I am sitting in my studio apartment with my computer on my lap on a cold, windy, and rainy day in Voutes, Heraklion, Crete. My little dog is curled up asleep, seeing no reason to awake on a day like this.
I made the decision to leave my beautiful home in Molivos, Lesbos last winter, renting a small Air BNB house in Heraklion the winter and a small house in Pachia Ammos for the summer. Then back to Lesbos for 2 weeks, on to the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete for 2 weeks, back to Lesbos for 2 weeks, on to America for a speaking tour, back to Lesbos for a few more weeks with an interval in Thessaloniki, and on to Crete for the New Year holidays.
Things went pretty much as planned up until my return to Crete. There were a few glitches, but I enjoyed being in Heraklion and then in by the sea in Pachia Ammos, and I was beginning to make new friends. I enjoyed my time in Lesbos and my trips to the US and Canada. I was looking forward to my return to Crete.
The trip back was easier than expected. I had to take 2 overnight ferries with a day in between. I worried about what to do with the packed car in a city, but the second ferry arrived in Piraeus at the same time as the first, and, contrary to policy, the staff let me park my car on the ferry 12 hours early. I visited the friends who bought my former apartment in Athens in the morning and spent the afternoon with Green Party friends. The ferry departed at 9 pm and when I got to my “Lux” cabin, I found a small bottle of wine and drank it greedily before falling asleep in the comfortable bed.
Plans began to change when I arrived in Pachia Ammos. My boyfriend was enmeshed in a family crisis. The woman friend with whom I had planned to dance in the New Year felt obligated to attend a family wedding and the days of celebration following it with her former boyfriend. Cold winds began to blow and neither the summer room to let where I was staying nor my friend’s taverna were particularly warm. Still, I had good talks with my woman friend and got to know several delightful English couples at her taverna.
The friend from whom I had agreed to rent an apartment outside Heraklion while I look for something more permanent, kept putting me off about moving in. When we finally met, she told me about one crisis after another in her life, and I discovered that the apartment was not as fully and beautifully furnished as I remembered. There were a bed and two couches, but the kitchen and bathroom, while usable, were not finished, and the closet and chest of drawers were still in flat pack boxes.
The good news is that a store called English Home (based in Turkey) had the dishes and soft furnishings I needed to buy on a 70% off sale. My little apartment is now accented with pink and purple dishes, red and pink floral pillows, sheets, and bedspread, and pink lace runners. After living in a large home, I am enjoying a more compact space.
The bad news is that the last weeks have been stressful. Driving into Heraklion was a nightmare when I did not know the roads and impatient drivers honked incessantly at me. More than once I drove around the city in circles not knowing where to turn or where to park. The workmen who put the finishing touches on the apartment were very kind but having your home space upside down and invaded by others is never easy.
I have also been quite alone with my little dog. I had imagined dinners and long talks with the friend from whom I am renting the apartment. But she has been travelling and weighed down in her own family crises, and we yet to have any real communication. One of my new friends had exams and another a bad case of flu. The day my boyfriend planned to come down from his mountain, he got snowed in.
In the past week there were many moments when I just wanted to go home. But I remembered the reasons I left and told myself to give it more time.
I bought the round table I needed for my small kitchen and found the perfect lace tablecloth to cover it. It is amazing the difference that made in the feeling of my new home. My apartment feels ready, and I am ready for a new life to unfold. All will not go as planned, but then it never does.
My boyfriend finally made it down from his mountain. The friend who had the exams will pick me up in few hours for a late lunch in a nearby village. It is still cold and rainy outside, but the almonds have begun to blossom and wildflowers are budding.
*Thanks to Lache S. whose “Sometimes You Can Go Home Again” sparked these reflections.
Carol P. Christ is an internationally known feminist writer, activist, and educator living in Heraklion, Crete. Carol’s recent book written with Judith Plaskow, Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology, is on Amazon. A Serpentine Path: Mysteries of the Goddess is on sale for $9.99 on Amazon. Carol has been leading Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete for over twenty years: join her in Crete. Carol’s photo by Michael Honneger.
Listen to Carol’s a-mazing interview with Mary Hynes on CBC’s Tapestry recorded in conjunction with her keynote address to the Parliament of World’s Religions.