I arrived in Athens Saturday on my way home from Corfu. I lived in the city for several months in 2016 and 2017, helping refugees who were navigating the traumatic changes in their lives. The experience changed me, and I left with a deep feeling of connection to the city. This visit, I only had one full day and I planned to enjoy it as an anonymous tourist. That didn’t happen!Continue reading
I arrived last week on Corfu, the largest Greek island in the Ionian Sea, Many Americans know it as the setting for books and movies about the Durrells. Some — and you know who you are– know it as a great place for skinny-dipping on the western beaches, circa 1973. The Greeks call the island “Kerkira” after the nymph who spent her honeymoon here with Poseidon. Poseidon’s decision to name the island after his bride isn’t so romantic, however, considering Poseidon kidnapped Kerkira, but pfft, Greek gods.Continue reading
I recently read an article by American journalist, Chris Hedges, which proposed that “societies are held together by a web of social bonds that give individuals a sense of being part of a collective and engaged in a project larger than the self.” https://riseuptimes.org/2018/12/30/american-anomie-by-chris-hedges/
This simple idea reminded me of the many times friends and family have asked me to describe my “volunteer work” with the refugees in Greece or the Caravan in Mexico. I never have a good answer. I say the people I met were kind and grateful in spite of their physical and emotional challenges. I say they were running from persecution created by the neo-liberal world order and forever wars, that some of them played cards on a blanket under a tree.
I wasn’t sure how I would feel being back in Athens. It is a place of such emotional contrasts for me — its wonderful history and the warmth of the Greeks alongside the tragedy that comes with a collapsed economy, not to mention the heat and pollution of summer. But arriving in Athens on Wednesday, I felt a sweet familiarity. Athens was a partner during the life-changing time I was here among a community of refugees. Continue reading
Three years ago, I went to Greece and my life changed. So I wrote about it.
It has been more than two years since I first arrived on the Greek island of Lesvos where overloaded boats brought refugees to the island’s windy beaches. The people in the boats were mostly young and many were children — wet, cold and hungry, escaping war and persecution in their home countries. Continue reading
Greece is a place of great history, gorgeous islands and rustic countryside. It is the magic of the Acropolis, Delphi, Santorini, Crete and a thousand other Greek places with antiquities, hillsides of olive trees, ouzo, moussaka and dancing like Zorba on a sandy beach. Continue reading
The little town of Nafplio was the first capital of Greece after the Ottoman Turks got the boot in 1822. I can’t help but wonder how different Nafplio would be if the capital hadn’t been moved to Athens. It is just so adorable. And, well, Athens is not.