Gillian Bouras
An Australian
Writer
Living in Greece

It's Still Greek to Me!

 

November 2015

Here it is November already, a most beautiful autumn has ended, and I’m still picking up threads left dangling when I went to Melbournein July. The price one pays for the divided life. Of course such a life has many benefits and blessings, it must be said: variety is one. But at present I’m trying to catch up with mundane tasks: my snail mail correspondence, the cleaning of cupboards (UGH), and the general readying of self and establishment for the onset of winter. The rest of this small world is doing the same: the hills are alive with the sound of chainsaws, and neatly stacked wood heaps are growing in size. Much airing of winter-weight clothing is going on, as well as much hoeing and tending of gardens.

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October 2015

Here we are at the start of another month, and here I am back in Greece again. I’ve often thought that while I am not a bag lady, I am a suitcase lady, and it is a fact that I have spent a great deal of my life saying either hullo or goodbye,  and of course I know which word and ritual I prefer. It is often difficult to think of more arrivals when one is departing, and the difficulty is compounded by the fact of a divided life. I said goodbye to one son in Melbourne, and have now greeted two others (and three grandsons) in Greece.

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September 2015

The month has passed very rapidly. The next three weeks will do the same, and then I will be back at the airport, and headed for Greece. Again. Before I left in July the confused, confusing, and ill-fated referendum had taken place, and on my return the result of yet another election will be known. What it all means, greater minds than mine have been puzzling over for quite some time. And who really knows what will happen? All I know is that I fear for my grandchildren.

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August 2015

Here I am back in Marvellous Melbourne, and feeling the cold, I must admit. It was 36 degrees the day I left Greece. But never mind: the temperature has crept up from the 7 my brother reported all too recently to a bearable 14. And some of my foreign friends in Greece rather envy me the cold. I would rather swelter than shiver, but not everybody shares my tastes.

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July 2015

Summer is usually holiday time, fun time, in Greece. This month and next month are regular break periods and school holidays, when families take trips, and when retirees and the young spend hours on the beach. Tourists arrive in droves, and most often go island-hopping, and in so doing help to keep the country going. There is a lightness of mood and quite a deal of frivolity. Usually.

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June 2015

The White Rabbit syndrome is upon me again. The main reason for tardiness this month is the removal of a cataract. My Kalamata ophthalmologist had been nagging me for at least two years about the state of my right eye, but when it came to the crunch she recommended that I have the procedure done in Athens. So of course I complied, and went to a branch of the Athens Eye Hospital, where everything is so hi-tech and new that patients are in a fair way to be dazzled post operation.

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May 2015

After an exceptionally long, hard winter, Spring has arrived at last, and Greeks are looking forward to a long weekend, for May Day is a public holiday. But there is not a great deal to look forward to in Greece at present, as the country is still trembling on the brink of economic collapse, and may well run out of cash in the next few days. My youngest son and I have more or less stopped taking an interest in the ongoing krisi, as we agree that we have been reading and listening to the same old thing for far too long. Call us ostriches if you like. But keeping up-to-date, we have decided, is exceedingly stressful. So we are trying to concentrate on more positive matters, being powerless, in any case, to influence the path of this much-beset country.

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April 2015

It’s been a long, hard winter, and everybody is moaning about it. March has resembled February in the amount of rain that has fallen, and cold winds are still blowing. Heavily symbolic they are, doubtless, of the current state of European-Greek relations. My friends and I are tending to draw a heavy veil over this matter, and over many others: the world is in a terrible mess, but we must strive for optimism, even if such striving becomes an exhausting struggle at times. Brave nature leads the way: the scarlet anemones have continued to flower through downpours, and have been joined now by bottle brushes and judas trees, while the little avenue of wattles along the beach road does this ageing expat’s heart good. Golden wattles, no less, and they are quite simply blooming in mad profusion: every tree is covered in the little yellow spheres.

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March 2015

My least favourite month of the year is over, for which much thanks. Although it is the shortest month, here in the Peloponnese it always seems the longest. There have been some sunny days, but these have most often been accompanied by winds that seem to come directly from Siberia, and nights have been simply freezing. My hot-water bottle is very high on the list of My Favourite Things at present.

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February 2015

Once again I am doing a fair imitation of Alice’s White Rabbit in being late for a very important date. But my excuse this time may well beat all the others, for I have been ailing for much of January. I was apparently walking around with pneumonia for quite some time, and that wasn’t the whole story by any means. But I seem to be hale and hearty enough now, and have returned from the bosom of the family to my own abode after having received lots of TLC from my sons and their wives.

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January 2015

Happy New Year. Belatedly. I’m finding it hard to think positively about the unfolding of time, and so on: the world is in such a mess, for one thing.

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December 2014

Kalo mina, as the Greeks say: have a good month.

Here in the countryside, seasons have their rituals, so now the olive harvest is well underway. Plumes of smoke rise from the fields as unwanted branches are burned. The hills are alive with the sound of chainsaws, and of olives pattering on to voluminous ground sheets. Olives are pattering in very satisfying numbers this year, as most trees are bent low under a bumper crop. As a result, farmers are in a rather odd state of exhilaration and exhaustion. They are pleased with the progress of the harvest, but are working very hard. And their wives are working harder. As usual. For they are the ones who have to feed the workers, so cooking has to be done before the women themselves go to the groves. Then there is the business of what we would call morning tea or a smoke-oh, with the attendant matter of getting supplies to the workers.

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Gillian Bouras

 

Eureka Street

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Gillian Bouras 2017 CreativityGames.net