The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

A Life Lesson In Italian

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Being grandparents naturally, Nat and I are very curious to hear how Felicia is getting along on her trip to Italy and Greece. Her parents, too, especially her Mom, are very anxious and worried themselves and it seems they have good cause to be. I know we could get regular updates if I were on Facebook, but we know that ain’t gonna happen, so we keep in touch with Felicia’s mom on a regular basis for details.

According to Mom, the first day Felicia landed in Venice (after flying to Italy on her own), she had to wander the streets alone until her other friend(s) arrived. That alone could have been frightening, but they turned up soon enough. Apparently, so the story goes, the girls’ first night was spent in a shack-style hostel and Felicia was bitten like crazy by mosquitoes during the night. Her feet and ankles were swollen and red in the morning so they headed towards a pharmacy where they were given some cream by the pharmacist along with an antihistamine. The pictures she posted on her Facebook page looked horrendous, from what her Mom said. It also happened that the girls were headed towards the Roman Coliseum that morning and Felicia was determined to solider on. It also didn’t help that her cell phone was broken after being dropped. So far this vacation wasn’t looking too good for our little happy wanderer.

Nat and I were now a bit worried ourselves but there was nothing we could do except hope and pray things would only get better. Alas, it was not to be. While planning their trip, one of her friends told Felicia that she would only need about € 300 ($422.76 CDN), which even I could tell you wouldn’t be near enough for two weeks in Italy and Greece. You can kind of guess that her money ran out within the first several days, so along with her credit card for back-up, she was running into trouble pretty quick. Mom was sending money to the Credit Card company to keep the spending limit topped up so Felicia could continue on. This whole scenario was now becoming a bit of a nightmare for Mom and Dad, but what could they do at this point. The girls were still managing to have fun and apparently really loved Cypress where they hung out at the beach and had some time to just relax, while back here in Canada Mom was losing sleep every night. Nat tried to re-assure his daughter that the girls will be okay, that Felicia is resourceful and this is going to be one life lesson she certainly won’t forget.

We’re not too sure how the girls are going to make out in Greece with the financial crisis going on, but if I remember right one of the girls either had family there or they knew someone, plus they would only be staying a day or two before flying home. Of course, Felicia will be flying home alone, again, as her friends will be flying on to Switzerland and God knows where else. It’s become quite obvious that our poor grandchild has hooked up with some friends whose families have a bit of money in the bank. We know that one was an exchange student who had been to England, Scotland and France where she was now living. Felicia’s income was coming from her own pockets while working at Boston Pizza during her days at McMaster University where she was also paying for her own tuition. It’s difficult to be friends with wealthier kids when their pockets are a bit deeper than your own, but we know Felicia will take a lot away from this trip should she consider any more in the future. Don’t tell, but she confided in me that she also hopes to go to Rio De Janeiro in 2016 for the Olympics. Knowing her determination I’m thinking she’ll get there.

As for Nat and myself, we’ve been staying cool and calm and taking it one day at a time. We also see our new neighbours, Richard and Helen, are continuing to come and go everyday and every hour to shop for and renovate their new home. We noticed the two of them one day driving down the road and then returning quite quickly thereafter. Then an ambulance arrived and ended up taking Richard to hospital with Helen following along in her car. Within a few days, Nat saw Helen outside and asked her what happened to her hubby wherein she replied “He fell off the ladder”. His left arm from elbow to fingers was now wrapped in a cast but he continues to carry on as if nothing had happened. She also told Nat they were hoping to get the house sorted out for when their 3-year old grand daughter comes for a week long visit. Their grandchild was born with Down Syndrome and she would be flying to Thunder Bay to pick her up and bring her back. We could now understand the pressure they were putting on themselves in order to make their home relatively child proof and comfortable. They were now laughing at Richard’s accident as they both realized there was nothing they could do but carry on and get things done. Nat and I both admire their tenacity and work ethics.

As Nat was out working in the yard yesterday, I noticed Richard and Helen taking in two new dark brown leather recliner chairs and then putting two tan chairs with foot stools by the curb with a Free sign posted. It goes without saying I was very tempted to run over and grab the four pieces. Who knew if anyone in our families would like them (niece, nephew or granddaughter for their own apartments) but while I was contemplating what to do, two women soon drove up and put three pieces in their little car, telling Helen they’d be back for the fourth piece, and drove off. It never fails, when you put good stuff out on this heavily travelled road, it goes within minutes. It’s just as well, knowing me, I’d take them all and it would end up no one in our families would want them.

For some more excitement and to get out of the house and into the sunshine, Nat and I took a drive around the Niagara Parkway on Sunday. We decided it would be nice to stop along one of the great fruit markets that line the Parkway and get some fresh veggies and some fruit. With my diet, (which I’m doing quite well on, so far, than-you very much) I thought it would be better to get a variety of items to enjoy instead of snacking on crap (or otherwise, the good stuff like chocolate and chips!!) The drive was nice and we had a great time gawking at all those rich homes that we can only dream about. I will admit that it was nice to see some For Sale signs on the front lawns of a few of those home which means they either can no longer afford the property taxes or they’re downsizing. What a shame!!

As I admitted earlier, I am doing pretty good on my diet this time around. I’ve laid off the chocolate bars and potato chips and now opt for cherries, watermelon, plain popcorn and even Jello. Who knew!!!!! My snacking has stopped but my game playing has increased. It always helps to keep your mind occupied when thinking about food. Every now and again I look at that new dress I bought for Dalton’s wedding in September and it gives me more incentive to carry on. It’s going to look so much more fabulous when I lose at least 10 pounds. Please, God, let me at least accomplish this mission!!

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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