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Pondering

I’ve been having a bit of a thoughtful time over the past few days while I’ve been stuck at home with the dreaded flu, thinking about my life, the shop, and how things have changed so much in the past few years…

When john and I got married, I don’t think either of us envisioned the dramatic way our lives would alter, and that we’d end up here, madly in love with this island and running a bookshop!
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Life hasn’t always been easy – but although in material terms we don’t have what we did in the UK, our lives are so full now, thanks to Eklektos, in a fishing village in the East of Crete, we learnt the meaning of living…That sounds trite I suppose, but let me try and explain…

Throughout our working lives, both John and I have been employed by various people and organisations, and have obliged them with the hours we put in.  for me at some points, this was 2 or 3 part-time jobs, in varied shops while the kids were at school, and for John, long hours; often away from home and family, travelling miles to do what was required: this doesn’t necessarily mean you are living – you exist.  For many, the mentality is to work all the hours God sends, to buy the things we are told we MUST have to be happy and successful…I hate to tell you this, but IT’S A LIE! The amount of money we have is paltry compared to what we had in the UK…the cost of living here is MUCH lower than most people realize, and you do still have to pay taxes, insurance etc.  But money isn’t why we do this…

As I sit here writing this, I’m sat on the balcony of the shop, surrounded by the plants John has been growing, on the chair he painted, under the bamboo canopy, with the breeze blowing in off the azure waters of the bay below me.  Today I will probably eat a sandwich for lunch, on fresh bread from the bakery, with tomatoes that taste of something other than water! Tonight, I may eat a salad that cost less than 2.00 to buy ( the lettuce etc will last for 3 meals at least) or I may go for a meal that will cost less than 10.00 – prices of course are in Euros!

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While I wander to wherever I may choose, I will be stopped at least 3 times for a chat with people we know and who know us, there may have been visitors to the shop to join me in the evening for a glass of something on the balcony under the stars before that…

We talk, laugh and smile with all these folks, and the weather will be balmy, and the moon and stars easily seen – I’ll probably stop to look at them somewhere…

Now that is what living is all about!

Our lives are enriched by the people that we meet, and the history and beauty of Crete enthralls and inspires us to stay here no matter what…yes, sometimes I miss having the thingswe had in the UK- but would I trade this life for the trappings of middle/working class life in the UK?  NOPE!

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One of the first things we came to realize here is that all the space we thought we required was wrong! Before we came out, we had looked at properties, and thought we could manage in about 90 square meters, if we had to…boy was that stupid!

The spacious flat we are in now is about 80 square meters, and is more than ample! We have a lovely view onto the bookshop and over the rooftops to Spinalonga and the sea.  I don’t know how we on that crowded little island called Britain came to the conclusion that we HAD to have all this room for ourselves…maybe it IS because we are so crowded. We had a car, never used it: gone – the bus service is great (and the buses are a hell of a lot more comfortable!)

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All in all, I guess I’m just saying that we’re lucky, blessed and hopelessly happy!

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