"Never make your home in a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You'll find what you need to furnish it - memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey."
~ Tad Williams
|Our Stone House on the Hill|
We arrived home last week.
We also left home last week.
Here again; gone again.
Such is the life of part-time ex pats.
Restless nomads, with a desire for roots, but not in one place. Or senior citizens who’ve realized that the time to be a bit wild and crazy is now while we’ve got the energy and health to enjoy it.
By whatever label, we’re settling into the rhythm of this ‘here-there’ ex pat lifestyle.
|Touring real estate meeting owners|
We’d shared the ex pat daydream for years. But it wasn’t until two years ago that we decided to ‘at least’ look at some houses.
Greek sellers don’t plaster “For Sale” signs on their homes as we do in the States, so you don’t really know what is for sale until a realtor shows you.
And then, you usually visit the house while the owner is there! Again, not the way it is done in the States.
Our daydream, however, was moving toward reality.
Even after finding this house, we were hesitant to make the commitment. Would it end or enhance our vagabond lifestyle? Even if we found something, did we want to travel 6,000+ miles between two homes. Of course, Greece’s charms had already drawn us back, time and time again in recent years, but did we want to put down roots here?
We took the plunge later that year, hitting a few rough edges of the purchase process along the way, and finally landed on our feet at our front door by December.
Fast forward two years. . here we are, at home – for a few months -- in Greece.
|Entry table - The Stone House on the Hill|
“There is nothing more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.”
– Homer, The Odyssey
“So, what’s it really like?” ask some, a hint of a frown or a wiggle of the nose giving away the true question. “Is is just wonderful?” others ask with such enthusiasm that they almost wiggle out of their seat. “You are living my dream, tell me everything.” some say with a deep catch in their voice.
If I do my writer job well, you’ll get a taste of what it is really like through our next series of posts. We plan to introduce you to both people and places that make up this new part-time world of ours.
|Sunset in Stoupa with friends and neighbors|
Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
-- George Bernard Shaw
Creating a new world: I’ll admit one of my fears about buying a home far away was losing touch with long-time friends back (at the U.S.) home. Articles about ex pat life caution that you should expect that to happen. Well, it has in a manner of speaking. While we’ve got a few friends who stay in touch regularly, others don’t. Just as they said it would be in those articles. . .
What we hadn’t expected were all the new friends we’d make here. Friendships are being forged with both Greeks in the area and the many ex pats who populate the valley on either a full-or-part-time basis. With fewer than a dozen Americans to be found, our ex pat friends bring a whole new world of European experiences, language and culture to our lives.
|Our view of the Messinian Gulf|
A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body.
-- Benjamin Franklin
Slow down – we moved too fast: In the first year, our neighbors used to watch us racing around the property – moving things, hauling old items out and new ones in, digging in the garden, patrolling the grove looking for ‘what needs to be done’. Perhaps it is just the way ‘we Americans’ operate. Part, though, was the fact that we are part-timers here. With a time limit set by our tourist visas of 90 days per visit, we didn’t have the luxury of ‘waiting until . . .’ to get a project started and completed. New deck furniture – for a time – looked nice, but wasn’t used.
|Tom, on table, Princess in chair - photo taken fall 2015|
With major projects now completed, we’ve decided to follow the example set by our stray-cats-who-adopted-us, Tom and Princess. Afternoon sun is meant for ‘cat napping’ reading and sipping wine – there is no more perfect way to spend time. (The photo above was taken during our last stay - I am sad to report neither cat has been seen since we've returned.)
Life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments.
-- Rose Kennedy
Exploring our New World: One of the reasons we were drawn to this centuries-old area where everything is steeped in history, is that it is all new to us. So much to explore, to learn, to see and experience that there will never be an excuse for boredom. Exploring by car is quite simple. Driving here is far less stressful than on our congested roadways back in the Pacific Northwest – we certainly prefer the traffic ‘jams’ here.
|Traffic jams we've encountered|
Village life, These postcard--perfect places, dot the landscape around us. Each village with its own personality – tavernas, cafes, mom-and-pop family run businesses – make shopping trips more like a visit to a friend’s house than doing chores.
Occasionally we are frustrated by our lack of ability to describe what we are wanting to buy (sometimes Greek and English don’t mesh). We think of how easy it would be to find it at the big-box-store-shelf in the U.S. . . .but then at the big-box they don’t often give us the handful of nails we’d come to purchase or a screwdriver to use with the screws we’d purchased as has happened to us here.
|Religion, culture, history, cuisine - lifelong learning opportunities abound here|
We think this ex pat life has given us much to celebrate as well. So hope you’ll be back to celebrate and explore our slice of Greece with us. Until then, happy and safe travels to you and yours~
Linking this week with:
Mosaic Monday –
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday –
Weekend Travel Inspiration