2010 is shaping up to be an interesting year. The book, for instance, and, in more recent developments, Andrew and I are going to be in Greece between May 2 – September 13. (I know! We’re psyched!) We’ve been talking about going to Greece for an extended period of time for the past three years, but only seriously started considering it last year. Job situations aligned and, more importantly, we decided that if we were ever going to do this, why not do it now. That’s what savings are for, right?
Why Greece? Because we actually have a place to live in Athens. Both of my parents immigrated to Toronto in the seventies, my father from Greece and my mother from the Philippines. Their families stayed in Greece or the Philippines and as a result I have a small family in Canada (just the three of us since I don’t have any siblings), but a larger family abroad. And one of the perks of having family in far flung places is that you always have a place to stay. No one is currently living in the apartment in Athens, so we’re going to take it over for four and a half months, a teeny one bedroom on the fourth floor of a building near the centre of Athens. It has a big balcony, an ancient, loud refrigerator and the same furniture my father had when he was a child.
I’ve spent a lot of time in Greece, but not for that long, and not as an adult (jeez, I guess I’m an adult now.) (That was an accidental reference to The Pursuit of Happiness). My Greek is passable, but I hope to improve it while I’m there. Andrew has managed to learn the alphabet, but a few months in the country will expand his vocabulary. What we really want to do while we’re there is concentrate on some of our own projects. I started working full time immediately after I graduated in 2002 – I’m curious about what kind of writing I can do with a large chunk of uninterrupted time. Andrew is going to focus on another photography project. We’ll travel as well, but for the most part we would like to stick close to Athens or within Greece and really get to know it. Greece is an interesting place right now – and by “interesting” I don’t mean “good”. Its national debt is at crippling levels and there have been rumours of bailouts, even talks of expelling it from the EU. Greece was in the news last year for the mass riots that occurred when a police officer shot a student. In short, the glory that came with the 2004 Olympics has dimmed. I’ve dealt with more than my fair share of infamous Greek bureaucracy myself and it’s infuriating (maybe one day I’ll tell you about the ordeal I recently had trying to renew my passport), but there’s also so much beauty in that country and I want to really immerse myself in it.
Anyway, you’ll hear a lot more about this in May once we’re actually out of the country, but we just finished booking our non-refundable tickets so it feels irreversible now, like, we’re really, really doing this! And I’m excited.