The 7-week experience.

View of Athens.

View of Athens.

I hate the word busy. It’s misused. And I don’t think it actually describes our uniquely human lives and experiences. I believe things, experiences, issues, circumstances, and consequences arise, and we merely have to deal with the challenges.

So for the last seven weeks I wouldn’t consider my life  “busy,” but different experiences have come into play. My career took me to some interesting places, I took some personal time abroad, and I learned more about myself and our world.

The beginning of May was the start of a lengthy period of work away from home. Living out of hotels, scarfing fast food, and not preparing my own food, and missing the dogs had me flustered. Feeling lost. Though I kept focus on the work at hand, yet yearning for life at home. I was missing the blooming lilacs at my little green bungalow, my growing garden, and the feeling of my hands caked with fresh earth. Homesick for familiarity.

Finally though, I did make it home. But never quite settled into my routine. I guess I didn’t have much time to even think it over, because the pace was already set. In a whirlwind I was off to Greece.

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The temple of Nike.

Touching down in Athens, I suddenly felt I’m somewhere totally new, new to me, yet in itself ancient. On the horizon I can see the Acropolis as it juts out composing this ancient city’s skyline; the Parthenon, a firey orange in the afternoon sun. Juxtaposed with Mercedes Benz taxicabs whizzing by, flanked by scooters and motorcyles on the left and right. Graffiti tags and murals make statements along buildings, and sides of delivery trucks,  giving Athens an uber urban lived in quality.

Amid ancient ruins, tiny spice shops, panhandlers and gypsies, I navigated tiny streets paved in marble. Grays, whites, and hints of ebony black made up the beautiful walkways and streets. But aside from these ornate roadways, Athens came off gritty in appearance. And why not? After all it’s been inhabited for milenia.

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Marble & stray dogs everywhere.

Athenians are tough, but hospitable. Out to make a fast buck, but they truly care about you. This, this experience gave me a feeling of human connectivity. Because there’s not a total separation between the individual and cash. You’re not just a number to them, yes, a vendor does want your money, but they still want you to have a nice day.

The next leg of the trip, the Island of Crete, where I fell in love with Greece’s island culture. The people, warm and inviting. A hotel hostess in Chania, invited me into her living room, giving me sweets and Cretan moonshine, know as raki, she also gave me true human emotion as she asked about my journey. The Cretans, the food and drink were ultimately much more inspired here than the mainland.

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Cretan moonshine.

While on Crete, and hiking the longest gorge in Europe, the Samaria, I was bonding with our earth. The history that flows over this rich land was also flowing through me. I thought of the Myceanians, Minoans, Cretans, the Venecians, and I, I was merely walking along their pathways.

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Samaria Gorge.

Treading over the rocky floor of the gorge, up and down river beds, some feet deep others inches. I was making my way with only what I needed, just what I had on my back. And that was the whole island vibe, simple living, while treating others right.

In Crete, you don’t need an SUV to get around, a television to tell you what you should think. Just good food, friends, and good drink.

Reluctantly, I headed back stateside. And once again I was sent away for work. Again living out of hotels, long hours away from home. But my team had a lot of work to accomplish, so that kept my mind off missing home. So after seven days, I was cleared from the site, and sent back home.

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Friend from the Agia Maria Donkey Rescue, Crete.

Ecstatic, I tried settling back into home for once. Baking bread, going to my csa, and gardening. Then one afternoon I got a call. “We need to send you away again,” is basically what I’m told. I didn’t want to accept, but I needed to finish the job that was started a week earlier. So back on the road I went – this time just for closure sake.

Hashing out the last two months, I feel as though I walked away from this period with a new notion. It’s, infact, good to step out of the ordinary rituals of life. Doing so puts things into perspective. I may feel like I lost my footing a little, but I gained so much. New friends, experiences, new insights.

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