Aegina Home & Living - Living in Aegina

 

 

 


LIVING IN AEGINA

What is it REALLY like to live in Aegina?

 

                                                           LIVING


 

LIVING                                                                        MARCH 2015         
  

THE HOMECOMING


I was waiting at the bus stop for the X96 thinking about how easy or difficult it might be to get just a few slices of chocolate orange from my case without needing to put it on a seat, un zip it and forage through my luggage, displaying my dirty laundry in the process and possibly dropping the tea- pot that I had wrapped in my jumper.

Suddenly a sweet Greek voice asked if it could borrow my phone. “What about my phone?” I asked. In English this time, it asked if it could use my phone to call someone. The voice belonged to a twenty something Greek girl with tousled, hennaed hair and huge Bambi- like eyes. Her dress style was slightly hippy (make an original statement but don't flaunt it) that I approved of; she could easily be one of my daughter's friends..

I happily allowed her to use my Greek mobile (Alcatel, 15 euro), explaining that I couldn't remember whether I had used all of the credit 3 weeks previously. I also explained that it wasn’t an i- phone and hoped that she might know how to use it. She immediately reached inside her duffel coat pocket and produced an almost identical mobile to my own. "This is what I use". I loved this girl! The phone hadn't any credit. : Use my English one; (Alcatel, £20); it definitely has credit because I bought some earlier today but dial 0030 before the number you need”. Success! She was able to get through to the person who I assume would wait for her at Piraeus. “Thank you so much!” she gushed. “Oh don't worry about it”, I replied. “My daughter never has credit on her phone either and even I once had to ask to use a stranger's phone”. (Oxford Street, last year. Number 3 had my phone and she wasn't outside the store we had agreed to meet at. Convinced she had been kidnapped and sold to Traffickers, I felt ill with panic and asked a store detective if I could use her phone to call my daughter. We made contact and I found out that she was pondering over swimwear. )

 The bus hissed to a halt and I got on, sitting where I always sit, to the left, next to the window just behind the luggage section where I can observe my case.

Counting shops for sale or rent on the journey from the airport down through Vari to the sea road, I was immersed in this activity and just as we reached the Metropolitan hospital, Bambi plonked herself on to the seat next to me, not intentionally as neither of us are the ‘talk on your journey type’ but this time I was curious. “So are you studying in the UK?” I asked.

“Yes, I am at the Royal Holloway; do you know it?” “Yes, it is a good university”, I replied. “And what are you studying”? I asked. “Ecology and the Environment”. “Oh, I enthused, that must be so interesting” “Yes it is, but you know something? If I have a choice between living here in Greece with all of its problems and not having a job, or living in the UK with a well paid job, I would choose Greece. I hadn't realised until I left, just how Greek I am and just how much I feel connected to the place”. “Hah, I pitched; I have had the same conversation with my own children recently, particularly my daughter. She has also mentioned how Greek she feels since leaving and had even googled local Greek churches so that she could re - connect with the Hellene within her”.

What is it then that makes you feel Greek?” I asked. “Can you pinpoint any particular thing”? She considered my question. “Well the people in Greece are all out there; they shout, laugh and express themselves in a very uninhibited way. They want to know and be known, they are loud and excitable; they are just out there! I mean, I am from Hydra and I used to go to school on a donkey!” “Wonderful”! I exclaimed. “You MUST write that on your CV because if there is anything an Anglo Saxon likes, it’s eccentricity!”

The bus pulled up outside Pet City. “This is my stop. I have to get out here; it was interesting talking to you and I wish you all the best with your studies” I gushed as I grabbed my scarlet case and headed in the direction of Hotel Anita.

The next day, was Saturday and after buying my printer inks from plaisio. I made my way to the port where I bought a ticket to sail on the Poseidon to Aegina. The boat was heaving with Greek visitors. I bought a cappuccino (double dose and only 2 Euro) from the kiosk then settled down to read my magazine in the lounge. I occupied a 4 seater table with soft benches to sit on. Two men sat opposite me and to my left was a large party of Greeks whom I didn’t recognise.They were on a trip, perhaps a day trip or weekend; I don’t know but they were predominantly female and in their 7th decade. Dressed in their best clothes, the women sported fur collars and brooches on their lapels. All had been to the hairdresser to have their hair coloured and back-combed into lacquered candy floss.

Then they started to sing and oh, how they could sing! They must have been a choir because the quality of their voices was spell binding! Other passengers shouted requests and soon the men sat opposite me joined in. The large group of boys decked out in football kit, excitedly ignored them and carried on shouting about their own agenda which was an away game in Aegina. Nobody complained. I phoned my sister in the UK. I could only just hear her voice behind the cacophony of operatic sing-song and the teenage banter of footballers. “Listen to this!” I shouted to my sister. I just about heard her say “Oh how lovely, what a wonderful homecoming!”. She was right, it was a lovely homecoming experience and I thought of my new young friend from Hydra who had tried to explain that the Greeks are all out there. They are!!.... Fortunately!!


 

Alison Lorentzos                                                             copyright 2015

 

 

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