Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Greece ~ Just a Year Ago. . .

Happiness is not a goal – it’s a by-product of a life well lived.
              -- Eleanor Roosevelt

A year ago this week we packed our bags and headed to San Francisco, California. A short jaunt compared to our usual travels: an hour and a half flight each way, a couple nights stay and we were back home in the Pacific Northwest.

Such a tiny little trip with such a huge impact on our lives.

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The Stone House on the Hill - middle row, far right
Today, sitting in our home in Greece where we are living as full-time expats, I think of that trip as the first domino to fall; setting off a series of  life-changing events. We’d gone to that city by the bay to  make a case for being granted an entry visa to Greece. A face-to-face meeting at the Greek consulate. That began the process of obtaining a permanent resident permit; one that would allow us to stay here longer than 90 days at a time and also allow us to buy and register a car. 

The application process – as you long-time friends and readers know – was a lengthy endeavor and so focused on it were we that we wouldn’t allow ourselves to ponder the possibilities that having it in hand might bring . . .

Pursuing the Possibilities. . .

“We need much less, than we think we need.”
              -- Maya Angelou

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Rainbow over the Mani 
We went from pondering to pursuing possibilities in rapid fire succession once we got those precious little plastic cards proclaiming us residents of our adopted country.

While I often encourage 'pondering possibilities and chasing daydreams' in my writings, there comes a time in life when you’ve either got to act on them or file them away and get on with the status quo. We knew in our hearts and heads, that for these two boomer-aged adventurers, it was time to act.

So here we are. . .now what?

“Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.”
                            -- Pearl S. Buck

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Afternoon coffee break at The Stone House on the Hill

It has taken a year for the dominos to fall into place and for us to settle in to this new lifestyle. Although we returned for full-time living last fall, the reality of being based here didn’t hit until we returned from our six-week visit to the U.S. 

The few days we spent in the Northwest, tagged on to the start and finish of our Hawaiian timeshare life, were interesting. We loved seeing friends there. Time didn’t allow us to see all that we’d have liked, but time is limited when one travels. We lived in hotel rooms, each stay being only a couple miles from what was once our home.

It was unsettling to be in an area we know so well and to slip into the old rhythms and routines: running errands, making appointments and shopping with such ease, yet feeling a bit of an outsider to it as well.

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Wild flowers carpet the olive groves in February
Back at home in Greece we found ourselves returning to our rhythms and routines here as easily as we had in our former Northwest stomping grounds. Just as we got caught up with friends 'back there', we’ve spent the last week getting caught up with friends 'back here'.

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A New Chapter at The Stone House on the Hill
It is the first time we’ve seen the Mani in February. The olive groves are carpeted in wild flowers, almond trees are in bloom and roses are budding. Mother Nature can’t make up her mind to dress for spring or winter so sometimes we have 65F/18C days and others a howling wind and rain.

With the logistics behind us it is time to really live in Greece. The Scout is mapping out travel options in the Peloponnese and further afield on this side of the ocean, we have a stack of books to read (we continue to avoid owning a television) and the seed packets I stuffed in my suitcases when we moved last fall need to be planted. Our days are full. We sleep soundly at night.

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The Stone House on the Hill from the olive grove
We’ll be welcoming three sets of friends who are visiting in the late spring, I’m going to make good on my promise to learn more Greek and my writing journal – that has sat untouched for a year – is going to be filled with scribbles. Who knows? We might even attend that summer Sardine Festival that I’ve whined about missing while high stepping to the “Schengen Shuffle”.

We’ve got a year to enjoy this life before we get back on that Road to Residency and begin our next journey: renewing our residency permits.


“At some point you gotta let go, and sit still and allow contentment to come to you.”
                                                     -- Elizabeth Gilbert

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Sunset in Kardamyli village
It’s been an amazing year and we thank you all for being with us as we leaped hurdles, celebrated successes, stopped at roadblocks and then accelerated at full speed ahead.  We hope you’ll continue to be part of the journey as this is the year when the real fun begins!  See you back here next week and 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 – 
Photo Friday
Weekend Travel Inspiration
Best of Weekend

34 comments:

  1. Hope we will finally meet you this year.Your have made your stone house a stunning home.And the way you take those pictures from Mani explains the way you feel about this region and Greece. Be blessed and take care.
    Olympia

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    1. I think of you every time we drive to or from Athens - I do hope we get an actual face-to-face meeting sometime this year; I would love it!! Happy spring ~ Jackie xx

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    2. You could stop and give me a call Jackie!Just let me know you are passing by!

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  2. Yay!! I love your Eleanor quote too. :-) And I especially loved reading about your life, about what you're doing and planning. It makes me smile to picture you scribbling in your writing journal and planting those treasured seeds.

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    1. Well my plans all sound good but somehow the days seem to just go so fast here - especially after doing the 'chores' that all I want to do is curl up with a good book . . .so we'll see how far I get with the journals and learning Greek! Have a great week Down Under! xxx J.

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  3. Beautiful images. I'm glad everything has worked out so well for you.

    With Love,
    Mandy

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    1. Well so far so good, knock on wood. . . Thanks for the visit!!

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  4. I am so envious of your little house in Greece

    Mollyx

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    1. Keep daydreaming Molly and you too could have a little house in Greece or some other destination you've dreamt of! xx Jackie

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  5. What a beautiful series. Glad you're enjoying your new home, and I'm always glad to see you visit at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2018/02/preparing-for-next-exhibit.html

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    1. And it is always nice to be a part of the image-in-ing linkup! Hopefully I am back on track and will see you all again next week!

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  6. Beautiful! What is not to like about Greece.

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    1. I suppose the cynics out there could find many things to not like, but I prefer the positive! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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  7. This is an absolutely wonderful post. I love what you said about time for action or as l like to put it, put up or shut up. So many people stop short of walking the walk because it is scary, but regrets suck more l think. Like you, I am really feeling Valencia where we currently are. It's hard for me to believe it will be a year in like 2 weeks. I've often said l felt like Goldilocks with regards to Spain. Malaga didn't fit, Seville was awesome but after 2 years, we were okay with leaving. Valencia feels right to both us. So much so, apart from 2 trips (Athens and Prague), I haven't made any more travel plans for the year. We will travel around Spain (famous last words) and discover our backyard. I have started survival Spanish classes and we are moving, but will remain in the same neighborhood. I am looking forward to reading about your life in Greece. Not sure if problem is my side or yours. Sorry if multiple comments.

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    1. Oh I just read yours about your year! Love these ex pat stories and how our lives have become intertwined via the blogosphere! Keep in touch!

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  8. I love Greece! It was the first country I had visited on my own.
    #TravelPhotoThursday

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    1. My first destination on my own was Hawaii and to this day it will always be one of the most magical places we visit!

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  9. Such a change -- and such an adventure! I just visited with a friend who moved to Italy and she said it took about a year to feel "at home." She still speaks only a little of the language. But oh how fun! I love your last photo especially of the sunset. Enjoy, enjoy!

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    1. Thanks much Sharon for the lovely comment. We had been easing ourselves into this lifestyle but the reality didn't hit until we returned 'home' in February. It really IS home! And wouldn't trade the experience for the world.

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  10. “Many people lose the small joys in the hope for the big happiness.”
    -- Pearl S. Buck

    Hear, hear!! Such wise words, aren't they? I know that you have come to really appreciate such a statement, Jackie, from your wonderfully heartwarming words and beautiful images of your adopted country.

    Like you, living the simple life (walks in the countryside, amid masses of wildflowers, views to the sea, FRESH air, SUNLIGHT, organic produce, hospitable folks, the scent of lemon and orange blossoms, church bells, birdsong, goats' bells - did I mention SUNLIGHT?), all of these things are everyday gifts. We are truly blessed, my friend.

    I know you will get to your writing journal in due time, but for now, pat yourself on the back for having started and keeping up THIS one!:))

    Happy weekend,
    xxx
    Poppy

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    1. Poppy, you have listed everything that I simply love about our life here! And this week we have the sand of Africa coloring our world gray - but I even love that! Look forward to your blog posts, so keep them coming!

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  11. Yes go to that sardine festival and then blog about it lol. You are after all our Peloponnese correspondent!

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    1. While I was feeling bad about missing it last year, turns out they didn't hold it. Village leaders couldn't agree on a venue. . .or so the story goes! ;-)

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  12. Suddenly, I told myself, "Why didn't you make Greece part of your Euro itinerary this year?" We are going to Austria, Germany, France, Spain," and Portugal from October to November. I've wanted to see your Stone House on the Hill in person. But I guess I will wait til we are invited!

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  13. Beautiful house and beautiful views! I love reading about all your adventures. I hope to relocate to a new place one day. #TPThursday

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  14. How wonderful to make your home in such a beautiful country! I'm glad it's working out so well.

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  15. Hi Jackie. It's been so interesting learning all that you've gone thru to establish residency status in Greece. I can see why you've made the effort, as it would be hard to beat the wonderful view you have from the Stone House on the Hill. Enjoy!

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  16. Reading about your residency process and the steps you've gone through has been interesting. Looking at the pictures in this post, it's easy to see why you went through the work. Enjoy the year.

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  17. I've enjoyed following your posts about your love of Greece and making a way to become a Greek resident at your lovely Stone House on the Hill! Maybe I'll come visit someday and help with the olive harvest! (Love the quotes you've included, too!)

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  18. I always enjoy reading about your life as expats in Greece. I have never been to Greece, but I hope to be able to visit soon.Your lovely photos certainly make me want to visit sooner rather than later!

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  19. I love following your progress. It is so inspiring.

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  20. Interesting story of your journey to life as an expat in Greece. How did you come to choose Greece as your new home? I visited the Ionian Islands several decades ago and loved it. I always supposed I'd return to Greece but haven't, though I can see a trip back somewhere in my future.

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  21. I've loved following your very inspiring journey!

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  22. Life is all about the small joys, isn't it Jackie? I think that your picture of the coffee cup on the wall overlooking the valley and houses below sums up that thought perfectly. I can't believe that it's been a year already since you set off on the first step of the expat odyssey and know that you'll say the hoops that you needed to jump through and the cumbersome bureaucracy really were worth the effort. It's rather disconcerting too, to visit a place you once called home and find yourself a bit of a stranger despite the familiar locations. That happens every time we return to the US now (we're going on 6 years of living outside the country) and it's always good to return home to Portugal.

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So happy to see you took the time to comment. We read them all - and each is much appreciated. We hope you will be a regular here and comment often!

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