As I reflect back on this journey I have referenced a silly facebook post I made on Jan 30,2009. It was a type of post that challenged you to share “25 Random Things that apparently I am going to share with you.” I remember that when I did this I actually printed it out for future reference. I wan’t sure where I would reference it ever again until I started blogging. This has been my outline for this story that I have shared. This is my final post about my first to trip Greece and I will probably share more about my beautiful island, but I have to dial into why I started this blog in the first place and do an emotional check up on me and you! I hope you have enjoyed the distraction because it has brought an immeasurable smile to my face remembering such a happy time of my life. I think we need more smiles in the world.
Have you ever been to a Greek festival? Or visited any of the islands during a celebration? I highly encourage you to explore this if there is an opportunity. As a young child growing up in this culture I always went to church dances. I learned how to add flare to the steps of all the dances. I learned to feel free and happy when in this space. This was amplified when I got to experience it on the island as a young girl. My yiayia took me to every panagiri we could attend and when I tell you she let me dance until the sun came up, it is not an exaggeration! We party until we are done…and that can be days in some cases. What is the rush in celebrating? Why is there a time limit? Dance until you are done dancing no matter how long it takes. I like to think I still haven’t stopped. I feel it in my heart. As far as the “flare” I thought I had, the islanders took it to another level. At first you step back and watch and learn and then you just jump in. There are no wrong moves. Just keep the line moving. Haha.
I took advantage of 3 months and explored everywhere I could go. I left no stone un-turned. Our world is beautiful and I have held that love to explore close to my heart anywhere I have traveled since. I want to see ALL the things that make our planet magical. There was one more adventure to have though before I headed back to the states.
We had packed up and closed up our little shack on the remote part of the island and we started working our way back to Agios Kyrikos to spend the last few weeks before departing to Athens. While in Agios we took several trips up to Tsouretho to visit family. My Theo Yianni told me on one of those trips that he was taking me to our vineyard, picking grapes and then I was going to make wine with my feet. Ha! What?! And that is what we did. He walked me into the vineyard and showed me which grapes were ready and we spend an entire day collecting grapes. The next day would begin lesson #2 of wine making. I am 10 years old and I am laughing at how ridiculous this is for a child. You know what? It was a blast! The next morning Theo brought me to the very large tub/basin/vat and he had me remove my shoes and wash my feet. Next to the vat were all the grapes we harvested. I jumped into the vat and he added the grapes. This doesn’t happen all at once. You stomp a portion of them and keep stomping until the juice is removed and then you keep adding more. Of all the memories I have from this trip, this one was bittersweet. My Theo and yiayia were laughing while he was bottling the wine and telling me we would share some on my return to the island one day. I cannot tell you how many times I giggle at the episode of I Love Lucy when Lucy and Ethel are grape stompers. I did not have a cute outfit like that, but I had just as much fun! I never got to share that bottle of wine with Theo because he drank it all before my next trip back. But he did teach me how to make moonshine too and then again on my return. I have all the pictures to back this up.
My journey to Greece had come to a close and yiayia took me back to Athens and put me on an airplane back home to the U.S. Years later, as a grown woman and after my return from California from a broken relationship and a very broken soul and heart, my mom picked up the phone and said “Get your passport ready. I’m taking you to Greece for the summer.” I took my mom everywhere! All the stories I told her I could finally point to and say “This is what I was telling you about.” We surprised yiayia on that trip. She did not know we were coming to Greece so as we were dragging our suitcases down the beach, she spotted us from my uncle’s veranda and yelled at us out of shear happiness. We sat there, the 3 of us, and I kissed them both and thanked them for bringing me on the most incredible journey of my life. To spend a month there on this very last trip that we would be together was all I could ask for. I brought a journal on this trip and my walk-man and I documented all of it. This blog started because of a damaging relationship that destroyed my spirit and zest for life. But this short story ends in happiness because my mom recognized she needed to get me out of this space that wasn’t allowing me to be me and she was right. I found what gave me joy again. Dancing, exploring and wine! Opa!