I have to take a moment here to laugh a little. I was just talking to someone earlier today about how we are both fairing during this stay home order during this time that the corona virus has taken hold of the world. I told her I was doing okay and I attributed it to my 3 months in Greece without almost any communication with my parents and having an island to explore. Then I laughed out loud and said “I’ve got about 1 month left before I snap.” I try to imagine myself back out in public and interacting with people and it feels so foreign to me at this point. I have only spent one afternoon with 2 of my 3 children in this past 2 months and that is the most difficult part. My other daughter lives in Los Angeles and I have no idea when I will see her again. We talk often but there is nothing like hugging your children. I often wonder if my parents felt these same feelings while I was half way around the world. I like to think they did but so much was happening while I was gone that when I came back home it was a huge adjustment. They managed to sell our home and move while I was away and no one told me. I had to start at a new school and I felt sad about that. No goodbye’s to my friends and now attending a school with a completely different classroom environment. It’s one thing to know you are moving, but only finding out after you return home is a crappy way to hear the news even at 10 years old. I think it set the tone of my gypsy spirit of constantly moving throughout my life. Where is home? That permanent place where you say “Hey, I’m good right here.” I digress. Sometimes you have to go off the rails a bit and loop back around because the back story is part of why I write.
What filled my time for 3 months was a look into the life my grandparents left behind. They wanted the American Dream but I had the benefit of learning it all from my yiayia with the knowledge that this was an adventure of a lifetime and I got to go home when it was over. I loved all of it!
One of the first things I learned for survival was if I wanted water, I had to go get it. Every..single..day. Most of our time was spent in Faros and I can’t even call it a house. It was a room on the beach. Very primitive. There was a well near the house’ish and we got what we needed on a daily basis. If we were up in the village, we had to walk to a well that was for all the families in the village. No plumbing in either of our two most frequented locales. It felt like a treat the few times we were in Ayios. My aunts house did have plumbing (no hot water) and electricity but that was rare that we spent time there. That was where we tried to wash my hair and have the closest thing to a shower. There was a utility room below her house and we would set up for the battle. I remember the last time we went through this torture my yiayia looked at me and said she is going to tell my mother I need a haircut. Salt water and hair down to your butt is not easy to care for under those conditions. I almost always had my hair braided for this reason. Again, I draw the parallel of my current situation. Until a few days ago my hair could touch the top of my pants in the back. Thank you corona virus for reminding me why I hated my hair that long.
What I remember the most about each lesson of day to day living were the stories my yiayia shared with me. Her role as the oldest of 11 surviving siblings and her daily chores which she would teach me over this time.
Fetching water was only the beginning.