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How We spent The Summer – Good Life Update

How we spent the summer – this past summer was incredibly both short and long! It’s been a long time since l had an update on life in general. I really don’t know where the time has gone, to be honest.

How we spent the summer – A life update (mostly me 🙂 )

Looking at all the weather problems that are currently occurring, thanks to doozies such as Hurricane Ian and its destructive path. I keep looking at the ravages on television and it’s mindblowing.

It has been giving me flashbacks of Hurricane Ike when we lived in Houston and my heart goes out to all the people affected by that, and other natural disasters around the world, not to mention the war that’s shaping up to be a long drawn-out one.

Galeria Umberto Primo in Naples interior
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Galleria Umberto Primo in Naples is just as beautiful as the one in Milan. Those kings sure knew how to live.

It makes me realize just how lucky we are that our problems are so insignificant and that we are indeed blessed, something l sometimes take for granted… sometimes.

I thought l would recap our summer since l haven’t had time to write a full-on blog post about our travels in Italy almost two months ago. I promise they are coming.

I did write about our visit to London in June whilst the Queen’s Jubilee was going on. I realize now how fortunate we were to witness such a historic moment since the Queen died just recently. I had joked about waiting till the next one.

pizza with pistacchio and mortadela in Naples
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Pizza in Naples, so good and cheap, but I’m good if l don’t have pizza for a while.

We spent most of July in Italy, visiting Rome, Pizzo, and finally Naples. Pizzo and Naples were new for me and l really loved both places for different reasons. Pizzo was quiet and relaxing, consisting mostly of eating and going to the beach.

Naples on the other hand was chaotic and just as insane as everyone had told me it would be. We spent a lot of time having pizza in different pizzerias, sightseeing, and generally chatting up to locals (Fede was on a mission to find the best burrata or something) and of course, most of the waiters loved chatting.

baked goodies at cafe professore in Naples.
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Cafe Professore in Naples, an institution. Worthy of a visit and ad a sfogliatelle.

Naples was a place l really loved. I am sorry it took me this long to visit, but for sure, l will visit again soon. Fede had always told me it wasn’t safe (and yeah…the last time he visited was over 30 years ago, so things have changed since then, thank goodness).

Anyone still sitting on the fence, schedule your visit. You will not be disappointed. The food, and the people, even with their Maradona obsession, are awesome. We only got to visit Pompeii which was awesome. We will save Herculaneum for another visit. For sure, there will be one.

So what have l been up to this summer?

My Spanish classes ended at the end of June, and l continued studying on my own on YouTube and with a Colombian woman, l had met on the street who wanted to learn English. My confidence level has really shot up.

You may or may not recall that l have been taking online drawing classes, with an eye on children’s illustration. This was quite the challenge. I couldn’t draw two sticks together to save my life. Now, I can draw three sticks!!! 🙂

Book cover for Bill's odd adventure picture book by Jade Collins
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The book cover. I like crude as opposed to the digital look for books, like we used to read way back when.

I did persevere though, and l improved very much if l may say so myself. I accomplished something l have dreamt of, writing and illustrating a children’s book for a very long time. The book was released about two weeks ago.

I am also the worst person at promoting myself, and this time has been no different. I choose to write under a pen name, I’m not entirely sure why, as l am proud of what l have done. I write for my numerous nieces and nephews and love their honest reviews. Fede’s dad always quoted this Roman saying which translates to “a head that doesn’t speak is a pumpkin”, so l am doing just that.

Anywhoo… here is my latest book that is on sale on Amazon. I had a lot of fun drawing and writing the rhymes. I would love any support you can give me, either by purchasing it as a gift, a Christmas stocking stuffer, etc…etc. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read it for free.

I would definitely appreciate any and all reviews. My plan is to write more. This leads me to the other thing I’ve done this summer, set up an online shop that started solely for the books but has now evolved to include selling other things that interest me, such as planners and travel itineraries, and yep! mugs and tees.

Christmas Santa mug that can be a personalized accent mug in red. Santa with gift
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Santa Christmas mug. You can even personalize it.

We spent the month of August here in Valencia, and boy was it hot! A record-breaking summer. The last time it had been this hot in Valencia was 1938. The humidity was stifling. Most of the month was spent indoors during the day, but even the nights didn’t offer that much relief.

We left Seville to get away from that l found myself saying often. It’s going to be interesting going forward, I hope it’s not a sign of things to come. Weatherwise, it was definitely a cruel summer.

indian food at a restaurant in Valencia, Spain
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Indian food at one of our foodie lunches. Yum!

In addition to my online classes, I also had my foodie and lunch group events that kept me busy. Lastly, I have been studying to take the theory exam in order to get my driver’s license in Spain. It has not been easy l tell you! I will write a bit more about that in the future. If l pass that is.

As far as future travel plans? None for now. Prices are creeping up as far as fares, even for low-cost carriers, so l think more Spain travel. We had friends who went to Amsterdam recently, and the airport is still a mess. I am not in the right frame of mind for all that nonsense.

Spanish classes have also started up again. l put my name in for the lottery and got selected. Since it’s a conversation class, it doesn’t matter that it’s the same thing as l figure it would be different people, and it is. There are two of us from last year with the other nine people new. I wonder how many will be left by the end of June :-).

In the meantime, we watch the market rock and roll as we settle into the recession. The dollar being strong against the euro and even the pound is music to my ears and l wonder how long it will last. Until then, we are taking advantage of it.

gnocchi
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Fede ate so much gnocchi during the trip. Can’t stand it myself :-(.

So this is how we spent the summer. It’s been an uneventful one for the most part, and l am very glad about that.

How was your summer?

10 thoughts on “How We spent The Summer – Good Life Update”

  1. Kem, I finally went to a place before you – Naples! I was there last summer and enjoyed it (but not the soggy pizza; I know we disagree about this :-). I love history so Pompeii was also a highlight of my trip. I went to Bologna in August and the pizza (and pasta) was awesome and much cheaper there. I also went to Provence (Marseille and Aix-en-Provence) in France and Bavaria (Munich and Nuremberg) in Germany and was enthralled by the history and culture in both of these regions. And yes, I did travel a lot this summer to make up for the restrictions of the last two years. Congratulations, on the your book and you are definitely not a pumpkin!

    Reply
    • Haha! It had to happen sooner or later didn’t it? Pompeii was also a big highlight for me. Yes, we will agree to disagree on the pizza. I had some in Bologna too, and l can’t remember it much, to be honest, so probably not too exciting. Aix-en-Provence is another place l haven’t been. On our last trip to Marseille, we tried to go, but had to take the last flight out back to Valencia as the lockdown started, but we’ll be back at some point hopefully.
      You certainly did travel a lot. We have to seize the day because who knows what’s in store for us next…right? Glad you enjoyed it all.

      Reply
  2. I already bookmarked the book on Amazon but wondering if you have considered taking payment via Venmo or PayPal so you can directly mail the books to special people in our lives with a personal dedication? That would be so much more special.

    Steven and I really enjoyed visiting Naples last fall as well as neighboring sites. I also would encourage people to visit this part of Italy.

    We spent over 3 months driving over 13,000 miles from Denver to Florida via the Great Lakes states, through Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia to Newfoundland. Spent 2.5 glorious weeks traveling almost the entire province and was captivated each and every day. Then, down the Eastern seaboard onto the Florida panhandle, New Orleans, Alabama,and home via Arkansas to Chicago and back on the highway less traveled, Hwy 36. Quite an adventure!

    Now in Flores, Guatemala but heading home soon.

    Good luck with the book sales – really impressive.

    Reply
    • Awwh..thanks for the support, Annie. I do have some author copies of the book, but it would be so cost prohibitive to send l think with all the raised prices. I must say the post office in Spain kind of sucks, so it would not be even guaranteed…haha! As it is, thanks to printing and Amazon’s cut, l make just over two dollars plus per book. If l have to add shipping costs, it would be way too much. I absolutely loved the idea which is why l ordered the copies, but man…once checking the prices… I was like…maybe not :-).

      Yeah, I think Naples is a must-go for anyone thinking of Italy, especially people interested in Pompeii. Awesome city.

      Wow! You have been on a tear! That is a heck of a long trip. I don’t know if l would survive that. The longest l did was driving from Texas to California (twice!) and l think that is enough to last me a lifetime. It must have been quite the adventure, and l am looking forward to reading about it, I have been so lax lately and need to catch up with a few blogs. It must be full of wonderful sights though.

      Guatemala. Yum…food…haha…I hear such great things about that country.

      Thanks again :-).

      Reply
  3. Hi Kem, congratulations on the book. What a fun, and rewarding thing to do. We blew the budget on a fantastic week in Italy for our daughter’s wedding, so no other summer travels to share. Not a big fan of gnocchi either, but Malcolm loves it. Yes, to pizza anywhere, anytime.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Suzanne, I was so relieved to read that you guys were fine during the hurricane, and were on the other side. Still must be stressful for you to see all the destruction. Haha! What is a better time to blow the budget? Congratulations again. It was epic, and l loved reading the once-in-a-lifetime event. Glad to see you don’t like gnocchi either, l just don’t get it. Pizza is definitely much, much better :-).

      Reply
  4. So nice to get ‘caught up’ with you two again! I thought summer went far too fast and here we are in Greece preparing for olive harvest in a few weeks. I am so impressed with your artistic and literary talents. . .but I laughed out loud when you said you are bad at promoting yourself. Ditto. Ditto. Ditto. I’ve set a goal to change that but not sure how successful I will be. Hope you will be attending TBEX in Kalamata next May!!

    Reply
    • I’m so glad you feel my pain Jackie, promoting oneself is so hard. Most of my family have no idea l even have a blog, never mind anything else. I was also surprised that you were back already as it seemed l just read you were back in the states. The times really are flying by. It’s insane.
      I hadn’t heard it was in Kalamata next year. I know they had a guess where it’ll be, a contest of sorts on the FB group. I might go, even though I’m not so keen on that organization right now :-). It would be lovely to meet you guys though, so l will be on the lookout for it.

      Reply
  5. You had a great summer! Everything looks good – but that pizza made my stomach rumble 🙂 I think I’d weight 200 kilos if I were to live in Italy, with all that pizza around.

    I think that local travel (or at least “close-by” travel) is a good plan for the near future – maybe the entire 2023. I’m always reading about flights being canceled, delayed, or strikes… the world needs to sort itself out a bit 🙂

    Plus… Spain is so beautiful and their trains, I remember from a previous post, are really nice. So there’s plenty of stuff to see and do.

    Reply
    • It really was a great one and l enjoyed it very much. Haha! for sure, you would have gorged yourself on pizza, Fede sure did. I’ve had my fill though for a while, much as l like it.

      Spain really does have so many places that we have yet to see, so l think we’ll be happy with that or Italy for now. It’s just too stressful otherwise to be contemplating visits to far-away places, especially ones that don’t interest me to begin with. I think you guys are doing the same thing. It just seems best for now.

      Reply

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