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Ciao! Justine Longford

Apologies for not contributed to these blogs for a few weeks now, little hectic to say the least…but I am back!

So what have I been doing? I was fortunate to take a break to Italy with my partner. I was a little apprehensive about travelling but it was all very managed and safe.

The airport was incredibly quiet and we got through in record time. The plane, offered everyone a safety pack which included mask, antibacterial gel and wipes and they kept the air fan thing (yep, technical terms) on the whole flight so it was pumping fresh air constantly. Everyone was respectful and masks were worn at all times. With a mask on and headphones listening to my audible, I drifted off and have to say it was one of the most relaxing travelling experiences I have ever had.

Our house is situated two hours outside Rome near the Adriatic Sea. It is in a tiny little village situated in the mountains – a typical one road in, one road out village, where everyone knows about everyone’s business. You are born in this village and you die in this village. We have been made really welcome here which is incredibly lovely and putting my work hat on, I found this really interesting.

When we initially bought the house we were like rabbits in headlights. Neither of us knew any more Italian than hello and goodbye which by the way is the same! Ciao! Thank goodness for modern technology as the translator app came into its own.

This was last December. As soon as we arrived at the property and the lights went on, we had a knock at the door to which we were welcomed by a neighbour who had a massive bundle of wood and kindling so we could start a fire and get warm. The following morning we woke to find a huge delivery of wood at our front door!

The butcher who is also the mayor and a chef in the restaurant, welcomed us with a big bag of meat and the lady who owns the fruit and veg shop gave us a wonderful selection.

The reason we have been so welcomed is that there is predominately elderly population and for the village to survive, they understand that they have had to change and embrace diversity. Their whole approach is remarkable.

Anything we need help with, they know someone who knows someone, who arrives within the hour to fix it annoyingly for free. We have discovered beer is the best form of payment. They want to learn from us too. They teach us Italian, we teach them English. We have learned the history of the village, the fact that people really do reach out for each other, look after you and go above and beyond in a village where there is not monetary wealth but spiritual and emotional wealth which is invaluable.

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