Whatsappino – Message sent by WhatsApp

I learned a new Italian word today, and I think its quite new to Italians too…whatsappino. I like it. It refers to a message received or sent by WhatApp. Years ago, I never thought WhatsApp would catch on…bigger in Italy than the US for sure, and the main means of messaging.

Back in the early eighties I never thought CD’s would catch on either…do you remember CD’s? Look how far this world has come over the last forty years or so! I feel old…no I don’t. I’m liberated and invigorated, best years to come.

Saturday was a horrible day, swirling. mists, rain, wind and barely a glimpse of the sun. Torture for me. I can’t be a prisoner in the house. I pace like a wild animal. Finally I sat down and worked on my book. I got a little done, but not much. Dark skies and pounding rain are not a great motivator. We don’t get that type of weather very often thank heavens.

Sunday morning was much brighter, but cold and windy, a perfect day for lamb stew and dumplings so we indulged of course. I did manage to get out for a quick half hour walk in the afternoon and, as always, it was worth it. The colours of autumn are just amazing this year. I met one or two other people, who looked just as relieved to escape the house as I was.

And now, here we are in another week. Thanksgiving week. Will we be celebrating Thanksgiving? Not really a thing here in Italy. Hubby’s birthday is Friday, so maybe we’ll just celebrate that instead. On Thursday we’ll raise a glass to life and give thanks to being happy and healthy.

Are you watching the World Cup? I can’t get excited when it’s at this time of the year. It’s the wrong season and it lacks atmosphere. No beer allowed? I’m sure the players will do great, but the fans will struggle to have a good time. Lets see how many avid followers end up in jail because they “held hands” in public, or had a beer where it wasn’t allowed.

Good luck to everyone, I hope they ease the rules and allow it to be fun!

At least Bukayo Saka is smiling.

Mauricio – Carpenter Extraordinaire – Italia

When I opened the bedroom windows at 6:30 this morning I inhaled fresh, clean, and slightly chilly air. The overnight rain had cooled things down. It felt so good!
Today I continue packing my kitchenware into cardboard boxes. I have to say it’s really tugging at my heart strings. I remember how excited we were when we planned our lovely kitchen.
In November 2017 my daughter made the trip to Italy from Denver for the closing on our house in Colledimezzo. She had a client in Verona at the time so it was convenient for her. At Monia’s recommendation, my daughter met with Mauricio, a carpenter Monia had used to remodel the kitchen in her own house. With nothing to guide him, other than a picture in a magazine, Mauricio worked miracles. He was a wonderful talented, quirky man. He built the cabinets in his workshop, emailing photos of his progress. The huge slab of recycled wood he used for the breakfast bar/island/dining table is the centerpiece of the whole room. He was very proud of his work, and rightly so! The red SMEG fridge was the finishing touch. It still makes me smile when I look at it.
Hubby and I didn’t meet Mauricio until March 2018 when we flew to Abruzzo from the US to arrange more work to be done in the house, and also to buy furniture. We worked with Vincenzo (Porfilio, the Engineer) to arrange for radiators, a new boiler, painting and probably numerous other things I can’t remember. Franco Ciancaglini took us on a little outing to choose marble for the stairs. He also built a wall to make a small utility room on the ground floor. Franco arranged two lunches during our visit, and invited other British and American expats so we could meet them and ask questions.
Last, but not least, we met Nino and his lovely wife Vittoria. He invited us to dinner and we immediately felt like one of the family. We wouldn’t have survived our first couple of months in Italy without Nino.
March 2018 was a crazy whirlwind trip, spent mostly in a rental car driving between towns, choosing beds, sofas, and various other furniture. We spoke very little Italian and didn’t know the area at all so there wasn’t much time to rest, but even with our crazy schedule, we knew we’d done the right thing. We made strong friendships with Nino, Vincenzo, and Franco, and wherever we live, those bonds will remain. The intervals between showers are getting shorter, and the rain is getting heavier, so I think I’ll forgo my walk and do a little more packing…or I may even just watch a movie. I think I’ve packed enough for one day!
Well would you look at that. I think the last of the rain clouds are being chased away by the sun. I may get that walk after all.
Everyone needs to smile!


Moving in Italy – Colledimezzo to Gabbiano

What a few weeks it’s been! I though by the time I reached 65 life would slow down, I should have known better.
On January 1st we decided it was time to find a house that better suits our needs. We were a little reluctant at first, but then realized it was the right thing to do. We searched for two months, which seemed like an eternity, but found the right place. Three days later we sold our home here in Colledimezzo. I did not enjoy telling people we were moving because I felt we were letting them down. They’ve been such wonderful welcoming friends.
At the end of April, we flew to the US to see our lovely daughter and visit friends, as well as to get some necessary paperwork notarized and Apostilled. You know how that went, COVID, followed by a snowstorm. Eventually we returned to Colledimezzo to find the power was off and the contents of our fridge and freezer spoiled. I can’t lie, I was starting to get a little paranoid. Next we had to finalize our taxes for filing. I thought the US was complicated for filing taxes…it has nothing on Italy! Remember, I’m a Brit and taxes were something I never gave a second thought, it was all done automatically, oh well! Hopefully Italy is happy with our tax returns and we can put the 2021 filing behind us.
Our home is now a holding room for boxes. Beds are broken down and wall art bubble wrapped. Am I a glutton for punishment? Our favorite room has always been the kitchen/dining room, which along with our bedroom, will be packed last.
Our home in Colledimezzo has been an amazing holiday, and then permanent home, but…I realize we need house with a garage. We’re not getting any younger and in our advancing years, need things we never thought of before. Wood storage under the house is going to be a great advantage.
If I were rich I’d keep both houses. The one in Teramo Province for the winter, and the one in Colledimezzo for the summer, but I’m not rich. I’m fortunate to be living in Italy, and even more fortunate to have spent the last five years (vacationing and then living) in Colledimezzo. Let’s hope I’m just as fortunate in our new home in Gabbiano.
As Forest Gump said “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get”. So I can only hope my box is full of soft caramels…
Keep a smile everyone. You can’t be miserable when you smile.

Pietro – My Italian Love Affair!

Today was a little overcast, so my photos (other than the first one taken this morning) are from yesterday’s walk.

As I walked, and cleared my brain, something occurred to me that made me smile. Although my visit to Rimini in the early seventies got me hooked on Italy, my love affair started much earlier, when I was six years old. Yes that was 1963!

My mum and dad parted ways in 1961, in fact my mum fled for her life. I haven’t seen my dad since, nor do I want to. He wasn’t a nice man. My mum worked hard and struggled to keep us fed and clothed. The only luxury she allowed herself was a good “hair do”. It didn’t happen regularly, but when it did we visited Pietro’s in Darlington (County Durham). I doubt Pietro’s is still there now. While Pietro teased my mum’s hair, he would talk to me and make me laugh. I loved listening to him and was hypnotized by his Italian accent. At the tender age of six, he was the only man who had been nice to me. Sad, but true. He was handsome, funny and kind, and I wanted my mum to marry him. I looked forward to visiting Pietro’s.

Eventually my mum married a good man. He wasn’t Italian, but he was kind and made her happy. We moved to a new home and I never saw Pietro again, but I’ve never forgotten him. Maybe that was where my love affair with Italy really began.

When I move in July, my new home will be between two villages. Gabbiano and, strangely enough…Piano San Pietro. It was meant to be. Perhaps Saint Peter is my Guardian Angel.

We all have people and things that influenced our lives at an early age. I’d love to hear about yours.

Stay safe everyone and be happy!

A Home for Sale in Italy – Bitter Sweet

My first Italian home, but not my last!
Yes, our offer on the home we viewed at the weekend, after a little negotiation, was accepted. The contract is not yet signed, but our realtor is working on it, anxious moments. I’m very happy to have found exactly what we were looking for, but still nervous because spending that much money scares me. I’ll feel a little better when we sell our current home. Sad and nervous. We’ve made some very happy memories here and we’ll be leaving some very good friends behind.
I have two sets of viewings this morning. It always feels strange showing people around our home. I want them to love it the way we do. It was a bare shell when we bought it five years ago. Now it is a beautiful, warm, welcoming home. If it had a garden we’d be staying put.
Four minutes to countdown. One viewing at 10:30 and one at 11:30. I’ll check back in and let you know how it went. Ciao for now!

Phew, had to eat, quite exhausted. The first people who viewed our house this morning were from Holland. Husband, wife and sister. Lovely people, and really liked our home. They even took a video to show to their kids.
Second couple were very nice too, husband and wife American and Korean. I love that the people are viewing from so many different places.
Valentina with Abruzzo Rural Property answered questions and was just wonderfully helpful to everyone.
Both asked lots of questions. The sort of questions you would only ask if you were really interested. Both visits came to two hours total, so I know they liked what they saw.

Check back in for the next nail biting installment of selling my house in Italy.

Take care everyone.

The Path of Life and the Bridges we Cross

When we found our current home in Italy we were thrilled, and a little scared. Buying a second home in a different country seemed very extravagant, but somehow it worked. There were many early morning calls and emails from my home in Colorado. I had to coordinate with Vincenzo, the engineer, Franco the builder and Mauricio the carpenter. I would think of them as “The Three Musketeers” because they were amazing and so helpful. The Old Olive Mill soon became a beautiful vacation home.
When we moved here permanently in 2020 it was a dream come true. I’ve wanted to live in Italy my whole life and finally, we made it. It didn’t disappoint. The people we’ve met, the places we’ve seen, the food we’ve eaten….I could go on and on.
Now we’re selling our beautiful home and of course I’m a little sad, but during my evening walk, I got to thinking….maybe this is what was meant to happen. Maybe our home Colledimezzo was a bridge to take us the next part of our life?
We’re not moving from Abruzzo. This region of Italy will always be my home. We’re just looking for something a little easier for two aging kooks to manage on a permanent basis…a cottage in the woods is what we’re looking at tomorrow. It has less stairs, a garage, storage for logs for those long winter nights, fruit trees, and a bit of land. We have someone viewing our current home next week, followed by another viewing in April.
Buying and selling vacation homes here in Italy is a little different from selling a home in the US. Folks only view when they can get time off work to fly here from wherever their main residence is. It could take a while to sell, but thats OK too, I want to say goodbye slowly. This house was a labour of love so the move will be bitter sweet.


Ominous Sky – a day for Soup and Writing!

I took this photo at around 7:30 this morning while drinking my cappuccino. It made me think of soup. Our very favorite soup is Pasta Fagioli. The beans and veggies and garlic are simmering, and already smelling good.
Now what to do while they cook? Write! Many of you may not know I’m a writer, not a great writer, but practice makes perfect, and it’s a hobby I enjoy. I have a couple of self published books, ghost stories, as well as a children’s book, and now I’m working on a book about my move to Italy. It’s a little tearful at times, but also full of laughs. I posted my first snipped of my new project on my other blog https://wordsfrombeyond.wordpress.com/2022/01/20/escaping-trumps-america/

It usually takes me about a year to write a book, but you can check in and share my adventures for free if you like. It was quite the ride.


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!

Flour on my TOE!

This morning I did the second rise on my ciabatta bread. I haven’t made it before so I was a little nervous. I started the sponge (biga) yesterday, and continued with the bread today. With the bread rising, and lunch cooking, I stood on the balcony and enjoyed a few minutes between showers. Not sure what made me look at my feet, but when I did I smiled, one of my toes was white with flour. The words “flour on my toe” stuck with me all day. The ciabatta bread was delicious, we had it for lunch with veal and curried vegetables.
I enjoyed a very quick walk this afternoon, but didn’t want to go too far, the showers persisted.
What else happened today? My crown popped out of my mouth taking most of the tooth with it. Luckily my friend told me about a good dentist she visits in Lanciano. A dentist that speaks very good English, which at this point is necessary. Stay tuned to find out what happens.
Happy Sunday everyone! (Buona Domenica)