And just like that, I’m back in southern Greece, cruising on the Aegean, heading back “home” to Leros. I guess I can say “home” now because I have my own flat there, and my heart lives there too.
When I woke up at 8:00 this morning, I was looking out at the sun shining on the snow capped mountains of Northern Greece. I walked to the airport in the 4 degree weather and felt the chill of the north. Then, without so much as showing my I.D. to an attendant, I boarded a one hour flight and teleported to Athens. There, I got on the metro and cruised for 45 minutes into the center of the city. This is officially the 8th time that I have passed through (or stayed in) Athens. I really don’t know how this is possible, but somehow this city has become a stomping ground of mine.
While I was away, a number of my friends in Greece were making their own moves. One fellow volunteer traveled to Athens for a long weekend to visit a friend. Another volunteer returned from Leros to Athens where she is based. And one of the refugees who has been on the island for a few weeks moved to Athens to start his new job as an interpreter. The four of us all circled up at 4:00, opting to meet outside one of the metro stops in a large gathering area of Athens, something like a park. Our meeting was brief, and then two of us had to move toward the port to catch the ferry back to Leros. We all traveled on the metro together and the two that weren’t traveling stayed with us until we were ready to board. Now I’m on the water. In a few hours I’ll be back within eye-shot of Turkey. Greece, today, is proving to be expansive. There’s a massive major city, a hub; there’s northern Greece, with snow covered mountains and unique architecture; there’s the southern coast, which winds along the Aegean, filled with rolling hills and twisting roads that are accented by Athenians’ vacation homes; and there are the picturesque, often touristy, islands. There’s so much to this country, and I haven’t even been to Thessaloniki, the second largest city in the country, or anywhere along the Albanian, Macedonia or Turkish boarders, which must boast unique cultures of their own.
My first emotion of the day today was sadness as I was laying in bed, knowing I had to leave my friend behind as I ventured across the country. But he’s okay. He’s more than okay, he is programmed to kick some serious butt in this lifetime and that is indeed what he is doing everyday. There is no need to feel sad, I need only to feel grateful for seeing him thriving in his current job, city, life. How cool is it that I was able to go visit him on a whim just because I could foresee the weekend ahead of me being wide open? Pinch me. Life’s a trip.