island life

July 3, 2018

It’s a lovely experience to relive childhood memories with and through your children. We’ve been in Greece for the last few weeks, and seeing them immersed in a world not so dissimilar to the one I grew up in, is a wonderful thing. On the islands, at least the ones we choose to spend time on, time stands still. The land is rugged and raw, the beaches windswept, rocky and untouched, linens flap in the wind, cockerels sing in chorus, church bells chime and the tavli games go on. Luma runs fast across the blisteringly hot sand to cool her feet in the sea. I remember the sensation, the intense heat, and the respite of that ice cold water. There are street cats looking for scraps, and that unnerves the children. It used to bother me too, their skinny, purry tales brushing against my legs underneath the taverna table. The ice creams from the periptero are so good, they want two a day. They eat patates tiganites with everything. Everyone does. They stay up late, and kick a ball around in the platia with local kids. They don’t speak the language, but that never gets in the way of a good game. At a mountain top taverna, the children plough through bread (the only child friendly thing on the rustic menu) while we drink local wine, and the owner charges us for neither. Generosity is rich in these parts. Back in chora, they pool their money, and buy plastic water pistols and gum like my brother and I used to do with our drachmas. End of day, their little brown bodies are covered in salt, sweat and sand. In the last days of August, I too was a salty, sandy, scratched up, Kalamata olive. And I didn’t shower, so I could bring it all home with me.

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