Τρίτη, 10 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

letting go, changing

Beautiful, cold days...

This past month has been really busy. As soon aas I came back from Skyros I started teaching. I had forgotten how much I loved teaching. It is a performance as well as communication with human souls.

Art is also flooding in my life in a million ways.

A theatre play for Christmas. Every night we are rehearsing. Every night we are expected to exceed our limits, to perform better, to give everything on the stage. It's a life experience. Will we exceed our limits? Get out of our comfort zone?

This year I have made the big step. To use my vocal abilities with songs I really enjoy. For a couple of years I had not been into music. I was hiding. Or maybe waiting for the right moment. I was looking for a quitarist to accompany me. We did a couple of gigs and they were pretty successful. I came out of my closet and used my harmonicas and my small percussion instruments. It is nice to come out of the closet....

On the other hand I feel really exhausted with all these. I feel I need to focus on one or two things that I do really well instead of consuming myself with ten different projects.

I had a nice discussion the other day and this was the subject. It is nice to be creative and ever-moving. But having your fingers in many jars will only get you this far. I need to ask what is it that will give me passion and exhitement AS WELL AS money and independence.

As the year expires I need to make some decisions. Let go of the things that do not give me prograss and focus on the rest.

Παρασκευή, 1 Νοεμβρίου 2013

Thinking of Skyros

I did not want to leave Skyros.
Three weeks were not enough.

On my last night, I went to Korfari, the little bar by the sea, run by Dimitris, an interesting guy to say the least. 5-6 locals and me. This is what they do when the tourists have gone and winter is coming. We spent the night youtubing and drinking wine. Everyone contributed a song. We DJed altogether. I sung for them. I was always amazed by the Skyrians' good taste for music. Blues, rock, soul, they all know very much about music and they are passionate about it. The Skyrians are generous, talkative people and they know how to have a good time.

Dizzy as I was from the wine, before I went to bed, I decided to walk on the beach one last time. The sea was calm and the stars were shining bright. As Clio put it, a romantic night with myself. I contemplated all these fine moments on the island. New friends. New experiences. Beautiful images. I also said goodbye to Adonis. All the things we did
together on this island three years ago. Life goes on. I was emotional, but with a sweet feeling that will always come to me when I think of Skyros.

Six o clock in the morning I was up again. I had a long way ihead of me. Four hours of sleep and I still managed to come home safely. I guess I' not so old yet, I can handle it, he he!

I want to say a special thank you to Clio, my new French best friend. She gave me two riding lessons, but I learned even more, spending time with her everyday. She is only 24 but she is a great teacher. She builds confidence in you and the horse. She is very intuitive with horses. But intuition is useless without knowledge. She has worked hard, she has studied and travelled for years. As the years go by, I can see her blossoming into a charming lady, who knows a lot about horses. I am a bit jealous that she found her path so early in life.

I'll never forget our road trip on the mountains of Skyros. Our walk to the beach were Dimos drowned. Our night out in the village until 7 in the morning. Our HUGE breakfasts at 9 in the morning, when fresh bread arrived. We could not move because we ate too much. Her motivation in cleaning the farm. Every day was a new project. Every day was full of laughs and smiles. Everyday was an adventure.

Sweet Georgie, the 19 year old volunteer from Brighton, UK, who knew
a lot about poneys. Always eager to help, always with a smile on her face, always wearing shorts in cold nights, making the old ladies in the village cross themselves as she passed by! One day she worked with Pyrros and made him jump! Here is a lovely picture of the two of them...

I miss Ruth's laugh! The way she used to talk and joke about almost everything... having to repeat herself because I could not understand what she said! Ruth, darling, make sure you tell me the whole sentence next time! You were strong and eager to help, hope we meet someday in the future...

I cooked for the girls everyday. Spinach with rice. Chickpea soup. Trachanas with feta cheese. Pastitsio. Cockerel in wine with pasta. Brocoli and cauliflour au gratin. Pasta bolonaise with pepers from the garden. Rocket salad with cherry tomatoes and walnuts from the garden.
Dimos's garden was alive and producing. My speciality became a sweet I call salami. Chocolate with biscuits inside. when you cut it, it looks like salami. One day, I found an aubergine that looked like a chicken! It went into a pasta sauce, but will be here for eternity, as I took a picture of it!

My body got stronger and my skin darker. October was hot in Skyros.

Every morning, 7.30, we would go out to the field. The ponies were waking up. The stallions were waking up. The sky would be pink. The moon was out there. As I went into the field, a pony would come and say hello. I would hug and kiss the pony on it's nose. The nose of a horse is soft and tender.

For a couple of days I was saying goodbye. To the cats. Hitler, Hunter, Charlie, Martha, Mary, Stachti and the rest. We buried Muesli. He died a few days before I left. I found him just as he was leaving for his next life. Goodbye to Heidi, the goat. I'll miss you. Goodbye to the mares.
Sylvia, Kaya, Marika, Milly, Nefeli, Glyka, Clio, Lavender, Georgia... Goodbye to the stallions. Victor, Apollon, Ermis, Dias, Dimos... Goodbye Pyrros and Ira, the big horses... I wish I had more time to remember all 38 horses and all 15 cats with their names. Goodbye to the dogs, Ruba, Chara, Filio. Goodbye chickens, thanks for the food! Goodbye to all the strange creatures of nature, especially this praying mantis that looked like a piece of wood... He was scary, but beautiful...

It was indeed strange being in the farm without Amanda and Stathis. I missed all the conversations I had with Amanda. But then again, it was a different experience.

My last night on the island. My last morning on the porch of their house. My last sunrise. Waves gently touching the shore. Going out of the house, thinking you will hear the traffic. But all you hear is the waves. Last moments. For now. Next time, I promised myself a vacation on Skyros. Not working, just enjoying the beach, the people and the wine.

I drove back. Alone with Freeda in the car. Aretha Frankin. Etta James. Loud music. The sense of freedom. I am driving myself home. I have to thank myself for the gifts I am giving me. Being alone and strong. I deserve the joy. I deserve life. I deserve the things that make me laugh. No more compromising. No more waiting for help from out there somewhere.

I miss them already. The people, the animals and the smells. The harsh earth beneath my feet. The warm sun in my face. The stars. The sea. I
miss them all. I'll come back, I promise.

Πέμπτη, 24 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Every day is full of stories

The mares where playing with Freeda. She was outside the fence, running up and down to see me mucking. The horses where really excited and followed her on the inside of the fence.

One cold morning, the muck puddle was steaming as the sun came up!

Every morning I sing songs about mucking. “I’m mucking in the rain, I’m mucking in the rain, what a glorious feeling, I’m happy again” (it’s not raining, but I like the song). Or another song, blues-gospel style “every mo-orning, before the sun comes u-u-up, I take my shovel – pause – and I start shoveling shi-it, Oh lord shove-e-eling shi-i-it” I call allthese songs “poo poo songs” and they are my morning meditation!

When the horses are cleaned, fed and watered, it’s time for the chickens and cockerels. Once I come out with the bucket of food, I have forty really hungry chickens following me. Everyone else is very scared of them. But I just find them funny! They fight over food but I still can’t find any eggs! I was told to put one marked egg where I want the chickens to lay eggs.  I have done so in two places around the farm. I am checking every day, but to no avail… One day Clio came to me and said she has a surprise for me! Five beautiful white clean eggs where on a stack of hay! They made THE perfect omelet! 

 Then it’s time for Heidi, the goat. She is Julietta’s goat. She eats some of the chicken’s food, but I found another purpose for her. She will be my “vacuum cleaner” for weeding the garden! All the summer goods have gone, so I need some clean space for the winter garden. Every day, she gets a little walk in the garden on a lead like a dog and I let her eat away! She seems happy and she is now best friends with Freeda! In the garden, Freeda digs the holes and Heidi weeds. I have two lively tools, to make my life easier! He he!

Vaccuum cleaning by animals was introduced as an idea by Clio, my innovative French co-worker. She is using Pyrros – Amandas’ big horse – to strip the leftover hay from the ground. Why break your back sweeping, when he can do it in three days? He is satisfied.

After the chickens we feed the cats. It must be twenty cats waiting in the barn to be fed. Cats are of two kinds. The fat bullies and the thin bullied. Cats cannot wait. They will be around you, all screaming for food like there is no tomorrow. I can’t recognize all of them, but Martha sleeps in the house and Mary is always ready to jump in the house to steal some more food. Mary usually sleeps in the bucket of almonds and walnuts. Another cat I will never forget is Hitler. They called him by this name cause he has a Hitler mustache. He is fat and will not come down from the vine unless it is for food. Charlie and Hunter are the beautiful strong males. They were here three years ago. They will be seen around the farm, sleeping in places you never expected them to sleep. Stachti is here and she is now big and has afunny face. Do you remember her?

Last but not least, the horses. Victor, the stallion is still here. He is beautiful and he as now fathered most of the foals. Sylvia – Marika’s foal, I was there when she was born – is a lovely three year old lady. So is Kaya, not a baby anymore! I have trouble recognizing them, but Clio is helping me. Never bored to explain over and over again who is who…

Me and Clio are having so much fun! One day we decided to get rid of all the junk in the front of the farm. With Georgies’ and Ruths’ help, we put all of it in Amandas’ big truck and went to discover the dumping grounds of Skyros. First stop were the gypsies in the marina. It was one of the scariest things I ever did. We were surrounded by kids who wanted food and clothes. Ok, we dumped the metal as fast as we could and left. We tried to find the dumpster, but we ended up on a really high hill overlooking the island. It was quite a drive! Skyros is so beautiful, and very green in some places! We ended up coming back and throwing a little bit of trash in every bin on the way back… It is still going to end up in the dumpster, right?


Another nice trip, was on the beach of Agios Petros. I remember sleeping on that beach three years ago. This time it was empty and cold. I did not even dare go into the sea! The other day, we went to Palamari, the beach near the farm. It is ten minutes on foot. Clio rode Pyrros and I was with Freeda. It was so hot, so I swam!

PS I am sorry - no I am devastated and shocked - to hear that a small dog back home passed away because she had a fight with Freeda. Aparently she had a bad trauma on her head that caused internal bleeding. I thought it was not a bad fight, but it was bigger than I thought. I will keep Freeda more restrained from now on. Good bye Myrto, you will always be remembered!

Σάββατο, 19 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Life at the farm


(exuse my HUGE lettering, I can't fix it...)

It’s been a week and a half. I am in Skyros.
Driving here with my dad was really interesting and fun, he would tell me where to be careful and where to speed up. It was so nice to do something together after all these years of bad communication…

We were greeted by Amanda in her lovely flat in Magazia, in front of the beach. We stayed up nearly all night taking, catching up on those three years. The dominating subject sadly was Dimos and his daughter Julietta. They were living on the farm for two years. He drowned and Julietta had to go back to Thessaloniki with her aunt. They are both missed greatly.

Next morning, the sun rose from the sea and a new day was beginning. It was so beautiful! It was time to go to the farm. I drove on the snake like roads of Skyros. I know them all too well… Two months on the island are more than enough to know all the roads… I found the farm.

All the familiar smells and the two familiar figures… Amanda and Stathis. The two people, who will always welcome you, show you around, answer your questions, feed you, make you coffee, even listen to your problems!

This time was different. They are going away to England and we are going to be taking care of the farm until they come back. They do need some time off, to forget and get some rest. My role is feeding the volunteers. A lovely lady from France is here to take care of the horses. We were both volunteers here in the past and as I said in my previous post, I feel honoured they trusted me with the farm.

The farm is full of life. Horses, dogs, cats and chickens need to be fed and watered. Much has changed after three years. The foals are now adult horses. It is difficult to recognize them… The volunteers’ room is much nicer, much cleaner and lovely. The main house and the barn is almost the same.

There are also many chickens and cockerels running about free. They are beautiful! Only problem is that we can’t find eggs anywhere. I am asking around for tips that might do the trick…

In this first week, my muscles were sore from mucking out. My body is adjusting to this work, my hands are getting harder and I don’t bite my nails anymore.

The scenery is so beautiful, I feel like crying sometimes. October is hot enough to go for a stroll on the beach and cold enough so you don’t sweat your heart out when working on the fields. Autumn is beautiful, dramatic skies, sizzling rain, wind and a moon that is growing to a full.

full moon on the field
There are lots of almonds and walnuts falling off the trees and the garden still produces peppers, aubergines, cherry tomatoes and rocket. Yes, the land can feed you. I find inspiration for my cooking and the girls seem to like my food. Salads with rocket, walnuts, cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Peppers in pasta sauce. One cockerel was sacrificed to feed us. He was simmered in wine and cooked for a good three hours. With pasta on the side, it was one of the tastiest meals I’ve ever had!

 Now for the people.

Clio is French and her profession is horse training. Always smiling, always motivated, always sweet and I love her sense of humor! She is tall and strong and beautiful and she can always answer my questions about the horses. When me and Clio arrived there were three volunteers. Nicole from Miami, a lovely young girl who wanted me to talk greek to her. Her grandmother is greek, from Alexandria Egypt. She loved giving me a hand in the kitchen. She wanted to learn how to cook! Unfortunately she had to go, but she will stay in my heart forever!

Two more volunteers are here. Georgie is british and she’s only nineteen. I love to tease her! She also knows a lot about horses and she is staying here till December. Such a sweet young lady! Last but not least, Ruth. Also British, twenty four, she was a bit unhappy – for her own personal reasons – when I first met her. She has changed to a laughing, smiling, motivated lady! She is always eager to help with every little chore.


freeda and heidi the goat!
The four of us talk a lot, laugh a lot so the work in the farm is simply easier! This unexpected invitation to the farm is turning out to be one of the best experiences in my life! I am so greatful for the opportunity…

Our daily routine is waking up at 6.30 and going to bed at 9.00. Farm life is really different from city life. You have to do everything in the daylight… Mucking, feeding three times per day… In between, you can drive to the nearest beach, or go to the village, or simply stay in the farm and admire nature…

More stories and photographs shortly…….

Δευτέρα, 7 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Skyros. Back to the farm...

Three years ago I wrote this post. I had just arrived to Skyros. Amanda's voice had seemed warm over the phone and I was ready for my new adventure. I spent two wonderful months there.Amanda became my big sister and we never stopped talking to the phone over the years.

Until she called me for a different reason. She wanted someone she could trust, to come to the farm and help the volunteers while she and Stathis where away to the UK. Could I come and spend two weeks on the farm? What an honour!

I am leaving on Wednesday. I am really exhited!

I can't help but compare the two situations. Three years ago, I did not drive. Now I'll take Freeda in the car and I'll drive myself to Skyros. My friend V. was driving. He is now the father of a little girl in Santorini. Antonis was there too. He was alive and well. I loved him for suppoting me on my journey. He is not here anymore. My dad was a distant figure who did not approve of my decision. Now he wants to come with me. And I'm really glad. So much has changed.... I have changed...

I cannot wait to be with the horses and cats and dogs in the remote farm in Skyros.

Of course I'll be writing about it/ 

Stay tuned!

Τρίτη, 1 Οκτωβρίου 2013

just a thought

Τoday's lesson. 
Αfter the darkest storm there is always sunshine.
Are we listening to nature?
A few days earlier, a praying mantis walked into my apartment. 
I did my research.
The praying mantis is an omen for meditation, quieting down the mind.
Next day i understood why it came. 
it had sensed the storm. It needed a shelter.
The sharpness of innate inteligence always amazes me.
This little creature knew about the storm a couple of days earlier.
After last night's storm, the sun is shining bright.
it's a new day. A new begining.
Welcome.

Πέμπτη, 26 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

A wonderful journey: short film project

At the begining it was just an idea.

I had seen an advertisement about a short film festival.

Me and my new friends from the theatre where really exhited to be toghether, to learn about the art of the stage.

"What if we made a short film?" I thought.

I had no idea how to make a short film. But I did dare to dream and think about it. I even spoke out loud about it.

The idea was soon forgotten. But it was up there. Out in the open space.

Some days later, the idea confronted me again. My friend had come up with an idea for the plot.  She was going to write the screenplay. It sounded
really interesting and funny. The idea had grown a bit.

It stayed in the open space for a little bit longer.

Being the social bee I am, I met a photographer.We started talking about photography - I do love taking photographs. She had warm blue eyes and a big smile. She looked like a fairy princess. She told me she was also a film director, she had just finished her studies.

The idea grew even bigger when I asked her if she would direct our short film. She said yes!

The idea was a bright pink ballon on the sky now.

Months went by, but the idea was there and could not be ignored.

Fifteen actors had been cast.

It was time for the idea to come down from the sky. Become a reality.

Our budjet was tight, our time was limited. But then miracles started to happen. We found microphones and lights, we had our moms cook and friends helping us with little details. Our team was ready to proceed.

Filming started. One more journey. The traveller inside me was thrilled. A whole new world opened in front of my eyes! I felt like Alice in Wonderland! No. I WAS Alice in Wonderland....

There were days we felt exhausted. But there was this spark that gave us strength to continue.

Editing the film is another journey altoghether. Our wondeful director and the editor that came on board, are working overtime to give the film a final touch.

It has been a wonderful journey and it is not over yet.

I feel honoured to have such talented friends who know how to work as a team.

Thank you
Nadia, Evi, Aggela, Liana, Kostas, Stavroula, Lena, Lilia, Artemis, Athanasia, Greta, Ivi, Vaso, Rodoula, Mitsos, Giorgos, Apostolis, Dimitris, Dimitris and all the ones I forget now,

for playing such a big part in my life. For making my idea come true. For being such talented individuals. You are my creative family.

Thank you for the journey.

Τετάρτη, 11 Σεπτεμβρίου 2013

Ode to my friend

 Technology can sometimes be frustrating.

This morning I was ready to write my September post. Coffee, cigarettes, laptop. And then frustration. No you cannot go into Blogger. No you cannot write. An overwhelming super power was there not letting me write. Chrome, Mozilla, Blogger everything was telling me no. I talked to friends, laughed over my problem, uninstalled Chrome, installed it again, deleted torrents, waited for hours and hours.

Here I am. Forgotten what I wanted to write. 
Lets take things from the start.

I was inspired by a friend this past weekend. Her actions showed me what Jonah always says. You can change in one-thousand lifetimes or you can change in a minute. Well, she has made changes in so many levels. Her work, her love life, her mind settings... Really quick. She is such a brave soul, such a talented individual... And I am proud to call her a friend. You know who you are. You know you will make it. 

I do hope to have the courage one day to get rid of my fears the way you did. 
To make my dreams come true. 

Do beautiful people know they are beautiful? Do strong people know their strength? Then, why do beautiful and strong people make choices they do not deserve? When do they push the button and turn off all the bullshit? What does it take? 

It might take a tragedy. It usually takes a tragedy. But it does not have to. We know our theory. but what about actions?

In about a month from now, I'll be where it all started. And the journey will continue.

PS The photos are from a praying mantis that surprised me. It was on my artifacts last Sunday.

Δευτέρα, 12 Αυγούστου 2013

short summer trips

July ended in the most fabulous way.

Four kids came to my lessons everyday and we made the most creative, fantastic crafts! They gave me ideas, I gave them the way to realise the ideas. We used aluminium cans, paper plates... anything that could be recycled.

I had so much fun!

When the time came to come back home, my task was to drive alone on the highway without daddy this time. It was quite an experience... But i did fine. I came back home. I was so proud at the end of the day!

August has come. Easy living. Swimming in nearby sea waters. Dreams and plans for Autumn.

Yesterday it was mountain time.

I missed the mountain.

While the rest of the clan stayed in the church, I walked around amogst the trees. My church is nature. Natures' sounds. Running water. Cicadas on the trees. Bees buzzing. And the colors. All the shades of green...

 And horses. We went to see the horses on the mountain.

I feel so blessed.

One more summer.

One more day.

So manny blessings.

Thank you friends, thank you family, thank you self, for creating a life worth living.

Τετάρτη, 24 Ιουλίου 2013

My first driving trip

Everytime I do something new, it rains.

This time it was driving the car in the national highway, to the north of Attica.

My father was beside me. My safety net. It was raining hard. He was of great help.

I felt a bit stiff, but I arrived safely.

In the past, I had to rely on friends to take me and Freeda on long trips like this. I was longing for my own car. I wished I did not need anyone to take me there. The time has come.

I am greatful for all the friends who helped me in the past. I will take anyone with me next time. I promise.

For now, I will enjoy the sea water and play as much as I can.

I'm having a nice day. Do you?

Τρίτη, 16 Ιουλίου 2013

Δευτέρα, 15 Ιουλίου 2013

one hot morning

 A summer say on the beach.

A bunny rabbit on a tiny pebble.

Or is it a face?

The bunny rabbit has some friends.

Tiny fossils on a blue landscape.

Summer stories.

Hot July.

Words are poor, images are rich.

What did you look for on the beach?

What did you find?

Τετάρτη, 26 Ιουνίου 2013

river

Sometimes you' ve got to let a river clean you.

Was feeling kinda sad yesterday. It was hot. I could stay home. Or I could use the car to get near nature. 

I chose the latter. Isn't it great to have a river so close? 15 minutes and you are somewhere else. Away from the city, next to the river.

Freeda in the back, music in the CD player, the hot road ahead. 

We got near the river. It was really noisy and cool. We walked under the trees. It was quiet and beautiful.

My feet froze in the river water. But it was worth it.

Driving alone. A small trip. A small victory. 

Slowly I'm gaining my freedom.

Τρίτη, 25 Ιουνίου 2013

on talent

"I decided to stop moaning and do something about it."
Lately, I hear this phrase very often.

Young, beautiful, prosperous. Deprived of dreams and hopes. Yet, they decide to get out. Meet others. Use their talents.

They form small groups.

They are farmers, photographers, actors, painters, puppeteers, writers... Whatever the talent, it is put to use. Not for money. For salvation. Our talents are a life vest. Many talents put toghether are a life saving boat.

In my reality, there are lots of life saving boats. Warm smiles. Clear, sincere eyes. The ocean is really hard. The waves are big and strong.

But we will make it.

Σάββατο, 22 Ιουνίου 2013

Once upon a time there was a blog...

Once upon a time there was a blog.

It was born out of a need of expression. A need to write. A need to be.

It came out of a cyber womb. It was empty, yet full of promises.

The blogs' mother gave it a name. The name had a promise. Never to stop writing about a journey. A life journey.

The word "never" is heavy. A blog, like a baby needs nurturing. It needs to be filled with words. Not just words. Stories. Our blog was really happy because its stories were funny, interesting, full of love for nature and animals. Full of dreams waiting to be fullfilled.

Every day, new words were filling it. And pictures. Lovely pictures next to the words. This blog was happy. Once in a while, the blog would be read by someone. Someone who would be kind enought to comment on its stories. And the blog was happy.

It was growing. More people would visit it. A tiny blog from nowhere, was becoming something. It found other blogs to communicate and it felt like it belonged to a blog family. A family of dreamers. A family where words mattered. Where stories mattered.

Sometimes the stories were not happy, other times stories were exciting.

Two years passed and the blog had character. It had style and was self confident.

But stories came slower and slower. It was not a daily story board anymore. It was more like a monthly story board.

Its mother had other things to do. She was busy. She was visiting everyday, but there were no words to nurture it. There came a time where she had not given a story to her blog for two months. It seemed once, that the blog was her only refuge. A place to reveal her most secret thoughts, to self critisize and evolve.

The name of the blog came under the microscope. What was its true meaning? Was its name literal? Or was it more like a general term? Our blog was filled with doubt. Will it ever be an actual travel blog? Will it be the diary of a self centered, void. would-be writer?

At the moment this blog is crying out for stories. It's crying out for attention. It is crying and shouting: "No more Facebook please!, I'm here too and I need your words, your stories and your pictures."

I better listen. My stories will be back soon.