I very much enjoyed having a rare day off work yesterday, in order to celebrate Greece's Independence.
We went to Syntagma to watch the parade! Parade for me conjures up visions of floats, bands, clapping, shouting. In Greece, it is an opportunity to show how much military power they have, and I have to say, not accustomed to seeing army tanks and fighter jets, its pretty impressive. The parade went on for a good hour and half. We shown everything, the army, the airforce, the navy, the special services, the Red Cross, the ski fighters, war veterans, the police, the planes that take the water to the forest fires, everything. The amount of army vehicles that came steaming along was very interesting, and altogether, I have to say, was quite intimidating! We mostly enjoyed seeing the men, there is nothing like a man in uniform! Especially sailors!! It was a lovely sunny day, and everyone was out, waving their flags and whooping at the different sectors, with the soldiers in traditional dress getting the loudest applause! I have to say that my most favourite sight though, was the children. They looked so cute, like miniature dolls, dressed up in their traditional cloths to watch the parade. Ever so sweet.
After the parade, we were at a loss at what to do, so we went for a salad and ice cream, and gradually, I have to say, as I was walking to work this morning, that old feeling is creeping back.
More on this to follow.
I then went for drinks with T and L. It was L's name day, and so the three of us went for some drinks in Sygrou. We went to a tiny bar, that is a favourite with actors and actresses looking to get away from the posery, stylised haunts that are normally associated with theatrical types. As I consider myself a theatrical type, this little hide-away suited me just perfectly. It just struck me as quite Bohemian, this little dark bar. What else could be better than sitting in such a delightful place, with two good friends, indulging in traditional drinks and foods, whilst enjoying good conversation. I swear, I could have sat there for hours had it not been for today's meeting.
T and L, I believe, are the reason I have started to relax in Athens. They are considerate to the fact that I don't understand much Greek, and if they speak in Greek, they take the time to include me, to translate to me what they are saying, so that I can participate in the conversation. They have contemporary views, and understand, even share some of the same view points that I have on Greek culture. I have faith that we will be friends for years to come, we are already talking of future trips to England and Greece to visit each other. I do not care that I don't have a million friends here in Athens, but the friends I do have, are ever so special to me.
I believe the sun is also making a big contribution to the shift in my mood. The city feels alive, the smells, the way it looks, the feeling I get when I step out of the door is reminiscent to that of my first trips to Athens. I am excited for whiling days away sitting on the beach. There is most definitely a spring in my step, and now I feel relaxed, I don't feel I have to keep talking, but I m quiet, maybe I am starting to take in that I have been here in Greece for a long time now. Every so often it really hits me that I have only been back to England three times!
Maybe this change, this relaxed feeling is not just to do with the sunshine, but also I can see the end, I can see when I will be back in the UK. I am aware its approaching, and almost as if by magic, it'll be when I have to leave. I am think this is making me relax a bit more, to not worry so much that people stare at me in the street, or that I don't understand. I know my Greek has improved, but most of all my understanding of me has improved. I was asked yesterday if I thought I would be clinging on for dear life to the tarmac screaming don't make me go when i finally go back to the homeland. I said, no. I think maybe I have changed my mind. I don't think I'll be screaming, but I do think I will be sad to leave the adventure behind. But one thing I do know now for sure, is that it will not be the end of my Greek love affair.