Brian and Elizabeth had been excited to go to Sicily, Italy to begin their new life there. Their family and friends were appalled that the young couple chose to move so far from home just to buy a house.
But, Elizabeth had seen an ad for houses for one euro, just over a dollar! That’s right! The Italian town of Sambuca in Sicily was offering homes for one euro. She showed the ad to Brian, who considered himself the ultimate do-it-yourself expert. They both considered this ad to be the opportunity of a lifetime.
Sambuca overlooked the Mediterranean sea and nearby beaches, and usually such a view would cost into the hundreds of thousands of euros, if not millions. They had a chance to own a home in a great place like Italy with its great food, music, and art museums galore! They would have been fools to pass it up.
So, they arrived in Sambuca late one summer evening, having transferred all of their life savings of $50,000 to a nearby bank. They had met the deposit requirement of five thousand euros, and the monies would be returned after the renovation of their new home.
The deputy mayor and tourist councilor, Mr. Arpeggio, showed them homes for purchase that ran from 40 square meters to 150-square meters. Looking like deer caught in headlights, they were stunned at the buildings being seen.
The houses were little more than ruins, with collapsed walls of stone covering the floors and no appliances or anything else in the homes, as would be expected in America. They had felt overwhelmed by what they were seeing, and they had feared having to return home with their tails between their legs, minus their deposit.
But, after choosing a 100-square meter (1078 square feet) dwelling to buy, the one with the least amount of work seen so far, they began the work of renovating their new home, performing much of the work themselves. It took them less than three years and nearly every cent of their savings to complete the work. The final product was stunningly beautiful.
As they stood at the window looking out at the beautiful beaches, woods, and mountains surrounding them and taking in the peace and serenity of the idyllic place, they marveled at the lessons they had learned in the process. First, they learned that what seems impossible at first can be achieved by setting small goals. As each goal is completed, one’s sense of their capabilities increases.
Second, they discovered that if you have a dream, act on it, even when others think that your dreams are stupid or unattainable. Lastly, they found that working together to achieve a dream strengthens a marriage, especially with compromise on each person’s part. Their home was a reflection of both of their personalities.
Finally, they turned away from the view, concentrating on each other. They were enjoying the last few days of being alone in their abode, as the first of scheduled visitors would start arriving on the weekend. The first two of the people coming had been the most vocal in trying to dissuade them from the move, but how can you tell them they’re not welcome when they are your mothers?