Thanksgiving in Abruzzo

My first Thanksgiving in Abruzzo!
Although I lived in Colorado for 25 years, I’ve never truly celebrated Thanksgiving the way Americans do. I enjoyed cooking. Getting together with friends and family was lovely, but the “Holiday” never held a special meaning for me. Not like Christmas.
2020 is my first Thanksgiving in Abruzzo. We didn’t go out and buy a huge Turkey, or make pumpkin/pecan pie, so it was very low key. Social distancing due to COVID has taken over the lives of everyone.
We celebrated with a huge polenta, Italian style. I’m not going to take credit for this gourmet delight, our good friend created it. It was delicious! On Black Friday I had a dental appointment in Lanciano. I completed two “self certifications”, one for the dentist, and one allowing me to stop off at a large Supermarket. There weren’t many people shopping, because of the Red Zone rules. I shopped for things I can’t buy locally and picked up some Christmas lights along with one or two tree ornaments. It was a gorgeous day, so on the way home I took photos. I can’t wait for all of this to be over so we can travel again, itching for a road trip, but until then I’ll make the most of my beautiful surroundings.
Happy Belated Thanksgiving to all my American friends.

Abruzzo Orange Zone

Thank heavens for my beautiful surroundings! It will help me remain calm.
Last night I learned that the region of Abruzzo has been bumped up from the Zona Gialla (Yellow Zone) to Zona Arancione (Orange Zone). This means bars and restaurants must remain closed and we can’t travel out of our municipality without a good reason and the relevant documentation. Abruzzo boasts very low COVID cases, but they are rising faster than they should.
This morning we went shopping fairly early. We drove to Oasi in Lanciano and bought enough food to keep us going for the next two or three weeks. I am happy to report we didn’t see anyone filling their trolleys with toilet rolls. In fact everyone was buying just what they needed. No panic buying or emptying shelves. What a refreshing change. On the way home we stopped off at a local cantina and purchased a couple of 5 liter boxes of local wine (Pecorino), wouldn’t be good to run out of wine during a lockdown.
This evening I joined my friends at “Bar for You” in the Piazza because after today it will be closed until the number of new cases falls. Lovely evening with lots of laughter, and a few tears. How will these local bars and restaurants survive? I’m sure they struggle as it is. My heart goes out to them.
Let’s hope the new outbreak of COVID is controlled soon and things can be as close to normal as possible for Christmas. After a grueling year we all need something to look forward to.
Stay safe everyone.

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.

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.

Just Let me Fly

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To my friends my retirement plans appear to have gone smoothly. Things just fell into place!
They weren’t back stage watching me manage contractors across the Atlantic. Rising at 5:00 am, translating emails, working with furniture stores, banks, Realtors and trying to understand how to get things done the Italian way.
Luckily for me, the folks in our new village are wonderful, kind, helpful people. We couldn’t have done this without them.
“Oh things have gone so easily for you”
NO! It has taken perseverance.
Now we’re in the final chapter. House sold, furniture donated or sold. This final piece of the puzzle should have been easy. Book a flight and “hey presto” we’re on our way to Italy!!!
Not quite! Thank you Mr. Trump, for not being a great leader, actually for not being a leader at all.
Thank you for making Americans unwelcome in Europe! Luckily for us we have Italian residency and UK passports, but getting a flight from the US to Italy is almost impossible. We’ve had two cancelled already.
This isn’t the fault of Delta Airlines, who have been outstanding and helped us through this mess. I rebooked my flight for the third time yesterday, thanks to the great travel agents at American Express. They went above and beyond to help me. Lets hope the third time is a charm.
It isn’t COVID 19 that is bringing the USA to its knees. It is the way it is being handled, or should I say, not handled. Please Mr. Trump, in your last few months as President, show some compassion and decency to the folks of country you promised to “make great again.”

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