Melancholia atop the Hotel Attalos…

I am once again in Athens after a long boat ride from Paros.  Tomorrow I fly to Vienna, en route to America and a month in the green, lush Hudson valley and my mother’s home.  I was saddened leaving Paros today.  I sat at a cafe and said goodbye to a new friend from Paris and as I walked to the port I hugged a fellow student farewell as she opened up the small cafe where she worked.  The crowd to get on the Blue Star Paros was large and I waited in the sun for about 15 minutes until we boarded.  One of our teachers at the school was boarding another ferry on his way back to Amsterdam and he was being helped by a good friend (to many of us) who, in a few weeks, will be saying goodbye to Paros forever.  Her life path has shifted and will no longer include Greece or the Cyclades.  I was struck by a melancholic mood as these interactions occurred and as I boarded my ferry I received a text from a friend who had arrived too late to say goodbye in person.  We spoke on the phone and it was good to hear his voice.  A few minutes later another friend sent me a ‘bon voyage’ text.  So some of these ‘farewells’ were from a distance and not face-to-face.  It felt as if something was missing. There is no substitute for the real thing.

I have come to an odd point in my journey through Greece.  I have many questions and my future on Paros suddenly seems less certain than it did a year ago.  There was a time where I needed university credit-that is no longer necessary.  It is essential I establish my own existence outside of the Aegean Center if I am to survive happily on that little island.  I am a photographer and need to be so with or without the Aegean Center connection.  To rely on that resource for too much support (of any kind) would be unfair to them and detrimental to my own sense of self and stunt my intellectual and social growth.

I have made friends and lost friends at the Aegean Center over the past two years.  I have made terrible errors of judgement regarding friendships and even recently the possibilities of love.  This has had the effect of pushing me further into myself, thus finding an easier path to isolation and solitude.  I know this is not always a good place for me to be, but I feel as if I have no choice.  If I am to be emotionally secure then I have to be very wary, almost suspicious, of others.  As my father has warned me, I can be too naive regarding people.   Yes, there are some people I can trust, but more to avoid or at least be careful around.

So I leave Paros with a heavy heart.  Few real farewells and only one or two ‘kalotaxidhis’ have left me wondering what my future in Greece will entail.  I will work through the year since I have made that commitment to myself and others, but after that it may be time to move along.  We shall see…


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