A day in the life of…a retiree in Abruzzo

I don’t get up on a morning and think “what shall I do today?” I simply get out of bed and let life happen!
Yesterday I had my weekly Italian lesson. My tutor and I just chat now. He corrects me when I get my tenses wrong, but chatting in Italian is the best way to learn. At the end of the lesson Lester and I went to lunch in Fossacesia and enjoyed the the Adriatic as we ate fresh seafood. After lunch, we walked a little. Beautiful.

We picked up some shopping in San Luca on the way home and then a spritz in the piazza with friends. After that, we worked a little on a magazine article we’ve been asked to write about the village. Then we finished the day on the terrace and enjoyed the view.

Today we wandered up to the piazza and had a cappuccino with the locals. So much fun to practice our Italian with the people who live here. They’re patient and repeat words where necessary. Sometimes, if we miss the subject of the conversation, we’re lost. Today our good friend Nino gave us six big bottles of home made tomato sauce, the kind you use in pasta, can’t wait to try it. Life is good in Colledimezzo. It is simple, uncomplicated and without stress.

What will this afternoon bring? Who knows, we’ll find out when it happens.

Will I write another book…maybe!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B097BVGKLG

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B097BVGKLG

Friendship Window

My Friendship Window

I spend a great deal of time in my kitchen. It’s a beautiful, bright airy room…and I love to cook. Our home is built into the side of a steep hill. The two sets of glass doors at the front of my kitchen open to a balcony with a spectacular view of the green wooded hills of Colledimezzo.

The ancient door at the back is even more special. It’s a large, and very old Dutch door, so I can open a small portion and watch people pass by. I’ve christened it my friendship window, because those passers by have become my friends.

As I relax over my morning coffee, I watch the villagers climb the stone steps from the lower part of historic Colledimezzo before stopping to rest on the flat area outside my door. We chat for a while, and then they continue their climb to the piazza.

My friendship window makes me very happy!

Lazy Days of Summer

I forgot about book marketing and writing today, and had a lazy day at home.

I had to pop out to the local Cantina in Bomba for some wine which was a pleasure. The Cantina is on a beautiful country road, a road I love to drive. It’s bordered with wild flowers and wild fruit trees. Gorgeous.
I bought a five liter box of their Vino Bianco, and a five liter box of Pecorino. The local wines are really good, better than I ever bought back in the US. Ten Liters of wine came to the grand total of…twenty one euros…yes, thats less than thirty dollars. Life is good!

I stopped at my favorite garden center and bought a few more plants for my terrace too. Have to be surrounded by pretty flowers while I drink my wine!

Pottered around trimming, repotting, and enjoying the day. Then cleaned myself up a bit and dragged my husband up to the piazza for a couple of drinks. Prosecco for me and Birra Italia for him.

It’s a hard life being retired.

Take care everyone and stay safe, get vaccinated, this new variant is a bad one.

Colledimezzo and the First Sunday in May

Sundays are lazy in Colledimezzo. Coffee on the balcony while reading the local news gets the day off to a good start. Every Sunday we enjoy late morning aperitivos in the Piazza while listening to the church bells and chatting to the good people who spill out of church for a quick cocktail before eating.
Then back home to cook lunch after which we studied a little Italian. My brain didn’t cooperate today though. I don’t feel as though I’m getting any better, but I must be, its just a slow process for an old girl. Also tough to learn while we were on semi-lockdown. No one to talk to!
Now Abruzzo is back in the yellow zone (zona gialla) we can start exploring again and talk to more people.
After taking in breathtaking views from my evening stroll, I’m ready to relax for the night. I know, it sounds like I’ve been relaxing all day doesn’t it!!! Retirement is like that.

Buona settimana a tutti (Have a good week everyone)

The Rhythm of Retirement

The rhythm of retirement, I like the sound of it.
It’s been a busy week, I always find plenty to do. Sitting around isn’t for me. This week I planned a remodel of a bathroom. Hate the mess, but always love the look of fresh new flooring and tiles. Vincenzo “The Engineer”, took me to Villa Santa Maria to pick out tiles and such, it was fun. I understand more Italian now…and certainly understood the end price. I repeated it as the sales guy added it up, and before he told me. Took him by surprise! We all laughed.
Walked a lot of course, and still enjoy the views of our fairytale village.
I even enjoy grocery shopping now because I can chat (a little bit) to the people who work in the store. I’m sure they see me coming and say:
“Watch out, its that crazy old Brit who tries to speak Italian”
Today I made a start on pots and planters on our terrace. I think we may be spending a lot of time at home this summer. Vaccines are coming slowly. The lovely young lady in the garden shop greeted me like an old friend and helped me pick the best plants for my display. Photo’s to come. It was almost dark by the time I finished planting.
I also ordered an electric bike from the Trek shop in Perano…aren’t I just the brave one! My husband’s bike arrived on Monday and he’s loving it so I thought “why not?”
I may not get it until December because everything is so backlogged at the moment, but I can wait. I ordered it in red of course!
Well that’s another week over. Lester retires next week. Friday is his last day. We’re both old timers now. It’s exciting. We have some great years ahead of us!!! Watch out Italy!

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!

Thanksgiving in Abruzzo

My first Thanksgiving in Abruzzo!
Although I lived in Colorado for 25 years, I’ve never truly celebrated Thanksgiving the way Americans do. I enjoyed cooking. Getting together with friends and family was lovely, but the “Holiday” never held a special meaning for me. Not like Christmas.
2020 is my first Thanksgiving in Abruzzo. We didn’t go out and buy a huge Turkey, or make pumpkin/pecan pie, so it was very low key. Social distancing due to COVID has taken over the lives of everyone.
We celebrated with a huge polenta, Italian style. I’m not going to take credit for this gourmet delight, our good friend created it. It was delicious! On Black Friday I had a dental appointment in Lanciano. I completed two “self certifications”, one for the dentist, and one allowing me to stop off at a large Supermarket. There weren’t many people shopping, because of the Red Zone rules. I shopped for things I can’t buy locally and picked up some Christmas lights along with one or two tree ornaments. It was a gorgeous day, so on the way home I took photos. I can’t wait for all of this to be over so we can travel again, itching for a road trip, but until then I’ll make the most of my beautiful surroundings.
Happy Belated Thanksgiving to all my American friends.

Retirement UPS and downs!

So here I am, a little over two months into retirement.
How does it feel? Pretty good most of the time. I don’t have to rush to get things done after work, or during the weekend. The washing can be done whenever I like, along with chores. I can take a walk when I like, shop any day of the week. Have a glass of wine, explore my new surroundings, write, exercise, daydream…
And now the downs!
Yes, there are some, but nothing that can’t be overcome. I miss my daughter and son in law, and their silly pups. I miss my friends too. Trying to learn to speak Italian fluently at my age is tough, but I’ll get there. I’m very lucky to be in a “Yellow Zone” in Italy, so COVID isn’t causing me too many problems, but its still on my mind, and of course prevents me from hosting a family Christmas. This too will pass and things could be worse. I think I’m still in the adjustment stage, but like I say, its only been a couple of months.

A Colledimezzo Afternoon

I’ve mastered the crazy French robot called Cookeo and it has become one of my favorite things in the kitchen! Salmon steaks were cooked to perfection in 3 minutes.
After lunch we sat in the piazza with friends, enjoying an Aperol Spritz outside while the weather still allows. Intended to be there 30 minutes, an hour tops…turned into quite a long afternoon. So much fun to improve my Italian language conversing with the local folks. Pio brought us a couple of slices of pizza each, fresh from his oven, dessert from Stefano as he placed bunches of the sweetest grapes I’ve ever eaten on our table, straight from his vine. Vincenzo gave us eggs collected from his hens.
I’ve never in my life been surrounded by such kind, generous, caring folks. Coledimezzo afternoons are such a pleasure.