to boarding. Thanks to my daughter I was in first class on this flight. Food was delicious, as was the champagne.
This was the first time I’d flown through Amsterdam. Busy airport, even during a pandemic. My temperature was checked and my documentation stamped before I could proceed to my departure gate.
My flight from Amsterdam to Rome was a little uncomfortable due to an ignorant selfish idiot sitting in the same row as me. Luckily there was an aisle and three seats between us because he wore his mask under his chin and proceeded to cough and sneeze into his hands throughout the flight. He was warned more than once by the flight attendant, but as they say…”you can’t fix stupid”.
I was very relieved when we landed in Rome, and even more relieved to collect my luggage. I always fear it won’t be there.
My husband was waiting for me…I survived a pandemic flight.

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.

Pre-Flight NERVES!

It is August 25th today, and two day before I fly to my new home in Italy! Of course my suitcase is overweight because of the things I forgot to send with the movers.
Two days before I fly and so far…my flight hasn’t been cancelled or rescheduled with impossible connections. (yet)
I’m nervous though!
I know I have to wear a mask, obvious, I always wear one when I leave the house. Now I have to take a plentiful supply because I have to change my mask every four hours on the international flight.
Also, the cabin crew can’t help my stow my carry on luggage in the overhead compartment. Makes sense, they have to consider their own safety and touch as little as possible. Yes, I had to re-pack my carry on to make it light enough for me to lift over my head.
I have two suitcases when I’m only allowed one. The second is much heavier than I’m allowed.
Instead of make up in my liquids baggie, I have disinfectant and hand sanitizer.
I have to take food on the plane with me, no guarantee I’ll be fed on the domestic leg of my journey.
Along with all of this, I worry about COVID.
I’ve never travelled through Amsterdam before so that airport is unfamiliar to me. My normal route is Denver/Frankfurt/Rome. This time its Denver/Atlanta/Amsterdam/Rome.
Did I mention I was nervous?
Pray for me everyone.

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