Growing up on an Greek Island it’s both a blessing and a curse. Blessing because you have endless memories of nonchalant days during which the only preoccupation one has is to find the perfect beach. You carry memories, of sun kissing your skin, the gentle breeze coming from the sea to cool you down and the benevolent embrace of the sea, that stay for you forever. This is why most of Greeks for holidays always return back home. Why should you chase the sun when you know where she is?
But, growing up on an island when Summertime is falling down and winter’s closing in it is a different story. It is amazing how much unforgiving people can be when they are bored…The sun leaves to move to better places, and as Joni Mitchell says: “Now the warriors of winter they give a cold triumphant shout All that stays is dying all that lives is getting out” When all tourists leave and nature is not welcoming anymore, everyone stays in
Boredom and inertia makes people cruel. If it happens and you are a little bit different than the others then you are becoming a target, either of bullying or gossip. Growing up on an island entails the existence of secrets. There are a lot of hush here and there, and people always look as if conspiring. The society is small, and Greek families are big – this is a problem – it creates great anxiety that follows you around all during your life.
In my family we also had secrets, secrets that we would keep to protect each other – but in the end we were just harmful to each other. Too much sun sometimes instead of revealing things makes you blind and easily you look at a different direction. When the tragedy hit my family – it was during a sunny day of May. I still remember the day – the phone call – the sudden trip – the arrival. Tragedies are happening for a reason – since then my family has been open and daring and for this reason I love them more than ever. The anxiety though stays with you and you carry it like a stench.
When a member of your family commits a suicide the questions are many – self blame – blame – guilt – are never ending. And the memory of this violent separation overshadows all the good memories you have of that person. You really have to fight a lot to shed light and try to remember the good things… I am still trying. This violent separation still haunts me – sometimes when I receive a phone call I can stop myself from thinking that it is for a bad reason. You constantly think how fragile the world is – which in the end it is not a lie – but the delusion of stability, it’s such a sweet delusion.
After living and working in London for about three years I moved to Brussels. I had nothing here – but I was well equipped with friends! Immediately Brussels became the home I was looking for. I have had many jobs and ups and downs and I will still keep having ups and downs but I am not afraid in Brussels.It is an Easy city – forgiving and welcoming. Four years have passed and I truly feel like home here.