July 20, 2008

Agia Marina, Greece (Family Time!)

I was dropped off by my friends at my Aunt Eleni’s summer home in Agia Marina, which is 30 minutes outside of Athens on the coastline, and when I arrived, there was no one home, so I put my pack over the gate which led down to a beautiful pathway of trees, vines and flowers and decided to make my way to the beach while I waited. On my walk back to the house I heard a car gunning up the hill and stop behind me, and then heard Eleni’s voice call out “Yassas Andriana! Ella, Ella!” And just like that, the next two weeks with my newfound family continued to go straight uphill.
I didn’t know what I would find after so many years of distance, and not to my surprise but certainly to my pleasure, my Aunt Eleni is a super independent social-summer- butterfly and my Cousin Fanis has a great job, two beautiful and well-behaved teenagers, Christos and Anastacia, and a fabulous wife, Christina. I arrived a day before the “clan” and spent a reflective night, as Eleni was off with her friends playing cards, listening to the locusts music through the open window of what was once Fanis’ room as a child. Going from sleeping in dorm rooms in Athens to a family home by the sea that I never knew existed put me to sleep with the sweetest of dreams which came to a screeching halt when “Fanis and Family” arrived with their Athens house packed in the back of the car ready to settle in Agia Marina for the summer season. From then on the locusts music was intertwined with children’s laughter, feet pattering up and down the stairs, the clanking of dishes for afternoon snacks, ipod music and dinner party conversations. As I sat one night at sunset watching from the terrace as the wind brushed the surface of the Mediterranean in gradient patterns toward the West, vaguely listening to the sounds of domestic life surrounding me, I was recollecting a feeling of peace and belonging that had become a stranger to me in the year since my Mother’s passing. And at that moment, right on time with a clock I can’t see, I heard the news that her home in New Jersey had sold, which for many years was our “summer meeting place”. The clock was guiding me to remember, respect and love the past, but, also, to move forward and find the joy within the new and present future that awaits like the beautiful view from my families’ home in Agia Marina each and every morning.

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