Kalispera, ya'll. That's Greek for "Good Afternoon". I am just back this morning from an extended visa run to the Greek island of Samos, where I spent a few blissful days of near solitude in a little fishing village and mostly avoided the sun-blistered and obnoxious package tour hordes. Hung out with the locals, went barefoot everywhere, learned a little Greek and avoided invitations to coffee or drinks and "you come out on my boat" from several septuagenarian fisherman.
My soul is rejuvenated after quality time with the sea and the only man who counted this week - Homer. Read the Odyssey on my own beach, which I had to boulder and wade through the rocks to get to and was absolutely worth it. Looking around at the mountains, the sea and the islands on the horizon, the wild wind that blew in for my first two days on the island, I can really understand how this part of the world gave rise to all those Gorgons, Harpies, Sirens and shape-shifting gods and the like. Actually spent one day encamped on a tiny swath of beach between two halves of a giant, sparkling geode. The only thing to distract me from Homer was the sea, though the Aegean was a bit colder than I expected. Got to spend my last night sleeping under the stars on the deck of a fishing boat, courtesy of a German-Greek couple. One week without phone, Internet, television or news is something powerfully healing that I will endeavor to do more often from now on. It was excruciating to leave a village of 200 to come back to a city of 20 million. I believe I can say with certainty I am not a city girl.
I also thought of ways to bring the trip to my kids in Nablus. I leave Istanbul July 1, the day after I will, I hope, successfully complete the CELTA Young Learners course. Made recordings of the sounds of the surf at different beaches - rocky, sandy, pebbly - and I have some ideas to incorporate the sounds into some writing exercises later on. Collected some of the gorgeous stones off the beaches to take them, but had to stop myself from bringing a whole bag; the beaches were like treasure troves to a Wabi Sabi-loving rock hound like myself. And, of course, I took photos, which I will post as soon as I can. I just want to bring these kids everything I can to help them dream.
Thank you to all my friends in Ormos. I hope the fish come back to the nets and your town can stay as it is - a real place with real, lovely people.