Cinque Terre Insider

American expat insight into Italy's fabulous "Five Lands"

Where to begin? The crickets have been chirping here on the blog this past year, and now I’ll tell you why. This past year has been the most trying and tumultuous that we’ve ever experienced. The Covid-19 pandemic led us to worry not only about our health but also about how to support our family. We went from living quite comfortable lives to seeing our livelihoods whither to null. For a family income based 100% on tourism, quite likely the industry hit hardest by the pandemic, it was a devastating blow. Being both pragmatic and proactive, my husband and I immediately took drastic measures to reduce our expenditures to the absolute bare minimum.

I won’t lie, the pandemic and its economic consequences forced us to eat a big ol’ piece of humble pie.

We gave up our office, closed contracts, sold our second car, delayed our mortgage and watched every penny we spent. Yes, we had savings but who could have ever imagined that we’d have to face such extreme circumstances for such an extended period of time? As business owners we knew, and time proved, that we couldn’t rely on the Italian government to help us make ends meet. My husband and I dusted off and polished our résumés and sent them everywhere imaginable. It wasn’t long before we discovered that there was essentially no chance of work in the midst of an economic contraction, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the Great Depression.

With a stroke of luck I started my Covid pivot in November 2020 as a substitute teacher in the Italian public school system. I’m now working full time at the elementary school in Monterosso. I had always thought I’d teach when I lived in the States but I never in a million years thought I’d teach here in Italy.

We’ve learned that, for as difficult as it has been, there’s always a silver lining.

Riomaggiore, Cinque Terre, Italy

This pandemic pushed us out of our comfort zones. It forced us to take risks that we otherwise would have never taken. I’ve (re)discovered my love for teaching. My husband is on a promising path for a new career. This past year we’ve gained clarity on what are true necessities and what are luxuries. Spoiler alert: Most everything we thought were necessities were actually luxuries. We’ve learned to swallow our pride and ask for help when we need it. We’ve learned to not take our health for granted. And perhaps most importantly, we’ve learned to appreciate more even though we have less.

We still have a long road ahead of us, but with hard work, a bit of luck and a good dose of optimism — and grit — we should make it out the other side all the stronger.

Our very first day out of lockdown, April 27, 2020

“We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitude.” -Charles Swindoll

xo,

P.S. You might be wondering what this all means for me and Cinque Terre Insider. I have every intention to continue with the blog and now that I’ve managed to overcome my Covid-19 writer’s block (I felt like I couldn’t write trivial posts until I addressed the much bigger issues at hand) posts should be more forthcoming. I’ve been active on social media this past year so be sure to “like” and follow Cinque Terre Insider on Facebook and Instagram (I’ve been doing lots of live feeds and videos on Facebook so be sure to check those out!).

Once the school year ends in June I will be changing hats and I’ll be back at the helm of Riomaggiore Reservations (our family-run rental agency in Riomaggiore). Due to the pandemic we’ve scaled things back considerably (we’ll be renting just one studio and three private rooms to visitors to our area) but you should still expect warm hospitality with direct access to my insider knowledge, sparkling clean accommodations and budget-friendly pricing. Fingers crossed that the pandemic situation improves so we can all get back to living and traveling again!

Amy Inman, American expat and wearer of many hats

22 thoughts on “My pandemic tale from Italy

  1. Christian Pegher says:

    Thanks Amy for the post. It’s encouraging to see that you’re surviving in the Cinque Terre. I for one wouldn’t mind a post or two about the trivial things during the pandemic. Please stay safe and best of luck!

    Like

    1. Grazie mille! ❤️ I’ve tried to sit down and write this past year but there were so many other pressing issues that I felt needed my attention more. Now that I’ve acknowledged the elephant in the room (and hopefully justified my absence from the blog) I feel relieved and like I can pick back up where I left off. 😅

      Thanks for following and stay safe!

      xo
      Amy

      Like

  2. Kari says:

    Cara Amy, It isn’t easy to completely open up and share with the world your inner most feelings about how truly difficult the pandemic has been and impacted you and your family’s lives. Especially when many think how lucky you are and how perfectly wonderful it is to live in the Cinque Terre. Covid has had a huge impact in this incredibly special place. Your openness and honesty about what you have been experiencing and how you have been forced to drastically change your lives due to circumstances beyond your control are refreshing. By sharing what we are experiencing, both the good and not so good, helps us realize we are not alone in the struggles of the pandemic, but rather in this together, just in different ways and locations. I truly hope that by expressing your struggles and feelings over the past year + will help give you some extra strength to continue pushing on and through the pandemic and also give your readers/followers a realistic view that living in one of the most beautiful places in the world is not picture perfect at this time. I know your posts and blog are definitely helping keep my Italian travel dreams alive and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so candid, realistic and optimistic. I like to think of myself as an optimistic realist and think I would say you are one as well. Continuing to keep you and the Cinque Terre in my thoughts for things to start taking some shape of a new normalcy soon. Here’s to continued health and resiliency. Take care my friend and looking forward to the day when we can share a spritz together in the Cinque Terre!🤗

    Like

  3. Jackie Jones says:

    It was breath of fresh air to read this. It has been a trying year for so many. Your positive attitude and grit are shining through your beautiful words. Take good care and stay healthy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Jackie! ❤️🤗

      Like

  4. Lisa Del Bove Orlandi says:

    Congratulations! Who knew this would be the way we would all “see” what is important in life (without sounding too pompous)!! You must be very proud of you and your hubby for finding your own strength(s) and the path forward during this weird, weird, weird time. Yay you!

    PS your new videos are excellent! And just a pleasure to watch…thank you for sharing♥️

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Grazie mille, Lisa! ❤️🤗

      Like

  5. Thanks for sharing. Best of luck to you, your family and all of the Cinque Terre.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Grazie mille! ❤️

      Like

  6. Kay says:

    Through all of this you have found a silver lining with a teaching career in Italy. As a teacher myself (now retired) I know your students will benefit having you as a big influence, alongside your beautiful heart, and your kind eyes that shine like diamonds above your mask, the sign of the times.
    I’ve been to Cinque Terre 30 times, seen you once, but will look you up next time I come. We Americans will return soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awwwww… what a lovely message to read. 😍 Thank you for making my day, Kay! ❤️

      Like

  7. Naurine says:

    Glad you found ways to cope. Yes, it has been terrible. Thanks for writing!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank YOU for reading, Naurine! ❤️🤗

      Like

  8. I’m one of your biggest fans and I’m SO SORRY to hear how hard this virus has hit you financially. Good for you for getting out there and finding a job that you love! My hubby and I have been blessed to visit the Cinque Terre several times and we pray to return one day. God bless you and don’t be afraid to include the trivial as well as the other stuff. Those of us who love CT love to hear it all! Ciao e grazie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Grazie mille, Debbie! ❤️ Things are finally starting to look up. 🤞🤞🤞

      Like

  9. Lisa says:

    So nice to hear from you. I am so truly sorry for the difficult challenges you’re had to deal with. I look forward to your posts; and to visiting the area one day.
    Blessings and good health to you and your family.

    Like

  10. Thank you very much for sharing your very personal story. It has been a trying Year indeed. Can’t wait to travel again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading, Teresa. ❤️ 🤗

      Like

  11. Ben Robbins says:

    Hi Amy,

    I’m glad you have been able to find new revenue sources, as well as able to grow through the struggles and pain you’ve experienced. I, and an awful lot of other people, look forward to Italy reopening for US travelers, hopefully later this year (although that depends more on the EU/Italian vaccination programs). It will be nice to taste a real tomato, buffalo mozzarella, hear the church bells chiming the hour…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind message, Ben. ❤️

      Like

  12. jonathan Walker says:

    Hey Amy – my wife and I are planning to visit in September — feeling very good about those chances — I will start to follow Instagram and wish you the very best of luck for this summer travel season

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Grazie mille, Jonathan! Italy will be thrilled to have you in September. ❤️

      Like

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