Taxiing at Gatwick we pause for an indeterminate time just before the take-off strip. Half-hearted snowdrops disintegrate on touching the wings. Patchy white tarmac and not quite sub-zero temperatures display a battle of wills between drizzle and blizzard.
The pitch of the engines increases and we lift gently into the sky. Seconds later we’re above the clouds and the grey, sludgy, London landscape transitions into sunlight so blistering I have to draw the blind to shield my mole-like eyes.
A magazine, bad pasta, good salad, coffee, great wine and two hours later we’re in Greek airspace. Seat 18F affords me great views and I let off a smug grin as I glimpse the snow capped mountains.
My smugness comes from the anticipation of warmer/sunnier climes. For the past month I’ve been on a work trip to the UK, which started and ended with cold white stuff falling from the sky. The climate I’m used to. I can deal with it. But getting up very early in the pitch dark, and returning home after the sun has set leaves lingering questions about the nature of life/work and the best ways to those precious waking hours every day.
One thing is for sure. I miss my family like crazy. It’s the first time I’ve spent such an extended period away and no amount of financial remuneration, social distraction or London buzz can remove the yearning for home. Yes, I can admit it now. Greece feels like home. Although I’ve only been here for 5 months, I feel I’ve become rooted, like a juvenile but stubborn olive tree.
Who knows what the future holds? Uncertainty seems to be the default mode of this country at present. As a family our destination is also unclear, but right now, the journey is splendid and I intend to savour every moment.
Words of the day
snow -χιόνι – (h-yonn-ee)
family – οικογένεια – iko-yen-ee-a
home – σπίτι – (spit-ee)
(Warning: indulge in weather based Schadenfreude at your peril. As I’m writing this, thunder and torrential rain, rather than Mediterranean sunshine, have been the backdrop in my Athens office.)