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Monday, 5 June 2017

My Greek Story Part Three Salamina



So we moved from the island of Crete up to the island of Salamina, just out of Athens, which is where the main Naval Base is located.  There we stayed for two years.  New schools for the girls.  Fortunately we found a few friends from Crete  who had also been transferred.  But new schools, new pupils, lots of anxiety.  One of the girls ran away from school while the other began lessons, cut off, in a small room in the churchyard next door.  There were not enough classrooms in the school to accomodate all the students. 

I liked Salamina.  It is very close to Athens, either a twenty minute car ferry ride or an hour by small boat putt-putting into the port of Piraeus.  At weekends the island would be buzzing as hundreds of Athenians with holiday homes filled the streets, beaches and tavernas.  




Once again we lived in a funny little two bedrooms house.  Both bedrooms had no windows and no light but it was cheap and clean and there was parking next door for our car and an empty lot where we dug a pit and spit roasted our lamb at Easter. 

It was back at the end of the eighties.  I remember watching the fall of the Berlin wall on TV there and it was there that we watched the first private run Greek TV channel and the american soap opera, Santa Barbara and the Young and the Restless in english with greek subtitles.  A new era in entertainment.

We made the best of it.  K was home most days and together we explored all the out lying beaches.  We bought a small blow-up boat, loaded it up with our picnic, put on flippers and swam it across to a small island for a day of swimming and snorkelling.  K and the girls dived for mussels on the other side of the island in the polluted waters just off the big Navy Base.  It's lucky we survived the contamination.  The girls learnt to hunt octopus, we saw cuttlefish mating, swam in a thunderstorm.



Salamina


We spent a lot of time with friends, eating out at small tavernas where there were just a few tables and one or two items on the menu, mussels and oysters, pork chops or salt cod.  The girls had a lot of concerns though after their third change of school and we all knew we would be up and moving again soon.



The first summer we spent two weeks at a Navy camp.  A real holiday.  We had a small one bedroomed cabin, cooked simple meals or ate at the cheap restaurant on base.  The sea once again was not the cleanest being just across from the main fleet but there was an Olympic swimming pool where we dived dangerously from a 3 metre board, hanging out there almost every day at the beginning of another sweltering summer.  K went to work during the week but was back each evening so it was a family holiday.

My Greek was reasonable by then .  I could understand everything and communicate well but keeping up with conversation was fraught with problems.  By the time I had understood the subject and wanted to dive in with my own opinion they were off on another topic.  I just tuned out and the long evenings of loud harsh music and tiring chat bored me stiff.  I thanked the lord that I had two small children and could use them as a reason to retreat early.

Salamina was a sort of interlude.  Next we go to Poros.

This is turning into a life story.  One, maybe two chapters, I think and that's it.  But it has got me writing and remembering.  I have promised my two girls that I shall write more.  The bits I've missed out.  But not for this blog.

A kiwi in flight

20 comments:

  1. Hi Linda, I have added you to the invite. Hopefully you will receive an email from blogger. It will have instructions on how to view my blog on there.

    I am loving your memories. OH said something that really stalled me the other nigh as we were going to bed. He said, "I dont want to make an offer on a house until after the election".

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    1. I got the email Sol. Thanks. Looking forward to viewing your pics.

      Very uncertain times for you. Would you think about living in another country. That would be even more nerve wracking though I guess.

      Wait and see, he's right.

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  2. I hope you are going to write a book Linda. Very interesting life in Greece and I have enjoyed these three chapters, even if we don't see any more here, I will buy the book!

    Thanks for sharing it all. Sounds like a wonderful life.

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    1. I feel like I really could write a book after all these blogs. Now I've got somewhere to begin

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  3. Sometimes I look back on our military life, and think how did I manage to not run back to my homeland and tuck my tail, but truth be known, we were young, adventurous, and too far from home to just up and leave. When I first came to the states, I made friends easily and tried to become a local, mostly because my husband was always gone, and that was the only way to get through times like ours.
    I at least could understand the language, I can only imagine the challenges of being in some far away country and not being able to understand the language.
    By the way, your beloved NZ rugby players, play my home team each year, it's a very big game !
    Hugs,
    ~Jo

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    1. Your story is so similar!! You must have stuck out with your British accent.
      Let me know how the all blacks do against your team!

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  4. I shall buy the book too:)

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  5. I'm loving the story. Please continue to share.
    You are amazing and brave. Good on you xx

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    1. Thanks Angela. Got NZ visitors at the moment so story might be continued later

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  6. You make me wish I'd visited Greece more often; I'd probably have ended-up living on some small island.

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    1. Less hassle where you are and better food!!

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  7. Count me in for a copy of your book!.

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  8. It also shows what a lovely man your husband is. He loves you so much was prepared to make a stance against his family's wishes for :a nice Greek girl:. He wanted his Linda!.
    A big thing in Greek culture and you with no dowry!.
    Greek chap I was seeing for 4 years decided to go with his family's wishes when they discovered my dad would not pay thousands and give them cows, goats and chickens for me!.😂😂😂😂😂
    Wouldn,t have lasted me thinks as his Greek family's wishes were more importaint than the relationship we had.

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    1. Often is with the son. Mama comes first

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  10. Hey Linda. are you able to view my blog or have I done something wrong

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    1. You seem to have completely disappeared!! Still trying to find you

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  11. So enjoyed reading your story. You need to write a book as it is so interesting and I'm sure​ that lots of people would love it.

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  12. So enjoyed reading your story. You need to write a book as it is so interesting and I'm sure​ that lots of people would love it.

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