Firstly, I want to say sorry for the lateness of this post, especially to Gianluca and Francesca from Ristorante Il Corsaro. When John collected pizza the other night (which was lovely by the way), they asked him where it was as they like to read it. So here it is, finally.
The Swedish Invasion (friendly of course)
January has been busy (good busy) as quite a few friends from Sweden arrived just after New Year. So we met up with them individually and altogether. They wanted to have a late New Year get together eating Swedish food, but none of them thought their Scalea home was large enough to hold 12. So we offered ours. We were not sure if ours was big enough but we thought it would be fun anyway and if the weather was OK, we could go outside, using heaters.
Unfortunately, it was cold on the night, so inside it was. But we combined the kitchen table with the outside table and two people sat on the end of the sofa arm and somehow it worked. It was a great night. So good that neither John nor I took any photos. Actually, I didn’t take many photos all January, I need to fix that for the future. We met new friends from Rome, Donna (originally from Ireland) and her husband Tonino. They run an Irish pub in Rome which for me sounds great and we must go there one day.
Also we went to the restaurant La Rondinella in Centro Storico with some of our Swedish friends. The food there was lovely. When Jenny booked, she requested if they would make us food that they would eat at home. If that is what they eat at home, they are very lucky indeed. We met a couple called Vince and Irina who live in the US and have a property in Scalea. They also have a You Tube Channel OurUnspoiledItaly.
We visited a restaurant we hadn’t tried before with Joachim who is one of the Swedes who was visiting. It is called Club Nautica Lo Scoglio. It is right on the beach near the boat yard close to Torre Talao in Scalea. He wanted to see what it was like and it was his last day, so we said we would go with him. It is a seafood restaurant and it was extremely good. The price reflected that though. So if you love seafood and want something special, try there.
We went for a drink a few times at Bar Da Pietro as it is beautiful when the sun shines, so we can sit outside and stare at the sea. The sun is very warm when there is no wind. But unfortunately, it gets windy too, then it is far too cold to be out. But they have transparent screens so we can sit inside on the windy or rainy days.
Money, Money Money
January was quite an expensive month. We did the above and we also had the electricity bill, the car tax, John finally had the car repaired and serviced (next time John, please don’t choose January), we had to buy more pellets for the pellet stove as it has been pretty cold and paid for our house insurance. Oh, also John broke his mobile phone. He dropped it down the bed sofa in the study, so lifted it up but it suddenly dropped which landed on his phone and killed it – great! So he had to buy a new one. February has to be quiet and next year we will hide in January ha-ha.
January was the month that we had our booster jabs. So I booked on the prebook website. The problem was when I booked mine for the 10th, I could not book John’s for the same day. No idea why but the option of that day never showed up. This was a bit of a pain but the clinic where the vaccinations were taking place was just 5 minutes from us. The problem was that the waiting time is so long, each one can take 2 hours out of your day. Anyway, John’s was booked on the 15th. They were pretty much straight forward after the waiting. You go in collect a numbered ticket and complete a form. I collected two so I could do John’s for his 5 days later. Then just wait outside in the cold for your number to be called out. Afterwards, I realised that no one checked my booking form. I guess we could have just turned up together. But I bet if we did, we would have been allowed in.
With the previous vaccinations (Pfizer x 2 for me, Johnson x 1 for John) we didn’t have really bad after effects. But with this one (both Moderna), they pretty much knocked us out of use for a couple of days. My left arm was in so much pain I couldn’t do anything and had to only sleep on my right side. Also, I was ridiculously tired. After searching online, my lymph nodes got inflamed, I suppose creating antibodies. Apparently, it is a normal reaction. Our previous jabs were nothing like this one. John was bad with his too, he was affected for two days but with flu like symptoms. So it pretty much wiped that week out. We are all good now with no further issues.
The weather in January was mixed. Glorious sunshine some days, the glorious sunshine with very cold winds, especially from the north and also some rain. As we face east, we get the morning sun and it is very warm but as soon as it is around 13:00 the sun leaves us and it is pretty cold. Temperatures have ranged from 24°C or 75°F in the morning (in the sunshine) and 4°C or 39°F at night.
Three Years in Scalea
We have lived in Scalea for 3 years now. That time has gone so fast. So, what have we learned?
There is always tomorrow. An example of this is that John had wanted to get the car serviced since July but has only just got it done. That would never have happened when we lived in England. Everything was all about being fast and urgent and wanting it now. Even Amazon Prime delivery here is 3 days, if you are lucky. Compare this to the UK where you monitor the driver’s location to make sure that you get it next day or even same day.
Scalea, in area is quite large and sprawly but it has a feel of a small town, especially outside of the summer months. People talk. Scaleoti are friendly and helpful and open, they expect you to be the same, especially when they have seen you around and know that you live here. They will tell you everything and will question you if you don’t do the same.
I am very slow at learning Italian. I will not give up. It doesn’t help that I am quite shy until I get to know you. But I think that is slowly changing. Also I have real issues with hearing Italian on the phone. For example, when I have made appointments, I think they are saying 9 (nove) as in 9 o’clock then I find out they are asking me for my name which is “nome”. So the actual appointment time is completely different. Maybe I should get my hearing checked because I do miss some details in conversations in English, never mind Italian. Or it could be just a lack of concentration ha-ha.
Another thing is that time just disappears here. One day we’ve just arrived and what feels like a few weeks, we have lived here for three years. The problem with this is that I don’t have a real concept of things changing. So when I see photos of children of family and friends on social media and see how much they have grown, it illustrates how far time as gone. I think I am stuck in 2019 in my head. So if we do get a chance to go back to the UK or Ireland, I think my mind will be blown.
Winter as we know it does not really exist. It is sort of a long autumn or spring. Spring flowers start to come out in January. Like our margherita and daffodils.
Also we can acclimatise to the climate. During our first summer here, I found it too hot. Last summer which very hot compared to normal Scalea standards, I didn’t feel as bad as the first summer. Although it was immensely hot. John loves the heat so he is happy. I guess we have learned to avoid the sun and have a siesta. But we still go to the supermarket during the siesta as it is the quietest time.
During the winter we both feel the cold sooner. I have also realised that we now wear our big winter coats whereas in the first couple of winters we just wore a jacket. Again, I think we will be in shock if we ventured back to the UK.
We are very slowly becoming Scaleoti, even though we still have a long way to go yet. But the most important thing is we are still very happy we made the move.
That is all from me. Thank you so much for reading and I hope to be on time for February’s post.