24 Days to go!

Spring

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

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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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http://www.abruzzoruralproperty.com/

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.

The Engineer of Colledimezzo

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The past week was exhausting, but happily productive. My daughter did an amazing job in Italy. She signed the deed on our new home. It took three hours to read the deed in both English and Italian. I was on stand by here in the US, to send any documents they needed, but on the whole, everything went smoothly.

Since then Joanna has worked with a non-english speaking builder to arrange to have the stairs finished in wood and a non-english speaking carpenter to get a quote for the kitchen. She’s driven all over the Chieti province choosing appliances, opening bank accounts, arranging for taxes to be paid and generally making the house a home. When we arrive in March we just have to start buying furniture.

Our realtor Monia, with Abruzzo Rural Property, is amazing. She referred Joanna to amazing folks. Gave contact info for the only English-speaking person in the village (Nino), and introduced her to the Engineer.

I met the Engineer in August, when we were viewing houses. Super nice guy. I understand he’s an engineer, but I’m not sure what that means in Italy. This man is taking care of everything for us. He has a couple of keys to our house. He’s removing some of the building materials that were left. He’s fitting a bigger boiler for us, letting folks into our home to make deliveries and work on the house. I wonder if each village has an engineer that takes care of things. I still have a lot to learn, but one thing is for sure, I’m going to enjoy learning it.

Roll on Retirement!

The Eve of an Adventure

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My daughter has been in Abruzzo since Thursday. She’s staying in the beautiful seaside town of Vasto. We’ve kept her busy. She’s opened a bank account so we can pay utilities. She met the builder that’s going to finish our stairs, chose the wood and gave him a deposit. Cash of course. She’s explored, enjoyed the local food and wine and totally fallen in love with the place. Our purchasing trip was a whirlwind experience so we barely scratched the surface of the beautiful province of Chieti. Now, with time on her hands, Joanna is telling us what we missed, and what we have to look forward to as you can see by the photos above.

Look at that HUGE smile on her face. She took a selfie on the terrace of our new home, key in hand! Try putting that key on you keychain!!!

It’s Sunday November 5th, the eve of owning our beautiful family home in Colledimezzo, Abruzzo Italy. Exciting times.

The Italian Cure!

Been a bit of a year for me. Started it off turning sixty, that was on January 17th. Less than a week later I drove myself to the emergency room because the pain in my stomach was unbearable. Kept rising higher and higher. I was scared it would stop my heart. Had stomach issues for a while and it all came to a head.

They kept me in, couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Totally out of it. Had a bad reaction to the pain meds they were pumping into me. Finally morphine worked, after X-rays, and tests they figured out my issue, no surgery required, they fixed me up and sent me home! Phew!

Since then I’ve been sluggish, lacking energy, couldn’t motivate myself to exercise…until now.

What changed? I discovered Abruzzo! I found and fell in love with the house in Colledimezzo and it has changed my whole life. Gave me something to work towards. Put a spring in my husband’s step and a smile on my daughter and son-in-laws face too. Now I’m not just working towards retirement, I’m working towards retirement in Italy, to putting together a welcoming home that friends and family will want to visit. We have five years to furnish it, pay off any debts we incur doing so, and then….look to a quieter life, a life in a small village in Abruzzo.

Shimmering Adriatic

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I was fifteen when I first went to Italy. I went with my mum and my crazy old Auntie Jennie. I’d dreamed of Italy from a very young age, and my mum had always promised she’d take me. Finally, she could afford it. I’ll never forget the thrill of stepping off the plane into the warm night air. I was in love with the country before I ever saw it and after my first visit it was firmly lodged in my heart. The two-week vacation wasn’t long enough and when we left, I cried.

As the jet climbed into the night sky I looked longingly back at the bejeweled coast line of the Adriatic and wished I didn’t have to go home.

My first visit was to Rimini, back in the early seventies. The photo above is a little further south. It’s the coastline of Vasto, taken on my last visit in August of this year. Now I can visit this beautiful place whenever I want to, and call it home. The Chieti Province of Abruzzo. My new home. It took me 45 years to realize my dream, it was worth the wait.

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