My class project is a kind of hybrid; blogging and working on the future. I had a great skype conference with my teacher today who insisted that I am living a piece of history that must be documented daily. Although I am not living in somewhere like Syria which for me is a much more important piece of history than living this crisis in Greece! However, I suppose that because I am American born and raised in a spoilt society, oblivious to the rest of the world it could be educating to share my daily experiences that I am facing as a single mom in a country that is not my own…
I will give you a little background of how I got here. I left California when I was 23 years old with $100 in my pocket. I was invited to teach English in Japan for a year. Fifteen years later a successful businessperson with five beautiful children I decided to move on. I sold my businesses, divorced my husband, and took my children for a new adventure in Greece. I thought I would be able to conquer Greece (ha ha ha) as I did Japan. It actually turned out to be a four-year holiday in one of the most beautiful countries in the world!
The truth is Greece is only a place for holidays! Silly me I fell in love (with the country). After four years I realized that I would not be able to conquer this country and I was so tired with all the running you have to do to get anything done here that I decided it was time to go home. My oldest son was already there and he had been in Japan for a year before that so I really wanted to get back and finish raising him.
We moved to California where I found myself starting my first years in college. However, my heart longed for Greece! I lived and breathed that country every day I was in California. Trying to convince everyone what a great place it is/was; better education for my children, free universities, free health care and of course the beauty.
*Be very careful what you wish for and what you dream for.
After almost two years in California, going to school full time and working on the side I finally made my dream come true! We were on our way back to Greece! Knowing they were at the beginning or close to the middle of a financial meltdown, I had a brilliant plan. I would make a library. I had the exact place I would make this library, the name, and the eco-friendly ideas to boot. What did I say above? Ah, yes IMPOSSIBLE to do anything in this country even if it is for something good.
I now find myself with daily issues that go from bad to worse…
We live in fear that the nationalists might show up at our house to beat us almost to death because we are foreign. Or that I got an amazing job, a career of a lifetime using my Japanese and English only to have them not pay me and disappear. That money was the only way to survive on until God knows when.
In March, the Greek government decided they were going to get rid of all the foreigners who didn’t have a visa. Don’t get me wrong I was legal but it was only a paper stating I was waiting for my visa. So they took those away from us. I was told that I would go to court and appeal against their decision to take away my visa. I came to find out that NO I have to go to court first to ask if it is ok to appeal against their decision. If the judge says yes then I can appeal and have back a paper saying I am waiting to go to court. In the mean time I cannot work, my 17-year-old-daughter is also not allowed to work and she has to be scared every time she is out that the police might stop her and take her away. The ironic part of all of this is that the judge has told my lawyer that I has no employment so there is nothing he can do. Tell her to find some way to prove she has worked and all I need is the proof of the time I worked for those crooks who, disappeared. That would get me my papers back. The only thing I have is an agreement that he owes me money and will pay (which of course he did not ) and so I wait now to see if the judge will accept this.
On top of all of this, I have not paid my rent since April. My landlord has every right to kick us out. He came to Athens I thought to tell me exactly this. While he wants us to go he told me we have until the end of August to find somewhere else when and if I have money to give him as much as I can. Do not think he is rich actually; he survives on my rent alone and lives on an island. I spend so much time feeling guilty about this. It is not right but there is nowhere for us to go and not even away to get back to California. The nice thing is is that even in these hard hard times something happens; him letting us stay!
On a nicer note; this weekend with no money we spent three days at the beach. A new beach we found. There are only high rocks to jump from and very few people and the water is incredible! It is quite peaceful and gives you a few hours to escape reality and appreciate where you are. On Sunday, we went to our beach and this old boat something between a fishing boat and a small passenger boat you would find only in the islands pulls up in our cove. My boyfriend tells me how he loves those kinds of boats and we teasingly say to my 9-year-old daughter and his to go and swim to it and see if they will let you on. Of course, both those girls are crazy and they did just that. The next thing you know they are on the boat talking with the men and our boys decide to join them all five kids were on this small boat climbing up and jumping off, and chatting with the guys. Stefanos and I decide we better go and say thank you. So we swim out and thank them have a chat and they give us a huge bag of special clams that they dive for. They were from and island 27 hours away from Athens and had been on the boat diving for work for a few weeks. We thanked them and swam back but the girls stayed. Not long after they gave the girls a ride right back to where we were. It was a great experience for the kids something that happens only on islands and it was so nice to see that even in these hard times something beautiful still happens!
Thanks for reading of course I will keep you posted!