Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Peach blossoms

The best broccoli I've ever had!

I think that it's safe to pack away all of our winter hats & coats. We've had incredible weather for the last few weeks and haven't had the need for anything other than a hat from time to time. It's one more box to put away, hooray! Since I found the box with the hats & things in late winter I just left it in the corner of the living room with lid open so that we could grab what we needed. Our house is a nice size but there is almost no storage outside of bedroom closets and kitchen cupboards, which are packed.

We spent most of Saturday burning the mountains of tree branches left from pruning, it took almost an entire afternoon. I was exhausted after dragging branches from all corners of the property to the center where Kosta was tending the fire. Although it was exhausting, I really didn't mind doing it. I really think that it's time in our lives together for us to share this sort of experience. We've lived in so many apartments and our house in the States is smack-dab in the city. I used to hear the buses drive by every 15 minutes, the street cleaners, garbage trucks and at night -endless chatter of people passing by. As I dragged another branch toward the fire I stopped and looked around...and listened. It's so extremely peaceful out here where we have our home, so beautiful. I can see the sea, smell the fresh air and then listen to the birds. It's moments like that where I can justify the extreme turmoil that we've all been enduring. This is what we're working for; to enjoy life and what it has to offer. It's for our kids to have the best of both worlds-ok- and I'll admit they can also experience the worst of both worlds too(ie: the blasted strikes!). It's to share all of this with family and friends who want to join us and experience the things that we're experiencing, whether it be via the blog or actually visiting. I've spent many a phone call sobbing and whining and sometimes when I hang up I feel bad, like if my loved ones saw how I'm living-they'd ask what the problem was.

The challenges that we have faced have in no ways been small but almost none are impossible to overcome, if you can remain persistent and patient at the same time. Last week we were still getting absolutely nowhere in our attempts to acquire a Greek license plate. We've been trying for months to take care of business, it's just that on the Greek end, no one wants to take care of the business. We imported our car last summer, actually received it from the port in September. Supposedly, we had to wait until 2008 to have our emissions tested, too bad for us that the only qualified emissions station in the country is being revamped and having their equipment updated. So, as of last week we were told that today we have to lock up the car and park it...until July. Are you kidding me? July? So, what did we bring our car here for? To park it?- Or to use it? Kosta is working the phones and has been to the port several times-he may even have to go again today but we'll get our papers for an extension for permission to drive our car- no matter what it takes, he's persistent. It's just exhausting. Wish us luck.

So, there's one little snippet of how things work here, they don't. The strikes continue and I'm just thankful that I don't live in the city where the trash is piling up and the air is thick with tension. We'll just try to enjoy our little slice of paradise as much as possible without letting the chaos swirling around us eat away our spirits. Ok, so that was a bunch of babble, but that's what's on my mind this morning.


  1. Well, that's the most evenhanded representation of life (in Greece, or anywhere, really) I've seen.
    I think part of what's missing from city life is the justification and accomplishment one feels when you do that hard, heavy, meaningful physical labor. It keeps us connected to reality in a way nothing else does. I love that.
    I'm sorry for your troubles. Almost nothing (bureaucratic) is easy in Greece, at least not when you try to do it the straightforward way. Very frustrating for those of us accustomed to rule of law and streamlined processes.

  2. I am sure that it is soo very different from living back here. I look forward to the weather getting better here soon. Hope all is well!

  3. I'm with you on the not living in the city part. For awhile before we moved I was a little bummed about leaving the city, but now that we've left I don't even like going back to visit the in-laws (and that has nothing to do with them, believe me). Just the peacefulness of life in the "country" is so, so nice. In the states I lived in a busy area too, so this is my real first taste of quiet living. And I think living in the city with the power outages (no elevator!) and the trash piling up would have really gotten to me.

    Unfortunately, we don't have any yard work (or fortunately, because I can't work in the sun and my husband would surely never do it) because our lot is all houses and driveway.

    Good luck on the license plate. You'd never think the U.S. had more efficient systems for such things, until you move to Greece!

  4. Hey Syd,
    I know, I'm trying to keep things into perspective...sometimes I wonder if all of this is worth it. I think it is in the long run. As far as city life, yes, the hard work was missing for us-our yard is sooooo small there.
    As far as getting anything done here, as you know, it's just a matter of persistance. If you keep bugging them, they cave because they get tired of seeing you!

    Pumpkin-Yes, way different. I'm glad that you're home safe. I'll call you this week.

    Mel- I'm glad that you're enjoying the countryside as much as I am, it's lovely. I really don't like the city and I always thought that I would. Thessaloniki is no Chicago...that's for sure! Someone asked me if I get creeped out here when the power goes out and my answer is no. I would be way more creeped out in the city with so many people walking around. I'd feel the same back home.

    In a lot of ways you're lucky you don't have any yard work. We have so much that we're developing a schedule. If we don't the yard will eat us up! And the sun...I am very, very fair so I have to be very careful too. I'm looking for a cool hat to wear in the garden.

    As for the registration of the car- I know-sometimes I thought it was a breeze to take care of things like that at home. In retrospect, it's a breeze. I hadn't been to a DMV in years because almost everything is handled through the mail now. Ciao!!

  5. It's ironic for me to read this because it's almost like we're not living in the same country, unless you count the strikes and bureaucracy.

    The reasons most people say they want to move to Greece is to have what you have. But if you're someone like me -- someone with a career, needs/wants to work full time to keep her permit and support herself, needs to be near the city, someone who is confronted 10-12 hours a day with pressing up against people, the city's workings (or lack of), ill manners, noise and pollution -- it's not like that at all.

    I actually had more peace, more simplicity, more opportunities, more green, more goodwill, more time and more exercise in the USA (even NYC), Sweden, Madrid and Scotland!

    It's been great to be in touch with you and read what has happened so far in your transition, though I know you've barely skimmed the surface. In some ways, we're light years away and in others, it's like there's no difference between us.


  6. Hey Kat- I responded to your comment earlier this morning and somehow it disappeared!

    I know, it doesn't seem like the same country. I don't get out much and I'm living in my own bubble. Honestly, that's how I cope. :)
    Remember-I had given my husband conditions before I agreed to move here. First and foremost-I wanted to live in a house outside of the city. I couldn't imagine living in an apartment with 3 kids. So, we got the house and a bit more land than was necessary but I'm happy with it. And, as I've mentioned before, we only have 2 neighbors on our dead end and one of them persists with nagging. That's stressful. Why can't we just have our house here and be left alone? Why? Because that's how it is here. Annoying. Life is not a cup of coffee for me and no, I won't do what I need to do later because believe it or not...my kids & husband come before the cup of coffee.

    It's apparent why people are so stressed out here, there's no space and everyone is always bitching at their neighbor. Just live and let live people, it's simple. I believe that you had more peace in NY and the other places that you lived, because in those places(typically)-most people want the same thing in order to enjoy life. We really try to let things go-but I'm not as good at it as my husband is. I wouldn't cope well in the city because there's no chance for serenity. Plus- my husband and I have both been sick traveling to Athens due to the pollution. Major headaches that grew weaker as we drove away from the city.

    It's been great keeping in touch with you also. Although our daily lives are completely different-what we came from isn't so different and the sense of solidarity is meaningful.


  7. You just HAD to go and mention about putting winter coats away, didn't you? We've been FREEZING since Thursday up here!

  8. Mel-I know. I had to do it, it was freezing for a few days after the post! But, today was much better!