‘If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.’
-- Dr. Wayne Dyer
|Our Maggie Mae watches the world from The Stone House on the Hill|
We are now a few weeks short of our first anniversary as full-time expats. By whatever measure: One year. Three hundred sixty five days. Twelve months. Four seasons. We've managed to make our goal of ‘living differently’ before old age, health or common sense prevented us from doing so.
As I’ve told you periodically throughout the year, our change of latitude -- from a suburban Pacific Northwest city to village life among the olive groves in the rural Greek Peloponnese -- has prompted new behaviors in us both. We’ve developed new skills and been surprised by the resurfacing of some of the long lost talents within us.
|From Seattle suburbs to Agios Nikolaos - a change in latitude|
It isn’t the latitude, but it and the way of life, that has prompted most of the change in attitude. Some of the changes have happened so gradually that I was rather gobsmacked by just how differently we – especially, me -- see things now.
I'll look back on this
because it was
and I decided to
Less is More (than Enough)
A small rectangular glass casserole is my serving dish, baking, roasting and marinade pan. If I bake a cake in it, I plan my subsequent cooking to synch with when it will be empty. In our previous life I had stacks of such dishes, which I didn’t ever really use but I sure liked knowing they were there IF
I needed them. Our tiny Greek kitchen just doesn’t have the space for all the gadgets I once routinely had stored away for occasional use in our U.S. life.
|Old-life walk in closet; new life cubby hole.|
Speaking of tiny, take our bedroom closet. Well, it isn’t a closet. It’s more an armoire and a definite downsize from the walk-in closet in our old life. No walking into this one. In fact the bedroom is so small there’s no walking past it either if the other of us is standing at the end of the bed. Our far-fewer clothes co-mingle in this tiny space. Seasonal items get folded up and put in storage bags until they are needed. A small clothes rack holds daily wear. Shoes -- instead of lining the length of a closet – sit together on a small rack.
I remember last year wondering how
we’d (I’d!) ever be able to live – full time!! -- with such little storage and so few things. Now, I wonder why
we/I had all that stuff?
|The local junk man collects unwanted metal and hauls it away|
It's those changes in latitudes,
Changes in attitudes nothing remains quite the same.
-- Jimmy Buffett
Paciencia manana es otro dia – Patience, tomorrow is another day
I’ve concluded, by watching us deal with situations here, that our American upbringing and lifestyle encourages a lack of patience. We expect a quick fix/repair/response to all problems and situations.
However, Greece – like Mexico where the phrase above was a daily mantra -- is still attempting to teach us to have patience. If it doesn’t get done/fixed/repaired/solved today, there’s always the promise of tomorrow.
And what’s the rush anyway? We wait for parts to be delivered to stores, we wait for repairmen to appear, and wait for our mail to arrive once-a-week, on Thursdays. We even wait in our car when the driver of the car in front of us stops in the middle of the road, rolls down his/her window and chats with the person driving the car going the opposite direction.
Life continues on and we are really no worse for not getting things done with immediacy.
|Kalamata coffee houses - no rush, no worry|
We collected another example this week in Kalamata when we had back-to-back appointments at the dentist and the hair salon. We had them synchronized down to the time it would take to walk between the two places. Then the dentist arrived at work 20 minutes late. As the first one in her chair, I told her I had only about 40 minutes until my next appointment. Her response, “You want me to call your next appointment and tell them you will be late?”
I was late to the salon, as was The Scout
, who followed in the scheduling progression, but we seemed the only two to care about it. The teeth were cleaned and the hair was cut . . .paciencia, manana es el otro dia.
You get time to appreciate things.
Perspective, you start looking at things differently. .
-- Tupac Shaker
Building a New World
I’ll admit now that I was the one who fretted most about ‘leaving friends behind’. While I wanted to live differently, I also wanted to keep things the same when it came to ‘my world’: I had friends I met for coffee and others for lunch and others with whom I chatted on a regular basis.
We all vowed to stay in touch.
Of course that wasn’t going to happen.
We knew it as we said it.
But several of us do stay in touch by writing long chatty emails (almost as good as face-to-face). Other friends have thrilled us by making the effort to come visit – most by combining a visit to our place with visiting some other destination on this side of the Atlantic. We’ve had quality time with those guests and spend hours in conversation and laughter that we likely wouldn’t have made the time for back in the U.S.
|Off for a morning coffee with my friend|
In our new world, I now have a regular coffee date with a friend here and instead of hopping in the car as I used to and racing to the coffee shop, I walk our twisty road down our hill, through olive groves to a beach cafe. My friend follows a similar route. The walk and the coffee take most of our morning – but, why not? There’s always tomorrow for the things we don’t get done today.
|A new world is built: friends gathering for Easter Dinner |
As a couple, we have new circle of friends with whom we socialize regularly and to whom we know we can turn to for help if needed. Coffee, lunch or dinner with them can span hours – and again, if something doesn’t get done because of it, there’s always tomorrow.
Chelan, Washington: 48.027 latitude
The Mani, Peloponnese: 36.84 latitude
It seems somewhat ironic that as our first year comes to a close we are heading back to Washington State to move those remaining belongings from our suburban storage unit near Seattle to our new house in the Chelan/Manson area of rural eastern Washington State. We’ll be out of the internet world for awhile next week, but I’ll report back on our Northwest moving adventures as soon as we are again 'connected'.
And by mid- October we’ll be back to our hillside home in the Peloponnese to start the next chapter of ‘living differently’.
Safe travels to you and yours. And thanks for the time you spend with us on these adventures of ours and for all the support you’ve given us through your comments and messages. It is good to have you with us, no matter which latitude we find ourselves. See you soon!
Linking this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Travel Photo Thursday –
Best of Weekend