Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Enough is never enough

As you may all have seen and heard, the news from Greece this week sets us apart, yet again, from all other civilized countries.

On Saturday evening, a 15 year old boy was shot to death on the streets of Athens. What was to follow was, to say the least, a wave of crime and violence all over Greece. The fury of the public has reached a peak, and no-one has even an ounce of humanity in them to accept that what we have witnessed over the last few days is not only screams of rage for an unacceptable crime, but also the consequences of living in a country where corruption reigns.

Whilst watching scenes of cities burning all over Greece, I could not decided whether I wanted to be there, in the streets, fighting against injustice, or whether I would prefer to merely write about this so called "just, democratic system", or whether I wanted to scream for there to be a god who would give Alexander his life back. I realised then, in all my fury that nothing is right. I have lived through a lot of pain. My parents have lived through wars, through military governments, through hardship... but now, at this very moment...nothing is right. When our world collapses, it's different. It's different because there is always the bigger picture. The whole world around us is the bigger picture. Lives continue, people go on. But what happens when the bigger picture collapses. Where do you go from there?

At one moment, hearing the news that the the Dean of the University of Athens had handed in his resignation, a terrible thought went through my mind. It was a thought that I wish I had never had, but one that has possessed my mind during the night. What if this was all a set-up. Maybe I have watched too many movies, but what if the rioting and the burning and the looting were all part of a different plan. A plan to take our attention away from the reality. The reality that a young life had been put to an end even before it had begun.

I have never seen a city collapse so quickly. I have never seen Greece pillaged and torn apart, and those were the scenes we witnessed last night. So terrifying and destructive that nothing could take our attention away from them...nothing...

The leaders of our country are no longer leaders, as for almost seven hours the countries heart was being torn apart and nothing was being done. Today our leaders are declaring a war against those who rioted, those who destroyed, those who burnt down people's businesses. Today, those people have decided to, basically, do nothing. Nothing to take back any ounce of the corruption that is seeping its way through Greece's veins. Nothing to make any sense of the death of a 15 year old boy.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime"... or in our case ..."Give a man a gun and you make him feel safe. Teach a man to shoot and you make him think he's God."

In memory of Alexandros Grigoropoulos.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sometimes losing means winning.

"Imagine all those people coming home."

A while back I wrote an article about the Hellines who live abroad. Today' s post is a little about me, about them, about you.

With the current economic situation ruling our lives, I took a step back from the news, and the aftermath of the world's worst nightmare, and decided to think. Again, I am a dreamer, so I will ask you to dream with me - imagine once more. This time, my imagination took me to a different world, maybe a world far from yours, called "My home, my choice". In my experience, the choices that we make, are the ones we have to live with. Now, I have made a decision to change this. the choices that we make are just choices. Nothing in the world can stop us from making different ones. What will happen if we do? Will the world suddenly come to an end. Will we all suffer in despair for changing things. No. Choices are choices, and once they are made they can't be unmade. But they can certainly be changed.

Many Greeks have made their homes elsewhere. Financial security, better living standards, more opportunities are a few of the reasons decisions were made. In my previous post I discussed the possibility of returning to a homeland, which seems unimaginable, but today, with the unbalanced global view, it may not be impossible.

My heading "Sometimes losing means winning" is also the motto of this post. Think about it. What would you lose if you gave up a life elsewhere to return to what most people call "patrida" - home. Let me tell you what I "lost" when I came here. Firstly, I lost my nationality. I was born in the UK. Secondly, I lost my prospects, I had been headhunted for a position in a multinational company. Thirdly, I lost my worth. The list is actually endless, and can go on for pages, but that's not what I want to dwell on. Losing can mean winning. The amount of things I have lost in my life will probably remain lost. When I lost these, though, there was always something to be won. Today, I looked at myself in the mirror, and realised that life is not about losing. It's not even about being afraid to lose. It's about winning. We only get one chance at this, so we should start getting good at it. I'm not talking materially, I'm talking fulfillment. Winning means looking at life in the way we are supposed to look at life. I came here with dreams and I am not going to give them up. Looking around me, the blue skies, the green mountains, the fertile land, the deep blue seas were once something worth fighting for. People have lived and died for this piece of the world. We have been respected for preserving our heritage and our history, so why do we not respect ourselves for it.

Greeks are winners. They are proud, and they are winners. All of you out there, living all around the world, remember who you are. This country does not have the leaders it should have. They are not responsible enough, and don't care enough to do any of us any good. They have also lost something - they have lost their way. Maybe we all have. There are so many traps out there, who wouldn't. It's time to find our way back, though. You may all have something that is needed here. You may have everything that is needed. Doctors who love saving lives. Teachers who love teaching. Builders who love building. Leaders who love their country enough to lead. Life is not about losing. It is about loving and respecting who you are, where you are and why you are there. This is what this and any country needs.

We need to protect what makes us different, and that is our heritage. Cultivating our crops in a healthy manner. Giving back what we have been given - a country which we should be proud of, not robbing it of everything it has.

What we lose - maybe a bigger wage, a better house, the best TV, the fastest car. What we win - life. Maybe it's not just a dream.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Working...and cleaning!!

This week is rather a hectic one, and each day just seems busier than the one before. Yesterday was a Greek national Holiday ( I should really write a post about this - but not today ), and in the evening the citizen's group, that I am fortunate to be a part of, had a meeting with the deputy minister of economy and finance, with regards to the pipeline I have previously written about. Nothing new there, unfortunately. The problem really is serious, but my understanding is that our battle is against more people than we had originally expected. It is a constant battle, and one which will go on for rather a long time, as I can see.

As I clambered out of bed this morning, I tried to organize my day in my mind. First I would have to deal with the housework. Now as all working wives and mothers know, this is not one of the easiest jobs. During the winter months, though, I am fortunate enough to work after midday, so my mornings are "free" (in inverted commas because I have more than enough to do apart from the housework.) Anyway, as I started to go through my routine, I thought that I could maybe share some tips, and get some tips from readers, too.

About two weeks ago I decided to change some things in my daily routine. The first was the fact that I left all the housework to be done on the weekends, something which I really hated. So I have now spread my chores over two (sometimes three) mornings. On the first morning I do the bedrooms - change sheets, dust, sweep and mop. That leaves the bathrooms, living room and kitchen for the second morning. Whilst doing all this, I also manage to cook the daily meal before I leave the house and also do some ironing. All of this means that I can spend my weekends with my kids, and I also don't tire myself out in one day.

It is really important for me to have a clean house. It's not only personal hygiene, but also wonderful to smell the fresh air going through the house. Greeks are generally renowned for their housework, and you will rarely visit a Greek house and see things lying around for days. Apart from daily chores, that involve tidying, washing and ironing, most Greek women will take out their carpets, sweep and mop on a weekly basis. Some do so more often, but for those of us who also work full time, it is a question of finding the time.

Anyway, that was just half of my day today... now I look forward to the next half...work!!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lessons learnt ... lessons to be learnt

Now that autumn has set in, and the summer season has come to an end, I have found the time to set about writing up some posts. Today I would like to look back on the previous season, and tell you about what has been going on... do some catching up.

Well, to begin with the summer was a great learning experience. I had a wonderful, but tiring, time getting to know the hotelier business, and believe me I now know only about one tenth of what I should. I think the best things that came out of this summer were the people I met, and the relationships which started. I know that, whatever else, I am a better person from all this. Firstly, I met a wonderful lady, manager of a hotel in a nearby area. She was able to help me in things I did not know about, and also in a way I could not have imagined. The hotel guests though were the main positive aspect of the summer. I felt a surge of energy whenever I could be of help, and whenever I could spend time just talking to everyone. It seemed that everything was meant to be... you know, when everything just clicks into place. I must admit there were times when I thought that I was about to collapse from all the pressure, and believe me, every day had a new problem, a new "something to be done", but it jsut felt right.

I think that I mostly enjoyed sending people in the right direction. I loved that people felt relexed and were able to enjoy their holidays in peaceful surroundings. I loved being able to solve problems and finding solutions to every day issues. I loved looking at the potential of this area, and knowing that I was helping it become recognized as a great holiday destination.

The learning curve, though, did not end there. The negative aspects also have to be considered, and they were probably the most beneficial parts of my summer. Mu guest book is full of wonderful comments, bu there are also the parts where the guests, confident enough to be able to express themselves, left any negative feelings. One thing that they definitely could not accept was that the area lacked sign posts, lighting, good roads, public transport and generally public services which are lacking in the area.

Unfortunately, the season here is still quite short, and government funds are not adequately invested ( although it can be said that nobody is sure what actually happens to government funds which come into the community).

One thing I have definitely learnt is that I do love anything to do with the travel industry, and I am looking forward to spending more of my time looking inot what I can do to get this area recognised for its natural beauty.

Anyway, as I strive to learn, I would just like to say that the experience was one of the best I've had.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A room with a view...

As we are in the midst of summer season, the temperatures soaring towards 40 degrees Celcius, and my new line of work is going through what I like to think of as the calm after the storm, and not before, I have found one of those rare moments of "me time". The view from my window is a dream as the palm trees waver in the wind and the waves can be heard slowly brushing the coarse sand. Time seems to be standing still, just enough for me to be able to gather my thoughts... a rare event over the past few months. I cannot believe that with all the rooms and hotels in the area filled to the brim, and the beach thriving with tourists, that the only sounds that can be heard are those of a calming nature. Every so often a car passes, and there is a constant hum of Greek music coming from the distance, but other than that the cicadas and the sea are the only noise polluters around.

I think I must have mentioned in one of my posts that I was taking up a new post as a hotel manager. It has been a great experience, and despite the problems we encounter every day, I have to admit that I am loving every minute of it. With less than six hours sleep every day, I still wake up every morning ready and willing to start the day with a smile. I think it might sound a little odd, but I love people. I think I was born with the will to want everybody to be happy, and this job has given me the opportunity. I spend most of my day working in different parts of the business, but my favourite time is the five or ten minutes I have to chat with various guests. Whether it is about the hotel, the service, their lives, the area... everything seems so interesting.

Anyway, duty now calls, and although I don't think I have said enough, I'm sure I will find another five minutes again in the future.

Thanks for your time

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Having little time, I'm finding it hard to keep my blog updated, but today I felt the need to keep you updated on the story of the gas pipeline. So, the story of the pipeline is....

After 8 months of hard work, and fighting hard to keep this beautiful part of Greece ... beautiful, yesterday we were informed by an executive of the Greek Gas Company, DEPA, that they have done nothing in these 8 months to find a different location for the pipeline. The Greek government has done nothing, the company has done nothing, and as far as the local authorities go... they have done nothing. For 8 months we have been in touch with Greek ministers, members of parliament, and the result has been that they have not even blinked an eyelid.

Yesterday evening the representative of DEPA confessed that the only reason he was in the area, was to pressure the local communities that the gas pipeline and compression station should pass between the tourist regions of Perdika and Sivota. He stated that in 8 months NOTHING has been done in reaction to the uproar of the local communities.... NOTHING AT ALL. The reason it cannot go somewhere else... simple... he could not answer. Both the company and the government have spent 8 months lying to all and sundry. Stories of officials coming from Holland to find a new route- blinding all the residents of both areas to the actual reality that nobody cares.

We really need help here!! As far as the state and the company is concerned we are a bunch of villagers who don't even know what gas means. As far as they are concerned it is a risk free venture, with no danger. As far as they are concerned a compression station can blend in with the environment and go unnoticed to tourists, to the villagers, to all. As far as they are concerned there is a little or no pollution. As far as they are concerned it will bring affluence and wealth to our homes. As far as they are concerned, we have no say in what goes on in our own homes, in our village, or in our country.

For the past 8 months they have ignored all of our pleas. They have started to make anonymous phone calls to people who are involved with fighting for their rights. They have tried to bribe others to keep quiet. They have even bought off reporters, TV companies so that they don't talk to the people of the area. A journalist told us that lots of money has been spent to keep the story inder wraps. They have spent 8 months playing games. They have put all their energy into inventing stories about the people who are fighting against them. Even the local authorities have been forced to keep quiet. Well this has just got to stop.

That, folks, is the Greece we live in. THIS IS EUROPE!!!!!!!!!!! If anyone can help, please get in touch...


Saturday, May 3, 2008

Light at the end of the tunnel

A few months ago I wrote about a Greek TV show, "Light at the End of the Tunnel". I had to write again as yesterday's show was connected to the UK. As the show started we were told of a young 25 year old, whose mother had married a Greek and moved to Germany. As life would have it, the woman's parents separated, and the mother moved back to the UK, taking her daughter with her. Times being difficult then, there was no contact between the families, and although attempts were made by the father's parents to find their granddaughter, they were not able to.

Yesterday, the young woman was reunited with her long lost family, firstly with her aunt, then with her father and half sister.

As I watched last night's episode, many things came to my mind. Firstly, the reality that when people are separated, for whatever reason, from their natural family, there always seems to be a gap waiting to be filled. For some, in their lifetime, the pieces of their lives are glued back together, and a sense of completion can be felt. For others, life is not always so kind. the language barrier was also a problem for this young girl, as Greek was not part of her life, until the moment she found her family again, and suddenly it became half her life.

These are difficult times. Times where the problems seem to be so much bigger than ever before. People around the world are coming face to face with realities that had never existed before. So, it was just wonderful to see the look of happiness on the faces of the family reunited last night.

Well done to Ms Nikolouli, for helping people deal with some of these realities.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Second Chances ... or not...

I don't know whether the time I was born, the year I was born in or my upbringing have anything to do with my character. In the past two weeks I have been trying to look at myself objectively, and find answers to questions that have been niggling at me for a long time. An objective look at my character is that although I am strong and can handle almost anything, I am also very sensitive. I am always looking for change, but can never seem to find it.

Recently I was given the opportunity to take up a new job offer. It is doing something I love - running a hotel. It gave my spirits a boost, knowing that I would be disassociating myself from teaching which has worn me down - as you already know if you have read earlier posts. The most daunting fact, though, is that although I'm ready for everything, I really want to give it my best. It is true that recent statistics have named this region the poorest region in Greece, and this is not something an aspiring business woman wants to be faced with. Another factor is that the hotel needs some serious changes, something that can't be done without financial backing - also something that I have to deal with. Having no capital makes it all the more worrying.

Even so, I am keen to make a go of this. Something that I have to do though is stop teaching over the summer season, and also risk losing my students as a consequence.

I am a positive person, and I do believe in following my sixth sense, which is telling me to go ahead with this, although everyone around me seems to be less optimistic.

So, anyway... any ideas of how to get financial backing and make this an ideal holiday destination would be handy at this point...

Thanks for listening....

Friday, March 21, 2008

Greece - The Future??

Having lived in two very different countries, I have come to the conclusion that Greece is a country envied by some, loved by few and desired by many. Its geographical position is its advantage, as well as its drawback. Its natural beauty is its main quality as well as its Achilles heel. Its history is its lesson to all as well as its foresight into the future.

Geographically, Greece is a bridge between East and West (if we can still refer to the world in these terms). Recent decisions have made it a country of strategic importance, not so much for its own interests, as for other interests. The fact that major players in the energy market, such as Russia and the United States, are battling for ground shows that it is in demand. Unfortunately, the Greek state system is not strong enough to hold its head high in these instances, and so, as with many other weaker countries around the world, it has become a useful tool.

Its natural beauty is something worth seeing. There are so many beautiful sights to see, and such a plethora of undisputed natural phenomena, that it would take years to be able to see them all. Volcanoes, gorges, mountains, caves, rivers, islands, natural lakes can be found all over the country, giving everyone the opportunity to enjoy what has been here since time started. This natural beauty is truly Greece's biggest gift to the world.

Historically, Greece has passed through many phases. Its Ancient History is perhaps the best known around the world. Philosophy, art and physical fitness all have their roots embedded in this country. Greeks have endured civil wars, slavery, world wars, disaster, emigration and immigration, and through all this have managed to keep their customs and traditions a part of their daily life. These are the things, though, that should lead Greece into a clearer future. It's not a case of not changing, but looking back at the mistakes made, and trying not to make them again.

To me, Greece has so many positive points, that it should be a leader in many things. It should be the country making bigger strides towards a better world. It should have higher expectations - great expectations, and not humbly follow others.

I love this country, not only the earth that we walk upon, and the sea we swim in. I love the feeling of standing in the same place as others, when they fought for freedom, for equality, for the right to live the way they want. It's that feeling that I want to pass to my children, and if I am lucky, to my grandchildren.

Thank you for your time....

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Greeks, Food and Drink

There is nothing more pleasant than enjoying a good meal. I don't know about you, but since I have moved here to Greece, I have found great pleasure in enjoying evenings out with friends at nice - economic - restaurants.

Last weekend, I felt the need to go somewhere and relax for an evening with a cousin and my husband. We decided to hit the nearby village of Sivota. It is a beautiful, magical village which is built along a small harbour. If you have never visited this area, it really is worth paying a visit to this village, merely to enjoy a typical Greek sunset.

Anyway, a friend, who has become a good friend over the past months, has a hotel and restaurant near the harbor, called Filaka. We all needed something to pick us up on Saturday, and this seemed to be on of the better ideas that were flying around (of course it was mine). So we set off, for that quiet evening out. When we reached the restaurant, it was almost full. Live music was playing and as we sat at our table, I got that feeling that this was going to be one of the more relaxed evenings of the week. We decided to order mezethes (a variety of Hors d' oeuvres) as we wanted to get a taste of everything available. We opted for a local wine, and sat to enjoy the atmosphere.

At some point my cousin and I were asked to sing a few songs, and so he, with his bouzouki, and I , with my voice (which was not up to standard due to a cold) picked up a few oldies and let the stress of the week flow out.

We all had a wonderful time, and I must admit, that I will make a habit of this, whenever I can. If you are ever in the area and feel the need to relax, pop in, order some wine and let the Greek music take over your mind.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Missing out ...

A few days ago I celebrated my 37th birthday. I have no qualms about my age, in actual fact I rarely even think about it. What I did discover though, this year, was that my overall attitude to life has changed a lot over the past year. The only thing I could think about on this birthday was that I feel that I have let myself down. Things I wanted to do, but never did...people I wanted to spend time with, but never got around to... time I needed to spend with my children, but had to work instead. Philosophising was the name of the game this year, and believe me, it was no fun.

I wondered, as everyone around me was drinking to my health, how I managed to get myself into such a rut. Where had the free spirit gone? Where was the dreamer, the ideologist, the perfectionist - those parts of me that made me ... me? The answer was nowhere, and the only thing that I wanted to do was to look back on this year. A year of sheer hard work, even getting up in the morning had become arduous. What had I achieved ... to my mind ... nothing. A quick run through of the year went something like this:

1. Working hard for peanuts
2. No holiday (for the sixth year in a row)
3. Less free time
4. More stress
5. Bigger bags under my eyes
6. No pick me ups
7. Aches and pains in unusual places
8. Still working on an unfinished book
9. Battling to save natural areas like the one I chose to live in

On the plus side:

1. My kids are well
2. I walk a lot
3. I'm still singing
4. I'm still writing poetry and songs
5. I have met a lot of new people through my blogs
6. My mind is still in one piece

I've never really had a birthday like this one. It was different. I somehow feel more lost now than I have ever felt, although it shouldn't be like this. I'm at a point in my life where I should feel more secure and I don't. The reasons are many. I have even felt that I must have managed to attract sadness and misery at some point throughout my life, and now I just can't seem to get rid of it. Somehow I seem to have lost my way, and now it's like wading through a muddy river, always getting stuck, watching life pass by and knowing at the back of my mind that I am missing out on something ...

Anyway, I blew out the candles on my cake, making a wish, and believe me this years wish was from deep within me. I let a teardrop fall, and thanked the lord that it was dark, and no one noticed.

I hope your birthdays are a lot better than mine ...

Friday, February 29, 2008

Greek Traditions and Customs (i)

Something you may not be aware of is that this time of year is a very busy time here in Greece, as far as customs go. This time of year is called Απόκριες(Apocries) in Greek. It means staying away from meat, which is the general notion of fasting. It is a Christian celebration, beginning 4 Sundays before lent, and ending on the day we call here "Clean Monday" which is the first day of Lent. It is never at a specific time of year, as the dates depend on when Easter falls. The origin of the customs and traditions are not certain, but one thing is sure, it is really worth visiting Greece at this time of year.

Most of the festivities begin two Thursdays before Lent, called "tsiknopempti". Celebrations vary depending on what part of Greece you live in, but the main idea is that people gather together and eat barbecued meat. It is a sort of thanksgiving for all the good things that God has given us, and a way of eating what we are going to be giving up during the fasting period. In many areas people dress up. In my village, it is a day of masquerading with masks, so that your face is hidden. You see lots of groups of people dressed so that they are not noticed, some dancing, some playing the fool and others playing jokes.

The Sunday after this is the "Small Apocries". Nowadays it is associated with a children's carnival, where the younger members of the population wear their costumes and parade the streets.

The main event is the last Sunday of this celebration. It is a day of clearing the houses of all meat and dairy products, as Lent begins the next day. It is also the day of magnificent carnival parades all around Greece. In most places the parades take place in the afternoon. The streets fill with onlookers, and those in costume dance through the streets to the rhythms of all kinds of music. Most parades end with a bonfire. Although traditions vary all around Greece, this last Sunday has an essence of death and rebirth, as lots of costumes depict. The end of Winter and beginning of Spring is another of its essential factors.

"Clean Monday" is the first day of Lent. Again a communal celebration in many places, people gather in the countryside and feast on vegetarian dishes, singing and dancing. Again traditions differ around the country, but kite-flying is one of the national customs on this day.

Wherever you are, visiting Greece at this time of year is really worth it. It may not be the Greece of the hot, lazy summer days, but it is the Greece of traditions and celebrations.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How to be Greek....

In my last post I asked for feedback on why people live in other countries ... what makes them stay there ... and their thoughts on the homeland. I have received various replies, and am still waiting for more so that I can get my article together... so please please mail me with your thoughts.

Today, sitting at home, various thoughts passed through my mind, and I decided to write an article on how to be Greek, for those of you out there who haven't had the good fortune of being part of this misconstrued race.

Here goes... happy reading...

How to be Greek

1. Always be the king of whatever castle you happen to be in.
2. Always be politically somewhere, to the point of making your party your family.
3. Always do tomorrow what has to be done today.
4. Listen to no other opinion, yours is the only correct one.
5. Always wish you had that job in the civil service.
6. Always disobey rules ... weren't they made to be broken.
7. Always look for the easy road, even if it means stepping over every person en route.
8. Believe you know everything about the world even if you haven't traveled 20km further than your doorstep.
9. Bribe anyone and anything in order to get your job done.
10. Remember that Greeks founded democracy.
11. Forget what democracy actually means.
12. Be happy when others are at their lowest.
13. Blame everything on the system.
14. Use your job to exercise power over everybody... even if you are only a clerk.
15. Be proud of your history and archeology.
16. Build on archaeological sites and land of historic significance.
17. Name the law when it obstructs you.
18. Forget the law when it suits you.

Of course, this is all in humor ... or is it??? Maybe you have some thoughts on this....

Friday, February 15, 2008

Greeks Everywhere...

My post today is more of a request really. What I'd like is information. I'm doing some research on Greeks who live abroad. My main aim is to get feedback from Greeks who live in other countries, their thoughts on their homeland, and the reasons they stayed or stay where they are and do not return. I'd like to know your thoughts on the Greek system, the way of life. What are the things that would attract you to returning to your homeland or the land of your parents? What would you change? I'm really interested in getting all this information together, so please send me your thoughts at allgreek1@gmail.com.

Thanks a lot....

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Not a good day...

Today is one of those not so good days. Actually, I don't even know if this is such a good year. Anyway, trying to put a positive perspective on things is something I am finding hard to do this morning.

It all actually started a few days ago. At the beginning of the month, I always try to put my accounts in order. This month was especially difficult, as back payments from my loans started coming in, and the banks started calling. Anyway, the difficult times have started. It's a bit like the movies, when you can see trouble looming, but you just don't know what to do. I have always tried to be competent with my finances, but you see, it's not me that is the problem. Or is it? You see, I know I don't scatter my money around, not knowing what I pay for, or not thinking about tomorrow. I don't squander pennies on things I don't need. The problem is that I just don't get paid. Teaching is a profession that is difficult. I spend many hours trying to get work together for the kids, and finding new processes to help them learn, but the truth is that this is a private school, and even though I try, parents just don't pay me when they should, so everything goes haywire. I've tried many things - asking politely to be paid, sending notes home to parents, phoning and insisting on them bringing in the money, but nothing works.

Now, things have become too tiring to face. I can feel myself falling into a depression, I can't teach, I can't even get myself ready for lessons. The only thing on my mind is how I am going to get my money. I know you're thinking what about legally? Why not try that road. Well, for one, think about the expenses of chasing each and every person who owes money through the courts, and the other thing is - this is Greece, and as all things, people's rights are the last thing taken into consideration.

Anyway, today is not a good day, and I just needed to talk...to somebody other than the banks and debt collectors. Change is necessary, and it has to be done quickly... I just don't know how any more. Maybe you could give some advice...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

2500 souls ....

I know, I know... it's been over a month since I've posted, but I do have a good excuse. I'm still campaigning against the gas pipeline and factory which has been planned to be built in this area. So, with that in mind, I have a new article for you today. It's a post I added to my greek blog (read it here) .

2500 souls live here, in the area I reside in. It was my decision to stay here. Aside from the problems, I insisted that this was the place where I could raise my children without having to force them to work around my routine, without imprisoning them within four walls, without being afraid of what my parents were afraid of, when they were bringing us up in a town. On Saturday, 2500 souls remained glued to their TVs as the minister of development announced that here, in this village, on this unspoilt land, in this paradise, they would be building factories, natural gas compressors, he stated, as it is important that our country become an energy link to Europe. Such magnificent words, and they sound so important, but did anyone ask me?

What difference does it make to me if Italy needs Natural Gas, when our planet is begging us to stop overloading it with our excessive lifestyles? What difference does it make if international agreements give us strategic power? Did anyone ask us? As long as I have lived here, I have watched the people battle for a better future. During the summer months the hotels and beaches are filled with people. Nature lovers from all over the world come here to enjoy the things they don't have in their own countries... the fresh sea air, the crystal clear waters, the hidden natural treasures. From every part of the village they can see the Ionian sea stretch out before them and the only thing that can be seen stirring the waters , are the boats. Winters are hard, but in spite of the difficulties 2500 souls choose to stay here and keep struggling. Tell me now, what can we do? Tell me now who will fight for us? Who will protect our rights, our property, our choices, our children? Faced with something of such national importance!! Faced with decisions that are taken behind closed doors. Faced with companies who contradict themselves in every statement they make. Faced with interest that my mind does not dare to imagine. Who? You could say that I don't believe in development. No, Sirs, not when you want to destroy a place so significant to me and all those who live here. Not when you want to erase our dreams from your maps. Not when you play games with human lives. Who told you that you could build factories next to homes, schools, lush green mountains, and clear waters.

You can say whatever you want, but one truth remains. We have the right to speak out. We have the right to live. We have the right to fight anything unjust, however no ministry, no company has the right to destroy dreams and lives.

The photograph shows the area chosen for construction.

(Forgive me if I have become tiring over this matter)