Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Omnipresent

This morning I was riding the scooter from Agios Gordios (the beach village) to Sinarades (the village up the hill.) This 8-10 minute drive can be so comforting at times. I know the road well and it also provides breath-taking views of the beach town. It is meditative in a way.

1460197_940571864485_785371403_n

I was on my way to have my daily coffee with my friend Alexandra. I had my headphones in and my mind was slowly relaxing from anxieties.  I was enjoying the over grown natural beauties when I saw something from the corner of my eye.  My friend Gabriel was riding on his bike beside mine.

This is seriously one of my favorite things EVER and has happened once or twice some summers before. We exchanged the normal formalities while cruising down the road. When we split off from each other, another two friends of mine passed on another bike and gave a friendly beep.

I am so grateful to still experience elation from such small events. However, some minutes/hours/days the same level of elation can be experienced as worry, uneasiness, or stress.

As per previous times, Corfu has been an emotional roller coaster. This is the Siren’s island after all. Where one will forget everything and be so present that the past and future appear as fantasies.

11053862_10100380980833355_8246305405321161499_o

Even when a visitor penetrates this bubble, there is not much self-history shared, but instead a complete immersion into the present life here. The community, the people, the beach, the bars, and especially the stories of everyone’s life on the island are all that seem to matter.

DSC_5619

Sink or swim. Fight or flight. It’s now or never. FOMO (fear of missing out.) YOLO (you only live once.) These are the phrases constantly running through my mind and that I ultimately use as tools when I have to wade through the negative emotions.

These infamous but addictive ups and downs I have been able to calmly ride out more effectively this year than previous years. These tools are the only things intrinsically with me from the past. I am so unaware that I possess them until I’m spiraling down and before I hit the bottom I put my palm to my head and say,

“Breathe. You know exactly what to do.”

Because even though every minute here can feel like an eternity, the island is also forcing the opportunity to appreciate the small things.

And this is it. The one constant and forceful power in this mysterious and mystical place; the vehemence of the omnipresent.

1453469_940571624965_1648734519_nDSC_56011479203_948397177495_1738059836_n

Leave a comment

Filed under Greece

The “So Simple”

Today is overcast on the island of Corfu in Greece. After three weeks of bright blue skies and sun, I am welcoming these clouds with open arms. Even in this paradise, I had started to yearn for the Gulf Coast summer days of voluptuous clouds, and theatrical rainstorms. I’ve been dreaming of the sound of thunder that shakes your house, and that sticky, balmy air that remains even when the streets are full of water.

“The so simple is the best,” my friend Spiros says while sipping on a beer.

This simple pronouncement was due to the amazing day we had had. There is a perfect beach spot, down from Agios Gordios, where now remains a refugee ship that beached there almost two years ago.

10609621_10100188666203415_1131747003780683344_n

11204934_10100366263422165_12249766078523682_n

When the boat was first discovered, in November 2013, I was staying with Spiros and his family. One morning, from the balcony of his house, we were able to see the mysterious boat. Several weeks later, the story reached Corfu that the ship had come from North Africa and had met another boat out in the Ionian Sea.   This transfer was meant to take the people to Italy. However, the port police had intercepted the new boat…this is the entire story that I know.

IMG_7057

So, two years later the boat remains. There is not the money or proper equipment to move it. So it stays.

Spiros and I really enjoy this spot because there are very few people, the water is cleaner, and the restaurant Black Rocks is just close enough to walk down to buy some ouzo. There is obviously stress in Greece at the moment, but what I have been reminded every time I visit my Greek friends here on Corfu is that “stress” is unproductive.

10526177_10100168564282825_6416672615131818888_n

Remember this statement from a previous blog?

“Medora, look something, the sun he does not have the crisis. The sea, he does not have the crisis. The tree, the mountain, no crisis.” Then wiping his hands as if brushing off imaginary dirt, “This is so.”

I’ve been thinking so much about this mentality. Yes, people are struggling. Things are hard right now for work, for money. However, then I look at this abandoned ship, that at some point was overflowing with people. Women, children, families. Whatever was happening in their world was so challenging that they risked everything to be taken to a place that is ALSO in crisis. What does that say about their predicament?

The contradictions I’ve been experiencing in how to follow The Greek Program (the sun, the sea, don’t worry, be happy), with the image of the wrecked ship that at one time held hope and a possible solution for so many desperate human beings and now constitutes an in-my-face emblem of the pains of the world outside of this island, have been very perplexing and exhausting.

Spiros, as always, is right; the simple is the best.   Instead of feeling powerless, lazy, not living up to my full potential, and not taking full advantage of my birth right, my education, my finances….I have to give into some naïve faith. I have to appreciate all the small things, those very things people were willing to get on a boat to try to find, that sustain the Greek people during this time of crisis, and in the end are what are not just essential for survival but what make our lives truly rich and meaningful.

So, for now, I am surrounded by amazing people, old friends, my family, and I want to allow myself to enjoy the so simple.

IMG_7118

1 Comment

Filed under Greece