I mustered up a grimace of a smile and squirmed a bit in my chair saying, “Signome (sorry). . . but it is the first time for me.”
“Do not worry. . .” she repeated as she bent over my head, paintbrush in hand and went to work.
|Sunset in the village of Kardamyli|
Voula, the hairdresser’s English was limited and my Greek simply a whisper of necessary phrases. A Greek friend had written in my notebook new phrases I might need, like, “I want to look at the colors. . . Mix the colors. . .Highlights.’
I’d pointed to them as Voula offered a reassuring smile and repeated the English phrase, “Do not worry.”
Then it was done. Check. Another ‘first’ in this ex pat life behind me.
Sometimes that little notebook seems to be our cheat sheet to living. It holds phrases, words, names, notes on things like how to order a loaf of bread at the bakery (using Greek words and not pointing) and an oft-used chart of the Greek alphabet and its translation to letters in English.
We've found at times the approach to completing a task is so vastly different from what we knew that we don’t think we’ll ever get the hang of ‘it’ - whatever ‘it’ happens to be at that particular moment. Other times they are so remarkably similar that we sail through with the greatest of ease and then chuckle at the similarities; much like the hair appointment.
So, how do you live?During our six-week sojourn back on U.S. soil we were often asked about living in a foreign country – not deep soul-searching questions like, “How’s your view of the world changed?” or “How have you changed?” but more questions about day-to-day living here in the rural countryside of the Greek Peloponnese. There is a certain curiosity about living differently. So today I'm answering a few of those questions again . . .
* You have a washer and dryer don’t you?
|Clothes are hung on the line to dry|
Yes, we have a washer: brand new with a multi-page handbook – all in Greek – that undoubtedly tells us all the settings and special things it can do. We don't read Greek so we've pushed the button that makes it run and each load is washed for the same length of time in whatever the temperature the machine was set at when we purchased it. (No longer do I have to worry about delicates vs. normal settings, hot vs. warm water.)
No dryer. Clothes, bedding and towels are hung outside to dry but for a few weeks in deepest, darkest December and early January, when storms and cooler temperatures prevent drying. Summer’s drying time is a couple of hours and other season’s could take a couple of days.
Wash day is determined by the weather – not the amount of dirty clothes. (When necessary, we hang things on the foldup/fold out clothes racks inside.)
*Do you still go to a gym to work out? Are there places near you to walk or jog?
|'Stairmasters' at The Stone House on the Hill|
There are exercise facilities in Kalamata, the big city an hour to our north, which makes it too far to go to on a daily basis. We do get a workout in the yard and olive grove. Numerous articles have been written about exercising in your garden so we think of ours as our garden gym – and being on a hillside provides a natural ‘StairMaster’ workout.
We could ride bikes along the village roads if we were so inclined – we aren’t. And so many paths and walks to be taken in the nearby countryside that we will never get to them all.
*Do you cook at home? Is there a supermarket nearby?
|From my kitchen cupboard|
As evidenced by the items pictured above – all of which I purchased at supermarkets here – we can get a taste of the old life quite easily.(BTW, we prefer the oregano-flavored potato chips sold in Greece.)
What is nice about shopping here is that we can get items like Italian cheeses for a fraction of the cost we’d have paid in the United States. We also have some great fresh Greek cheeses. On the other hand, I paid nearly 7 euros (about $8.50US) for a small jar of Skippy peanut butter. but when you miss peanut butter, you pay the price – and eat it sparingly.
|A vegetable garden in the making|
|Flower vendor in Platsa|
*So do you have water, sewer, garbage like in the States?
We do have ‘city water’ at our house; just not quite sure which village provides the municipal water. However its high mineral content makes it undrinkable from the tap (just like our timeshare in Scottsdale, AZ) so drinking water comes from the fountains scattered about the villages. We have a septic tank.
We take our garbage to municipal bins located throughout the villages and on the roads between them. From those regular garbage trucks pick up the refuse and deliver it to waste sites. We do have recycling efforts here and bins to separate plastics, paper, metal and glass.
|Getting drinking water and hauling garbage|
But ‘making a water or garbage run’ usually is tied into having a cappuccino or a glass of wine so those 'chores' end up being a treat.
|Cappuccinos after a garbage run - what a treat!|
We’ll be back next week with travel tales and stories of life in Greece. As always, we appreciate the time you spend with us here and love reading your comments and emails. Safe travels to you and yours ~
*The title for today’s post is borrowed from one of my favorite reads: an autobiography written by Agatha Christie Mallowan (the Grand Dame of mystery books) that chronicles her life back in the 1930’s when she and her archaeologist husband, Max, lived at ‘dig sites’ in the Middle East.
It is a small book but a fun read for those who want to live differently or just want to take an armchair getaway to another place and time.
Linking up this week with some or all of these fine folks:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday –
Weekend Travel Inspiration
Best of Weekend