Things I’ve Realized So Far

I returned to Greece before New Year’s Eve and spent the week settling into an apartment that exceeds my wildest expectations. While my first two months were spent living with the most wonderful family (blog to come), now I am setting out on my own. I’ve learned a lot of things this week about myself and how truly comfortable my life is in the States.

  • I have to turn on my hot water heater in order to, yes, have hot water (and turn it off to avoid a calamitous blowout of which the landlord has warned me). This isn’t necessarily the experience for all Greeks. Some homes have solar heaters which give the inhabitants hot water at the ready. However, this is not my setup. I have post-its around the house reminding me to turn it off. I have moments of panic when I’m out that I’ve forgotten to turn off the heater. Pray this never happens!
  • I do not have central heat or A/C. I only have one wall unit. It makes you think how incredible it is to regulate one’s entire atmosphere all the time. I spend a lot of time with windows and doors open, which gives life a whole other dimension of enjoyment.
  • Many stores are closed Sundays. I’ve gotten used to going to the grocery or getting food whenever I need something. But, that’s not the case here, and I love it. One, it makes me plan ahead (which is a good thing). Two, people deserve an off day. Greeks work incredibly hard.
  • I take public transportation everywhere. (I’m from the South, you guys know we don’t have the infrastructure like that.) I’ve been blessed to always have a car or access to one, and taking public transportation is one of the biggest changes to my daily routine. I LOVE IT. It may seem like a throwaway experience to ride a bus or the Metro, but it has given me one of the best reality checks on life in a big city and life in Athens. I am rarely on-time anywhere, being either way too early or way late due to miscalculations on schedules or just regular traffic. It’s helped me realize how little control I have on some things in life, a fact I’ve always struggle with, and still do.
  • I dry my clothes on the balcony. In winter, this can prove to be a challenge. The weather in Greece is similar to the Southern U.S. – rainy, cold and humid. With only a few hours of sunlight on my balcony each day, I have to take full advantage of this time and have clothes ready to dry by 10 a.m. I am used to washing and drying clothes at night, so this is a big change. Also, without a dryer, there’s no guarantee my clothes will dry in time so I have to again plan ahead. It’s a lifestyle change that I actually like. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing like a dryer to get your jeans fitting perfectly, but in the context of a new life, drying clothes outside represents a return to a way of living that is less of a testament to man’s power over nature but rather an acknowledgement of man’s need to work in harmony with nature. Again, I love it.

In addition to facts about myself, I have been reminded of the unmatched compassion and hospitality of Greek people. My New Years Eve plans fell through (thanks COVID), so my landlord insisted I spend the evening with him and his family. I don’t know this man at all, but he wanted me to feel welcomed in my new home.

An incredible week, in summary. Thankful for all these things and so much more.

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