Because the island of Samos is small, we decided the best way to see all of the island was to rent a car. Ironically we set out for the town of Samos, the largest town on the island, in the smallest car Chris and I have ever ridden (see a Facebook post for said toy car). Nestled into a cozy harbor, the town with it's white houses built among the ascending sides of the mountain was picture perfect.
I like to spot the everyday, normal life when I'm in a new place. So here in this place that I will always deem "paradise" was scene after scene of souls living out their daily life. Somehow, hanging laundry outside to dry just seems so much more exotic in Samos!
If you'll remember me already referring to my door addiction, I was on door overload and could have quite possibly had a door overdose! Of course I loved the Greek blue doors with their quaint charm and "come on in" attitude ... but it was the doors that were old, adorned with weathering paint, held chains and locks that best captured my imagination.
Open up, Oh Ancient Gates.Open up, Oh Ancient Doors.And let the King of Glory enter.Psalm 24:7
I couldn't help but wonder what secrets lie behind the age, weathered paint, chains and locks. They were such a symbolic picture of those things in my life that were kept secret far too long - things that were covered in shame, guilt, condemnation or remorse. These things - that when brought into the light - were set free, given wings and the truth of who I am still rang true despite their accusing voices.
Open up, Oh Ancient Gates. Open up, Oh ancient Doors ...Greek doors ... with age, weathered paint, chains and locks.And let the King of Glory enter!
To my friends who have cats, I'm sorry I've been such a hater. I'm sorry your cats have irritated, bothered, scared and creeped me out. I'm sorry that when I smelled your cat liter box when I walked into your home, I considered leaving. I'm sorry.
Greece has given me a like - dare I say the other "L" word - for felines. Now granted, I like/possibly love the Greek cats ... who live outside ... who don't use a litter box held captive somewhere in my house ... who look at you with a flippant welcome that neither demands you pet it, acknowledge it or develop any sort of emotional attachment. These cats ... these cats I like/love.
I had a "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" impression of all Greeks. Not true ... or mostly not true. This large, in your face, windex spraying stereotype was not what we encountered on the street among strangers. Warm. Friendly. Humble. Proud. Polite. Hospitable. This is what we encountered on the streets, cafes, and shops.
When no one was looking, I got in "spy" mode, attached the zoom lens and shot the following pictures. We met some very lovely people:
- two young people, Stavros and Flora, who worked at the Wine museum
- Vasilisi, our 19 year-old-waiter at the beach who lost his Dad (named Chris) a few years ago
- an older waiter whose name we've forgotten but works off season in Athens as a fisherman
- a younger waiter, Marios, from Albania, who has been a newlywed for two weeks
- two families who run a family-run restaurant
- Nikolos, our rent-a-car guy who is 23 and remembered we had an almost 22 year-old daughter --- back off, Niko!
- the bakery guy who was schooled in Canada but is from Samos
Each were ethnically proud to be Greek. Despite economic downfalls, each had a deep respect and love for not only their country but also their family. Family is important ... really important. You stand on the shoulders of those who've come before you. You support, remember, and honor those who are left beside you. College educated, like Stavros, Flora and another young man who's family owns a restaurant, there are little opportunities to make a living and stay in Greece. In the words of our older waiter, "But ... they always remember where they come from!" in reference to those young people who must go abroad to find work.
And wherever you went, there is was: Greek Blue. Greek blue ... displaying physically the pride of the Greek people and its' country. I will always love Greek blue.