A Little Levity – and Some Excellent Food!

Everyone has to admit the thought of a new and awful strain of this wretched virus is more than a little worrying. It is a burden to all of us. Just as we all begin to rejoice seeing the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel…an ugly shadow blocks our view!!! It’s hard to remain upbeat, but we must!
Yesterday we enjoyed some wonderful food with friends. Polish food for a change. The main dish of roasted pork loin was so delicious, I’d eaten it before I thought of taking a photograph.
I wish I’d captured the view too. Perched on top of a mountain it was breathtaking.
Oh well next time!

Stay happy and safe everyone, we’ll beat this new strain, just like we did the last ones. We can do this!

Italy – My Home

My friend Marianna

I’ve been feeling a little low lately, not miserable, not unhappy, just a little low.It’s not helping that I’m struggling to do everything with one hand because of this stupid cast. This young lady cheered me up and blew away my blues.

After a long walk, and some conversational Italian on Zoom, I decided to go to the bar. Lester has a dentist appointment and would be gone for a while so I had a couple of hours to kill. I wasn’t alone for long.

This young lady rises early, helps take care of her grandkids, cooks, and tends a large plot of land. We sat together and talked for a while. It wasn’t a smooth conversation, but I did my best.

Look at that smile…isn’t she lovely.

The Giving Season

No, I’m not talking about Christmas, I’m talking about the fruit bearing season in Abruzzo. Our very good friend Nino brought us this wonderful collection today. We have figs, large tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers, and then his wonderful wife baked biscotti…I don’t think I’ll ever lose weight here.

When I walk I see trees bursting with fruit and the wonderful scent of jam making and baking wafts from open windows as I pass by.

It’s only going to get better as we move into Autumn.

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!

Olives and Friends

Have you ever seen Olive Oil look this good? I certainly haven’t! This olive oil was freshly pressed by our friends Nino and Vittoria and given to me as a gift this evening.
“This is not for cooking. It is to enjoy with a little salt and crusty bread.”
My husband could live on bread and olive oil, and I’m sure this will be the best he’s ever tasted. I’ll let you know.
I’ve lived in Colledimezzo for almost two months and I never cease to be amazed by the kindness and generosity of my neighbors. In the short time we’ve been here we’ve made so many friends. Perfect place to live, perfect place to retire. I miss my daughter of course, can’t wait until she’s able to visit.

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.

Abruzzo – a Week in Review

We’ve been in Italy for one exhausting week. It’s been a whirlwind seven days of buying furniture, opening bank accounts, cleaning, organizing, planning and finally today, we took the day off. We needed to. We’re in our sixties not our twenties.

On Monday we arrived at our Italian home in Colledimezzo and were greeted by Maurizio, our carpenter. His work was amazing. We walked into a once empty kitchen, to see a magnificent creation of cupboards, countertops and a fantastic breakfast bar. Thrilled is an understatement.  We also met Franco, the builder who is working on our stairs, and his friend Domenico, who speaks perfect English, having lived there most of his life. We finally met Nino, who I know will always be our friend, and Vincenzo to whom I owe so much.

On Tuesday Franco took us to lunch and introduced us to more of his English clients. We ate an Italian workers lunch, which consists of pasta, meat, salad, fries and as much wine as you can possibly drink. Delicious. On Tuesday night we decided the hotel in Lanciano just didn’t work for us. It was clean, but so dated it made life difficult so we moved to Vasto. I LOVE Vasto. My daughter and I stayed here for one night last August. Gorgeous, comfortable, hospitable. Rezidenza Amblingh!

On Wednesday we bought a washing machine and tumble drier and then continued to the house to meet Vincenzo and a new-found friend Zoe.

On Thursday, long drive to Pescara to buy furniture and beds. Maisons du Monde and more friendly people! They recommended a bed shop where we found exactly what we needed.

On Friday we went back on the long road north and bought small appliances for our kitchen from a SMEG outlet. (Did I mention how broke we are now?)

Yesterday (Saturday), it was light fittings. Found a great discount store for light fittings, and got everything we needed. Then on to Colledimezzo again, where I ran into the young guy we bought the house from. It is his dad’s house, but he showed us around. The cleaning started. We discovered a couple of things that needed fixing, but that always happens doesn’t it. It is going to be a work in progress, but it has so much character.

The photos are from today. We took the day of to relax and enjoy a delicious meal in a seafood restaurant at Vasto Harbour. We mistakenly thought it was within walking distance of the hotel, but it was actually almost six miles away. The walk gave us an appetite. When we asked if the waiter could call us a cab to get back to the hotel, he arranged for his sister to give us a ride. She wouldn’t take any money for her trouble.

Now we have our feet up relaxing like old folks do after a bottle of wine and a big meal, but we feel happy. Although the house may require a little more work than we expected, it is going to be worth it. I want to live among these friendly caring folks. I’ve lived on the good earth for a long time and have never encountered such genuine, friendly, helpful people. I’m blown away.

Abruzzo has enchanted us.

One Step Closer to the Italian Dream

abruzzo One step at a time, but the steps are getting bigger and the dream is getting closer. Almost a reality! This week I got the translation back for the Power of Attorney that allows our daughter to sign the deed on our behalf. On Tuesday both the original and the translation were notarized and made official. This morning I discovered we needed to have the document apostiled. Luckily this is something I deal with in my line of work. I’ve built up a relationship with CT/Wolterskluwer over the last 15 years or so. Good reliable people, I consider them friends. Today they showed me just what good people they were by getting my Power of Attorney to the Secretary of State in downtown Denver, and back fully apostiled within a few hours. Thank you Heidi Liesch.

Now all of the preparation is done. On Monday I wire the deposit to the escrow account in Vasto, Abruzzo. On Sunday I hand over documents to my daughter. On November 2nd she flies to Italy and on November 6th, she signs the deed on our behalf.

Crazy with excitement! Thought I’d only ever dream about this!

Packing for an Italian Vacation!

Dresses, one two-three four,

OK, maybe a couple more?

Shoes, five, six, seven eight,

Maybe seven, think of the weight!

Shorts, tops, swimwear, smiles…

Family, friends, and miles and miles,

Of sunshine, memories, love and laughter,

To treasure now, and forever after.

Celebrating Five Years of Blogging!

What have I gained from five years of blogging? Let me think. I interact with people in many different countries, people I’d of never heard of if not for our blogs. I read great stories, see fantastic art work, commiserate with people, congratulate their achievements. I also get encouragement when I need it. I share interests with bloggers across the globe. I think we bloggers are a unique group of people and I’m glad I belong to the blogging community.

Cheers

Keep a smile on you lips and love in your heart!

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