Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Leaving Chios 

Back in those same places and patterns I've loved and loathed so much, on the island my dad grew up on, a fifteen kilometer stretch of cobalt sea from Turkey's west coast. I am on Chios, landed straight here after an endless direct flight on Olympic Airways from JFK.

This year, more than ever, determined to do it on my terms and not compromise and adjust what to me constitutes a good time- enjoying long days at the beach and early dinners and nights, when most don't even leave their homes for that first drink till midnight. No can-do, nor do I really aspire to; promises I'll try to old friends be damned.

It's been real sweet, this whole doing things as I want to thing. As I am more aligned with what makes me happy, doing exactly as I please most days, happy to see a couple of people align with that and join in on earlier mornings and beachdays and dinners and nights. Kinda like all those years when all I wanted was to be liked and accepted and tried so hard to so-so results, and when I dropped that and kinda just went for joy as my compass, people joined in and liked and accepted me anyway. One of the great ironies of my life, that's been.

The secret to being with the family and maintaining some semblance of balance is to not stay with the family and enjoy meals and visits. I have the same room I stayed in last time- with the same glorious view of the ever-changing but always-the-same harbor. Pics soon-coming. After ten days here, enjoying and being surprised daily by how sweet it can be, when others also want to be an old fogey with you, am starting to feel full. Like I've had enough, slowly. Like I am ready to go to Skyros-Santorini-Kea-Mykonos-Athens-Peloponissos, or some combination thereof, in my waning days here. Or, as a dear friend said to me a coupla days back, when I called wailing why-is-he-not-into-me (perennial Chios-crush still there, lamentably): after 13 f-ing years, either f-ing get married or f-off. So, I'm going to eff-off.

Except there's no tickets to be had for anywhere, anytime soon, via air or sea, and I am stuck on the island past the point of fulfillment. Unh-oh. Will still enjoy the Zyms and the beach, but could have left tomorrow, instead of the first boat out I booked for the 28th. The price I pay for wanting to keep it flexible and not commit to anything. I'd said, I want to stay for as long as I am having a good time. And it was, a great time. All the elements were there, minus the romance. The laughs and sunsets and swims and indulgences and family bonding and meditative moments and sun-filled afternoons. I might still try to get on a waitlist for a long-boat (ten hours amidst smokers and kids crying and old ladies - and maybe the occasional caged fowl) for sooner, rather than stay until the experience here loses all its lustre and dies on me, again. Was hoping to avoid that, this year.

Yesterday would've been the perfect day to book-end my trip. We went to one of what we've dubbed the Shrek beaches (ie those far-far away), my favorite volcanic black-pebble beach, then we visited Pyrgi, a uniquely-built village, then a medieval village square for coffee, then took off in two cars up the mountain for the sunset, then down the hills to the sea for dinner over pink waters. Then home. Complete. I've had my fill, and am looking forward to new chapters elsewhere, with other people. I'll stick it out here, for a few more days. Maybe go stay with my aunt Maro for a few. As daddy-Zym said, could be worse than stuck in paradise- even as other landscapes and vistas eagerly await.

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