Home Sweet Anywhere is an enchanting account of how one couple sold everything to fulfill a dream of living abroad—one country at a time. Reunited in love after 35 years and suffering from a serious case of preretirement wanderlust, Lynne and Tim Martin made a life-altering decision: they sold their house and possessions and hit the road to live internationally full-time. Now tethered to nothing but their suitcases, each other, and their next exotic location, they’ve never looked back. From sky-high pyramids in Mexico to monkeys in Marrakech, this delightful, inspiring memoir is a romantic tale of derring-do for grown-ups and a road map for anyone who dreams of turning the idea of life abroad into a reality.
The following is an excerpt from their new memoir:
EXCERPT – ITALY
We quickly discovered that grocery shopping at Essalunga is a contact sport that requires skill and determination. Here’s the drill shop for produce shopping in an Italian supermarket: a machine in the middle of the area dispenses flimsy plastic gloves and bags. The shopper snaps on a little plastic glove, grabs several plastic bags, and then makes his or her choices. Squeezing is not allowed. One must look, choose items, and plop them in the bag using a gloved hand only. Quickly, please.
After choosing fruits and vegetables, the shopper jumps into a haphazard line in front of the weighing station. The purchases are plunked on a scale and the buyer punches the picture button, which matches the item on the machine. If the product’s picture is not featured on a button, he must type in its product number, which is displayed in microscopic letters on the price card in the bin. Not remembering that number, means giving up your spot in line to the next person who has been nudging you to hurry up with her bag of peppers; marching back to the bin, avoiding the elbows of territorial shoppers and minding your feet so your toes are not squashed by a fast-moving cart; and then retrieving the number and starting all over. Finally, the machine spits out a sticky label, which is supposed to adhere to the bag, but usually grabs your glove, too.
I usually stuck to buying produce that had a picture, because I could never remember the numbers. Also, it seemed there was always some tiny elderly Italian widow in a floral dress breathing down my neck – or up my neck, owing to our height difference – as I made a fool of myself, caught in a sticky loop of label, glove and plastic bag as I hurried to tag our purchases.
At this point, my teammate, who watched the action from the bench, helpfully snorted with laughter. It took some time for me to see the humor in it. After a few visits, we started to find our way with little difficulty. Once we had conquered the rules, we enjoyed the great bounty an Italian market offers, if not the sporting aspect of getting it. We feasted for an entire summer on sweet white peaches shaped like little sultans’ hats, melons always at the peak of perfection, abundant fresh fish, and perfect Italian tomatoes that tasted as if a neighbor had grown them.
For more on Lynne and Tim’s adventures, visit www.homesweetanywhere.com