The tiny cubicle overlooking the village of Agios Nikolaos had once served as a living room in the apartment-turned-Notary's Office. Those of us gathered within it on that bright, but brisk, December afternoon, gave little mind to the view we had from it of the village and its harbor.
|Notary's office in tall building in the distance|
We'd wanted another adventure, a 'final fling' before we got too old, and this was it, I told myself, as I looked about and thought how foreign - and absurd - everything felt at that moment.
|Buyers, sellers, attorney and realtor in the taverna|
When finally the reading was completed and the signatures of sellers and buyers, initials of buyers, official government stamps and more stamps and Notary signatures were in place on multiple pages of the document, it was time for the money to be paid (done by check and cash back then - no new fangled things like wire transfers).
|We'd bought a house in Greece!|
Just like that we'd bought a home in Greece. It was time for those gathered to move next door for a drink at the taverna.
'We'll give it five years,' we'd said at the time, leaving ourselves wiggle room to close this new chapter and return to the rather predictable and routine (and, if truth be told, sometimes boring) life we had left behind in the United States.
Six years later. . .
|The Stone House on the Hill|
I write this in my den overlooking the upper garden at our small stone house, The Stone House on the Hill. This spitaki, small house, became our full-time residence three year's after we purchased it. Had someone told us on that mid-December day as the purchase formalities were taking place, that we'd be selling our home of 30-years in a Seattle suburb and moving our citified selves some 8,000 miles away to a rural area of the Greek Peloponnese, we'd have laughed.
|Messinian Gulf from the Mani|
Our decision to buy a home in the Mani, in Greece was not done as result of a lifelong plan to live here in our retirement. It wasn't prompted by unhappiness with the country's politics where we lived. We weren't seeking to escape anything. We didn't spend years looking for the right place. It just happened. I compare it to finding that one soulmate and partner with whom you want to spend your life:
It simply felt right. And it still does.
|Agios Nikolaos - our village|
Moving to a foreign country isn't for everyone. But those who have done it - whether for an extended stay or even those who divide their lives between two countries -- understand that little niggle that makes people like us want to stretch their comfort zones by immersing themselves in a different culture and country.
|Road Repair one of The Scout's new skills|
Now stretching that comfort zone has been, I will admit, difficult and downright frustrating at times. Turning off 'life's remote control' and having to participate with your whole head, heart and soul to get even the most simple of tasks accomplished, to make yourself understood without a command of the language or to understand the events occurring around you is wearing.
|The thrill of tasting our home grown olive oil|
On the flip side, each time you realize you have expanded your comfort zone a bit further it is most satisfying, sometimes downright exhilarating. 'It worked!' or 'It is done!' have never been said with as much enthusiasm as we say those phrases here.
As most expats would agree, you can't help but be changed by the experience - hopefully for the better. There are things about the lifestyle that could drive you nuts, yet, its quirks are what make life interesting. An adventure. And that's exactly what we wanted.
Six Years Later - The Chapter Continues
|The Stone House on the Hill|
|Our entry stairs - who needs a Stairmaster?|
There will come a time our charming Stone House on the Hill with its comforting olive grove and drop-dead territorial views and massive amount of stairs will be too much for old hearts, knees and legs. These days we've modified our original agreement to that of, 'we hope we have another five years' here'.
|A toast to adventures|
If we don't, we will still agree that our 'last big adventure' didn't disappoint. Sometimes, though, we have started speculating that, 'maybe there is a new adventure left in us yet?' You don't suppose there might be another chapter just waiting to be written do you?
Thanks for the time you spent with us today and to the many of you who have been with us since this adventure began, our thanks for your continued interest and support. You have been a special part of our journey! Our best wishes to you and yours ~ stay safe and healthy!
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