Friday, September 28, 2018

Stretching Our Horizons ~ Mani to Manson

You are the one who can stretch your own horizon.
              -- Edgar Magnin

I like the idea of stretching our horizons but when it requires a 22-hour day of air planes and airports followed a few days later by a four-hour cross-state driving trip, I’ll admit I was questioning the need for such expansion.

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Lufthansa brought us from Athens to Seattle -

If you’ve been a part of our adventures for any length of time, you know we are American expats who live full-time in Greece. We pulled up roots in the US just over a year ago and set off to ‘live differently’ for awhile. Remnants of our US life went into a storage unit and we set off for adventure.

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Our Stone House on the Hill in the Mani, Greek Peloponnese
It didn’t take too many months though before we started asking ourselves: Do we really want to keep paying for an expensive storage unit in the Seattle suburbs? Do we need a U.S. address? Do we need a place to call our home when the adventure ends?

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The other end of the horizon - Manson, Washington

The answers resulted in the latest stretch of our horizon.  We still live full-time in rural Greece, but also have just moved into a home in rural Washington State.  It is the ‘just in case’ place where our belongings are a bit more lovingly stored and comes with an assurance we have a place to go when the dreaded ‘if’ appears on our current horizon. . .if Greece doesn’t renew our residency permit. . .if health (mental or physical) dictate an early end to our adventure. . .if we tire of ‘living differently’ elsewhere in the world. We've had reports that a 'Medicane' (Mediterranean hurricane is barreling towards the Peloponnese this weekend while we are in the States moving so we are hoping that one of those 'if's' isn't, 'if a storm destroys our home while we are away. . .'

While some might call us prudent others might see us as paranoid.  We simply see it as stretching our horizons once again.  Hopefully to include the best of both worlds.

From one end of the horizon to the other

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Lake Chelan on the left, Messinian Bay on the right
It seems we are drawn to water.  We wanted to be near the water no matter where we landed on earth. In Washington State, our new village of Manson sits on the shores of a 55-mile-long glacier-fed lake. In The Mani, we are in Greece’s Peloponnese – overlooking  the Messinian Bay (where the Aegean and Ionian seas meet).

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Agios Nikolaos - Messinias Mani

We are Village people.  We’ve adjusted to village life in Greece like fish to water. The fishing village, Agios Nikolaos, (Saint Nikolas) and still called by its Slavic name Selinitsa by many locals, has a few hundred year round residents.

It swells with tourists in the summer.

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St. Andrews Episcopal Church - 1897 built of logs - oldest building in Chelan

Manson, where we’ve re-planted our American roots had a population of just over 1,400 in the last census. It is an unincorporated community seven miles beyond the larger town of Chelan, with a year-round population of about 4,000.

Chelan and Manson swell with tourists in the summer.


Groves and orchards Our Greek life puts us smack dab in the midst of the Land of Kalamata olives. In fact our home is in a small olive grove and The Scout has dusted off his orcharding skills (learned in his family’s Chelan apple orchard decades ago) and put them to use in Greece.

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The Stone House on the Hill from our olive grove 
Now, we’ll be returning to that same agricultural area where he honed his skills and be surrounded by those orchards that haven’t given way to vineyards.

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Manson Vineyards
Vino with a View: In the Chelan/Manson area wineries have been sprouting at an amazing rate of speed; they number in the dozens. Apple orchards began giving way to vineyards a couple decades ago and the growth of the industry hasn’t slowed. The photo below was taken at Nefarious Cellars and vineyard which are on the site of what used to be The Scout’s family apple orchard.

It will be fun to be walking distance to several ‘tasting rooms’ – those places operated either by a single winery or by individuals offering a variety of wines – and also easy driving distance to wineries themselves.  Hopefully our visits to Manson will coincide with those facilities being in operation.

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Nefarious Cellars - on The Scout's old apple orchard
Regular readers know we sing the praises of Greek wines, served by the pitcher at restaurants – good quality without pretense and usually so inexpensive that we still are marveling at their incredible low prices. And much of our favorite wine is grown and produced right here in the Peloponnese. (We have been shell-shocked at wine prices in Manson: $10US for a glass would buy us two liters of wine in the Mani!)

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Wine at sunset at the Stone House on the Hill
So our quest to expand our horizons continues as we this week begin moving our things into the house in Manson.  While in so many ways our two worlds are similar, in many ways they are vastly different (I'll tell you about those in a future post). But it will keep life exciting (perhaps a bit disjointed as well).

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They moved us out of our old world and are moving us into the new one
We’ve allotted ourselves three weeks in which to get our belongings organized and all the logistics of establishing a new residence completed.  We’ve not had a lot of down time since our arrival but hopefully by next week the internet will be functioning and I’ll have time to give you an ‘inside’ peek at the other end of our expanded horizon.

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The Scout and the realtor in front of our Manson house
Again, thanks for all of you who’ve come along on this adventure – either in real time or in the blogosphere. We are most appreciative of the time you spend with us and are grateful for your help and words of encouragement.

Until next week, safe travels to you and yours ~

Linking this week with:
Through My Lens
Our World Tuesday
Wordless Wednesday
Communal Global
Travel Photo Thursday – 
Best of Weekend

33 comments:

  1. I think (for what it's worth) it's a good idea to have a foot planted in each of your best lives. One in Greece, one in the US. My hubby is always telling me that we don't know what life will bring, so why not position ourselves as best we can. Curious as to what you will do for yard care while you're in Greece? Have you hired a gardener, and have you set in place someone to keep an eye on your house? As you know we recently bought a house and we consider ourselves extremely fortunate in that we landed in a fantastic neighborhood with good and kind neighbors who will keep a watchful eye when we wing back across the pond. I hope you have the same good fortune. Safe travels and keep living your best life!

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    1. We are in a planned development here, which means gated community and home owners association (vastly different from our Mani home and a future blog post in the making). We lucked out and have two retired police officers as our backyard neighbor and they've been keeping an eye on our place. As for yard care, the HOA hires a gardener who mows the lawns in the front as part of our fees and then we can hire him for backyard and additional gardening. The yard is so small here that it has cost $15 a week -- a very reasonable price to our way of thinking. He also shuts off exterior water for the winter (it does get cold and snow here) and winterizes the place. We both seem to have calmed knowing we do have a 'just in case' place! Thanks for the good wishes.

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    2. Sounds as if you landed in the ideal situation with the gated community. One of the things I learned having traveled through Europe and having lived in Porto, is that I realized even tho I love our home-away-from-home in Porto, when those "golden" years arrive it's good to have a home base near our support system. We know how to navigate and negotiate through life here (the system if you will) it's not as easy in another country. That light bulb moment led to us re-establishing a base here in the US. But, there are MANY roads to be traveled before that time, it's just good to know (as I'm sure you'll agree) the duckies are aligned. :)

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  2. That is great news. It will be wonderful having a base in such a beautiful area and if you do have to return to the USA you won't have to bother about setting up. Perfect.

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    1. It is nice seeing our things in a home again and knowing we can come back at will. Hearts are still in the Mani but it is good having that fall back plan. Thanks for stopping by Jan - hope to get back to reading blogs by next week and I'll head over to see what you've been up to!

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  3. Southern Crete is taking a battering from the weather at the moment, although not as severe as the news implies. There are of course no ferries sailing and a few stranded tourists here in the bay, but from a distance it appears Sfakia seems to be catching the waves. It's rare to see them topping the little island here. We have friends whose flight has been delayed into Heraklion but with the strength of the wind it's hardly surprising. Our thoughts are with you for safe return and that the Stone House is OK. In the meantime, good luck with the packing cases.

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  4. Well the photos of the Mani are downright horrific but it sounds (knock on wood) like it is mainly sand and debris and no deaths and huge damage. Stay safe and enjoy Crete! Thanks for the update on conditions there~ xxx J and J

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  5. It looks like you have a foot on both continents and the opportunity to enjoy the best of both the old world charm of Greece and the new world conveniences and infrastructure of the US. Your two homes are lovely and keeping your options open with a back-up plan will help you be prepared for many future scenarios. I think that it's a real gift for those of us who have the ability to feel at home in many places and enjoy how life unfolds wherever we are!

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    1. You have nailed it - again - Anita. . .I am so surprised at how 'at home' we feel here. Somehow the big picture surroundings don't matter as long as you have something that you can call 'home'. We still find ourselves a bit of a novelty though: the realtor said, "So you'll be spending, what? Eight months here and four in Greece?" and we said, "Oh no. We'll spend a few weeks here - this is an investment and storage for our belongings, we'll continue to live in Greece." (Blank, somewhat open-mouthed stare was his response). :-)

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  6. I understand your caution in wanting to have a back-up plan in case of a Greek 'if' happening but I couldn't imagine having a second house to look after, repair and worry about - especially one on the other side of the world.

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    1. Actually the house we sold was a handful to look after but as part of the downsizing we have a smaller home, far less yard and space and we are in what is called a planned unit development/gated community here. So the place is secure with locked gates the homeowner's association pays for all common area maintenance both summer gardening and winterizing and snow removal. We will be able to lock this one up and leave without the fretting we had with our home in Kirkland. Our government and related bureaucratic agencies have made ex pat life difficult n many ways as not having a US residence address has often made us square pegs in round holes. It is good to fill in the blanks now as we conform to society's norms (in a manner of speaking ;-)

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  7. I think you are wise to have a plan in case the "ifs" arrive. Your new home is lovely and I am sure you feel better having your possessions in a house instead of storage. I admire how you picked up and moved to Greece and I admire your planning for the time you might want or need to come back to the U.S.

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    1. It is good having a base here that doesn't look like a morgue! While we hope for many more years in Greece we know we've got a 'just in case place' in our pockets now! Thanks for stopping by Marilyn!

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  8. Your horizons are now complete. But it must be costly maintaining and living in 2 homes! But if you can, this is the best of both worlds!

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    1. Actually the monthly costs of our US home are $87 more a month than was the cost of renting a storage unit. With a home we have an investment - not throwing money out the window with storage rental fees. And home prices in Greece and Eastern Washington are so much better than the Seattle suburbs that owning two homes isn't that costly at all. We can have the best of both worlds! Thanks for stopping by Carol and enjoy your time in Europe!

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  9. As a European country, Greece certainly offers a lot of security and comfort. Probably the health insurance will also pay more than in the United States? Personally, I notice that the older I get, the less I want to own and the more flexibility I desire to plant my roots elsewhere from time to time. I wish you all the best with your two homes and the looooong flights ...

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    1. Actually health insurance (to get the coverage level we need for the Greek residency permit requirements) are a pain in the butt (sorry for the language). And costly. The plan we got last year just increased its rates to more than $600 US a month and we have had a terrible time getting them to pay claims in a timely manner. Thanks much for stopping by this week!!

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  10. Hi Jackie! I must say, i am surprised by your decision to acquire a second home. At our stage of life, we’re supposed to be downsizing & simplifying! I wish you luck with both.

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    1. We are downsizing and simplifying in this second home. It is smaller and we have far less stuff now than we did during our move out last summer. It is also in a planned unit development which means little upkeep for us other than paying the monthly homeowner fees. And we know that someday our Stone House on the Hill will be too much for old bodies to navigate. . .we didn't want to wait until we 'had' to find something as we feared we might have been priced out of the market. Thanks for the good wishes ~

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  11. I think if it makes you feel better to have a foot in both places, then you should. One can not predict life. My thoughts change from time to time, but we have more flexibility of course in case things go pear shaped. Good luck with the settling in. I also get shocked when l see wine prices elsewhere.. like total shock!! :-)

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    1. Many things about the States are providing culture shock - prices, people's behaviors and attitudes just to name a few. . .it is nice to know we have a home to go to in Greece and a great 'storage unit' for our things in the US. And now we fit society's norms: an address that fits in forms of US agencies and businesses! :-)

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  12. All I can say is I am so envious of your home in Greece and your freedom to have two homes in different parts of the world.

    Mollyx

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    1. Hi Molly, I have to say that it has been nice to enjoy the comforts of a US home (clothes dryer, dish washer, television) but we are looking forward to heading back to Greece and our home there. . .and where we will spend the majority of our time (knock on wood!). Thanks for stopping by. . . xxJackie

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  13. I love all your photos. I think you are wise to get a home in the USA. After all you still likely have family and loved ones there and from time to time you want to return for various thing so it's good to have a home base. I'm glad you adjusted well to village life in Greece.

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    1. I think it was easier adjusting to Greek village life than returning here and adjusting to US life. Time will tell and we love our home in the US and our home in Greece. We are blessed! Thanks so much for stopping by ~ hope you'll be back soon!!

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  14. A very interesting story - so many parallels, as you have shown us! In today's world, it seems a prudent idea to have a back-up plan in case the worst happens!

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    1. Angie, that is what we finally decided: prudent is the way to go and it makes life so much easier on so many levels, just as it adds levels to the experience. Thanks much for stopping by - hope you'll be back soon!

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  15. I get exhausted just trying to follow you on the internet and I certainly could not keep up with you two in real life. Good luck to you and it is a good idea to have the home in the US. SO many of my Greek-American friends wish they also had a place to stay in the States.

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    1. Well the practicalities finally won out, Mary. The health insurance we purchased to keep the Greek government happy and provide us coverage, has just raised its rates to astronomical levels - time to apply for Medicare and its sidekick coverage in the states and reapply for Greek only insurance which will keep the government happy as we reapply for residency there. There are many pluses to having a US residence address especially when dealing with bureaucracy!

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  16. You sound practical to me. That's great you found a rural place to live in the U.S.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and I do think it was a prudent move on our part!

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  17. Your new house is lovely...and in a beautiful state.
    I think you are very wise to cover yourselves like this.."things happen" and now you have a place to live in the states if any of those "things" do happen. Good luck in everything you do.
    Love, bj

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  18. Sounds like a wise plan. It's better to be prepared, plus it seems to solve some logistical problems. Thanks for sharing this at Best Of The Weekend!

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