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.

Staying Alive – 2020

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It has been a bumpy year! Who’d have thought we’d be fighting a pandemic, along with all of the other trials and tribulations this year has brought. I’m not naming any, because we’re all sick and tired of hearing about them.
Through all of this mess, I’ve sold a house, sent my personal possessions to Italy and sold most of my furniture. Not an easy task, but one that had to be done.
This sixty three year old heart has had palpitations. This sixty three year old brain has been working overtime, and keeping me awake. Sometimes I wondered if I’d make it to Italy.
Now, we’re almost there. I have a “final day” at work on the calendar, flights aren’t booked yet, but will be soon.
I look at the picture of my retirement village and it keeps me alive. Three months from now, I’ll be there….

Staying alive!

It’s good to be back!

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No, I’m not back in Italy yet, but will be soon. The little door at the bottom of this alleyway, is the back door to my new home. Looks like a little castle doesn’t it!
It makes me smile.
We’ve had such a year with this horrible virus, COVID 19. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it go away (who doesn’t)?
It left me frozen for a while. I’ve never been so stressed. Every time I showered my hair came out in clumps…didn’t think too much of it until I went to my hairstylist again, “what happened to your hair?,” he asked. He looked at me with concern at the amount I’d lost. I hope it grows back. Have other folks suffered in similar ways? I’m know I’m happy to be alive! Anyone got any stories to share, things to get off your chest!
Be safe my friends, and thank you for stopping by.

Italy

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It’s been a while since I wandered the cobbled streets of Colledimezzo.
Three months in fact
So much has happened
The world has changed
Can’t wait to be back

It’s been a while since I gazed on the mountains and tree covered hills of Abruzzo
But the memory is so strong
I smell the scent of woodsmoke and fresh mountain air
And meatballs and spaghetti and lamb and sweet delights
Can’t wait to be back

It’s been a while since I hugged my friends in Colledimezzo
Enjoyed their laughter
Reveled in their kindness
Enjoyed their warm hospitality
I’ll  be back as soon as I can

 

 

 

More on Retirement

Sixty three, I say it to my self often, and in awe that I reached this age. I survived three day open air rock concerts, and all that went with them. I survived motorcycle accidents, car crashes, life in general and here I am still.
I work pretty hard, and write, and have hobbies and interests, but now, instead of having the energy to run with them all, I need to choose. Weekends used to be a time of fun, but now they are a time of errands, chores and recuperating after a busy work week.
In my head I’m still 25, but my body disagrees.
Waking up to the early mists that sometimes blanket the hilltop villages of Abruzzo is tempting. The sun comes up and burns them away, making a perfect beach day.

Yes I lived to reach 63 years old! I read the news and all that is happening in the world. I’m not afraid of Coronavirus, but it makes me realize we’re all vulnerable. How much longer do I have to enjoy retirement?

A Christmas Story

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Once upon a time there was a little girl called Sandra. She was born in the fifties into an unhappy violent marriage. She was four, when her beaten, bleeding mother plucked up the courage to leave the monster she was married to. Her mum worked hard to keep food on the table and because of that Sandra spent a great deal of time alone dreaming of things she thought she’d never have.
In 1967 Sandra’s mum married a good man and life wasn’t so difficult anymore, but she still dreamed. What did she dream of?
Italy!
Why?
She didn’t really know, perhaps she was born with the dream. Sandra also had a weird uncontrollable gift. She knew things would happen before they did. Sometimes it was scary, but she lived with it with the help of an unseen presence, that she thought of as her Guardian Angel. Her first trip to Italy was 1971. To the Adriatic coast! She was smitten and returned often.
Sandra was married when she was 20, and travelled a great deal, often to Italy, but usually the Mediterranean coast. Her first trip to Rome was 2010, it gripped her heart, and that of her husband. It prompted them to search for a home. They looked in Campania, Tuscany, Lazio and then finally and after five years of searching, they came upon Abruzzo.
Abruzzo is on the Adriatic Coast, and only about three hours from Rome. Italy is beautiful, but Abruzzo is a piece of heaven. It takes you back in time to how Italy used to be before the tourist invasion. Quiet and traditional. The folks who live in Abruzzo are inquisitive, caring folks, genuinely interested in your well being. If they ask how you are, they really want to know. They’re proud of their land, their wine and eager to share.
Tomorrow we fly to our home in the tiny village of Colledimezzo, province of Chieti. A beautiful village perched on a hillside. It isn’t our permanent home yet, but we escape to Colledimezzo as often as we can.
Merry Christmas everyone, don’t lose sight of your dreams, instead make them come true!

Dolce Far Niente

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This only happens to me in Italy. I’ve tried to practice it here in the US, but it doesn’t work. There is always something do. There are things to do in Italy too, but somehow, they aren’t so important. What is more important is sitting with a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine and just enjoying the moment.

Can’t wait to be back!

This crazy little thing called retirement (Part 8) Vasto – the confirmation

 

We spent one more night in Atessa. After our huge lunch, we couldn’t eat another bite, but we wandered through the beautiful little town one more time. Cocktails completed the evening.

The next morning we set off to meet Monia, our realtor, in San Buono. Google managed to get us on a road that didn’t exist, and I was terrified we’d never be seen again, but we made it. San Buono was a pretty little village, but the apartment we went to view wasn’t a patch on the house in Colledimezzo. From San Buono, we followed Monia to Celezna. Celezna was slightly bigger than the other villages we’d looked in. The hill it was on was much higher, and the views were breathtaking. The house, on the edge of the village, had a terrace which boasted views of the Adriatic. Tempting, but not tempting enough to turn our heads. We’d already found what we were looking, our mind was made up! We stopped in a small coffee bar and told Monia we’d made our decision and wanted to make an offer on the house in Colledimezzo. Then we cheek kissed Italian style and went our separate ways. She had other clients to see, and we were heading to Vasto for our final night.

Vasto was a beautiful surprise, as was the Residenze Amblingh where we spent our final night. The photos I’ve posted are just a few to tempt you to come back next week and read about our afternoon and evening in Vasto. It may be my favorite town in Italy!

This Crazy Little Thing Called Retirement (Part 7) Fossecasia

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My daughter and I were a little giddy when we left Colledimezzo. We took the SS652 towards the coast. Twenty minutes later a carpet of azure spread out in front of us. Breathtaking!
The Adriatic in all of its splendor!
I first visited the Adriatic coast in the early seventies, with my mum and my crazy Aunt. We spent two weeks in Rimini and thats when I became hooked on Italy. I was fifteen years old. My daughter spoke, bringing me back to reality
“Mum, you’ll be living the dream” she said, “Close to the mountains and close to the ocean. What more could you ask for?”
My eyes filled with tears of happiness, sharing this journey with my daughter made it even more special.
“Lets park down by the sea. I’d like to try and eat on a trabocco.” I said.
“Trabocco?”
“Yes, they used to be fishing platforms, but now they’re restaurants. Gino D’Campo visited one on his show a couple of years ago.”
I watched travel shows about Italy when ever I could, and if it was a travel show that included cooking, even better. Gino was my favorite.
We tried to get a table in two trabocco restaurants, both fully booked. Finally trabocca Punta Pesce Polumbo welcomed us. Our Italian was very limited, and our waitress spoke no English, so it was quite the experience. It was a fixed price meal, wine included. The food was absolutely delicious and we ate and appreciated the delicious fish and pasta, not realizing just how many courses we’d be getting. Had we known, we’d have eaten less at the beginning. Although every mouthful, every single morsel was delicious, we had to raise our hands.
Our waitress laughed, “Finita?”
“Si, mille grazie.” I said patting my stomach.
“Mum, it’s grazie mille,” my daughter corrected me. “You have to master this language if you’re going to live here.”
She was right of course. “I’ll go and pay and then I think we should go back to Atessa and maybe take a nap. All that food has made me sleepy.”
We paid and left, but we didn’t take a nap at the hotel, instead we wandered around the beautiful little hilltop town of Atessa, stopping in quaint little bars to taste the the local beer and wine.
I absolutely knew I’d found the place I wanted to retire and I was happy!

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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