With most of our major projects completed, we’ve slowed our pace and indulged in blissful, idle hours ~ most of which we’ve spent gazing out over our small terraced olive grove and the view we have up the Mani coastline just beyond it; our own little slice of Greece’s Peloponesse peninsula
|Dusk at The Stone House on the Hill|
Many of you have followed along or been a part of the journey that brought us to this Stone House and you’ve stuck with us as we’ve turned it into our own. Some through the blog and others in real life, real time. Your companionship, encouragement and enthusiasm have been most appreciated.
‘You are never to old to set a new goal or dream a new dream.’
- C.S. Lewis
It was back in 2014 when we got serious about focusing that somewhat fleeting daydreaming of ours into an action plan. We - this 60-something duo – decided it was time for a ‘final fling’, a ‘new challenge’, a ‘project’, before we got too old to have one. We’d accumulated many daydreams during our travels but kept coming back to the idea of. . .
Growing Olives Instead of Old
Last December 15th as we sat with the sellers, an array of others, (three attorneys, our realtor and the Notary) in the Notary’s cramped second-floor office in the nearby village, we moved that daydream into reality.
As vivid as if it were yesterday, we recall those pages and pages of documents being read aloud (a legal requirement here) in Greek and translated to English. Then payments (both for the home purchase and costs associated with it) were made and handshakes offered.
The purchase process that had taken months to get in order, was over in less than an hour. . .
. . .then, ‘but, of course’ as they say here, we all – buyers, sellers, realtor and attorney - went to the cafe next door for a drink!
|Celebrating the sale|
Finally, that Grecian stone and concrete temptress was ours – ten days before Christmas. We’d nailed that daydream - the one that had slipped between our fingers earlier in the year -- and made it reality.
|The Stone House on the Hill|
Recalling those first few days, we’ve laughed at what a stark reality we’d purchased. It was rather a bleak stone house, both literally and figuratively. Cold (we ran out of fuel for several days that first stay – both central heat oil and wood), empty (we gave away most of the old well-used furniture and the new hadn’t yet been delivered) and rooms with gray stone accents around white ceiling, walls and floor that didn’t make for a warm and fuzzy feeling. With no television or internet – it also felt a bit lonely. That didn’t deter us from the vision we had for this place. . .
|December 2014 - The Stone House on the Hill|
As the days became weeks, and weeks stretched into months the The Stone House on the Hill has evolved into our Stone Home on the Hill. New furniture, paint and decorating touches and a bit of hard labor, by us and others (not to mention two cats who adopted us) made for some remarkable changes even with this part-time life we’ve had here.
|One Year Later - Stone House on the Hill|
Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Just as the house has changed, so have we. This Greek adventure has moved us from our world, filled with family, friends and the familiar in the United States’ Pacific Northwest, into a dual existence – living two decidedly different lifestyles on opposite sides of the globe.
‘Let’s be honest. Retirement abroad is not for everyone. A totally new environment. Distance from relatives and long-time friends. Culture clashes. Health care issues. Language barriers. But it’s also possible to enjoy a higher standard of living at a lower cost in foreign locations of natural beauty, appealing culture and great charm.’-- Forbes.com
|A neighbors night out|
By living part of the year ‘there’ and part ‘here’ we’ve enriched our lives with new friends; both Greek and other ex pats (from a variety of countries) and have neighbors who are friends as well at both of our homes.
During the months we’ve been in Greece, we’ve developed new daily routines and honed new and forgotten skills. We’ve gotten back in touch with the basics of our childhoods– stringing a clothesline, drying clothes on the line, washing dishes by hand, living without television, putting together the miniscule pieces that come in a box and turning it into shelves or coat racks or other items.
|We learned to harvest olives - it is hard work!|
Two sets of friends from the Pacific Northwest visited us this fall. We explored areas and eateries, sharing quality, unrushed time together; proving as the old saying goes, that ‘the road to a friend’s house is never long’. . . okay, so the flight is rather long, but you get the idea!
As for ‘distance from long time friends and family’, as Forbes cautioned. . .well, technology has made that simply, nonsense. Thanks to internet, Skype, Facebook and email, we are able to stay in touch with friends and family. My early 2016 calendar ‘back home’ is filling with social engagements and appointments that have been arranged while I am here in Greece as easily as if I’d been at the computer back there.
The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.
- Flora Whittemore
- Flora Whittemore
Opening any new chapter in life often means ending or modifying others. Our increased time in Greece required that I resign from a board of directors for a non-profit educational agency on which I had served for 15 years. That was tough. It also sidelined my freelance writing for a time.
|Dusk in the Village of Stoupa|
|Slow travel in The Mani|
Our pace has slowed here – a stark contrast with life back in the states.
|Our olive crop waits for the press|
Dwell in Possibility.
-- Emily Dickinson
We are looking forward to new adventures in Greece during our second year here and hope you’ll be back regularly to share them with us. We are off to Cairo this coming weekend so will have tales to tell from there as well as more stories from Greece in future weeks. Until then, safe travels to you and yours~
Travel Photo Thursday –
Our World Tuesday
Mosaic Monday –
Through My Lens