Friday, June 25, 2010

With Love from Calabria

    The Cedro Riviera Shoreline from Cetraro
We have been here in Calabria for only four months now, but it has been long enough to undergo some transition stress.  The tough part for me is to figure out which originates from missing my former identity as a working stiff and which is culture shock or some such phenomenon.  We all have a tendency to take things for granted so I thought I'd take this blog space to recount some of what I love about being here.  I was happy to find that I didn't have room for it all.

First for me is the fullfillment of a lifelong wish to live by the sea.  I remember watching To Catch a Thief with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly and thinking how lucky to be able to live in such a place.

I love how the women dress here.  I don't copy them by any means but I feel better in my favorite color (black) and my jewelry than I did in the States.  I'll let them have the spike heels...I can sport a more comfortable version of that look.

I love to look at Italian design.  I can see the design logic even in things that seem as my friend Tamara says "over the top":

I love getting up early and enjoying a really good cup of coffee early in the morning without worrying about getting to work. Sometimes we have to worry about getting to the stores before they close for the noon break, but there is always tomorrow. I love the view from my terrace. The mountains, the sea, the moon over the water, the stars, the swifts. All changes every hour each day. It can be very windy during storms but that is a show too:

I love hill-towns and exploring them to find friendly people serving delicious food.  I love going to the beach and getting an overly expensive gin and tonic at the "lido"

I love Mediterranean plants. Vines were a luxury at Rainshadow farm...only a few took hold due to the wild weather of the high desert.  Here, there are vines everywhere and I have planted just a few of them so far.  I can't wait to find more and watch them cover the walls of my little casa.

I love the fact that our house is small...I don't feel overburdened with work or guilty about over consumption.  There is plenty of space for Doug and I and soon there will be a special place for our guests.  Life is good, even in transition.


  1. Lovely post - amazing photos, especially the moon on the water. Thank you for sharing all of this. I hope there is a day (sooner than later) when I get your guidance for leaving Oregon for Italy!

  2. Beautiful, just beautiful. Want to trade places? ;)

  3. Beautiful photos and it is so lovely to read of your happiness. As you say sempre domani.

  4. Thank you Laura and Lindy Lou. Julia, what can I say? I have lived in California briefly and consider it Paradise Lost. Californians are now all coming to Oregon hopefully not to do there what they did at home. The housing bust slowed them down a bit.

  5. Laura, I forgot to say of course I can offer any guidance I am capable of.

  6. I think all us expats have good and bad times. It is great that at a difficult time you have taken the time to focus on the good in your new situation.
    See you next month :D

  7. Welcome to Italy! Looks like you are in a beautiful place and enjoying it. I'm guessing that the last photo in your post is not your little house!

  8. Thanks Saraetta, ha, no, that's Grand Hotel San Michele which is where Doug likes to golf, has a great beach, and is a fantastic example of the use of the Bougainvilla vine. They seem to have an excellent gardener there.

  9. Hi
    I have just come across your blog. I am a Brit living in Calabria, near Cetraro. I love all the pictures of your restoration work. Fascinating! My husband and I recently rescued a dog here. He is adorable - around one, medium size, short-haired, poss a mix between a Shepherd and a Lab. He is very intelligent and very sweet-natured - ie, he will guard your house and love you forever! We have taken him hiking and when I saw your lifestyle, I thought I would ask you. We are desperately trying to find a home for him as he is a really good dog, and unfortunately we cannot keep him. We named him Dino.
    If you are interested (or if anyone you know is) check out this clip of him and email me at
    Good luck with your amazing new life! I will continue to check on your progress.



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