The Real Italy

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I never get bored with Italy. Been visiting since I was a teenager. It’s beauty and history are captivating. The food, the wine, all the usual things make me love the country. However, until I visited Abruzzo, I realized I hadn’t seen the real Italy. It took only a short visit to remind me that local Italians make Italy what it is, and the folks of Abruzzo are the warmest, most helpful people I have ever met. While writing this blog my eyes fill with tears as I recall our recent visit and all we achieved with their help. We made more friends in two weeks than I’ve made in the last 20 years.

Colledimezzo is a tiny village in Abruzzo, less than 600 inhabitants. Of course everyone became familiar with us immediately. A mixed race couple with British accents. We stuck out like a sore thumb. Those locals immediately accepted us, helped us and made us feel like one of them.

It’ll be a few years before we can retire there, but the ground work is done. We have a second home there now, and lots of vacations to look forward to. Good things are worth waiting for!

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Tempes Fugit

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How time files! Just over a week ago I was waking up to this magnificent view from my Hotel Room in the beautiful ancient town of Vasto.

I’ve been back for a week now. Once again caught up in the daily routine of work and the busy existence we all share. I’m not sad, I live in Colorado, which is lovely. I have a good job and work with people I like, but I do miss the tranquility and laid back life style I enjoyed for two weeks in Abruzzo.

It’s the carrot dangling in front of me. We’ve achieved a huge goal, we have a home in Italy waiting for us when we retire. Before that time I can enjoy lazy vacations getting to know the area. We feel incredibly lucky to have such a place, but it is the result of hard work and planning.

You can achieve a great deal when you put your mind to it. Figure out what is important to you in life and go for it. We did!

Oh What a Week!

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Last week was a very bad week at work! Barely slept, but I made up for it last night. Can’t remember when I last slept 10 hours. Things will get back on an even keel again soon and I’ll start to enjoy my job again.

Now I’m counting down the days because we’ll soon be on our way to Abruzzo. I understand the weather won’t be great in March, but we’ll be busy buying furniture and doing all we can to make our new house a home so we’ll barely notice. The wine and food at the end of the day will more that make up for it.

Can’t wait to see my husband’s face when he walks though the front door of his new Italian home for the very first time.

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Abruzzo in Spring

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Two weeks to go! Can’t wait to see Abruzzo in the spring. Looks like Switzerland or Austria doesn’t it! It’s not though, its beautiful Abruzzo. Never thought retirement would look so good!

24 Days to go!

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Yes I’m counting. My stomach is in knots. Can’t wait to see the lovely new kitchen and start buying furniture for our new home in the small sleepy village in Abruzzo.

The Folks of Abruzzo

Villa-Santa-Maria-5Four weeks today, yes I’m still counting. I get weekly emails from my amazing contractors in Abruzzo, showing me the progress of my kitchen, my lovely staircase, and of course my new gas boiler. This may be oh so boring to some folks, but these emails keep me going through the long winter days at work.

I can’t believe how friendly the village folks from Colledimezzo are. I now have an English-speaking contact there. A wonderful gentleman who lives close to our new home. It may be our new home, but the old stone building is probably hundreds of years old. Some things are worth waiting for, and this is one of them. I can’t wait to become “one of the folks of Abruzzo”

My Italian Kitchen

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No, this isn’t my kitchen, but I want the preparation for my first meal to look like this. If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that back in August of 2017, I made a trip to Abruzzo with my daughter, to look at a place to buy. I made arrangements to view five houses while we were there. Three in Colledimezzo, one in Celezna and one in San Buono. In November my daughter flew back for the closing and we are now the proud owners of Via Badia No. 1 in Colledimezzo, or lovingly know to me as “The Old Olive Mill”.

The house is a beautiful stone building and has never been lived in because it is in fact a beautifully renovated olive mill. Anyway…since January the contractors, recommended to me by our wonderful Realtor Monia Di Guilmi, have been hard at work. Maurizio, the carpenter, send me photos of the kitchen yesterday. It looks amazing. I was so excited I wanted to immediately jump on a plane and shake his hand. In less than two months we’ll be there.

I’ve been managing contractors long distance, and I have to say I’m incredibly impressed. We’ve had the electricity connected and a gas line run to the house. All with the help of Google Translate and some very helpful people. Vincenzo has been amazing. Not sure exactly what he does, but my realtor refers to him as “The Engineer” and then there is Franco the builder.

When we get to meet up with these folks, we owe them all a drink! I feel like my new home has been built on friendship and love! Can’t wait to call it home.

 

Lanciano 2018

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Getting closer to setting foot in my our home in Colledimezzo. Of course I’ve walked through the front door before, but only as a prospective buyer. Now its ours. It’s the family villa. Our escape from the world. A tiny village in Italy, our dream.

Why is the title of the blog Lanciano 2018? Because we have no furniture yet. I’m too old to sleep on the floor. Our first trip back to Italy in March will be a working vacation to buy furniture and make the place comfortable. We’ll be staying in Lanciano, a place famous for the Eucharistic Miracle. To me the whole of Italy is a miracle and Abruzzo is the icing on the cake. It has everything anyone could ask for. Mountains, beautiful beaches, lush green countryside, olive groves, vineyards, and more to the point, wonderful, welcoming people. I wish I could retire right now, but we’re not rich, much of our savings was used to buy our little piece of paradise so now we need to work a few more years to pay for it. It’s a good carrot to have dangling in front of this old donkey.

Thank you Abruzzo Rural Properties and Monia Di Guilmi. You helped make my dream a reality!

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Il sogno della pensione diventerà realtà!

Buon Natale & Felice Anno Nuovo

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Here it is again! December I’m talking about of course. The crazy month where we try to be everything to everyone and end up stressed, tired and happy all at the same time. I love Christmas, always have and always will, but sometimes I have to stop and remember what it’s all about. Most people seem to forget we’re celebrating the birth of a baby who (if you believe in Christianity) changed the world! I believe. I’m not a religious maniac, and I don’t even go to church, but I do believe in Jesus Christ. OK, that’s it with religion.

I’ve spent Christmas in England, Germany and the US and I have to say, the atmosphere is so much better in Europe. Not sure why, but you don’t plan Christmas there, you FEEL it. It seeps into your heart. Carol services in ancient cathedrals, traditional, beautiful. Next Christmas I’ll be in Italy, my first Christmas in my new home. Its going to be so special with my husband, daughter and son in law. A dream come true. Until then Buon Natale.

Dog Bites and Mice!

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Oh what a week. The telephone woke me up at 3:30 on Monday morning. My daughter was in hospital in Verona She was bitten by a dog while out on her early morning run. I felt sick. Thousands of miles away and nothing I could do to help. It worked out okay. The Italian hospital looked after her, free of charge. I love Italy.

Next stomach churning worry was my beloved Audi. Its been smelling of petrol for a few days, and gradually got worse. The smell filled the garage and seeped into the house. Why do things all happen at the same time? We’re traveling for Thanksgiving the car needs to be safe. I was horrified when the mechanic showed me what he found. Mice had nibbled each fuel inject so petrol dripped into the engine. It’s a miracle the car still started. All fixed (and my bank account is two thousand dollars lighter).

Yin and Yang, it’s the circle of life, and what makes this all ok is…I have a house in Italy and when I’m stressing, I just think about it and my world is at peace. Now I just have to find a way to make money so I can retire early.

Happy Sunday folks.

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