Me in the Middle

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I’m the one in the middle. Always ready to laugh, always ready for fun. As a kid I was ALWAYS in trouble. I turn every situation into a story.

Other than my family, the important things in my life are writing and visiting Italy. I  finally realized my Italian dream and bought a house in the small village of Colledimezzo, which is in the Chieti province of Abruzzo. I’m just as pleased as punch. I have another dream to fulfill now, to make it as a writer.

My second book, Ghosts on the Sand, is almost finished. I’m working on the last short story in this compilation. It’s called “The Engineer” and is a tongue in cheek black comedy set in Italy. Watch out for my new book and help me achieve my writing dream. Who knows, maybe you’ll enjoy it.

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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.

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!

Dinner, Drinks and Quiet Conversation

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At the end of our whirlwind trip to Abruzzo we stayed in Vasto. A beautiful town overlooking the shimmering Adriatic. We arrived mid afternoon after viewing homes in Celezna and San Buono.

Vasto is a beautiful old town, perched on top of a hill and we certainly felt like we’d saved the best until last. Joanna was exhausted from driving, we’d had a mishap that morning and ended up on a road that was virtually impassable…thanks to the useless EVERLOST. When we arrived in Vasto, we dumped our bags in a beautiful town home we rented for the night. Rezidenza Ambling was gorgeous. Check it out at http://www.amblingh.it.com.

We really needed a glass of wine or two, but most of the restaurants with an ocean view were closed for the afternoon and didn’t open again until dinner time. We found somewhere in the town and ordered wine and a sample of local meats and cheeses. I think we were still there after it closed, and the staff were stocking up the shelves for the evening, but no one seemed to care.

We spend the rest of the day Italian style and siesta’s for a couple of hours before setting out again to enjoy our last night in Abruzzo. Vasto in the evening is gorgeous. Lots of restaurants gushing with ambiance, quiet conversations, good food and excellent wine and a view of the Adriatic to die for.

I’m not entirely sure what made me decide to look at Abruzzo for a retirement home. Was it the receptionist in the Marriott Grand Flora in Rome in 2015. She told us proudly it was where she was from, and that the people there were so nice. I’d done research too, but I’d also researched Puglia, Tuscany and Lombardy. Something drew me to Abruzzo and I’m glad it did. We found the sort of realtor I didn’t think existed. Honest, helpful and nice to be with. We met friendly people, and every where we looked, we were surrounded by beauty.

Fate, Destiny and Abruzzo

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Today I got a very welcome email from Monia, our realtor in Italy. It had attachments. One was a power of attorney so my daughter can sign the deed on our behalf. The other was the new legal description and floor plan that will be registered with the authorities in our name.

I knew this house had been lovingly renovated by one very meticulous builder in his spare time. He’d done it as a hobby, a place for his son to live, but then his son decided to live on the coast. What I didn’t know was how long it had taken. The renovation started in 1984, the year my daughter was born. Yea, I know, coincidence, but there have been so many coincidences since we first set eyes on this house. I’m starting to rule out coincidence and think this place was our destiny.

The seller will sign the purchase agreement on Saturday and the following week it will be registered and made official. After that I have to wire the deposit, pay the notary and for the next few weeks I do believe I’ll be bleeding Euros….

Parting with money usually makes me anxious, but not so much this time. All I keep thinking about is a kinder, gentler life in Abruzzo. A place I can invite friends and family. A place I can relax and shed the stress of work and the craziness of American Politics.

I’m relaxed just thinking about it.

Italy’s Trabocchi Coast

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Beautiful isn’t it! Look at the color of the water. The Adriatic at its best.

Our house purchase has been taken to the next level. Notary checks have been done and the house is free and clear of liens. I’ve sent two original, signed purchase agreements to Monia, our Italian Realtor, which she should receive on Tuesday. Once she receives them, she’ll ask for the deposit, which I’ll send via wire transfer to an escrow account in Italy. When the deposit is received the purchase agreement will be filed with the powers that be and the purchase will be official. If the seller pulls out he’ll have to pay us twice the money we deposited. I’ll be nervous until we sign the deed, but at least we’re making steps in the right direction.

Attached is a picture of Italy’s beautiful Trabocchi Coast. My daughter and I were giddy after we’d looked around the beautiful quirky home in Colledimezzo. Our heads were full of plans for kitchens, how to finish the stairs, where to put the furniture and most of all, the lovely family vacations we’d enjoy there. It was love at first sight. The house was so “us”. Not a cookie cutter villa, but something unique, special.

Joanna drove towards the coast, and in less than 20 minutes the Adriatic filled the horizon. It’s been years since I visited the Adriatic Coast and I’d forgotten just how beautiful it was. I felt as though I’d come home. My first visits to Italy, back in the seventies, took me to the Adriatic Coast. Its magnificence took my breath away. We drove along a gravel road to find a restaurant. A place to celebrate finding a hidden gem in a perfect village in Abruzzo.

We celebrated on a trabocci. The waves visibly splashed on the glass floor beneath us as we ate fresh fish and drank local wine. This was our first day in Abruzzo, but I knew it wouldn’t be our last. Our mission was accomplished. We still has another day of house viewings, but the pressure was off, we’d found the perfect home.

I can’t help but feel that fate somehow had a hand in this, maybe Chieti is where we are meant to be. Whenever I think of the house and the area, it gives me a purpose and a sense of calm. Stay tuned!

Atessa and Colledimezzo

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Atessa was perched on the top of the hill, quaint, beautiful and ancient. We weren’t too exhausted to appreciate its beauty. Our “Never lost” (ever lost as I call it because its USELESS) couldn’t find our hotel. Kept telling us we were there, even though we couldn’t see it. Joanna parked and I jumped out of the car and walked up a small one-way street (all the streets were small) to see what I could see. Sure enough, the Hotel Al Duca was only a few steps away. I went inside to the small immaculate reception and tried to get directions from a very pleasant young lady who spoke no English. Her 8-year-old son did, but he was too shy to talk to me. Someone else appeared and in broken English/Italian we managed to communicate. She came with me to the car, and jumped into the passenger seat, from which she guided a very tired Joanna through the narrow one way streets so she could park outside the hotel.

After dumping our cases we went to explore the little town. We’d  been sitting in a car all day and needed to stretch our legs. We weren’t disappointed with what we found. There was a live concert in a beautiful area that opened up to the mountains. The cobbled streets were lined with beautiful shops and a scattering of lovely restaurants and bars. Well dressed Italians strolled by, they sure know how to live. Every so often the stone buildings parted and gave us exquisite views of the mountains. It was getting late so we headed back to the hotel for dinner. A liter of house wine, fresh delicious salad and two individual pizzas. I thought they had the price wrong when I saw the bill. It was 12 Euro for two people. I smiled and thought how much my husband would enjoy eating here….he likes cheap, especially when it’s delicious.

I lay in my comfortable bed, and enjoyed the music from the live concert, which floated in through my open window. The next morning I woke up to the sound of church bells. The second day of our adventure was about to begin. After a banquet called breakfast, which was included in the price at Al Duca, we set off for Colledimezzo.

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We parked just outside the village (which is pedestrian only) marvelled at the view then wandered up to a lovely little piazza overlooking the mountains. The village has one bar “Emy Bar” where we ordered Cappuccino’s The locals both amused us and were amused by us…more in my next blog!

 

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