Goodbye My Wonderful Hellas

IMG_0879My 90 day visa is up and the rules say I have to leave Europe.  I am not ready to leave. Greece has meant so much to me, a place of beauty, community, philosophy and kindness.

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Greece has a special kind of beauty — dramatic and pastoral, rugged and hospitable.

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Greeks love their myths and their history. During a 40 minute ride to the airport, my cab driver told me the meaning of a dozen Greek words, recited from one of his favorite Greek poems and clarified that Phaedra was a muse, not a goddess.

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I have made many references to Greek generosity. And now I understand my CPUC friend, Janet Econome.

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Greece has a very distinct Greek culture but is also a place of cultural diversity. These musicians from western Africa were amazing.

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I met so many friends. Here is Nanci, who works on energy issues in Oakland, with Sayed, who overcame extreme hardship on his journey from Afghanistan with his wife and 3 children to find safety in Europe.

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Some of my new friends are animals. I will always remember waking to the clanging sheep bells in Molyvos.

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I learned that politicians in suits can use hippy words. The Mayor of Mytilene refers to Lesvos as “the island of peace” and “a place of solidarity”. The kite was displayed outside his office.

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I learned what it feels like to understand that we are all in this together.

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And I learned that sometimes you can relax and not worry that someone is going to step on you.

Here is a stanza from a wonderfully evocative poem written by Odysseus Elytis, Nobel Prize winner from Lesvos:

You have a taste of tempest on your lips—But where did you wander
All day long in the hard reverie of stone and sea?
An eagle-bearing wind stripped the hills
Stripped your longing to the bone
And the pupils of your eyes received the message of chimera
Spotting memory with foam!

I have a plan to return to Greece but for now I am in Armenia!

8 comments

  1. Hey, I recognized Nanci Clifton. Her sons were classmates of mine. Small world. That is what you have done for us, your readers…made the world a little smaller. Now of to your reflections and writings. Blessings on your inner journey.

    1. Meeting Nanci was itself a small world experience. She had been doing some work in my little corner of the energy world but I met her because a mutual friend heard we were both volunteering on Lesvos. Nice to hear from you Ann.

  2. Kim, I love your photos of the sheep with bells, the reference to Janet, and the poem. Thank you! Hope you are enjoying your arrival in Armenia. xoxo

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