Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Return to Abruzzo

Me in my lush, verdant backyard the morning after my homecoming.
I returned home to Abruzzo on a packed Ryan Air flight last Friday evening. I was met by Karl and then driven home to a hearty meal of delicious pasta with homebaked bread drizzled in our very own Extra Virgin olive oil. It was a wonderful homecoming. Sofia, Isabella, Kelly were obvoiusly pleased to see me judging by their wagging tails, and Joey and Victoria registered some interest by gently heading towards their food bowls and miaowing vociferously in my direction!

Aftershocks galore
Am I worried about the 1,000+ aftershocks since the big Aquila earthquake of April 6th? Yes, is the answer!
Am I happy to be back home in Abruzzo? Yes, yes, is the answer!
Am I looking forward to resuming my life here after 50 days away? Yes, yes and yes is the definitive answer!

Good luck to Giulietta
My sister is currently undergoing a series of intensive radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer which was diagnosed on 31st December 2008. What a way to end the old year and begin the new year! It was a big blow for all the family. I returned to the UK for 2 weeks in January to be near my sister before, during and after her operation to remove the cancerous cells. After that, came the worst two weeks of waiting to see if the cancer had spread to other parts of her body. Luckily, tests revealed that the cells had not spread and we were all able to breathe a huge sigh of relief. Giulietta has shown remarkable fortitude throughout her ordeal and what with my mother's serious accident happening at the same time as the treatment and recovery from cancer, it has indeed been a truly tough year for her and for all the family. As I said before, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going" and I think it truly fits the situation in this case.

Grazie mille
A thousand thanks to family and friends for being so supportive to me and the family during my stay in the Uk. My second unexpected departure from Abruzzo in the space of a few weeks after the urgent call I received telling me of my mother's serious accident, was stressful. This is what I wrote but did not publish, on the tearful flight to London Stansted on February 27th:

My heart, my soul, my everything. Today a light is flickering. I will not be able to write my beloved blog for a while as yet unspecified. The force and energy I didn't even know existed are not there any more. So until I get my heart and soul back, I would like to say a big thank you to all of you who have taken the time to read what I have had to say.

Luckily, my mother continues to astound the doctors and carers with her remarkable progress and as I write, she is regaining her memory day by day, step by step. Together with the love from "la famiglia" and friends, I know she will overcome her trials and tribulations. "Omnia vincit amor" is one of my favourite Latin sayings of all time.

Cancer Research UK
I worked as a volunteer for CRUK in Headington, Oxford for 19 years as a shop assistant. I really loved the job. I did a 4-hour shift every Saturday morning from 9am - 1pm. During that time I met the most amazing bunch of volunteers and chatted to a whole array of customers. I did jobs such as pricing bric-a-brac and sorting through all the donations given to us by customers. I also trained new volunteers and that was something I particularly enjoyed. I felt that in working there, I was able to do my small "bit" to help raise money for research into cancer. Throughout my time working in the shop, friends and family members were diagnosed with various forms of cancer, most who made a good recovery, some who sadly did not. There are many activities such as "Race for Life" which aim to raise awareness of this disease, which has no boundaries whatsoever.
The latest statistics show that breast cancer deaths are at a record low and this is very encouraging news indeed.

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