Sunday, May 28, 2017

Greece ~ If I Could Save Time in a Bottle. . .

If I could save time in a bottle. . .  If I could make days last forever. . .”
        -- Lyrics from  Time in a Bottle, 1970’s,  Jim Croce

Since I first heard this song way-back-when, I’ve loved the idea of putting time in a bottle and making some of my favorite days last forever. . .

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Mani - Greece
I’m certain we’ve all had milestone moments we’d like to stockpile  – an incredible trip, a significant birthday, a reunion of family or friends – and be able to relive them by simply popping a cork.
This song was penned and sung by Jim Croce, to mark a milestone in his own life: he wrote it for his wife after learning that after many years of trying, they were going to have a baby.

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The Stone House on the Hill - Peloponnese, Greece
As the month of May, like April and March before it, has hurtled past at breakneck speed in Greece, I am humming that Croce song more often and wishing I could put even the most ordinary of days at The Stone House on the Hill into a bottle. One that we could tuck in the suitcase and then pull out as needed when we return to that other life of ours in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. As we come to the end of our longest-to-date stay on the European side of the Atlantic, we suspect it could be a bit more difficult to get into the swing of the other life we live.

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Pantazi Beach afternoon - our house on the hill in the distance
We comment every so often on how easily we’ve become a part of this simple, rural lifestyle which is so different than the one in the U.S.  We wear different clothing, eat dinner at a time we’d be preparing for bed back there, eat an array of tree and plant-ripened foods that we can’t even hope to get back there. We don't focus on politics nor fret over health issues when together with friends here. We spend far less time on the computer. So removed from that life is this one that I was surprised when it took a FB post by a friend to remind me it was Memorial Day weekend in the States.

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Tractors hauling fishing boats - a common sight here

Facebook posts and news media (traditional media) have become our links with life back in the States. We’ve noted that aside from a couple of friends who write regularly, we have heard very little from friends and family ‘back there’ this spring. An occasional email is a pleasant surprise but I’ve quit opening the inbox first thing each day and then fretting over why we may not have heard from someone. Invariably, when I write to check on them, they respond 'been busy'.  After awhile their message sunk in: it was time to get busy with life here.

So busy we have been with day-to-day life on a hill in the Peloponnese that those months that  stretched before us with promise of a nice long stay are nearly over.

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The teeny-tiny olives are between those leaves at the top of the photo

We've watched the baby olives make their appearance in the grove, new flower beds are filled with promise and other projects have been undertaken and completed at a leisurely pace. We've taken road trips. We've had houseguests.

‘Kalo Mina, Happy Month,’ we’ve called out in greeting – just as the locals do – at the beginning of each new month and how quickly those new months have been arriving!

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We completed the gravel pathway in the upper garden
I’ve become unabashedly wistful as I go about our routines here, thinking of those every-day times I’d save in a bottle while wishing our days here would last at least a bit longer, if not forever. We continue to add to our 'to do' and 'to visit' lists for the ex pat life.

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do
Once you find them. . .
Time in a Bottle, Jim Croce

So, you are likely thinking that  if we like it so much here, why aren’t we staying longer? Excellent question! We’ve asked ourselves the same thing several times, and it has come back to each time. . .

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Exploring the backroads of the Deep Mani

That Road trip to Greek Residency

We’d originally planned this stay as if we were traveling on our tourist visa (doing the Schengen Shuffle with 90-days here and 90-days out). We scheduled our departure for this coming Friday, leaving just enough time per Schengen rules to make a stop in France and Geneva on the way back to Seattle.

We weren't counting on getting residency permits this spring; we’d anticipated our Road Trip to Residency might be a slow journey. So far it has lived up to our expectations. (We understand why they issue a year-long entry visa to allow enough time obtain a residency permit.)  Our flight plans had to be in place to obtain the entry visa way back in February in San Francisco.

However, since I last updated you on our journey, we've inched forward. We were fingerprinted by Greek immigration officials, our electronic photos have been fed into the computer system. Our translated-into-Greek and apostilled documents have been under review for several weeks.

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The Scout receives his temporary permit, our attorney explains it to him.

We have been granted a temporary residence permit – good for a year while the review continues. It is much like the entry visa we obtained in San Francisco, just a bit closer to the real thing. 

However, with no permanent permit yet in hand and no promise that it would be issued (immigration officials can still require more documents or an interview before a panel) we decided to make the most of our temporary visa.

We threw logic to the wind.
We bit the bullet.
We paid the price to change our airline reservations.
We extended our stay in Europe until the end of June. . .exceeding that Schengen 90 day allowance by a couple of weeks!!

Our accommodations in France and Geneva are non-refundable so we’ll turn that segment into a vacation – we'll still leave Friday but instead of Seattle will fly to Athens on June 12th.

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Sunset from the Stone House on the Hill
I’ll have a chance to bottle up a few more days and memories on this side ‘of the pond’.  We hope you are making memories and that your travels are healthy and happy ones! Thanks, as always, for your time!

A bit of foreshadowing: Our attorney has sent an update on our permanent residency permit . . .I'll save that update for next week. . .

Linking this week with:

Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration

17 comments:

  1. Your time in Greece sounds magical. You now have got me thinking about all the times I'd like to save in a bottle. We can't save them, of course, but how wonderful to have them!

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    1. I have spent time thinking about which of my memories I would tuck in a bottle and I know I couldn't get them all into just one, that's for sure. And isn't that a wonderful dilemma!?

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  2. Jackie, it's the every day moments, here in gorgeous Greece, that we want to save because EVERY DAY is filled with the glorious simplicity of living life 'κοντά στη γή', one with the land: the food and wine and we grow and eat and drink, the sea we swim in, the meadows in which we wander, the locals that become loved ones, and the sunshine with which we are blessed.

    Sounds like your road trip to Greek residency has taken a terrific twist in the journey!

    Enjoy your last month, here, in your beautiful stone house on the hill, my friend.

    xx
    Poppy

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    1. Thanks so much Poppy for your wonderful words. You've captured it above so well. We will enjoy to the fullest our remaining time here! Kalo Mina! xx Jackie

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  3. So happy to be here, scrolling up and down your lovely pictures and hearing from you. So glad you feel happy and so sad we still didn't find the time to pay a visit.The moment will come though...Big hugs
    Olympia

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    1. Yes, Olympia one of my goals is to meet you during one of our stays here. . .thankfully, they may be getting longer so we'll stand a better chance of doing so! Hugs, Jackie

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  4. Oh, I'm crossing my fingers, Jackie that your permanent residency visa will come through - it all sounds promising! One of my favorite feelings is to look back on a day and think, "This day was just perfect" and your reference to Jim Croce's wonderful song was exactly right. Happiness may indeed be a state of mind but it can also be finding your "happy place" too! P.S. Remember to tuck that bottle in your suitcase for your travels and your temporary return to your US life. 🙂

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    1. A recent houseguest who knows gardening quite well kept describing our gardens as 'happy gardens' and after she left I thought to myself that maybe it is more 'happy garedeners' than the gardens themselves!

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  5. I totally understand that desire to "save time in a bottle". That song speaks to me, too --- more so today than when I first heard it way back when. Good for you throwing logic to the wind and good luck with your continuing path to residency.

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    1. I was going so say that perhaps it is also my age showing and that has prompted this somewhat nostalgic look at life.

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  6. I've often wondered how you could bear to tear yourself away from Greece. It appears, to me way over here anyways, like an idyllic lifestyle. I hope your residency permit comes through soon. And as for saving time in a bottle (I'm going to be singing that in my head all night now), as I've said before....I hope you are writing a book....let me know when it's published and I'll be the first one to buy one. Safe travels home.

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  7. I always love looking at your photos and getting a peek into your life.

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  8. Such lovely way of saying about 'saving time in a bottle'.. Lovely idea, interesting perspective of seeing things. Great post and pictures!
    Best regards and a great weekend in June!

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  9. Whenever we've had a particularly lovely vacation in a particularly pretty place, I've felt the same way in the days before returning home. Bonaire comes to mind, and Guadeloupe. There are all sorts of rational, practical reasons to leave, but I just want to stay!

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  10. What an exciting post! I was lamenting your leaving and was so happy that you found a way to extend the memories!

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  11. Jackie I am so glad to hear that you are going to come back in June. I hope that things will resolve themselves and that will be the end of your road to residency! Finally you will be able to enjoy the summertime here in Greece! Ahh that Jim Croce song bought back a lot of memories.

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  12. Moving right along! Progress, wow! Good luck.

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