Archive for the ‘Home Life’ Category

Er… hi.

So, clearly, I didn’t have internet for the past … six months.  I didn’t forget about this blog, I just switched to writing on my computer (diary style) since I couldn’t post.  But a friend gave us a mobile internet stick and I am actually writing this from our house.  So this is what we’ve been up to for the past six months:

We moved back to the same island.  Instead of living in the village where we lived last year, down by the sea, we moved into a small but TWO ROOM apartment (this is exciting – last year it was one room) in the Capital Village (I love saying that) of the island, a huge metropolis of about 100 people.  But it has two grocery stores and a green grocer / butcher!  And restaurants that didn’t close until mid-November!  And a convenience store that only stopped selling newspapers in December!  And my husband can walk to work every day but Thursdays!

I love living in the capital, which is called Chora, which is the same name as the capital village of almost every island in this part of Greece.  Chora means “country,” but in this case it means something like “place where people live” as opposed to “fields.”  I love that I can go shopping every day (which I do) for our daily groceries, and that there are more people around so I don’t feel lonely.

Our apartment is pretty good too.  I will post photos when I have the patience to upload them but the view, in every direction, is breathtaking.  The apartment has a bedroom, a bathroom, and a unified area that serves as a kitchen, dining area, and living room.  The kitchen is better than last year for several reasons.  The refrigerator is the same size (mini) but it *has a freezer* and the freezer does work.  It’s just a shoebox size, but that’s okay.  I’ll take it.  The oven/stove is worse, though.  It’s only got ONE burner.  Think of something really easy to cook.  Spaghetti with tomato sauce.  You need a pot to boil the pasta, and a pan to make the sauce.  What do I do?  I boil the pasta.  When it’s almost ready, I put the pot, without draining, in the sink, and then make the sauce.  Then when the sauce is ready, I strain the pasta and add it to the sauce.  It about doubles the cooking time, of course.  But, that said, it has an oven, which sort of works, which measures about 18″ wide.  It’s okay.

I have a lot more space.  I have counters!  I have a whole counter dedicated just to spices and herbs!  I have a coffee corner!  I have cupboards!  I have a long garlic braid hanging on the wall!  I have a double sink!  And best of all, thanks to my amazing mother in law, I have a pressure cooker, which has completely changed my life and has saved us huge amounts of money in water and electricity, not to mention time.

We don’t have a washing machine or a dryer, so I do the laundry by hand most mornings.  It’s okay … it’s worth it for the other perks.

Aside from the house, we have been doing community theater (my husband thought of it, organized it, and is the director; I’m an actress in it), Spanish lessons, and a political science course in which we learn about Greek and European Union politics (the whole ‘how a bill becomes a law’ thing, which we all learn in school about our own country, but you never learn how they do it in other countries).  I also teach English to a friend.  My husband runs two choruses, one for kids and one for adults.  So our evenings are pretty full.  During the day, after the chores (shopping, laundry, cooking, cleaning), I work on my dissertation (which, I must be honest, was easier when I had internet access).

I do miss the academic community in Athens but I love living here.  My husband and I spend a lot of time together, we eat really well (everything is still homemade, I’ve just gotten better at it), and we are still on the same really strict budget we’ve been on since last June.  It’s all going pretty well.

We traveled a bit:  we went to Syros, a big island out here, and Corfu, a big island far away, for a few days around New Year’s.  We’re planning to hold a wedding and reception (didn’t do that when we actually got married…) in Corfu, so we had to scout out a venue and all that.  We still aren”t sure how to fit it into our budget of almost nothing, but we’ve been saving for it in any case.

There’s a lot more to say and I’ll come back to say it soon, now that I seem to have internet access finally!


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Summer in Athens

I’m not quite back from my blog hiatus yet, but I just want to put in a short update.

This whole summer I’ve been working in Athens.  That means no peaceful island life, very little home cooking (at least, very little interesting home cooking), and not much of interest to discuss.

Some good news:  there was some question about where we would be living in the fall (as of September 1) because of transfers with my husband’s work.  Well as it turns out, we will definitely be living in the same archipelago.  We don’t know yet, and won’t know until about September 1, on which island, but it will definitely be one of these islands.

After a summer traveling around Crete, Santorini, the Peloponnese, Delphi, and Northern Greece, as well as Athens of course, for my very, very demanding job, I’m very much looking forward to wrapping things up here in Athens in the next few days and then spending a few weeks relaxing at my in laws’ house (actually packing up our stuff for the move back to the islands) and then we should find out where we’ll be living.

Of course our fingers and toes are crossed that we can come back to the same little island, but wherever it is, we’re excited about it.

The economy here continues to be a nightmare.  In a different island group (not ours), unemployment last year was 7.4%.  This year, it’s over 52%.  Yes, more than half of the people who need to be employed are unemployed.  A “Depression” is 25% unemployment.  I don’t even think there is a word for 50+% unemployment.  I’m not sure what the statistics are for our island group, but I will be unemployed by the time we move there, and I will actively be looking for a job.  I am very worried about it but we’re trying to make sure we can survive on my husband’s income alone (we can, barely, assuming they don’t cut it even more – which they might).

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Where we live

Our house

The front of our house

This is where we live.  This little tiny cottage on a little tiny island in the Aegean.  That’s our laundry up on the line above the house.  It’s very small, even smaller than you think, and for two people it’s… challenging, but we love it.  It’s surrounded by beautiful gardens, too, and we love our neighbors.

The view from our house

And when you step outside our house, this is our view – the sea is only steps away, and that is rocky beach right in front.  We don’t swim there, though, as there are better (sandy) beaches a short walk away to the right of the photo.  In the winter, you could stare at this street for hours and never see a soul.

Our village

And this is our village.  In the winter, we were maybe 10 or 15 people living here, but in the summer (starting in June) it fills up, peaking in August when it’s packed with people.  The mountains behind the village have lots of great hiking trails.  There are hotels and a few restaurants here, as it’s mainly a tourist village.  We aren’t involved with the tourist economy at all, but we benefit from it when the mini-market opens up in June and when there are cafes and restaurants open (some open as early as Easter but most around the end of May).  Until the end of May, our village is extremely quiet.

That’s where we live 🙂

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