Aegina Home & Living - Living in Aegina

 

 

 


LIVING IN AEGINA

What is it REALLY like to live in Aegina?

 

                                                           LIVING
 

LIVING                                                                            JANUARY 2010

LIVING IN AEGINA ………….  A frustrating reality

Although life isn’t exactly boring in Aegina, it can at times be frustrating.

Take the sea for instance; it is after all why many people are here and though it is definitely beautiful on a sunny day and sooths the edge of sun burn, it is at times an imprisoning band which determines whether or not one is able to travel beyond the island to attend appointments, take a flight from the airport or return from the airport, it restricts the access to further opportunities and it definitely costs a lot to cross it! And that is when the boats are running! These can be affected by strikes and seasons. We have a small apartment in Piraeus, a necessary appendage to facilitate the educational opportunities of our children and an absolute necessity for me when I travel to and from England, so that, should I get ‘stuck’ on the mainland, at least I have a base.

The availability of produce, particularly traditional English produce is another frustration and not the fault of Greece, although I do sometimes suspect greed but more due to politics and anti-terrorist policies. Take peanut butter for example; our children love it but I do resent paying 4 euro  and 50 cents for a single jar when I know I can get it for eighty pence in England. Last year ,on one of the occasions when I was returning to Greece, I felt smugly proud to have three large jars of peanut butter in my hand luggage; nutty peanut butter, not smooth. As it passed through the x-ray machine, it was scrutinized and I was asked to remove it for confiscation. “But it isn’t a liquid”! I pleaded, “no one can create a chemical reaction with semi-solid peanut butter!”. “Sorry love, but its regulations,” explained the security guard. “Oh my children will be so…o  disappointed!” I wailed. “I know”, she replied,”but that’s what terrorism does!!” “You have it then!”, I insisted, “Take it home.” “Sorry, can’t do that either, it’s against regulations.” she said as she threw them all into the bin.

Christmas crackers are another frustration. Our children love them as they represent and remind them of so many previous Christmases spent in England when we’d set them alongside the cutlery. They are definitely NOT a Greek product and are therefore all the more important to us as we love to share this tradition with our daughter’s beloved Godparents. Banned from hand-luggage at airports, last year I discovered that they were also banned from main luggage and now we have to ask friends or family to post them.

Schools! Having been spoiled by a well organized, slickly oiled communicative local authority school in London, I have finally grown used to not being informed when school starts and ends here on the island but I do feel frustrated by the lack of continuity. For example, our daughter opted to study German and loved it for a year. This year is her second and to date a German teacher has not arrived. I then approached a frontisterio (private school) where she underwent a trial lesson and again loved it but when it came to paying the term’s fees, the owner wanted almost double the amount, he claims because the lessons were to be accelerated and the teachers would expect more money. Personally, I believe that this is another case of greed and it is another example of Greeks shooting themselves in the foot because I didn’t agree to the price and am now in the process of organizing something else.

However, there is nothing worse than an ex-pat moaning about his/her host country, (another of my frustrations), something I find incredibly boring, not least when some still have this nauseating British attitude of assumed superiority…where DOES this come from? Greece is indeed a chaotic country but the people are wonderfully hospitable, loud and passionate, a colourful stage played in front of a wonderful backdrop of mountains and sea and on a good day, it can’t get any better!

 

Alison Lorentzos                                                              copyright 2010



 

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