A Christmas Story

colledimezzo-3

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!

America has lost its heart

Heart

I moved to the US from England in 1995.

The culture here was completely different from that in the UK, but I liked it. Folks were welcoming, upbeat and happy.

Shortly after I arrived there was a dreadful tragedy in Oklahoma, you all remember it so there is no need to go into details, but folks pulled together, and got through it.
Since then terrible things have happened. School shootings, 9/11, terrible times for all. Through the grief and sorrow, folks pulled together, it brought them closer. Even if their politics were different, they were one nation healing together.

For the past two or three years America has changed. Racism is rife. The general mood of the country is that of anger and hatred.

Not everyone demonstrates this mood, but enough folks to make me feel unsafe, a little scared. Hostility is displayed openly. Folks seem to know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.

America has lost its heart and it saddens me.

Champagne and the Spanish Steps

DSC03028Tonight we celebrated my daughter and son-in-laws first wedding anniversary. It was wonderful and we got silly after a little too much champagne. Spanish Steps again, a great place to gather and say Arrivederci Roma. (For a couple of weeks anyway). Driving to Milan tomorrow. Love, love, love Italy!

Roma – Anticipation

Three weeks from now I will be re-discovering Rome. The anticipation is overwhelming. Its been five years since my last trip to Italy. Memories of happy times and wonderful people flood back, particularly in the Grand Hotel Flora. Can’t wait to check in. I’m sure the staff will have changed, but the charm will still be there.

The excellent staff

The excellent staff