“Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die,
Life’s a broken-winged bird,
that cannot fly.”
--Langston HughesIn this post, we continue to sidestep a bit from “travel” but then what travelers haven’t once or twice imagined themselves chasing a daydream of owning a home in some foreign location. . .
|"That stone house on the hill. . ."|
Our offer had been accepted, a down payment made and a closing date set before we left the U.S.
By noon our first day in Greece we’d opened a bank account and secured tax ID numbers (both necessary for home ownership in this country).
A few days later we toured the house with its current owners (we’d met them last spring) and had a tutorial on details like power and water sources, and olive grove maintenance.
They were busy packing their belongings to ship back to their homeland, England. Their big boxes would leave several days before closing. They would leave Greece July 17th.
|The house's front deck and view from it|
As they prepared to leave; we prepared to arrive and function – if even on our planned part-time basis – in this new world. We were learning to think of temperatures as Celsius, not Fahrenheit; measurements using the Metric System (cheating by using a dual tape measure we’d purchased that had both millimeters and inches) and we spoke of prices in terms of euros – not dollars. We were immersing ourselves in another culture – just what we had hoped to do with the purchase of a house here.
|View from the bedroom deck|
As we would have only 12 days in our new property on this trip we established a timeline of projects that would be undertaken or possibly completed before we returned to the U.S.
The 17-tree olive grove, pictured below, in need of some major trimming, was The Scout’s focus while I had my eye on painting interior walls and getting some new furniture in place.
|I had brought the paint chips with us|
|The furniture we'd chosen|
~ Waking from the Midsummer’s Daydream ~
|Scene on island of Kefalonia|
So with more days to fill while we waited we set off on a second road trip, this one took us to the Ionian Island of Kefalonia – an amazingly beautiful land mass in the Ionian Sea. I’ll feature it in an upcoming post.
|Town square in Argostoli, Kefalonia|
New problems had just surfaced. . . other paperwork – several years worth of income tax reports, necessary for the sale of the house, hadn’t been filed by the owners.
(Note: If you own property in Greece you must file annual income tax returns whether you generate income there or not – in fact, you must file documentation each year to show from where your funds do come. You must file other income tax forms reporting the ownership of property.)
The owners -- who’d lived there for years apparently hadn’t known that—they’d never filed a report. It would delay the closing a minimum of another 10 days to 2 weeks. The owners would search for those documents after they returned to England as that’s where they believed the documents were.
And they also needed to find proof of their purchase of the house. . .it, too, was believed to be in England.
|Bougainvillea blooms and blue skies on Kefalonia|
If found, none of their new documentation would even be submitted for review until the first of August. If approved. . .
So, it was that lovely warm evening on Kefalonia that our daydream got away from us. As we calculated the growing list of “if’s” that loomed ahead and the mounting costs of this already pricey trip, we called the deal off.
We had been so concerned about bringing all the appropriate paperwork we needed for the sale, it hadn’t occurred to us to ask if the sellers had all the paperwork in place that they needed – after all, the house had been on the market for more than two years. . .
Instead of closing in on that daydream, we spent a portion of my birthday at our Greek bank completing paperwork to return our money for the house purchase back to the U.S. (It arrived a few hours before we did the following week.)
The owners left for England on their scheduled July 17th.
|The freeway between Athens and The Mani|
Instead of the decade or so we’d envisioned, our daydream ended up lasting only a month. But had we not acted on it, we’d have always wondered if we would have had the courage to do it.
This trip proved we could . . .
We came so very close.
And so ends the daydream tales from Greece – for now. We will get back to reality travel tales with our next post. Thanks for joining us today ~ it always is fun to have friends along on the journey; especially when they don’t go as expected!
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