February Went out With a BOOM

March 1, 2022

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The daily market in Chiavari

It is hard to believe that the first two months of 2022 have already gone by. It has been a time of reflection and contemplation for me. It has also been a time to live in the moment, experiencing life to the fullest by being fully present nearly all the time. 

Life changes at such a fast pace. Early in the year, we still had some major Covid-19 restrictions here in Italy. Omicron was growing. Many people became ill, some died, and we restricted access to people who were not vaccinated.  Anti-Vaxers could not even eat outside at a restaurant. Masks were everywhere.

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My favorite home in dire need of repair

Today, masks are no longer required outside. Yet, many still wear them, including me, most of the time. As of March 2nd, I believe that the PCR test to enter the USA may be removed if you are vaccinated and up to date on your booster. If you are not vaccinated, it remains the same as before. 

January and February meant meeting new friends, catching up with old friends. The weather has been fabulous, mostly sunny and in the 50s to 60s F. daily. I have been wandering the streets just enjoying the beauty of my city. I have enjoyed the sea and the bars along it. Great food, wonderful view and only locals. 

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Another gorgeous home with scooter parking in front

In December, I purchased new heat and air conditioning units for my rental apartment. Yes, I am paying for it. You would think this would be a relatively simple thing. Surprise!!! It’s Italy, so it’s complicated. 

  1. I registered on line to receive a call—it came 3 days later. We set the appointment with the estimator.
  2. The estimator came to my home in early December
  3. I purchased from Eni Luce e Gas, my gas and electricity company—I went to their local storefront to begin the process
  4. I filled out paperwork, gave copies of all my Italian Identity paperwork and went home to wait for instructions
  5. I received another letter with paperwork to print out and fill out—6 more papers. I don’t have a functioning printer right now—so back to Eni and she printed it out.  
  6. After returning home, I received a formal bill and needed to do a bank transfer (called a bonifico) of funds to pay for the units. No, they would not take my bank card or a credit card. I had to go to the bank.
  7. Next, I took a receipt of payment back to Eni where I asked about installation. I had paid in full. I was told I would receive a call from the installers after Christmas, early January at the latest.
  8. No calls by mid January. I walked to Eni and talked with them. I was told they were very busy but I should hear from them before the end of January.
  9. One week later I received an email with the date of installation—and they needed two days. It was nearly the end of January.
  10. The installers arrived around 900 and were very good. They took an hour break at Noon. They returned and worked until 1500, 3:00 PM. They said they had to leave because of traffic and road construction and would return tomorrow.
  11. The next day they returned about 915 and worked approximately the same hours as the day before. But they did finish and clean up after themselves. I had more paperwork to fill out for them too. I love my home in Italy but things work differently here. I am learning patience. 

Now I have a new air conditioner, electric heater and dehumidifier in two rooms plus the compressor on my larger balcony. I am ecstatic! I will mostly use it for the high heat days and the super humid days. I almost never use the heat. I think my neighbors keep their apartments so warm that their heat seeps into my apartment. 

I am also getting some dental work completed. Just because we live here doesn’t mean we do not have these things to do. Again, it can be complicated but my dentist is excellent, speaks English, and charges less than half what it costs in the USA. And is cognome (Surname) is Colombo!

Also in the past two months, my family has lost two different cousins from the same family. They passed within a few days of each other. Another cousin has been on a respirator for Covid-19 for a while. I hope he survives. My father’s dementia is getting worse, and I know that my siblings are doing their best with him.  I feel the need to go there, to see him again. I am not sure that I can. 

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Portico near the market

My daughter’s and granddaughter’s neighborhood was involved in a huge fire. They are still working out what to do. I plan to visit them in April and try to help them out even if it is just being there with them. 

Other friends are losing loved ones or dealing with dementia in their families and suffering. It all saddens me and forces me to realize that I am not 30 years old anymore. I really hate that feeling. Or even 50 years old. I remember my elders going to funerals almost every week. We had a big family in the Italian community of St. Paul, MN. My nonna would take me with her. I think it helped them to be with others as the numbers of living family and friends decreased. My father is now almost 98 years old. He has two younger sisters still alive, but all his friends are gone. As his memory slips, he doesn’t feel those losses as much—he doesn’t recall it all. But when there is a funeral, it is heartbreaking for him. 

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A pink and purple sunset in Chiavari fits my mood.

I feel pulled to return to the USA to help. I am looking for ways I can visit more often and stay here as an alternative. It is a challenge, especially since I work in the non-existent travel industry during Covid. We are all hoping that you all choose to return to visit our beloved Italy. And, please, let me give you professional assistance for your best experience. Otherwise, I will be living on love in 2022.

Speaking of love, in my meditations I am sending love out to all of you, love, peace, joy. I have now included the Ukraine, NATO, and the entire world. With the war in our back yard here, we are all nervous but hopeful that it will not get worse before it gets better. My heart goes out to the people of the Ukraine. We Americans have never lived through a modern war on our own land. We have never needed to hide in the subways to avoid being blown apart. I don’t want to know what that is like nor do I want you to know it. Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me, and with you.

Yesterday, while I was meditating in the afternoon, there was a loud boom. My curtains began flailing around and I swear the sofa behind me moved. We had an earthquake. It wasn’t terrible but very startling as this area is not known for earthquakes the way the central south is. I went to bed around 1:00 AM and before I fell asleep, my bed felt like one of those beds in an old cheap hotel where you can put in a quarter for a massage. It was an aftershock but a funny reminder of those cheesy beds. 

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My new friends Raul and Ann enjoying Luchin restaurant with me.

Today is the first of March, 2022. I met my friends Ann and Raul for lunch at Luchin. I am so happy that they are looking for a home here in Chiavari. They are fun to share time with, intelligent, well-traveled and Ann is also a Dual Citizen. Fingers crossed it will work out. After walking, eating, strolling through the portici, or arched walkways, in the center of town, we said farewells for now as I walked back to the sea. 

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Beef ravioli Genovese style from Luchin

Life is a gift. Meeting good people is a gift. The sea is like my soul, like my life, full of unique waves that carry all kinds of emotions into one’s life and out of it. It soothes my soul. It holds my tears and it sends my love to you all. 

Until next time, imagine you are eating one of these lovely frittelle, a treat for Carnevale. Yum.

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A dopo!

Ciao for now!

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