Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Athens ~ a bit of grit and a bit of glam

“Travel and change of place impart a new vigor to the mind.”
                                        -- Seneca

The quote above reminds me that it is time to get back to writing about travel, the topic that gave birth to this blog in the first place.

It seems we focused most of the last year – with a few carefree intervals – on downsizing our life and shifting residences from one continent to another. While it’s been an amazing process it has cut into travel. . .the kind that provides new adventures and packing suitcases, not moving boxes.

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Acropolis from the Electra Palace Hotel roof bar/restaurant
Now that we are settled on both sides of the Atlantic, it is time to hit the road again on this side ‘of the pond’. Luckily a couple of travel-enthused friends from Canada gave us the nudge we needed to pack the bags and head to Athens for a rendezvous with them last week.

Getting to Athens from our house can be done in a number of ways. In summer season, there are flights between Kalamata and Athens, but this time of year you either drive, take the public bus or hire a shuttle. We set out on the 3.5 hour road trip in our trusty Hi, Ho Silver, our Toyota RAV.

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Traffic jams were routine in downtown Athens
Since neither of us like downtown Athens traffic – The Scout is the driver and I am the navigator -- we park at the Airport, (some 33km or 20.5 miles out of town) and take the airport shuttle bus to the heart of the city. We get in a bit of sightseeing while someone else does the driving.  Traffic on the weekday afternoon we arrived was bumper-to-bumper – it took the shuttle bus twice the normal time to get us into the heart of the city.

Athens, capital of Greece, had a population of 4.1 million at last count in 2012.

Since we moved to Greece we have been guilty of treating this town as being one from where we depart its airport and return to pick up our car. As other travel enthusiast friends commented, “Once you’ve seen the sights (Acropolis, for instance) what else is there to do?”

Well, let me tell you with only the three days we had in this city we didn’t have time to do all that we could have, which means we’ll just have to return there again – hopefully soon! And we didn't even get to any of those famous sites!

A Bit of Grit and a Bit of Glam

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Big cities and graffiti seem to go hand-in-hand
Like all big cities Athens has a gritty side.  Graffiti and street people. However we saw similar amounts of graffiti in Rome and Lisbon  - if not more - and far more homeless sleeping on sidewalks in Honolulu than we did in Athens.

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Street art is taking over graffiti scenes
As for that graffiti. Some wise city folks are working to turn that destructive art into an attraction by encouraging street art. An enterprising street artist named Sophia now leads street art walking tours. But it is really quite easy to find many examples by strolling the streets on your own as we did.

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Spotted a couple blocks from Syntagma Square

Athens is the UNESCO World Book Capital 2018 and has put together a year-long program of events celebrating the written word.

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High-end shops line the boulevards of Athens

Window shopping kept us entertained as we strolled the areas surrounding Syntagma Square. We are talking high end shops. . .Paris’s Champs Elysees had better take note – this place just might offer a bit more glam these days than do the storefronts along that famous Paris boulevard!

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The decade's old  Zonar's Café between Syntagma and Kolonaki district
Much like Paris, there’s no end to sidewalk cafes – perfect spots to spend a couple of hours in contemplation, conversation or people watching.

Athens at more than 4,000 years of age claims it is the birthplace of Democracy, Philosophy, Theatre, Music and Poetry.

It is when the sun goes down that Athens comes to life – restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and bars were filled and the pedestrian streets were crowded with shoppers and those out for their evening stroll.

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Spotted on Ermou Street near our hotel
We followed the advice of another traveling friend (and the Michelin 2018 guide) and dined one night at 2 Mazi in the Plaka district, an easy four blocks from Syntagma Square.  The food and wine pairing was perfect, a distinctly modern touch to Greek favorites. We’ll be recommending it to all who visit Athens in the near future.

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2 Mazi is worth a visit
Several places where we tried to have a glass of wine, were completely booked and required reservations. I’m no longer worried about Athens being able to recover from the economic collapse a decade ago. She’s back and maybe better than ever.

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You'll need a reservation here 
It seemed we barely touched the surface of all that Athens has to offer. We certainly made note of some places that will tempt us on a future trip. Maybe next time we’ll bring some fancy ‘big city’ clothes and dine at the King George Hotel. . .instead of just walking through it as we did this trip.

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King George Hotel restaurant
And we’ll make it a point to check out the performing arts. . .especially after having happened upon this performance as we walked past a theatre one afternoon.

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Not all dancing is to Zorba's theme song in Greece
We divided our stay between two of the three Electra Hotels that are located within walking distance of Syntagma Square. This Greek hotel chain (with one property in Thessaloniki as well) has developed their properties so each has a rooftop deck with enclosed space and open air seating for drinking and/or dining. . .and breakfast buffets are included in the room price.

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Breakfast with a view at the Electra Hotel
After this 'taster trip'  I’d had a plan to come back and see the city decked out at Christmas, but you know The Scout and The Scribe can be unpredictable when it comes to travel. Our plans changed just yesterday.  I’ll tell you more about our upcoming December travel adventure soon -- for now just know it is set in the Middle East!!

Thanks for your time and we look forward to having you back with us again next week when we’ll take you on another Peloponnese road trip to a destination we haven’t yet decided upon yet. But I know we are going somewhere! (Isn’t that a great way to travel? Or do you need to have your travel plans set out in advance? Let us know in the comment section or shoot us an email – as always we love hearing from you!)

Linking up this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Best of Weekend




Friday, October 19, 2018

The new chapter begins: Life at the Lake

“Life is not just the passing of time. Life is the collection of experiences and their intensity.”
                                                    -- Jim Rohn

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River walk downtown Chelan, Washington
It isn't so much about the travel as it is about the time spent in a place. And it isn’t as much about the place as the people who make up your world. Travel, time spent, people and place all contribute to our collection of experiences.

These aren’t new insights for us, but they’ve come to mind often during the month that we’ve spent in the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

In the last couple posts about the purpose of this trip – to replant our roots in the U.S. -- I’ve been focused on the 'facts and figures' of ex pat life - making a case for having a foothold 'back home'. Truth be told, though, there's an emotional side to the story as well:

P1090306 This October has been an almost mirrored reversal of our activities last  October when we boxed up our U.S. life and moved to Greece for a full-time ex pat adventure.

Back then we put our U.S. life, in a manner of speaking, into a storage unit; a place we quickly came to call ‘the morgue’. (You can probably see why from the photo). Coupled with our downsizing efforts, it became a  climate-controlled somewhat morbid reminder that we are boomers who have a much shorter road ahead of us to travel than we once did.

While we were eager to pursue our daydreams – a pursuit we heartily recommend – leaving one life for another does pack a wallop of emotions. Closing one door to open another can be tough.

Opening Another New Door

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Wapato Point Lake Chelan, Washington State
But in our case, by closing a door we've opened two new ones! We are now at home in Greece most of the year and at home – for a bit of time each year  -- in Manson, Washington. The door has closed permanently on the ‘morgue’ and we’ve got a whole new lifestyle to live.

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Lake Chelan from The Butte, Washington State
The weeks we spent moving into this new lifestyle had been a good reminder of how blessed we are to have special people at both ends of our horizons.  Long-time friends, those we refer to as our 'friend family' back in the U.S. welcomed us with get-togethers, offers of accommodations and help with moving chores. We had others make the trek to Manson to welcome us to our new life there.

Meanwhile back in Greece we had a cadre of relatively new friends who've become equally special to us, who stepped in to keep an eye on our life there. We were extremely grateful to them and their efforts when the ‘Medicane’ (Mediterranean hurricane) hit our area of the Peloponnese only days after we arrived in the U.S.

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"Life is the collection of experiences" and friendships

”Time is not measured by the passing of years but by what one does, what one feels and what one achieves.”
                                     -- Jawaharlal Nehru

Life at the Lake

There is no doubt about it, we will again be 'living differently' as we plant our roots in both a Greek hillside and a small village in Washington State. While we are eager to return to our Stone House on the Hill, it is good knowing we also have a Life at the Lake.

I promised you a home tour last week so come, take a look at what we've been doing the last few weeks to create that new life:

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The Scout on the front deck - sunset over the Cascade Mountains
We are as settled as one can be after three weeks. Thirteen days after the moving van had pulled away, we emptied our last box. (Our downsizing had worked – we were surprised to have a number of empty cupboards and shelves.) The walls seem rather bare.

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Shelves and not boxes are much better displays of memories
This home – in keeping with our downsizing emphasis – is smaller than our Kirkland home yet it is larger than our Greek home.  It is also a 'boomer home' a rambler built one level. As a result, it feels very spacious. In fact, it feels downright enormous!

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The amazing change - old things do fit in new places
The Manson house is furnished with many inherited items belonging to parents, aunts, uncles and friends who are no longer with us. Others, like the items on the built in shelves, were collected on our travels. All of these were considered ‘life treasures’ and spared the discard or give-away down-sizing efforts last year. Now they’ve come together in new spaces so we have a wonderful hodge-podge of  mis-matched furniture and memories of  people and places; our collection of life experiences.

“Learn to appreciate what you have, before time makes you appreciate what you had.'”
                                                          -- Unknown

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Guest bedroom is ready to welcome friends
We’ve got a guest room and the welcome mat is out.  There are more than 30 wineries and vineyards now in the Lake Chelan AVA so we hope our wine-loving, lake-loving friends will make the journey to see us while we are in residence.

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Using those Greek 'do-it-yourself-' talents we've developed to make our bed
We used some of those skills we’ve developed in Greece to set up the master bedroom. We'd discarded our bedroom furnishings last fall. Using those 'do-it-yourself-skills' we've developed in Greece we met the challenge of assembling an iron bed frame. By downsizing, old pieces got new homes. The rattan furniture in the photo had been in our family room and with no family room now, it went to the bedroom. It was souvenir we bought ourselves and had shipped to the U.S. from Bangkok, Thailand some 30 years ago. We are glad we didn't part with it.

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The Chelan Room - the den
A third bedroom has become a den known as the 'Chelan Room' as we’ve filled it with furniture and photos collected by The Scout’s family who came to this area a century ago.  His grandmother (who may have provided his travel genes) traveled by ferry boat up the Columbia River to arrive in Chelan. For those familiar with the area, they homesteaded an area now home to Bear Mountain Golf Course.

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Washington State's Columbia River
“. . .your soul knows when it is time to close a chapter. . .’
                              -- Unknown

While the quote is apropos, we think the soul also knows when it is time to start a new one. Thanks for being with us as this chapter begins.

As always we appreciate the time you spend with us and we’ve also appreciated all your comments cheering us along in this new twist to the journey.

Safe travels to you and yours and next week - if our travels go according to plan - we’ll be writing from The Stone House on the Hill!

Linking with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Best of Weekend

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Expat life: We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto!

“Turn things around sometimes and look at life from a different perspective.”
                                                      -- Jean Wilson

Two weeks ago we made the move.  Actually another move in the continuing saga of these two boomers who chose to ‘live differently’.

Unless you are a first-time visitor here, that ‘living differently’ isn’t news as we’ve been doing that for a year as full-time American ex pats in Greece. What’s new these days is that now we’ve upended the big city life we'd lived in the U.S. and planted ourselves in rural America. This latest move was prompted somewhat by our actions last year. . .

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Welcome to Chelan county!
When we moved to Greece last October – after 30 years of living in a Seattle suburb -- we didn’t realize just how far outside the norm we’d taken ourselves.

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Seattle, Washington from Puget Sound
In our quest for a ‘final fling’ (as we call our full-time expat adventure) we’d turned ourselves into square pegs that didn’t fit the round holes of those U.S. businesses, financial and medical institutions with which we were still affiliated. It didn’t take us long to learn that without a U.S. phone number and residence address (not just mailing address) to verify our existence, it was very difficult to deal with these folks. A foreign phone number and an address in Greece just didn't fit a U.S. verification form or protocol.

And our joking about 'living out of a storage unit and a hotel room' when in the Northwest was a joke.  It wasn't fun -- in the least.

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Moonlight over Manson, Washington
So, a year later and still living full-time in Greece, we’ve purchased a ‘seasonal home’ (that’s the name these days for vacation or part-time homes) in Manson. It's an unincorporated town, the size of a village on the shores of Lake Chelan in eastern Washington State.

That might sound to many reading this like we’ve simply ‘returned’ to Washington State. But, au contraire! Those who’ve lived here know that. . .

East is East and West is West!

And we’ve just had another seismic shift in lifestyle.

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View of Cascade Mountains from Kittitas County - Washington State
While the Cascade Mountain range physically divides the state, it is the differences in political leanings, lifestyles, traffic, weather, population density, housing prices and industry that creates the state’s real division.

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Interstate 5 between Seattle and Tacoma, left; Highway 97 between Wenatchee and Chelan, right
No joke. There is often talk of the two sides going their own way; creating two states in the Pacific Northwest corner of the U.S. because of the vast differences in political leanings and lifestyles. The last ‘official’ proposal came from a group in 2015 who wanted to create two states: Washington to the west and Madison to the east.

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Road trips in Eastern Washington cut through wheat fields and pass grain elevators
Eastern Washington with its wide open spaces has a much smaller population density; one that is predominantly conservative in politics and lifestyle. It’s main industries are agriculturally based (wine industry, fruit, cattle, truck gardens).

Western Washington, home to Seattle and its suburbs, is jam-packed with people, traffic and housing density.  Technology’s Microsoft and industry giants Starbucks and Amazon got their starts  and continue to be major players in the area.  One can’t overlook the contributions of Kurt Cobain and Grunge music, as they, too, have helped create today's Seattle and its surroundings.The population is liberal in lifestyle and politics.

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On the road to Life at the Lake - Swauk Prairie, Kittitas County
We were both raised in the eastern side of the state, lived our adult lives in the increasingly jam-packed western side and now find ourselves back in the east – at least for what we anticipate will be a few weeks each year in our seasonal home.

Different shades of life make the painting more beautiful.
                      -- Mike Dolan

Small Town vs. Suburb

We've spent the last few weeks moving into life in Manson. It didn't take us long to realize that as Dorothy told Toto in the Wizard of Oz, we weren't in Kansas anymore!

'Moving Monday' as the day shall forever be known was a long sweat-inducing day of supervising and assisting the professional movers in the emptying of our suburban storage unit. We'd  left the suburbs in the mid-afternoon. A quick stop at the Manson house and then on to dinner at one of the two village pub/taverns. While eating, the desk clerk at the town's motel called to remind us that ther office would be closing in an hour at 10 p.m.Would we be there to pick up our key or did she need to leave it somewhere for us?

It’s a small town. Not a late night place. Not a 24/7 place. But a warm place.
Welcome to our other world.

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Welcome signs greet guests at the Mountain View Resort - Manson, Washington
We easily got the key as the motel is two blocks from where we were dining. It is also two blocks from our new house. Everything in Manson seems to be two blocks from each other.
It is a small town.

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The dock at Manson on Lake Chelan.
The moving van arrived at 8 a.m.Tuesday morning so we missed breakfast at the hotel (the office and breakfast both open at 8.am.) It was a long day of lifting, hauling, moving, thinking. Finally, unable to move another item, we headed to one of the several wine tasting rooms in the village. Wine tasting rooms are operated by wineries to showcases (by selling 'tastings' or glasses) their wines and provides an outlet for wine sales to folks who wouldn't travel into the countryside to visit the winery.

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MVP Vintners made us feel like MVP's
It was 5:55 p.m. when we walked into the tasting room on the town's main drag. We asked how long they’d be open. “Six” he told us.

Sigh. Small town. Not a 24/7 place.

“We’ll try another down the street,” said The Scout to which Pete (our first new friend) replied,  “I am one of the latest to stay open, most close at 5.”  Then he smiled and added,  “I can stay open a bit longer. What will you have?  It is a great sunset tonight.”

Not late night. Not 24/7. A small town. A nice town.

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Lake Chelan between Chelan town and Manson
Thanks for being with us as we kick off our other side of life; that which will be known as ‘Life at the Lake’.  Next week I’ll give you a tour of this seasonal home of ours just before our month back in the States ends  and we head back to The Stone House on the Hill.  As always, we appreciate the time you’ve spent with us today and we hope to see you here again soon. Until then, safe travels to you and yours ~

Linking this week with:

Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Best of Weekend

Friday, September 28, 2018

Stretching Our Horizons ~ Mani to Manson

You are the one who can stretch your own horizon.
              -- Edgar Magnin

I like the idea of stretching our horizons but when it requires a 22-hour day of air planes and airports followed a few days later by a four-hour cross-state driving trip, I’ll admit I was questioning the need for such expansion.

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Lufthansa brought us from Athens to Seattle -

If you’ve been a part of our adventures for any length of time, you know we are American expats who live full-time in Greece. We pulled up roots in the US just over a year ago and set off to ‘live differently’ for awhile. Remnants of our US life went into a storage unit and we set off for adventure.

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Our Stone House on the Hill in the Mani, Greek Peloponnese
It didn’t take too many months though before we started asking ourselves: Do we really want to keep paying for an expensive storage unit in the Seattle suburbs? Do we need a U.S. address? Do we need a place to call our home when the adventure ends?

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The other end of the horizon - Manson, Washington

The answers resulted in the latest stretch of our horizon.  We still live full-time in rural Greece, but also have just moved into a home in rural Washington State.  It is the ‘just in case’ place where our belongings are a bit more lovingly stored and comes with an assurance we have a place to go when the dreaded ‘if’ appears on our current horizon. . .if Greece doesn’t renew our residency permit. . .if health (mental or physical) dictate an early end to our adventure. . .if we tire of ‘living differently’ elsewhere in the world. We've had reports that a 'Medicane' (Mediterranean hurricane is barreling towards the Peloponnese this weekend while we are in the States moving so we are hoping that one of those 'if's' isn't, 'if a storm destroys our home while we are away. . .'

While some might call us prudent others might see us as paranoid.  We simply see it as stretching our horizons once again.  Hopefully to include the best of both worlds.

From one end of the horizon to the other

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Lake Chelan on the left, Messinian Bay on the right
It seems we are drawn to water.  We wanted to be near the water no matter where we landed on earth. In Washington State, our new village of Manson sits on the shores of a 55-mile-long glacier-fed lake. In The Mani, we are in Greece’s Peloponnese – overlooking  the Messinian Bay (where the Aegean and Ionian seas meet).

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Agios Nikolaos - Messinias Mani

We are Village people.  We’ve adjusted to village life in Greece like fish to water. The fishing village, Agios Nikolaos, (Saint Nikolas) and still called by its Slavic name Selinitsa by many locals, has a few hundred year round residents.

It swells with tourists in the summer.

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St. Andrews Episcopal Church - 1897 built of logs - oldest building in Chelan

Manson, where we’ve re-planted our American roots had a population of just over 1,400 in the last census. It is an unincorporated community seven miles beyond the larger town of Chelan, with a year-round population of about 4,000.

Chelan and Manson swell with tourists in the summer.


Groves and orchards Our Greek life puts us smack dab in the midst of the Land of Kalamata olives. In fact our home is in a small olive grove and The Scout has dusted off his orcharding skills (learned in his family’s Chelan apple orchard decades ago) and put them to use in Greece.

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The Stone House on the Hill from our olive grove 
Now, we’ll be returning to that same agricultural area where he honed his skills and be surrounded by those orchards that haven’t given way to vineyards.

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Manson Vineyards
Vino with a View: In the Chelan/Manson area wineries have been sprouting at an amazing rate of speed; they number in the dozens. Apple orchards began giving way to vineyards a couple decades ago and the growth of the industry hasn’t slowed. The photo below was taken at Nefarious Cellars and vineyard which are on the site of what used to be The Scout’s family apple orchard.

It will be fun to be walking distance to several ‘tasting rooms’ – those places operated either by a single winery or by individuals offering a variety of wines – and also easy driving distance to wineries themselves.  Hopefully our visits to Manson will coincide with those facilities being in operation.

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Nefarious Cellars - on The Scout's old apple orchard
Regular readers know we sing the praises of Greek wines, served by the pitcher at restaurants – good quality without pretense and usually so inexpensive that we still are marveling at their incredible low prices. And much of our favorite wine is grown and produced right here in the Peloponnese. (We have been shell-shocked at wine prices in Manson: $10US for a glass would buy us two liters of wine in the Mani!)

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Wine at sunset at the Stone House on the Hill
So our quest to expand our horizons continues as we this week begin moving our things into the house in Manson.  While in so many ways our two worlds are similar, in many ways they are vastly different (I'll tell you about those in a future post). But it will keep life exciting (perhaps a bit disjointed as well).

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They moved us out of our old world and are moving us into the new one
We’ve allotted ourselves three weeks in which to get our belongings organized and all the logistics of establishing a new residence completed.  We’ve not had a lot of down time since our arrival but hopefully by next week the internet will be functioning and I’ll have time to give you an ‘inside’ peek at the other end of our expanded horizon.

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The Scout and the realtor in front of our Manson house
Again, thanks for all of you who’ve come along on this adventure – either in real time or in the blogosphere. We are most appreciative of the time you spend with us and are grateful for your help and words of encouragement.

Until next week, safe travels to you and yours ~

Linking this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Best of Weekend

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Changes in Latitudes ~ Changes in Attitudes

‘If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.’
                             -- Dr. Wayne Dyer

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Our Maggie Mae watches the world from The Stone House on the Hill
We are now a few weeks short of our first anniversary as full-time expats. By whatever measure: One year. Three hundred sixty five days. Twelve months. Four seasons. We've managed to make our goal of ‘living differently’ before old age, health or common sense prevented us from doing so.

As I’ve told you periodically throughout the year, our change of latitude -- from a suburban Pacific Northwest city to village life among the olive groves in the rural Greek Peloponnese -- has prompted new behaviors in us both. We’ve developed new skills and been surprised by the resurfacing of some of the long lost talents within us.

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From Seattle suburbs to Agios Nikolaos - a change in latitude
It isn’t the latitude, but it and the way of life, that has prompted most of the change in attitude.  Some of the changes have happened so gradually that I was rather gobsmacked by just how differently we – especially, me -- see things now.

I'll look back on this
and smile
because it was 
LIFE
and I decided to 
live it.
                     -- Unknown

Less is More (than Enough)

A small rectangular glass casserole is my serving dish, baking, roasting and marinade pan.  If I bake a cake in it, I plan my subsequent cooking to synch with when it will be empty. In our previous life I had stacks of such dishes, which I didn’t ever really use but I sure liked knowing they were there IF I needed them. Our tiny Greek kitchen just doesn’t have the space for all the gadgets I once routinely had stored away for occasional use in our U.S. life.

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Old-life walk in closet; new life cubby hole.
Speaking of tiny, take our bedroom closet. Well, it isn’t a closet. It’s more an armoire and a definite downsize from the walk-in closet in our old life. No walking into this one. In fact the bedroom is so small there’s no walking past it either if the other of us is standing at the end of the bed. Our far-fewer clothes co-mingle in this tiny space. Seasonal items get folded up and put in storage bags until they are needed. A small clothes rack holds daily wear. Shoes -- instead of lining the length of a closet – sit together on a small rack.

I remember last year wondering how we’d (I’d!) ever be able to  live – full time!! -- with such little storage and so few things. Now, I wonder why we/I had all that stuff?

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The local junk man collects unwanted metal and hauls it away


It's those changes in latitudes,
Changes in attitudes nothing remains quite the same.
                 -- Jimmy Buffett

Paciencia manana es otro dia – Patience, tomorrow is another day

I’ve concluded, by watching us deal with situations here, that our American upbringing and lifestyle encourages a lack of patience.  We expect a quick fix/repair/response to all problems and situations.

However, Greece – like Mexico where the phrase above was a daily mantra -- is still attempting to teach us to have patience. If it doesn’t get done/fixed/repaired/solved today, there’s always the promise of tomorrow.

And what’s the rush anyway?  We wait for parts to be delivered to stores, we wait for repairmen to appear, and wait for our mail to arrive once-a-week, on Thursdays. We even wait in our car when the driver of the car in front of us stops in the middle of the road, rolls down his/her window and chats with the person driving the car going the opposite direction.

Life continues on and we are really no worse for not getting things done with immediacy.

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Kalamata coffee houses - no rush, no worry
We collected another example this week in Kalamata when we had back-to-back appointments at the dentist and the hair salon. We had them synchronized down to the time it would take to walk between the two places. Then the dentist arrived at work 20 minutes late.  As the first one in her chair, I told her I had only about 40 minutes until my next appointment. Her response, “You want me to call your next appointment and tell them you will be late?”

I was late to the salon, as was The Scout, who followed in the scheduling progression, but we seemed the only two to care about it. The teeth were cleaned and the hair was cut . . .paciencia, manana es el otro dia.

You get time to appreciate things.
Perspective, you start looking at things differently. .
  -- Tupac Shaker

Building a New World

I’ll admit now that I was the one who fretted most about ‘leaving friends behind’. While I wanted to live differently, I also wanted to keep things the same when it came to ‘my world’: I had friends I met for coffee and others for lunch and others with whom I chatted on a regular basis.

We all vowed to stay in touch.

Of course that wasn’t going to happen.

We knew it as we said it.

But several of us do stay in touch by writing long chatty emails (almost as good as face-to-face). Other friends have thrilled us by making the effort to come visit – most by combining a visit to our place with visiting some other destination on this side of the Atlantic. We’ve had quality time with those guests and spend hours in conversation and laughter that we likely wouldn’t have made the time for back in the U.S.

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Off for a morning coffee with my friend
In our new world, I  now have a regular coffee date with a friend here and instead of hopping in the car as I used to and racing to the coffee shop, I walk our twisty road down our hill, through olive groves to a beach cafe. My friend follows a similar route. The walk and the coffee take most of our morning – but, why not? There’s always tomorrow for the things we don’t get done today.

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A new world is built: friends gathering for Easter Dinner 
As a couple, we have new circle of  friends with whom we socialize regularly and to whom we know we can turn to for help if needed. Coffee, lunch or dinner with them can span hours – and again, if something doesn’t get done because of it, there’s always tomorrow.

Chelan, Washington: 48.027 latitude
The Mani, Peloponnese: 36.84 latitude

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It seems somewhat ironic that as our first year comes to a close we are heading back to Washington State to move those remaining belongings from our suburban storage unit near Seattle to our new house in the Chelan/Manson area of  rural eastern Washington State. We’ll be out of the internet world for awhile next week, but I’ll report back on our Northwest moving adventures as soon as we are again 'connected'.

And by mid- October we’ll be back to our hillside home in the Peloponnese to start the next chapter of ‘living differently’.

Safe travels to you and yours. And thanks for the time you spend with us on these adventures of ours and for all the support you’ve given us through your comments and messages. It is good to have you with us, no matter which latitude we find ourselves.  See you soon!

Linking this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Best of Weekend

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